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Why I Am No Longer Being A Part Of Domestic Abuse Workshops



I have decided, after much thought and reflection, to take a break from working with/for or in any way with domestic abuse victims. 


I've become discouraged by the 'victims' who lie, accuse and make up false stories of abuse.


They do it to get full custody, to stop visitations with dad's,  to get attention and to be the victim.


Reputations get ruined, lives are destroyed and famlies are ripped apart. Jobs are lost and integrity is questioned.


I realize there is just a small percentage that do this, but I can't ethically support something that I find myself questioning motives.


I've supported victims for years and never once questioned the authenticity of their story.


Not until five months ago. I caught someone lying about everything..all the accusations, lies..


I researched stories and talked to other people. I realized this is more common than we know. Women lie about abuse for so many reasons. Unfortunately, many men suffer. They are not innocent until proven guilty. They are guilty until they can prove their innocence.


The children are the victims. Just because a woman wants to get even, hurt the father or whatever. . the kids and dads suffer.


I'm not trying to take anything away from real victims of abuse, because it does happen..a lot..I've been in abusive relationships.


But, to all you women who lie about being abused..fuck you. You are being selfish and fucking assholes. Because of you, real abuse is not believed.


Just because you get mad at an ex..maybe he left you or cheated on you or possibly he just decided he was sick of your lies, games and immaturity.. don't make innocent children suffer. These are your kids!


So, until the time I feel this is an avenue I'd like to persue again..I'm done.


To the real victims of abuse..I'm sorry.


And to the men who have had lies and accusations against them..I'm sickened by the women who lied.


To the kids who have suffered..words can't explain how saddened I am.




My Message To Women About Body Image


  I never labeled myself as a person with an eating disorder. I never said the word anorexic.


  Maybe I do have an eating disorder, maybe I am anorexic, but I will never use those words to describe myself.


  I will say this: I have a misguided, distorted, and unrealistic vision of myself. When I look in the mirror, all I see is fat. I see huge thighs, a big butt, and a fat stomach. I know they aren’t really like that, but I feel like they are, and that’s what I see.


I don’t understand it.


  The reality: My stomach is not fat. My thighs are not huge. My butt is not big. I know these things, but my mind sees differently.


  I feel that my eyes send my mind awful images of my body. I can’t explain it and it’s hard to understand.  If my clothes start to feel even the slightest bit tight, I barely eat: just small portions until my clothes feel loose again. Then I can be happy with my body.


  This has been a struggle for me as long as I can remember. I don’t know how or when this all happened.


  Growing up, I took ballet, gymnastics, and dance classes. I enjoyed learning how to move my body in these different forms, but there was a constant emphasis on weight. When I was pregnant with my daughter, my ballet teacher told me she was disappointed in my weight gain. She said it would throw me off balance, and more importantly, “No one wants to see a fat dancer.”


I never weighed over 100 pounds. Ever.


  As a young woman, I remember comparing myself to models in magazines. They were tall. I was not. I loved how they looked so perfect. In my early twenties, I became a model myself. I wasn’t tall, but I was thin. That was the priority.


So much emphasis on weight…


The only times in my life that I accepted gaining weight were during pregnancy. I made sure to have a healthy diet, despite six months of morning sickness. I ate well, took vitamins, and followed all of my doctor’s advice. I enjoyed being pregnant. The changes to my body and the added weight didn’t bother me. If I didn’t mind putting on weight while I was pregnant, how could I be anorexic?


  As soon as the baby was born, I was mortified when I looked in the mirror. I was disgusted with how I looked. I didn’t recognize that girl’s reflection. The weight needed to go. 


With my first child, I lost 33 pounds in less than two weeks. I didn’t eat. I fasted the entire time. I was 17. What I saw in the mirror was an enormous, disgusting person with a sagging belly staring back at me. Who the hell was she? I didn’t care. She sickened me. She had to go away, and fast.


  I’ve given birth to six babies. The weight always came off so quickly that I’d leave the hospital wearing my pre-pregnancy clothes. With my last three children, I wore my non-pregnant clothes throughout my entire pregnancies.  With my last child, no one knew I was pregnant until the last month.


  My extreme low weight was 83 pounds. At the time, my doctor threatened to admit me into the hospital with an IV if I didn’t gain weight.


  My body was unhealthy and run down. I developed mono. Three weeks later, I came down with Guillain-Barre Syndrome, a rare illness that starts with a tingling and weakness in the feet and legs that travels to the upper body. In about 10 percent of people, symptoms begin in the arms or face. As it progresses, muscle weakness can evolve into paralysis. Most people need oxygen because they cannot breathe on their own, and this may last for months. Everyone with Guillain-Barre Syndrome must be hospitalized and monitored.


