Monday, October 8, 2012
Domestic Violence Awareness Month Day 8-
Remember if you or know someone in need of help and resources, call 1-800-799-7233, 1.800.787.3224 (TTY) or visit the website www.safe4all.org.
Letter to My Abuser
I am writing this as I am on break between classes. You know similar to the ones you prevented me from taking when I shared with you my goals of obtaining a college degree. We argued incessantly over it. If I remember correctly, it was because I was not interested in pursuing business degree or something like that. I was much more interested in a liberal arts or English-type of degree. If you recall it was because I struggled with math beyond division. We eventually came to a compromise, I would work during the day and go to school at night, but only at the institution, you chose for me. I grudgingly gave in.
My first semester was awesome. I excelled and thrived despite being tired after a long day at work and putting up with your unwanted sexual advances at home. I even made the Dean’s List. I remember how proud you were of me beaming ear to ear at the ceremony. You even brought our son along who was probably not old enough to remember any of that day, but saw something great happen for his mother for once. Then you took it away from me.
By the time, I was ready to start the second semester you became much more demanding. Crying how I made no time for you anymore. “You’re not being a wife or mother,” you exclaimed. Well how could I be? I mean I was holding down a full time job in the city, going to school, and on my off days dragged off to run errands with you, as you would not go alone. Nor would you allow me to have alone time with my son at the playground or some activity outside the house. Nor could we make noise when you were sleeping during the day.
The only time I was outdoors was to and from work or school. Or especially when I accompanied you anywhere and spending my hard-earned money either on video games or on clothes for me that you had to approve of. I could have saved that money for a rainy day. Alternatively, in my case when I was trying to flee this abusive relationship so many times before.
I sensed there was some jealousy over me going to college. It seemed to have inspired you to go to back to school as well. Once you did, you made it clear I could not go anymore. “Someone will have to work,” you said. I lost once again. My dreams once again deferred. Just as they were when my mother told me she would not pay for the college of my choice and accepted to.
I did not return to school until after I finally left you for good. It was there I learned of a fabulous program that would not only interest me, but helped me legally. I enrolled in a paralegal program. I thrived again as I learned about courses such as family and criminal law. Both of which I had only previously known about after our numerous appearances in the courtrooms. I was close to graduating, but could not pass the required math and accounting classes. I put college on hold again, but not because of you. I learned what I needed to should you have decided to re-enter our lives again.
Eventually you were smart enough to stay away and follow the court orders that required you to pay child support. I learned from class that there was a support enforcement unit in our city. There was no excuse for you not to pay, as that is what responsible non-custodial parents do. That threat you made about killing yourself years before if you had to pay, well by then I knew otherwise that you would not do it.
Despite receiving a late in life diagnosis of dyscalculia (a math learning disability) (http://www.ncld.org/types-learning-disabilities/dyscalculia/what-is-dyscalculia) I have since passed the required classes to graduate with my Associate’s but did not stop there. I am now pursuing my bachelor’s degree in a program that has empowered me in ways I do not think you would ever understand, but know would intimidate you. Not that is my intention, but when I learn about how patriarchy has dominated the world and its citizens for so long I think of you. Maybe you could not help feeling powerless and by exerting you control over me, it made you feel powerful. After all, history granted you and others permission to do just that until I (along with others) had the courage to speak up and out against our unjust situations.