The room is dark. The pain is starting to set in. I use the wall for support as I tried to stand on my wobbly legs, my body still shaking. I could barely see.
I made my way over to the bathroom mirror. I gasp as I caught a glimpse of myself. I was frightened by my own reflection. I dabbed the blood from around my nose and the corner of my mouth. The tears were trying to squeeze through the swollen tissue around my eyes that were turning blue.
As I sat with ice over my face and rested my sore body I could still see that rage filled face. It would play over and over in my mind.
Suddenly, I heard the door open and his footsteps. I froze, afraid to breathe.
“Did I do that to you?” I heard the concern in his voice.
I just sat there numb, afraid to speak. I wondered how the tears managed to roll down my cheeks. I hurt so badly. Maybe I really did deserve this.
“I’m so sorry!” he said as he grabbed my hand. I was startled by his touch.
I removed the ice from my face and tried to open my eyes. I heard him gasp. I felt his head in my lap as he collapsed in tears.
“I can’t believe I did this to you again.” He cried.
“It was just an accident, you didn’t mean it.” my voice trembled as I tried to speak.
I couldn’t move. I just sat there embarrassed and weak.
I reluctantly put my hand on his head to comfort him.
“I’m sorry I let you down.” I whispered.
“I’m so sorry; I will never do this to you again.” He said through his sobs.
Torn between relief and fear, I wanted to believe him.
My head was spinning; the love, the anger, the promises, the pain.
The words I’d heard so many times before. The love I so desperately needed from him would be at the end of each attack.
I would be in seclusion for weeks until the bruises would fade, the swelling and cuts would heal. I felt like a prisoner in my own home. Each time I wanted to leave, each time I stayed.
I believe him this time; I believe he really is going to change.
I stared at my healed reflection. I saw the innocence in my eyes; my fair skin was radiant with beauty. I was loving, sincere and wanted to please. I knew he had a serious problem.
I knew that I didn’t deserve the beatings.
It was only a matter of time before it would happen again.
I prayed for wisdom and strength to make the call.
I finally made the call.
Though I walk in the midst of trouble, thou wilt revive me: thou shalt stretch forth thine hand against the wrath of mine enemies, and thy right hand shall save me. Psalm 138:7 (NKJ)
4 psychological stages of the battered woman syndrome:
• I thought it would always get better I believed the promises of ‘I’ll never do that again’ – denial
• I blamed myself for his actions – guilt
• I started to realize that it would eventually happen again because it was always the same promises – enlightenment
• I made the call - responsibility
4,000,000 women a year are assaulted by their partners. 4 women everyday are murdered by boyfriends or husbands. 95% of victims of domestic violence are women.
Please be with all those women who feel stuck in this cycle of abuse as I was for years, afraid to leave and afraid to stay. Let them know how very precious they are and they don’t need to be beat, called names or treated with disrespect. Help to enlighten them to the reality of the situation. Remind them that you are always with them. Help them to walk in strength to make the call and use their experience to help other woman get free. Amen
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