People in your circle have developed a sickening ability to keep your secrets close to the chest. These aren’t “secrets” of mistakes you made when you were young. Not mistakes you made for which you paid the consequences and then turned your life around. Secrets that could kill. Tales of women fleeing the state to get somewhere safe, far away from you and the terror you filled them with. Tales of woman picking up and moving when you were out of town. Stories about women you hospitalized. Suspicions in your own family that you hit your own mother, the woman who gave birth to you, raised you, and tried her best before she passed to get you to turn your life around. And still, through it all, they kept a lid on it all, and you were allowed to continue to perpetuate this destruction unhindered by proxy. That hateful silence.
You must have built up quite the illusion of confidence that I would follow suit and keep your worst secrets for you, too, out of fear of reprisal. Surely, you reasoned that I would be too humiliated to let any of it loose, especially some things that as a woman would be especially hateful to give a voice to. No reason to air out the dirty laundry for all to see if I can just shove it far enough out of view. No reason to open up the humiliation you subjected me to for fear of judgment and ridicule.
Well, I am where it ends. And now it’s time to air the rest out. As it would happen to be, spring has come about in Central New York bringing with it splendidly warm rays of sunlight and a breeze strong enough to air out the densest weight of winter. The perfect opportunity to release the remaining funk, rank and pervasive, into the wind and be free of it all at last. There is nowhere left for you to hide. The truth will always find you and accuse you of all the cruel acts you callously excuse.
The only point in this is to give comfort to someone I have spoken to who has felt the same humiliation and burns in isolation under the weight of being alone. You are not, beautiful and amazingly strong woman, alone at all. I, too, have had my face pushed into the bathroom trash, been forced to dig through it with my bare hands and open everything to show him proof that no one was there. He threw it in my face, pushed it in my face, and then made me clean it up. I know about the make-shift feminine products (and if anyone inquires, only questions asked by women will be answered in private). I don’t need to sacrifice my modesty to air out the secrets.
I, too, have been forcibly shut up in a room for hours and hours, blending into the next day and not allowed out for any reason at all. Sometimes with the cat. Neither of us were allowed out to use the bathroom. Every time I opened the door, he met me there and forced me back in. His idea of a solution was to offer me a jug and a cup. I remember the first time he stood there blocking me until I had no choice. And when I was done, I was punished for my disobedience.
The cat went stir crazy and became visibly agitated to the point of distress trying his best not to have an accident on the carpet. When I opened the door to let him out, he was chased back up the stairs and the door was slammed shut in my face. The cat paced back and forth howling, turning in circles with must have been unbearable discomfort and pain. So I took his favorite jeans, dropped them on the floor behind the door, and had the cat go.
Strong, courageous, perseverant, beautiful woman, you are not alone. These and other acts he forced upon you are not your fault, and you don’t have to bear the shame alone. It is not a reflection on you as a woman, this abuse he carried out. These hateful things he did. Thank you for sharing with me as much as you did. I hope that it brought some peace to your heart to know, to just be able to hear that it didn’t only happen to you. Abusers count on your embarrassment to keep these things hidden, to not even reveal them to one person in confidence. I will not share the things you trusted me with, but I wanted you to be able to come here today and SEE that you are not alone. We all live with these things on one level or another. And we will for years to come. But I don’t want you to be burdened by the weight alone.
Don’t be ashamed of what he did. It isn’t a reflection on you. It’s the evil in his heart.