I am a domestic violence survivor.
I’ve been cursed at, spit on, sexually assaulted by my mate, dragged down a flight of steps in public, and punched in the head. I have even been pulled out of my car and left bare foot on the side of the highway. Each time I went back.
I’ve never shared any of this publicly, but I am today. I am sharing it because I want to stand with Janay Rice. I want her to know that I understand. I understand how you get to a place where you accept pieces. I understand the self-doubt that leads you to believe this is all you are worth.
The truth is I know many women, who if they are completely honest with themselves, they also know these feelings and have also been victims of domestic abuse. They won’t admit it. Their silence is possibly because they don’t want anyone to know. It may also be because they don’t believe the verbal assaults or the mental manipulation count as domestic violence. It does.
Either way, I encourage you to stop pointing fingers. As a survivor I can tell you your taunts create a spirit of bitterness. It makes me want to isolate myself and move closer to my abuser. It gives the abuser ammunition to say, “see, they don’t love you.”
Instead of judging, please stand in the gap for Janay. If you can’t stand with her, silently pray for her – and others like her. Enter a no judgement zone.
That is what I am doing. I want to stand with her to let her know that not everyone is judging her. Instead of questioning why she stayed I will lift her in prayer. I will publicly acknowledge my own struggle to love myself. We should all do the same. We should work on building a safe space for women to be honest with themselves and with others about the reality of their relationships.
We should also consider our contributions to our situations. We have to understand that we hold the power. A man can only do what we allow. We will find ourselves in different situations when we stop allowing ourselves to be disrespected. Please understand I am not excusing the abusers’ behavior. I simply believe that we have to control our lives. I want us to truly understand we control what happens to us.
Let’s be honest about our situations. Let’s demand respect. Let’s learn to love ourselves. Let’s lead like queens.