by AJ
(Olympia, WA)

As a survivor of domestic violence I have been through many of those horrible stages that survivor's suffer. I have known that feeling of not calling the police because if they didn't take him to jail I would die, having to finally take time off work to go to court for a protection order, and even trying to go back to court to get it dropped because he promised to never do it again and just wants to be a healthy family again, . . . which starts the cycle all over.
Your friends and family blame you, "Why don't you just leave?" they say. Then you find yourself defending him to those same people because you don't want him to look bad, and maybe it is all my fault to begin with. It gets harder and harder to get out of bed in the morning, you blame yourself and believe all those names he calls you. You start thinking "If only I . . .". Believe me, I've been there.
One day he gets in my face because I didn't fold a towel perfectly straight. He pushes me against the fridge and says "you fucking stupid bitch,I'm going to bury you in the backyard". He grabs my necklace and starts twisting it until I see spots in my vision. I push him away and try to run for the phone, which he grabs out of my hand and throws against the wall breaking my only chance of help. I'm terrified that this will finally be it, and make a break for the car. Little did I know that this was finally my wake up call.
I was one of the lucky ones that was finally able to break the cycle. It took me 5 times leaving him before I was actually able to do it, but I got there. Once I started realizing that THIS WASN'T MY FAULT! I was able to reach out for help in my community. There was an organization for domestic violence survivors that helped me find shelter, get started on therapy, and most important let me know that I wasn't alone.
Now I am an advocate at that same DV organization that helped me finally break the cycle. I get to be that voice on the crisis line that lets you know you are not alone, which really made a difference to me when I was needing help. Don't be afraid to make the call, it is confidential and more importantly it is supportive of YOUR choices.

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