By Jamie Hammack
It’s something nearly all of us have seen, yet is something we rarely discuss. When it is talked about it is usually in whispers. Maybe because its such a difficult subject to talk about. Maybe because you’ve been the victim of it. But lets lay it out there. It’s domestic violence. Spousal abuse. No matter the name, it’s living Hell for the person being abused. And it is something we must confront.
According to LiveYourDream.org 4,774,000 women are abused by an intimate partner every year. 1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime and it is the 3rd leading cause of homelessness among families in the U.S. The stats get worse from there with 3 women killed every day through domestic violence by a partner.
Here at The Pulse our own Office Manager, Beth Goodreau-Jordan, has her story to tell about domestic violence from her past. In her words…
“From my perspective it is very difficult to get out of that type of situation. It was over 20 years for me. You just feel defeated and have been told over and over again that no one will want someone that has been beat down all the time.
I finally said to myself, after some years of therapy and going to a group meeting for battered women, “Enough is Enough” and I was able to leave that situation with the help of two very great friends. They were there for support, nothing else. I was showed that I can have a better life without the hurt, the pain, the emotional abuse, the bruises. It was difficult, I won’t lie about that, but there are people wherever you may live that are willing to help in any way they can. To get you out of that situation and help you get on your feet. Like, finding you a job, a place to live that will be safe, and to show you that you are worth more than what this person did to you.
A day in the life of my past life:
At this time, I had filed my 4th pfa (protection from abuse) order from the man I was married to. He was still calling me and I wasn’t answering because I just didn’t want to hear the same lies he was telling me-“I’m sorry baby”, It wont happen again”. I’ll go to counseling to keep you in my life.” He was calling so much that I just had to turn my phone off at night to get some sleep. At this time I was living with a friend so he could not find me.
Now, anyone will tell you that has been through this type of situation. Staying away doesn’t always work. It didn’t for me. I eventually got tired of the phone calls and the texts that I picked up the phone and talked to him. Still hearing the same lies, but it didn’t matter, all I heard was “I LOVE YOU” and “please take me back, I’m miserable without you”. So, what did I do that day, that almost sealed my fate. I went to visit him, and lied to my friend where I was going because I didn’t want to hear any issues from her.
As I pulled up to where he was living, I was having second thoughts, but again I just wanted to be with this man, no matter what. I go in the backdoor and this is where it gets tough. I walk in and he comes out of nowhere and pushes me to the other side of the trailer. His hands were around my neck this entire time. He broke my glasses that I had on my face and they fell to the ground. It seemed like a lifetime, I was struggling to breath. He said to me “You are mine and no one will have you but me, because if I have to I’ll kill you before that happens.” I don’t know what happened, I kept saying to myself, “God, please help me”, I need you to release his hands so I can be here for my children and grandchildren”. During all of this, I am still fighting to stay on my feet and still trying to breath. At the last moment right before I was going to pass out, he let go. I don’t know why. I fell to the floor, choking on air and trying to catch my breath.
I survived that attack. I told him lies to be able to get out of there as quickly as possible. I needed to go to work. I never told anyone about that incident. But, again, I went back to him. Even though I knew it wouldn’t end well for me I went back. It was several years later, when I finally left for good. During those last years, I dealt with a lot of emotional abuse. Being put down, saying I was fat, no one wants you. You’re not a good mother, your mother should have gotten rid of you because you’re worthless. When you hear those types of comments, you start believing them.
I have spoken to a group of workers. Policeman, pastors, group advocates for women and told them, “I would have rather been beaten, than to deal with all the emotional abuse I dealt with over the years. Because bruises go away, emotional scarring does not. It stays with you for a long time, even forever.”
No one should ever have to go through what Beth endured. Everyone must be vigilant and on the look out for victims of domestic abuse so they can be helped before it is too late. Don’t be silent.
The signs of domestic violence are not always obvious and not always physical. Maybe you as a friend or relative do not see bumps and bruises. Domestic Violence and an abusive relationship comes in the form of having power and control over someone keeping that person in constant fear of abuse, verbal and physical.
TheHotline.org lists other forms of abuse as.
Emotional abuse: name calling, forced isolation from others, threats against children, family and friends, humiliation, and accusations of cheating.
Sexual coercion: Forcing sex, ignoring your feelings regarding sex, sexual insults.
Reproductive coercion: Forcing non use of birth control, sabotaging birth control, forcing abortion, forcing pregnancy. Forcing you to stay pregnant.
Financial abuse: Forcing you to hand over your paycheck, giving an allowance, preventing access to bank accounts, stealing money.
Digital abuse: Selecting who you can and cannot be friends with on social media, sending you threatening emails, insist on having your passwords, stealing passwords, constant text to keep tabs on you, pressure to send explicit pics and videos.
If you are a victim of domestic violence please call local law enforcement. If someone you know needs help please call the hotline number for The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. There are local agencies which can help as well.
• Southwest AR Domestic Violence
De Queen, AR · (870) 584-3441
• Crisis Intervention Center
5603 S 14th St, Fort Smith, AR · (479) 782-1821
• Arkansas Crisis Center
Fort Smith, AR · (888) 274-7472
• Women’s Crisis Service
109 Beard Ave, #110, Poteau, OK · (918) 647-9800