Looks Can Be Deceiving Looks Can Be Deceiving

Abuse, where would I start? I grew up in an upper middle class home. My father was president of a major corporation and my mother was a model for Charles of the Ritz Cosmetic. It all looked good on the outside, but at home on the inside, my father was always gone and my mother hated me.

When I was six years old, we had just moved to Gross Point, Michigan. I came home from school and outside my front door was a suitcase with a note on it. The note said, "No one wants you here, go away". I did. I stayed at someone's house that I had just met. A week later my mother called the school and told them I ran away. She did countless and destructive mean things to me as I grew up. We moved seventeen times in eighteen years, and many times she would drop me or my sister off on the side of the road and make us get out of the car. I grew up knowing I was never good enough, smart enough or pretty enough.

When I was 38 years old I was kidnapped. I was bartending and customer took me away at gun point. He came up behind me as I was locking up the bar. He wanted to have me all for himself. I escaped nine days later. I had a broken leg, been stabbed twice, and the left side of my face was shattered. I was unrecognizable. The grace of God got me out of there.

Both situations in my life were uncontrollable by me. I wanted to be loved by my parents, but they were incapable of that. The kidnapping: he was eight years younger than I and very good looking. You would have never expected that behavior from him. I knew he had a crush on me, but so did many others. It came from nowhere; I did not expect it at all. I had been working and was just doing my job.

Domestic Violence is silent and it is in places you would never expect it to be. When I was young there was nothing like CPS. We moved so frequently that the cruelty in my home was never suspected. My sister has been in and out of mental institutions her whole life. I chose drugs and alcohol to kill the pain and hide my unworthiness.

Today I am in college full time, working part time and living clean and sober. I want to use my education to educate others about the many faces of domestic violence. My life is good and I am Blessed.

Artist's Note: A common myth about domestic violence is the socio-economic stereotype. The subject of domestic violence is still hushed in certain circles, making the problem more insidious. Now we talk more openly than before and there is CPS, but more work needs to be done. Talking with this survivor, I learned that she is highly intelligent and a born leader. She laughs easily with a resilience in her personality that will take her anywhere she wants to go.