A New Perspective As I Am

I never knew much about domestic violence growing up, so when I met this person I had no idea what he was doing. He was so charming and told me he loved me so much during the first few months.

Not knowing what the relationship would become I stayed, even after he became emotionally and then verbally and later physically abusive.

It took me years to have the courage and strength to leave. The emotional, physical scars became too much. I couldn't continue to stay hoping that one day he would stop. He had said that the first time and then I just didn't count anymore.

I guess everyone has that moment when they realize that this is not what love is nor is it enough to sacrifice yourself anymore for the abuse.

My realization came at work. The night before I had talk backed and he didn't want to have it. He decided in order for me to stop was to choke me. I recall him on top of me with fire and hate in his eyes as he choked me until I passed out. I literally thought that this was it; this was how I was going to die.

I woke up the next morning to go to work and looked in the mirror and saw the bruises on my neck. I covered the bruises with make up hoping that would heal the emotional pain and no one would notice as they have for the past years. Not only was I tired of covering the bruises with make up but tired of pretending that this is what love should be and feel like.

It's been two years since and I can now say that I am very fortunate to have that realization and been able to escape with a second chance at life again.

There are so many women that don't get that second chance. It's been a tough two years but understanding what I know now has enabled me to love myself again and to see that it wasn't my fault. I hope that women learn that no one has the right to abuse you regardless what they say.

Love me as I am: that is how I know love should be without any conditions.

Artist's Note: While talking to this survivor, I saw what an unbelievably sweet, responsible, and smart person she is, which boggles my mind at how anyone could be cruel to her. Abusers always take advantage of a person's good nature because they know with post-abuse apologies, she/he will forgive the episode, believing the promises that it won't ever happen again. Many times a survivor is surprised to find his/herself in an abusive relationship because of this trust. That's why it's important to never judge but listen and support efforts to a better life.