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It was one of those days. A common argument that escalated too quickly. I stood there in my home, facing an aggressor who was a loved one. He pushed me in a corner, and left me no space to flee for safety. My heart raced. I cowered in fear as my every effort to retaliate pushed him into a greater frenzy. I felt his knuckles on my right temple, and felt an immediate rush of blood to the area. I felt woozy. When I opened my eyes, he was coming at me with a knife. So this is how it all endsI thought. I’m going to be found dead in a pool of blood. Everything around me was happening in slow-motion by then. A thousand thoughts raced through my mind while he struck one blow after another. He spat on me. He kicked me. He called me names. Suddenly it all stopped. That night, he felt it was alright to force himself on me, and I let him because I feared for my life.
This incident happened two and a half years ago. I was battered and bruised for most of that year, and I kept it a secret from friends and family. Why, you may ask? Well, I portray myself as a headstrong and self-assured woman. I mean, after all, I am a strong and independent woman, right? Wrong. I feared being judged by the very people who could have helped me out. My ego stopped me from seeking that help. I thought I could solve it. Like all people stuck in an abusive relationship, I thought things will change. Isn’t that what they say after they’ve calmed down? I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to hit you. You made me angry, I didn’t know what else to do. I won’t do it again. I’ve heard all of that, time and again. But I had reached a breaking point. I had to tell someone about it. And I did. I got out, but it did not end there.
I sat down for hours after that reflecting on the months leading up to that day. He would hit me periodically, mostly because he was stressed with other issues. I was his punching bag. I wondered about the reasons behind him hitting me for the slightest things, and why I allowed it to happen. Why didn’t I just walk out? Where was my self-respect? I questioned myself over and again. I replayed the events over and again. I was ashamed of myself, and at the same time, I did not want the pity or sympathy that seemed to come my way after people caught whiff of what had happened. Some of them said I was in self-pity mode and I needed to snap out of it. Others said I was in need of professional help. Most of them said I should have walked out. But in a society where we’ve seen our mothers and grandmothers stick it through everything and anything, is it really that simple and easy walk out of a relationship? I couldn’t tell at that point in time. The bashings and bruises did not seem like reason enough to me. Many said to me that I egged him on because I accepted and tolerated his violence towards me. Aren’t we all guilty of that at one point or another? We accept things that we thought we never could or would. Because life is not in black and white. The grey areas are complicated.
I had to write this piece. For myself and for everyone else who is or was in my shoes. I feel you, and I want you to know that you’re not alone. If you know of someone in an abusive relationship, don’t be harsh to them, because it is never their fault; they may be fighting a battle that you’d never hear or know about. The best thing you can do is offer them your support. And if you witness an act of violence, report it! You would be doing your friend a huge favour. If not at that moment in time, then in the near future. I’m forever grateful to a friend who never judged me, and family that always offered their support. But not everyone is as lucky. I was able to heal today with this piece of writing. Thank you
A dreamer living reality.
கனவு மெய்பட வேண்டும், கைவசமாவது விரைவில் வேண்டும்.