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The Burning Bed

Throughout time, history has shown us how being born a woman is a curse. From not being permitted to work, vote, fight in wars, get an education or hold any value with our counterparts, life has been anything but favorable to females. But that was the old days, or is it? Regardless of the complete mindfucking that women have endured, life has been filled with trailblazers along the way. Those women are responsible for making history with their fire, determination, and strength to persevere and demand change. Today, society states that it's a woman's world like never before. Although I am so proud (and grateful) for how far we've come, some things still remain the same. Not just the same, but worse.

As of late, my mind has been swirling around the subject of violence against women (namely relationship and domestic abuse), due to some tragic events that have happened. Some directly effecting me, and other events that have taken center stage on social media and news platforms. Sadly, I know that whether these types of circumstances make the news or not, it is very much part of our world regardless. Like anything else, there are those who have the courage to come forward publically and the majority of those who suffer in silence.

In the last 2-years, COVID-19 has played a major role in raising the numbers of abused women reported worldwide. Although lockdowns were deemed an extreme necessity by governments everywhere, it also meant that women in abusive situations have been in danger like never before. Trapped at home with their predators, and ripped apart from loving support systems, there has been no escape for many. A global pandemic, responsible for wreaking havoc on our health, stress levels, and financial concerns, has also now played a role in the isolation of battered women. Although the world is slowly awakening again, it will be some time until the support groups and resources that women in this situation depend on, can reopen or help them. Every program and shelter is currently at capacity level, making it feel even more hopeless for women who want to come forward; because there would be no immediate form of help available to them. Sure there's always 911 and reporting the abuse to police - but how many times does that help? The countless restraining orders that have been filed by women who wind up dead anyway. A useless piece of paper that will almost never keep an abuser away. Perhaps a negative way of thinking but a true one - I promise you!

I fear for the safety of women everywhere. At any point in time, any one of us can be a victim of abuse. Mostly, I fear for the young girls growing up today, in a world where they are continually objectified in body, mind, and spirit. This world (now more than ever) shows them that a thin body is way more important than self-worth. That in order to be loved by a man they must succumb to their requests - and in turn violate their self-respect and intelligence. That self-love is just a stupid thing that people say we must attain when the only thing that truly heightens a woman's worth is the love of some man. All things that make sense are being distorted in the minds of little girls everywhere.

Anyone raising a woman today should speak to them about relationship abuse. It could most definitely be the deciding factor to a future life or death situation. Demonstrate to them just how important self-respect, self-worth, and self-love are - above and beyond anything else. That no one has the right to take or test ANY of those things within them at any time. Learn to keep the lines of communication between you open at all times - even if the conversation is uncomfortable for you as a parent or guardian. Something that very much was lacking with older generations. No one is saying that your children will always tell you everything, but knowing that they can honestly come to you with anything, anytime, is paramount!

Speak to your women about abuse intentionally. They need to know that abuse of any kind should NEVER be tolerated - on any level. A smack across the face is not magically erased with flowers. The famous " I'm so sorry, it will never happen again" should not be taken as truth, because the reality is that it most certainly, and always will happen again. Women need to know ( and really understand ) that being in a relationship or marriage never means ownership of their minds or bodies. Just because your heart is committed to them, doesn't mean they can rape you, hit you, or belittle you. You are the only owner of your being. Teach your women that having children with their men should never grow a level of guilt within them to stay in an abusive situation because they owe it to their offspring to make it work. They will be a much more effective and present parent alive than dead. Speak to your women at a young age to understand the difference between mind and heart. That although both are powerful entities, they always work more sensibly when aligned.

Finally, teach your women that if something feels bad or off in their gut, chances are it's a warning sign and that they should walk away from the situation. Red flags aren't meant to be collected, they're meant to be burned immediately!

All of these situations are very easily detected when you sit outside the circle, looking in. It is very much a different story when you're in it. This is why we need as much armor against abuse as possible. If you have the facts before going in, the battle can be won.

This is not to say that women should be afraid to enter into relationships or trust men for that matter - they should just be mindful and awake about their surroundings. Things may not always be what they appear to be. And sometimes, you find this out when it's too late.

My own story of abuse happened after 7-years. We were the best of friends before he became a boyfriend and later, husband. We grew up in the same neighborhood, had the same friends, went to the same high school. There was never any indication that this would turn into the most horrific nightmare of my life - but it did. Luckily for me, the abuse wasn't enough to warrant a restraining order or a call to the police once a week, but it was nevertheless abuse. My abuse was predominately psychological and emotional, which later began getting physical. Somehow, after enduring this torture daily for 10 years, I mustered up the courage to leave him. But even after I left him, the abuse continued for 2 more years. I think it was because I never told anyone about it. He preyed on that - no one knowing. You see, that's the way of the abuser. They keep you isolated from everyone who loves you and wants the best for you. They keep you in this mental bubble - just you and him. Each day driving home that idea that you are nothing, you are worthless, and that they are the only ones you have in this life. This is the power they have over you. In time, ( as unimaginable as it is to believe) you give in and think it too. I think that he honestly believed that I would go back to him because staying with him was much less humiliating for me, much less terrifying than telling everyone the real truth. Guess he was wrong. There were also moments within those last 2 years, where I honestly thought that he was going to kill me. He kept making references to it and was becoming more emotionally unstable as time passed. It was then that I had no choice but to tell my family what was happening - the whole truth. Luckily for me, my story ends well, but there are so many others who sadly had a different fate.

It took a long time to tell this story to my loved ones, and to you - but I eventually did. It was (and is) a painful, long road to the recovery of being an abused woman. It's something that stays with you and changes you forever. It's something that is not easily forgotten. But, by the grace of God and the belief that I deserved a better life, I managed to leave him one faithful spring day - and it was the best decision that I have ever made. I never had a second thought about it. Most importantly, the power he once had over me slowly diminishes with each passing year. See, notice that I didn't say it just went "poof" into thin air immediately? That's because it takes time, a lot of time to heal from. I am still healing in some ways, but I know now that no man will ever hold that power over me like that ever again.

If you are reading this and find yourself in a form of domestic abuse, please talk to someone you trust and get help. You don't have the power to change them, nor will they ever change for you, so please get out before it's too late. Give yourself the chance to heal and maybe, just maybe it will give him the courage to seek healing also. I know it's hard, I know - but you're worth it. You have people who truly love you, so let them in. Remaining silent is never the answer. Always remember that no one has the right to take ownership of you.

Keep strong and have faith - You can do this!

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