Standing My Ground Standing My Ground

He was tall, dark and muscular. His arms were ripped with muscles. He was the picture of strength, as one would look at an oak tree. He was an x-boxer. I looked at him as one that would be my protector, but instead he was my abuser.

He was so nice, gentle and sweet when I met him. Soon afterward he convinced me to move out of state with him. I will never forget that his cousin told me that he will keep water in your eyes and wood on your back side. I did not know what this meant until later in the relationship. It was even a month later after we had arrived to Texas; I remember the first slap from him. I slapped him back; he took my arms and told me to never hit him again. I told him, don't you hit me. I knew then that I was in trouble. I was so embarrassed of my situation that I did not tell my family about the abuse.

The days became unbearable with him. I had a certain amount of fear of him and I did not know how to get out of the mess I had allowed myself to get in. Although we had little to no money, he did not want me to go out and find work because he did not want me to make friends.

Within a couple of months of us moving to Texas I told him that I want going back home to Arizona. Before I made it back home he beat me really bad and in front of my three year old daughter. I feared that I would die that night but Allah (God) saved me and my daughter. With the help of my mother, brother and brother-in-law, I returned to Arizona.

Shortly afterward my sister called me and told me to leave my home because he was back in town. She told me to go and stay with one of my sisters. Fear over took, I begin to run around the house trying to pack some of my clothing. Then I heard this voice in my head say, "If you run now, you will be running the rest of your life." I stopped and said, "No, I'm not leaving." He contacted me and told me he was going to take me to dinner for my birthday and "it would be best if I go." I told him that I had a peace bond out on him and if he showed up to my house it would be my pleasure to blow him away. "I'm not going with you, and I'm not running from you." My daughter is now 31 years old and I never heard from him again. I took back my life and have kept it every since.

Artist's Note: People are surprised when they discover someone they know is or has suffered from domestic violence. They wonder why she or he didn't say anything. Many survivors start out as strong and independent individuals who had never been mistreated before and didn't know the signs until it was too late. Their silence is due to embarrassment about being conned and trapped by what seemed like a "wonderful person" who changed once she or he had control over the relationship. Domestic violence is all about control and the in case of this beautiful survivor, she took it back...permanently.