In the wake of former cop Drew Peterson being arrested on charges he murdered his third wife (his fourth wife is still missing and presumed dead) there are loads of words being written on the topic of domestic abuse.
Over at Women In Crime Ink, one of my fellow contributors wrote something I feel I MUST pass along. Because, you see, domestic violence can hit any class of family, in any big city or small village. It doesn’t matter how much money you have or don’t have or whether the children are damaged in the awful process. Domestic abuse happens behind closed doors all the time. And only when the woman finds the strength to walk away does it stop.
Below find the words of Susan Murphy Milano , a remarkable woman who has spent 20 years as a prosecutor of domestic violence crimes, with an expertise in police officer perpetrated violence. To say she knows of what she speaks is an understatement. Her personal story is a riveting lesson for us all.
As a child Susan grew up in an abusive household with a domineeing father who controlled the family with an iron fist. Just like Drew Peterson her dad was a POLICE OFFICER - a detective with the Chicago Violent Crimes Unit, no less - and he instilled in the family a sense of hopelessness. Who were they going to report his bad deeds to? His fellow cops?
Susan Murphy Milano
Susan’s words which follow are more poignant when you realize the ultimate end for her parents. Her mother was murdered by her father. He then killed himself. An all too familiar end to the horrible cycle.
Please pass this on if you suspect a woman you know needs an exit plan….I know I sure did once.
If you have been in an abusive relationship or currently are with someone who takes you on a roller ride twenty-four hours a day, you understand what it is like to be treated as if you do not matter, to wait on their every request (more like demands) only to end up right where they want you, under their control. And for some reason, because you love this person, cannot leave financially or have little left of your self worth, you put up with the verbal, emotional and physical assaults.
So you stay right where you most want to escape from…long beyond the time you should have said, you meant to say…NO MORE!
Listen To This Lesson
I’m not going to ask you why, to make you feel that it is somehow your fault that you were abused, that you should have and could have and because you didn’t you’re now somewhat to blame. I don’t judge anyone. That would be like throwing stones in my already broken window filled glass house. Your reasons for staying are part of the abuse process, the systematic tearing down of your sense of reality and belief in yourself.
You also may have become used to being treated like dirt and have maybe even taught yourself to “overlook” getting choked, smashed against doors, shoved into household furniture, used to having lamps thrown at you. Perhaps you’re now numb to the belittling, the mockery, the intimately projected verbal abuse and are now left with an invisible feeling of abandonment as your one and only reliable and constant invisible companion.
Many of us being or who have been abused continue to hope for change. We keep wishing for that “Jeannie” to pop out of a bottle and grant us those magical 3 wishes our lives have been so desperate for, for so long.
But let me be straight with you when I say, that is never going to happen. It is a fantasy, a myth, a make believe dream. Your relationship is not a fairy tale, some kind of little girl wished upon, happily ever after story. Not only is it really your reality, it is also dangerous, toxic and lethal.
You literally cannot LIVE for the few and fleeting good times in your relationship. The sparse and far between loving tender moments given to by this controlling, manipulative and dangerous person with whom you say you “LOVE”. It’s impossible to erase the constant pain and hurt that have been written all over your soul in permanent red ink.
"A man who beats you doesn't love you" - Susan Murphy Milano
In simple, plain and easy to understand words, a man who beats anyone doesn’t love you. It is impossible. They are incapable of loving anything on this planet and quite likely your very love for them causes your abuser to rather most intensely despise you.
Of course, behind your “safe home” no one sees your personal punching bag role as the target of their physical, emotional and/or verbal abuse. How you desperately cling to your hope while painfully hiding your body and hearts deep wounds and too many to count bruises. Your own induced humiliation as you beg your abuser to please treat you with even a minute amount of kindness and respect.
You play and feed into their own personal failures as a human being. Men don’t behave like this but, cowards do.
You force your mind to avoid the scene of the crime and your memory to naively consist of that time and space when this person was wonderful and loving towards you. So now, after years of abuse, you walk around like a numb zombie desperately hoping and waiting for the few measly crumbs of hope that go away as quickly as they come.
But today, it’s time to say ENOUGH. Today, Time’s Up.
It is time to remove the dangerous toxic nutcase from your life.
It is time for you and your children to leave the danger that is in your lives.
It is time for you to realize that there may not be a next time.
It is time to wake up, to look at reality and understand that the reason why you don’t feel safe, is because you’re not.