By Amy Zellmer, Editor-in-chief
This month we are covering an important topic: domestic violence . . . also commonly referred to as Intimate Partner Violence. This issue may feel too “heavy” to some readers, but please understand that this is an incredibly important topic. Reading this issue may just help you save yours or someone else’s life.
Violence can come in many different forms, and isn’t always physical. It can be emotional and controlling. It often starts off subtly, trying to cut you off from your family and friends. Maybe they push you around a little bit, or they want to argue with you and put you down. Regardless of how it happens, it is never OK.
When I look back at my younger self, I can see the ridiculous relationships I allowed myself to be a part of. He was always funny and charming, and had a lot of friends. He was smart, and kind, and always knew the right thing to say. However, once he had a drink or two in him and everyone had left for the night, he turned into a completely different creature.
He would tell me I was nothing without him. I was worthless. I was ugly. I was fat (I was 120 pounds at the time), that I should be thankful for him, because no other guy would ever want me. If another guy talked to me, or even said “Excuse me” in the grocery store aisle, he would puff up his chest and tell me to quit flirting with other men. Then one night, he actually hit me.
I was surprised and caught off-guard, I punched him back, right in the face. The look on his face was sheer shock. He couldn’t believe I had fought back. But all the while he had been demeaning me, I knew deep down that I wasn’t the person he tried to make me think I was. I knew my self-worth and I knew that if he ever hit me, I would hit back.
I left that relationship a few weeks later, only to wander into another similar situation. Fortunately, I realized it a lot quicker this time and left him with a ring in the palm of his hand and a confused look on his face.
I’m many years older now, and I realize none of it was my fault. These men had their own issues, and each most likely went on to treat the next woman in their life the same way — though I am hopeful that perhaps they realized the error of their ways.
Most women in abusive relationships are not as lucky as I. They feel trapped and don’t have the emotional or physical energy to leave. They have likely received a brain injury at some point from the constant physical abuse and aren’t thinking clearly. They have no idea where to run or who to turn to. These men are very good at what they do — controlling their partner, and they have likely been cut off from those who can help them.
If you are in an abusive relationship, or have a friend that you want to try to help, please reach out to the National Domestic Abuse Hotline: 800-799-SAFE (7233)
Peace and glitter,