If you are an 80’s music buff, the title draws you in. A little song by Flock of Sea Gulls. Listening to it, I reflect on my childhood and early adulthood that was tainted by verbal abuse, and realize that the chorus of this song reflects my reaction to those attacks:
And I ran
I ran so far away
I just ran
I ran all night and day
I couldn’t get away
You see, as a child, any day may have been riddled with hurtful words over something simple, like my decision not to eat my peas. This turned into a barrage of escalating events. I would be told I had poo for brains. I was strong willed and if I dared to voice my opinion, I was seen as being sassy and disrespectful so I would find the first opportunity and run as fast as I could to the nearest peaceful bliss I knew.
My little legs ran and ran, through the out buildings of the farm, past the stench of the pig pen and finally across lush green grass to the pond. Void of the insult of those words, my reality became just the sound of birds, a cow calling for her calf, and if I was lucky, a fish jumping in the pond. There, I would sit and dream of a world void of hurt and constant yelling. I would dream of how it would be to pack my bags, and be an adult. No more hurtful words, just peace – like I had by the pond.
And that is what I did. I packed my bags and drove off to college. At last, like living my dream by the pond, I felt a sense of satisfaction. As so often happens in the strange paradox of abuse, I equally loathed the environment I came from and its people, but I longed for the attention, negative as it was. I longed for love, and after all, isn’t this what girls dream of?
To my surprise, I found my prince! Charmed, I was under his spell. Never mind that he came out strong with messages of isolation, always counteracted by loads of flowers. Not once did I question. Well, there were those hurtful words… that I was loud like a cow on the farm. But I had lived through a lot more than something as silly as this! I longed to keep this Prince Charming forever, and gave in to all demands. And I got pregnant. I found myself in the real throes of being an adult. The hurtful words were more frequent. I now had 2 children. I also shared Prince Charming with his mistress. Picture Halloween with my two lovely children and in front of the treat line, my Prince, his mistress and child. I had no choice, I couldn’t get away!
Such a life time ago, and I did find the courage to run. To a better life. But I can assure you now, I will not run. I will stand up for others and I will share. Abuse in any form: physical, verbal and sexual, yes – sexual, should never be acceptable! October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Do your part, help others recognize the signs, stand up and be strong and let others know that our community does not accept domestic abuse in any form.