I Have Presence I Have Presence

Many years ago, I became pregnant, and married the father. He was an over the road trucker. During pregnancy the abuse began. He came home from off the road and had a syringe filled with meth. He was very high on it. Along his route from Wisconsin, to California he would stop in Vegas and was seeing a stripper. By that time I had enough when he came to the apt. and tried to inject me with the meth saying he wanted me to feel as good as he does, that we could work it out. Our son was in his walker. We wrestled around on the floor and my adrenaline kicked in, and in and arm wrestling type match on the floor, with him on top of me, I managed to push his arm away and the syringe landed on the sliding door track. I managed to smash the tip rendering it unusable. I have much remorse for those days, because I DID, leading up to that point do cocaine with him in that manner. Fast forward to divorce, rehab, and moving away. I tried not to think about those days, and moved with my small daughter from the next relationship I found myself in (again an abusive one). Leaving my son with his paternal Grandparents for which I will forever be remorseful.

It was the only way to get out and save the rest of us. I lived on an island in Florida for 16 to 17 years and raised my beautiful daughter there. She is now in the Army as a Sgt in Germany. She has issues to this day regarding the abusive men in my past. We are very close. I thought I escaped, changed where I lived to get away from triggers, got counseling, and was successful in raising my daughter. She is much loved by all. I was working in a very conservative position at a bank on the island and went to the ER last February. I was diagnosed with Hepatitis C. It shattered my life, and my world. Liver biopsy showed that I was in stage 4 of 4. I made calls into my past and learned that that ex has it as well and knew about it for 10 years but did not inform me.

A new bank manager did not understand Hepatitis C and fired me over the phone while I was at ultrasound, possibly assuming that using was something I was doing NOW. The community had a benefit for me and we fought unemployment for 6 months. I just completed a ONE YEAR course of interferon (a form of chemo) as a success story--I feel because of my heart, karma, and GOD....I was a success. I am in the 20 percentile of survivors of this disease. Statistically, 80% of people do not respond. They say I have stopped the disease in its tracks and my liver is regenerating. It has been a horrible year of punishment and reflection of the dark past and the abuse. I lost much through this.....but I get to LIVE. I have FAITH. God would not have had me get through all of this to have it end badly. I have PRESENCE and am a survivor.

Artist's Note: : Leaving a relationship is the most dangerous time for a victim of abuse. This is a common time when the victim is killed. In this case, the abuser tried to hook her on meth, one of the most horrific and addictive life destroyers of our day. It is not uncommon for abusers to kill their victims with a drug overdose, which then portrays her as a drug addict and may lighten his sentence if he is caught. Something deep inside gave her the strength to protect herself, get out, and get help. It is up to the survivor to make that decision and first step to freedom, but it is up to us in the community to provide resources she needs. In the case of this lovely person, her community members helped save her life in more ways than one.