My name is Amy, and I am not what one would consider to be a typical survivor of domestic violence. However, if you watched the Leslie Morgan Steiner video I posted, you would know that there is no such thing. Everyone can be impacted by this insidious, cruel, and merciless terror regardless of your education, finances, ethnic and religious background, gender, age, and sexual orientation. There are many types of abuse that occur in intimate relationships: physical, sexual, emotional and verbal, financial, and spiritual are but a few. And it all begins with a tearing down so the abuser can rebuild us in a manner that he or she can act without hindrance in their agenda to control and possess. It all begins with something most people do not deem to be abuse, because it does not leave physical evidence behind in its wake. However, to be verbally and emotionally abused is the cruelest act of all, because it causes within us an emotional death that slow, torturous, desperate, and lonely. The scars and damage it causes can take a lifetime to reverse.
First and foremost, I have an intense and unbound love for Jehovah God. Without Him, surviving and enduring the four years and three months of abuse I suffered would not have been possible. If anyone ever has any doubts about just how completely and perfectly He can fulfill the role of Refuge, Rock, and Protector, I invite you to ask me to share my story about this. I beseeched, begged, implored, and entreated Him to protect me, help me endure, to survive, and to give me the courage to rebuild my life, and He has blessed me with one thousand-fold (easily) above and beyond what I asked.
Second, knowledge and the arts are the lifeblood flowing in my veins. I am a self-professed geek who prefers documentaries, biographies, and history over drama and action. I inhale the written word with reckless abandon and adore the outlet of creativity that writing affords me. My time would be better spent in galleries, museums, and bookstores than anywhere. I speak three languages (English, Japanese, and Spanish) and have plans to learn more. A few on a very long list that I would love to add to my arsenal are Korean, Chinese, Hindi, Arabic, Thai, Tagalog, and Burmese. There is nothing more beautiful than the sound of another language flowing into my ears and rolling off my tongue, and there is nothing more artful that scores of script in other languages pouring out from my very eager fingertips. A dream that I have always had was to move to a new country and spend a year there getting to intimately know the language, the people, and the culture before moving on to a new place. I do adore people so!
It’s true that music soothes the savage beast. When nothing else calms me, it can restore my peace and heal me. I wish I had the wonderful ability to compose, but, alas, I do not. Therefor, with great respect for those blessed with this gift, I can rock the flute and piccolo like nobody’s business.. And I sincerely regret not continuing with piano. I have what many would consider to be a very eclectic (I prefer to say diverse) taste in music. My playlist spans almost all genres and switches from English to Spanish to French to Japanese to Hindi to Chinese to Korean to Arabic to Polish to Italian and everything in between. My one basic rule: fodder need not apply.
My one super secret guilty pleasure? I have a special place in my heart for, of all things, office supply stores. You read that correctly! I assume you expected something more provocative (according to worldly standards)? What could be more provocative than aisles and aisles of binders and folders and planners and…. pens?
Fine, twisting my arm is so NOT necessary…. I may have more than one super secret guilty pleasure that is no longer going to be so incognito. Since leaving over a year ago, I have been bitten by the shutterbug. Photobug. The love of snapping bits and pieces of my world as the dance in front of the photographic lens. I am quite sure that the photos will start popping up in my blogs on a fairly regular basis. To commemorate the occasion, a few months ago I sprung for a terabyte and a half for external storage.. specifically for music and photo storage, because I so obviously need it, or I will die. 😉 To the right is a random picture I took today (1/18/14) and filtered it with a sepia tone. (I don’t care what you say, because this is ONE AWESOME TREE!) I adore sepia prints, because they remind me of the endless boxes of super old family photos I used to rummage through at my grandmother’s house. Until she caught me and banned me. I love photos, and if you must know, I will ALWAYS ask for more pictures. I devour them as greedily as chocolate.
Initially, my goal in coming here was, as it is with all of us, to break our silence about the abuse we have endured. In the past months, I have moved away from speaking in so much detail about what I survived so I can shift my focus to others. My primary goal now is to help others who are in the same situation as I was and to raise awareness among others as to what can go on behind closed doors. Those being abused could be among your circle right now. Your friend. Your cousin. Your sister. Your mother. And I guarantee you that the truth is being concealed from you as best as they know how. I feel I am far more fortunate than others, however, because I know many have to go through this alone. I was blessed that when I reached my hand out for help, expecting only one or two in return, it seems like a thousand and one reached down and pulled me up. Everyone should have that.
I am inviting you in, most as perfect strangers, to learn about the world that suffocated me as an abuse victim turned survivor so you can develop awareness about this crime and help someone in need.
I am especially inviting you in, abuse victims and survivors, so you can know you are not alone and that there are places you can turn to for help. You do not have to continue suffering in silence. I caution you, however, on how public you are about what you are going through or have just gone through. When you leave, you will be at risk for retribution. This includes continued attacks, kidnapping risks of children if you have to allow your abuser visitation, stalking, threats against your family, and in some cases, hospitalization or death. People at large have the mistaken view that once you leave, the danger is over. This is far from true. However, think carefully about this. You cannot be in anymore danger than you are in that house alone with him / her! There he / she has access to you every second of every day. On the outside you have a fighting chance.
Over the coming months, I will be doing more detailed research into resources such as protective orders, domestic violence advocates, criminal advocates, domestic violence services and shelters, videos, articles, and encouraging profiles of survivors who were able to overcome their struggles in a brilliant way and use their experiences as way to inspire, motivate, assist, and empower you to do the same. Some of this research includes a goal of incorporating a non-profit for domestic violence services.
It is imperative that you remember that you are not alone, that it is not your fault, and that there is not anything you could have done to prevent what happened to you. Hindsight is 20 / 20 and it is easy for those with no firsthand knowledge and experience to speak. Do not let them talk over you and try to make you feel as though something was wrong with you. If you have not done so already, please reach out to our close-knit family of survivors here and build up a circle of support. This will be necessary for you to re-stabilize and re-build your life. Not only can we provide the emotional support (free of criticism and judgment) that you so desperately will need, we can also help advise you as you navigate your way through the aftermath.
The silence and shame surrounding domestic violence must be obliterated. Rise up and speak. The road gets smoother.
My name is Amy Thomson, and I no longer his victim.