**Editors Note: Olivia uses lower case letters as an artistic choice to promote equality**
by olivia jade
though i’m a bit late, the month of October is “Domestic Violence Awareness Month”. annually, in San Diego County, 17,000 domestic violence incidents are reported to the police.
this is just a percentage of the incidents that actually take place. there are incidents that occur daily that are not reported- ever. in san diego, 1 in 5 homicides are linked to domestic violence.
many domestic altercations that occur in the home are left to be brushed under the rug or hid under sunglasses. a raging voice of justice is swallowed, only to fester deep inside and create wars in the spirit. this silence that hovers over the mouths of victims is rooted in deep fear: fear of their own life or their children’s lives, fear of the abuser attacking them again, fear of breaking up a family, or even fear of their own potential to get out of the situation and start anew. as someone who is a survivor of domestic violence i believe it is most important to speak loudly and raise consciousness to those who are unaware; it is in silence that the monster of D.V. grows stronger.
getting to know someone on an intimate level- spiritually and emotionally- is a journey in itself. sometimes it blossoms, other times….it just doesn’t work out. one thing i’ve learned because of my past relationships is: things are not always pretty. unfortunately, i’ve found myself deep in situations where i was extremely unhappy- all. of. the. time. constantly, i would ask myself why i slept more than i saw daylight, why i gave myself to someone more than i gave to myself. there was an unwavering ache that brewed in my spirit. in my past relationship, every waking moment with my ex-partner was a war. the only peace i received was at work or when i slept. it felt like every single thing i did was an issue. belittling comments were mumbled under the breath like clockwork; my diet changed because of things he couldn’t eat; our apartment became an isolated island; my individuality was lost the moment i swept my self-love under the rug for stillness in the home. daily i would be on the phone with friends playing the girl who cried wolf, but a text or a phone call equipped with a limp apology from mr. lover and i’d be right back in the eye of the storm, not knowing i was creating a delusional love out of an open wound.
when you’re in this sort of situation you don’t realize the perpetual cycle you are creating for yourself: the more you forgive an abusive partner and return to the toxic situation, the more you feed the toxic meter, the more you find yourself falling into a deep abusive abyss. it wasn’t until the toxicity erupted into a physical altercation did i regain my strength. it took me calling the cops, sleeping on a subway train, phoning my mom for money to get a hotel room, quitting all three of my jobs at the time, and booking a flight back here to san diego to remember my love for myself. abuse is not only physical. it exists in the mind, in the spirit, in the heart, and it can exist when we abuse ourselves by not speaking up or taking action against a toxic partner. it wasn’t until recently that i regained my voice. in dark rooms i had to fight the silhouette of memories that brought pain wrapped in dreams, but my time with self, speaking with others, and healing has helped me to break the silence i grew accustomed to in my past relationship.
in honor of DVAM, i believe it’s important to discuss the difference facets of abuse, so that it is easy to recognize and address head-on. where one facet of abuse exists, the others are sure to be in close proximity- they are all close siblings. if applicable, to understand one form of abuse is to be able to acknowledge the truth and act accordingly. if you ever have to question if your partner is abusive, there might be some sentiments of abuse. the first facet of abuse i struggled with in my own life is emotional abuse also known as psychological or mental abuse. emotional abuse exists when your partner:
- regularly mocks, demeans, or disregards your opinions, ideas, suggestions, likes, wants, or needs.
- belittles you to deflect their own actions. (i.e. calls you “sensitive”)
- manipulates you or tries to control you.
- projects their own flaws or shortcomings onto you through name-calling, sarcasm, or put-downs.
- deflects their own wrongs and puts the blame on others; have difficulty apologizing and owning up to their actions.
- call you names, put labels on you, condescends, or makes vulgar, cutting remarks.
- is emotionally distant and has an inability to show affection or love.
- has a lack of empathy, compassion, or love.
for more signs of an emotional abuser, please visit the link: http://liveboldandbloom.com/11/relationships/signs-of-emotional-abuse
signs of emotional abuse, in my opinion, are the initial “red flags” of domestic violence. partners/individuals who possess certain distinctive qualities are more inclined to perform domestic violence on their partners or children. to stop the cycle of abuse we must first educate ourselves on what abuse is and how to detect it in a relationship and in the home. from there, we are able to make instinctual- and wise- decisions on who we allow in our sacred space. for those of us and/or our loved ones who are currently silent due to fear, let’s continue the dialogue of awareness so that we give them voice, give them a platform to feel safe to speak on. if you believe you are in an abusive situation, please do not be afraid to speak up. you are not alone. you are worthy of love, of affection, of life. clutch your voice deep within you and speak. tell your truth. you are worthy.
to read my blog post titled “beware of a lover who…” please visit www.drinkingthesun.com
if you or someone you know is in a domestically abusive situation, please bring attention to it. Domestic Violence Hotline: 1−800−799−7233 or TTY 1−800−787−3224.