Domestic violence altered the course of my life in a way that I never possibly would have imagined ten, twenty even forty years ago. As a woman nearly sixty years old still struggling with effects of abuse, particularly chronic, complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD); I understand how difficult it is to manage life sometimes even if it means surviving simply moment to moment. Today, I am no longer restrained though by abuse or perpetrators who prey on my vulnerabilities – I learned ways to take back my life, my power and my voice. My choices were not easy and sometimes I felt as if I had no choice at all. It was in those moments that I simply held out for something I couldn’t see or feel yet knew had to be there. Some people might call it hope or faith, others might think of it as support. I slowly held out and began educating myself and cautiously allowed others in who were trying to reach out to me.

This COVID-19 pandemic has placed survivors, victims of domestic violence and their children at great risk for many poor outcomes in life if not addressed, recognized, validated and brought into conversations with professionals, advocates and victims and survivors. As stated on the National Coalition for Domestic Violence website (NCADV | National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, n.d.), victims of abuse experience the following: isolation, depression, hopelessness, withdrawal, distancing from family and friends, anxiety, suicidal thoughts and more. These experiences and risks are magnified with COVID-19 upon us and untold numbers of families are clustered in homes together with abusive partners, nowhere to go and no help in sight. Survivors living alone might be feeling effects of PTSD caused by social distancing and stay at home orders recently put into place in their home cities or states.

It has been challenging for me, living alone during this time as a survivor to be by myself, away from everyone I know and love. It’s difficult to be alone on any given day for me even when there isn’t a global pandemic happening. So, I think about people who are feeling trapped right now, perhaps who felt like I did some years ago. I put myself in that space and remember what it was like to try not to upset “him” so that he wouldn’t hurt me or my children or even my dog. I remember his smell after he turned into a monster. To this day I can’t stand the smell of dark liquor. For the purpose of this piece of writing, “he” isn’t just any one partner of mine. He is a composite of many. Perhaps you may be familiar with “him”, he might be just like someone you know.

I used to predict how my day was going to be in the mornings by what kind of mood he was in when he woke up. My predictions were like clockwork. In recovering from fear, eventually I learned to manage my own emotions instead of adhering to his controlling and abusive behavior. It took a lot of courage and I was scared sometimes, but I found it confused him and he didn’t know what to do with the way I was beginning to set myself free. One day, I was finally able to leave and today I am no longer feeling broken. 

My process of freedom didn’t happen overnight. My story isn’t unique but my voice is, just like yours… and my soul is free and beautiful. Today I know it always was and it took sifting through so much pain to get here. I loved “him”. Sometimes more than I loved myself. I was always searching for love. In trying to find it – to find him, I found more than I bargained for. I found myself forced to do things no woman should have to do, I woke up from multiple surgeries with injuries caused from abuse, and I suffered broken bones, blackened eyes, bruised organs and other bodily injuries. I also suffered a traumatic brain injury from taking multiple blows to my head. With that came a mental health diagnosis and the stigma right along with it. Stigma and diagnosis do not define me today.Thanks to our partners, you can find ties online to suit every preference and budget, from budget to top-of-the-range super stylish models.