There is a Life After Domestic Violence

 

Carly Carver, Editor

The Ashland Beacon

 

   Recently, I conducted an interview with Ann Perkins, the Director of Safe Harbor of Northeast Kentucky. And she said a quote that I have been reflecting on ever since.

   “There is a life after domestic violence.”

   I am able to separate myself from my interviews relatively well. My journalism career began as a crime reporter, so separation is a pretty key element there. Even in the worst of interviews, I can maintain separation pretty easily.

   But that line… I have reflected on it ever since she said it.

   “There is a life after domestic violence.”

   I remember the first time I witnessed domestic violence. The story is not mine to tell, but I remember it vividly. I was a child, and though I was young and ignorant to adult complexities, I was still aware that what I was witnessing was “wrong.” My childhood was filled with violence, in some form or another, and my coping mechanism was to feel nothing at all. This developed into what psychiatrists identify as a personality disorder.

   But I remember the beginning of violence.

   I remember when it became my story. A boyfriend who pushed, or spit, or yelled. He threw things all the time when he was angry. He punched walls. But he never hit my face, so it wasn’t domestic violence, right? Wrong. I later came to realize a lot of women felt this way. There is more than one form of domestic violence. It does not always look the way the movies make it look. It is not always black eyes and police. Sometimes it is subtle. Sometimes it is gaslighting. Sometimes it is broken plates. Sometimes it is holes in the wall. Sometimes it is words.

   There is a lot of shame in abuse. There is a lot of love in abuse. There is a lot of hate in abuse. There are so many emotions in it.

   But something I never thought about until that interview was life.

   There is a life after domestic violence.

   I have a wonderful life.

   I have survived countless horrific ordeals in my life. But I have a blessed and peaceful life now. I have a boyfriend who loves me. Not loves me with twisted words and broken glass but loves me with open arms and laughter. He is reliable. He is consistent. He is trustworthy. He is safe.

   There is no stepping on eggshells. There is no fuse that might go off at any moment. There is no force. There is no fear.

   There is just safety, security, and peace.

   There is a life after domestic violence.

   That life awaits you, too.

   To contact Safe Harbor of Northeast Kentucky’s 24-hour Crisis Hotline please call 800.926.2150.

   To donate to Safe Harbor of Northeast Kentucky, please call 606.329.9304.

   To volunteer at Safe Harbor of Northeast Kentucky please visit https://www.safeharborky.org/volunteer for additional information. The help you can provide can include clothing closet organization, distribution of educational materials, special events projects, holiday preparation, family activities, planting flowers, and clerical assistance.


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