Calm After the Storm Calm After the Storm

The symbolism behind this portrait is extremely powerful to me. Behind me are the dark clouds and a thunderstorm, which is literally how I felt in the relationship with my abuser. I felt like I was in the midst of the worst storm ever and anywhere I went while I was involved with him the storm followed. On the night of February 5th, 2008 I was ending the relationship with my abuser and asked him to please leave. That night was the worst thunderstorm (beating) ever. For an hour and a half I was body slammed, choked and my head was smothered into piles of clothes or a pillow. Several times, just as I was about to pass out, he would let my head up to gasp the air. The only thing I was thinking was to scratch him and get his DNA under my skin so if I died, they could know that I fought back.

When I finally escaped that night, he ran. The police came, 2 months later he was put on probation and asked to complete domestic violence classes. He failed to do both and there is currently a warrant out for his arrest. That night, I went to my friend's house; I stayed there for 5 days until I found a place to move. With the help of a very dear friend who lent me money and church members who moved me; I left my house with my yard for my dogs; took my dogs and the bare essentials and moved to a small apartment. Immediately the dark clouds lifted. Although leaving was the hardest thing I ever did; I am so grateful to start over. There are many nights I miss the good parts of him; but the part that nearly killed me that night will never be forgotten. I am now in a calm river and out of the storm.

Artist's Note: The Jekyl and Hyde story is very true when it comes to abusers. When dating, naturally we put our best face forward, trying to impress. In domestic violence, when the relationship gets underway, the Hyde part comes out in episodes. When a person cares for someone, it's understood that the relationship isn't always rosy or the person isn't always pleasant; however, in domestic violence the cycle of abuse continues to spiral downward until the nice Jekyl personality becomes more scarce, leaving the survivor with only memories of what once was a kind and loving relationship. In the case of this survivor, she had the courage to take that final step to permanent freedom and keeps the reality of her ordeal in perspective. She remembers the "good parts of him," but loves herself enough to remember who he really is.