Thank you Allstate Foundation and Latina Bloggers Connect for sponsoring this post and getting the word out on domestic violence.
I showed up at her trailer house at the crack of dawn as I had told her I would when we discussed the escape plan.
Pack your bags while he’s at work.
As soon as he leaves for work in the morning, I will come find you and the kids.
I was young and I definitely wasn’t an expert on domestic violence escape plans but we did what we could.
At the time she had 3 adorable little ones who lived with the echoes of their mom screaming in the other room as their father beat her once again. Sometimes it was because he drank too much or because he had a bad day at work. And sometimes it was just because he felt like it.
I waited for her. Ten minutes went by and she still didn’t come out. 20 minutes went by and finally I mustered up the courage to knock on the door.
I was trembling. I was scared.
No one came out. Thirty minutes went by and her sweet 7 year old daughter poked her head out the door and said, “We’re not going. My mom is afraid.” I hugged this little girl who stole my heart the minute she walked into my reading enrichment program for kids who were struggling with their English. She had big brown eyes and a smile that reminded me why I wanted to keep this program alive. She was a bright young lady who loved learning. She was full of joy and love. But she carried the weight of the world on her shoulders and no one ever would have guessed because the pain she lived, she lived I silence.
Walking away from her trailer that morning was the most heart wrenching, painful and enraging thing I’d ever done. I wanted to throw the door open and say, “Look at your children. Please do it for them! They are afraid out of their wits. They hide under the bed and pray. Sobbing in silence, afraid to make too much noise. But they pray, for your life and theirs. They pray for their safety as they hear your screams bounce off your thin trailer walls. Those echoes haunt them at night and leave them drenched in sweat. They are afraid. Please leave. Wake up. Wake up, he’s not going to change. You deserve better than this. Don’t be afraid. Be strong for your kids. You can do this. You’re smart and young. You can do this.” But instead, I looked at her sweet girl with pain in my heart I gave her a hug as I said my last goodbye. You see, we were moving to another state. My husband had agreed to help her so we came up with a plan that didn’t put our family or hers in danger. We’d offered to take her and the kids with us. I found a shelter in Texas that would help her. We would help her get situated. But instead she walked away from her freedom.
I was afraid for her and her sweet children.
She was afraid of being alone. She was afraid of not having a home. She was afraid of not being able to provide for her kids. All of her concerns were valid, but I couldn’t help being mad at her. I got in my car and bawled like a baby, asking myself over and over again, “God really. Why won’t she leave him? Why? Why??
To this day I don’t understand why, but I truly believe that even though she wanted a way out, she couldn’t see past her fear, low self-esteem and lack of skills to provide for her family. Did you know that lacking financial knowledge and resources is the number one indicator of whether a domestic violence victim will stay, leave or return to an abusive relationship.
Unfortunately, this is not an isolated case; this is what many young children live through every day of their lives. Unfortunately, domestic violence affects people of all ages, race and socio-economic status. As a counselor, I can tell you I’ve heard of women married to pastors who were being abused. Women married to good and well established business men who were being abused. That sweet couple down the street with the perfect kids. “In your community-likely on the quiet streets of your neighborhood-there are women living behind closed doors in fear for their safety, scared for their children and searching for a way out.”
Let’s make a difference!
Did you know The Allstate Foundation will donate $5 each time the virtual purse is passed and checked-in at PurplePurse.com? Visit today and enter this code below. Every time a code is entered Allstate makes a donation.
Taking action against domestic violence is simple – Purple Purse: Pass It On.
As part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, The Allstate Foundation is sending more than 1,000 purses carrying domestic violence information throughout the country. The purses will be passed between co-workers, friends, and family, sparking important conversations along the way.
This one is mine and I can’t wait to pass it on!