This poem is based on various stories I have heard in my psychotherapy practice—as well as how I imagine the journey for abuse survivors.
Nov 25th was International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. This worldwide campaign runs until December 10th, 2016.
If you can relate to these words, please know you are not alone.
No more. Beaten, but not Broken.
Cowering in the corner, she sobbed,
heart racing, paralyzed by fear as he towered over her.
Broken glass lay scattered across the floor.
Numb to the bruises,
it was the insults that stung, penetrating her soul,
left her feeling unworthy and alone.
The humiliation of not feeling safe in her own home,
the desperation of trying to make things better
fell over her like a heavy weight, chaining her in captivity.
Waiting, trying to make herself invisible,
it seemed like an eternity before the door slammed.
The smell of alcohol lingered in the air.
Tiny whimpers from upstairs penetrated the silence.
The fog lifted as she began to see through the lies.
A reckoning of truth arose—she did deserve better and she was not alone.
A fire ignited inside her as she slowly gathered herself up,
beaten, but not broken.
Love filled her heart as she swept her tiny baby into her arms
along with the few belongings she could gather.
Fear tried to imprison her.
But shaking, she bravely reached for the door.
A mixture of sadness and relief flooded within her as she stepped into the awaiting cab.
A quiet indignation began to rise up as she looked into her innocent baby’s eyes.
“No more” she whispered, then began to chant.
It would be a long road ahead but one small, courageous step at a time she would find her way
back to freedom, back to safety.
Here are some support resources in creating a safety plan, and to find out about warning signs of power and control and what makes a healthy relationship.
Two wonderful books on abuse: The Verbally Abusive Relationship by Patricia Evans and Lundy Bancroft’s Why does he do that?
There are places women can go for safe shelter with their children. Many women’s shelters have also collaborated with Humane Societies or the SPCA to ensure pets are safe too.
In my experience of working with both survivors and perpetrators, abuse rarely stops on its own. In most cases it escalates until the person using abuse is held accountable by outside authorities.
It is not our fault. We deserve better. We deserve to heal. Separation can be a dangerous time, so be safe and remember we are not alone.
If you are worried about someone you love, you can empower yourself with useful information at the Neighbours, Friends and Families Website. Being a non-judgemental, constant source of support can go a long way in helping someone break free from an abusive relationship. Be patient and loving and get help for yourself.
I know there are so many good men out there. We need you to say “no more” too! Some great male organizations include: the White Ribbon Campaign, Men Against Violence Against Women and Men Stopping Violence.
This holiday season, please remember the women and children who are fleeing their homes and what it takes to start over with so little. Consider making a donation to your local shelter to help keep valuable programs running or contact them to find out what is of greatest need. If you are a yoga teacher, why not offer a class, with all proceeds going to the local shelter, like my yoga studio is doing?
Every little bit can make a huge difference.
Author: Nicole Schiener Manary, 2016
Image: Sarick Banana/Deviantart
Editor: Sara Kärpänen