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Woman journeys to a new life after being Twice Broken

What I never said: I am a domestic violence survivor.

It’s true. I am a business writer, and I am also a domestic violence survivor.

I write about things like printed electronics, fiduciary risk, robotics and additive manufacturing. I also write about domestic violence, abandonment, divorce, grief and emotional healing.

My business articles are published in regional and trade publications; sometimes they appear on client websites or marketing collateral.

My personal story is published in a book called Twice Broken: My Journey to Wholeness. Sometimes my blog content is posted on www.TwiceBroken.org, or on my new TwiceBroken.org LinkedIn and FaceBook pages.

My business articles address topics that are sometimes unfamiliar to my audiences such as: the pros and cons of the cracker plant, how realtime data helps companies become more productive, and how 3D printing is advancing medical research.

My personal story addresses topics that are sometimes uncomfortable for my audiences such as: what happens behind closed doors, how severe domestic violence is, and why victims don’t just leave.

I am very interested in sharing insights about the evolving world of business, and in particular the manufacturing, financial and healthcare sectors. I love writing about topics that impact the regional economy, the workforce and the future of business.

I am very passionate about sharing the reality, the prevalence and the severity of domestic violence. My heart is heavy when I write about topics that tear families apart, leave emotional scars, and create a lifetime of hurdles.

Time hasn’t changed the truth, but it has created an opportunity for my past, my present and my passion to become aligned. Now I can finally say in one sentence to one audience what I previously could whisper only to a handful of people:

I am a business writer. I am also a domestic violence survivor.

I asked the mother of my abuser, "What were you thinking?"

An Open Letter to the Mother of My Abuser

Dear Mother of My Abuser,

I just have to ask: “What were you thinking?”

I know that a mother cannot be held accountable for the actions of her children.  We teach them the best we can, but ultimately they are responsible for their own actions and decisions. But you were a surrogate mother to me. I trusted you.

It all makes sense now though. It never was about me; that’s why it didn’t concern you when I finally divulged my ugly little secret.  I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised by your reaction when you learned that your son was abusing me.

I will never forget the conversation, that day when I sensed a small, open window of reprieve. I was confident that you would back me if you knew that someone was hurting me. I forgot one important detail, though. That someone was your son.

I had waited two long years to speak the ugly truth. I had carried my burden alone, waiting for someone who could interrupt the abuse without inciting the anger of my abuser. That day had finally arrived!

“He hits me.”

I expected you to validate me. I thought you would say words that would give me a glimpse of hope. Words like: “I’m so sorry. This must be very hard for you. Let me talk to him. How often does this happen? Tell me about it. When does he hit you? Has he ever hurt you? How can I help? Maybe you two should see a counselor. I am here for you.”

But you said none of that. You summed up your worldview in one brief statement. “You must do something to make him hit you.”

We never talked about it again. I went back to carrying my shame alone. You went back to making your son happy.

It was a sad day when I realized that your happiness never was about me. It was always tied directly to the happiness of your son. When he was happy, you were happy. When he was unhappy, you did everything in your power to make him happy: money, a new car, even an obedient punching bag of a wife.

So I’ll ask you one more time. What were you thinking?

Strangulation and Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence, Strangulation and Brain Damage

FACT:  Abusers who strangle their victims are 800% more likely to later murder them.

For so many years, I downplayed the domestic violence I lived with. I didn’t want to be dramatic, to overstate my case, to have people think I was being a baby. I mentioned it on occasion, but I never wanted to spend much time explaining the broken ribs, busted lips and strangulation.  Now, more than 30 years later, I have begun to educate myself, and I don’t like what I’m learning.

Strangling, not choking. I never thought about the nuances of my word choice, but it certainly does sound more violent to say that he strangled me. I don’t like using the word though. It sounds so harsh. Maybe that’s why I always soften it. I mean, did he really strangle me?

Let’s see, all I remember is that he sat on top of my chest, used his knees to pin my arms to my sides and wrapped his hands around my neck. Then he applied pressure to my airway until I could no longer breath. For a while. But wait, I didn’t end up unconscious or dead, so should I call it strangling?

Do we have to wait to die to call it what it is? I recently read an article about the importance of educating police, EMTs and others about the distinctions between choking and strangulation.

Kids choke on hot dogs or hard candy. Adults choke on big pieces of steak or a drink that “goes down the wrong way.” It happens accidentally, and no one is at fault.

Strangulation is what one person does to another. They do it on purpose with the intention of creating fear and causing harm. Sometimes the victim struggles for breath until they are freed. Sometimes they lose consciousness, and sometimes they die.

He strangled me. Now I can say it. Now I wonder why I didn’t call the police and scream, “You need to get over here because my husband just strangled me.” I wonder why I never pressed charges so I would have the opportunity to stand before a judge and say, “Yes, your honor, he strangled me.” I wonder why I didn’t tell my friends, “Get me out of here. This creep just strangled me!”

Now that I accept that he strangled me, I also have to accept a disturbing possibility. Cutting off someone’s oxygen by blocking their airway can result in brain damage in a very short amount of time.

Brain damage. Now that’s harsh. But now I can’t go back and call the police or press charges or stand before a judge or ask my friends to help me. Now all I can do is wait and see what strangling did to me.

Advocate for yourself!  I wish I had.

#domesticviolence #domesticabuse #strangulation #gladtobealive

Free to be me! I’ve shaken the shame of domestic violence!

I’m not afraid to say it anymore. I am finally free to be me, to be out from under the burden of shame that I carried as a result of domestic violence. For more than 30 years, I worried about protecting anyone and everyone who might be uncomfortable if I spoke about the domestic violence that was a daily part of my first marriage. I worried that some wouldn’t believe me, and that others would accuse me. I worried that I would offend the family and friends of the abuser.

The only thing I never worried about was the cost of remaining silent. I never worried about the emotional wounds inside me that remained untended. I never worried about the buried fears that would eventually erupt. I never worried about me.

Now I’m taking care of me. I’ve finally shaken off the burden of shame, and my freedom is a gift. I want to use my voice to educate people who don’t fully understand the reality and severity of domestic violence. And, as much as I’m able, I am going to use my life as an example to show other victims of domestic violence that they do not need to remain silent.

I am not afraid anymore, and it feels good.