Why did she stay after he hit her?
Why would she marry him after he knocked her out?
Why is she defending him?
Don’t they see the steel bars and locks of the prison called domestic violence (DV)?
I guess it is difficult for anyone who hasn’t served a sentence to understand and even more difficult for the inmates to explain.
Prisoners don’t recognize one another through the fear, isolation and shame that distorts their vision and binds their tongues.
They run from one cell to the arms of another.
The door may look open but prisons have a series of locked doors to deter prison breaks. And domestic violence is no exception.
I’ve shared my story but wonder if I’ve helped victims.
Recently, I was included in a group gossip session about the wife of someone everyone knew. The group deemed her “stupid” and an “idiot” for marrying an explosive man and questioned her parenting skills.
I jumped in to remind everyone that I had been a DV victim and…
I wasn’t able to finish because they all shouted that “You were smart enough to get out”, “You’re not now” and “Come on, Karen, you’d never be that stupid.”
I laughed saying I was that “stupid” long before I was “smart enough to get out.” And the discussion ended with everyone annoyed at me for ruining another public stoning of a DV victim.
I walked away with a pile of stones recalling what a “stupid” and “terrible mother” I had been before I “was smart enough to get out.”
I’ve often said I’d never let someone treat me like that. I’d never be that “stupid.” But I was.
All the questions above describe the insanity of my incarceration. It wasn’t my first rodeo. I’d been thrown around as a child, had several explosive boyfriends, was raped and married the most abusive man I’d ever met. I don’t have a rational or sane answer.
While it may have seemed I was free to go, I wasn’t.
It takes DV victims an average of seven tries before they get free. Let’s check the doors to my freedom.
During Domestic Violence Awareness month, I’ll share the doors and missed opportunities of my domestic violence prison sentence. Each posted about the same time of day I may have had an opportunity to break the cycle and head for safety.
I challenge readers to think about whether they could escape in the middle of the night. Where would you go?
they fall under his strength.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-7233