For weeks, my arms and legs felt heavy. I couldn’t walk up stairs. I couldn’t lift my feet; I just dragged them. I had two small kids and no one to watch them. I couldn’t stay in the hospital. I visited my doctor daily to monitor my breathing.


  Within a few months, I fully recovered. I was lucky. I was told that it may come back. It’s one of those weird illnesses that not much is known about. Could it have been caused by my eating habits? Maybe. The possibility hasn’t been ruled out.


This was a turning point.  But I continue to struggle.


  I don’t get hungry. I don’t think about food. I have to be conscious of my weight. I have to force myself to eat. I manage to eat a healthy diet. But sometimes the fat person is still looking back at me in the mirror.


Yoga and meditation have provided me with immense relief. Through Yoga, I found my self-worth. I began to change my self-image. Through meditation, I went deeply inside my mind, gaining a better grasp on my thoughts.


I believe that our society creates eating disorders. “Fat is ugly.” We drill that message into the minds of young, impressionable girls. We bombard them with photo-shopped images of “perfect” women who are devoid of wrinkles, fat, and flaws of any kind. We create an expectation that leads many girls and women to feel insecure. The result is a society filled with women who feel low self-esteem and little self-worth, and have poor self-images and lack in self-love.


  We must consciously and collectively effect change.


  I call for an end to photoshopping of models, actresses, and other celebrities in fashion magazines and advertisements. Let’s show women as they are.  Will they appeal less to us if we do so?  Or will we respect them more for their more honest portrayal of themselves?


I call for the design of educational programs geared particularly toward young girls and teenagers, who are impressionable and undergoing drastic change to their bodies and hormones.


Ultimately, I call for the change to start with each conscious individual woman. Look into the mirror with loving eyes. Do not look for flaws. If you see an imperfection, do not focus on it. Do not criticize your body.


Embrace your imperfect and flawed self. Everyone has flaws. No one is perfect. Our bodies will constantly change. Accept it. Welcome the change.


  I am a survivor of domestic abuse. I had a poor self-image, low self-esteem, no self-love, and no self-worth. When a woman does not feel good about herself, she cannot stand up for herself, and she will always remain a victim. When a woman feels good about herself, she will make better choices. When a woman is confident and knows her self-worth, she does not allow someone to dominate or control her. She will not allow someone else to affect how she feels about herself.


We are not our bodies. Whatever our outside appearance, our outer shell, may be, it is not who we are. What matters is who we are on the inside. It may sound cliché, but that is the ultimate truth. Before we can love others, we must first love and appreciate ourselves.


  Love yourself…







An Open Letter To My Children


  You thought I was the strongest woman (and person) you ever knew.


You only thought so because I kept it from you.



  You never saw me cry or show any weakness. I made decisions clearly and never seemed to doubt myself.


I didn’t put up with any shit. I never backed down. You always thought we had enough of everything and no cares or worries.


  I kept my chin high, never showing sadness, worry or fear.


  You saw me as a provider, protector and someone who had confidence.


You always had a roof over your head, and food to eat. You didn’t go without.


  I raised you all to be strong, yet sensitive. I wanted you to put family first and always be there for each other.


  That said, I didn’t want you to let yourself get taken advantage of or ever used by others.


  It must have been hard in some ways having a bohemian/hippie/tattooed mom. Free-spirited and flighty. Opionated, with a laid-back attitude. But, it made me unique—and all of you unique.



  Now, for the confessions…


  I was not always strong. I had doubts. Doubts about choices I’d made, but never did I doubt my choice to have any one of you.


  I cried. Yep, when you were all asleep, when I needed a release or felt too much stress or pressure, I cried. Quietly and softly, so as not to wake any of you. Afraid you would be scared if you saw me having a weak moment.


  On the outside I appeared tough. Inside, not always so much.


  I was mom and dad to all of you, and I took that seriously.


  I was all you had; I had to be strong. Your innocent eyes looked up to me to take care of everything and everyone. I always put you first. That’s what parents do. I loved taking care of you, seeing your smiles, wiping your tears and even being referee to your arguments.


  Yes, you always had a safe place to live and sleep. You always had food to eat. There were many times I went without food, so that you all had enough. Some times were tougher than others, but you never knew. You didn’t need to know.


  The only thing you needed to do was be happy and smile.


  I did everything myself—not always by choice. I had no other option.


  I was brought up in a time where you didn’t ask for help and no one knew your business. You figured things out for yourself. If you couldn’t, then you didn’t get something or things didn’t happen.


  I never thought about you growing up, becoming adults and one day leaving me. That was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do—letting go. I selfishly wanted to hold on to each of you tightly and never let go. I realize now that wouldn’t be fair. I have to let you explore your lives. I trust that you will all make good choices. If you ever need me—to talk, listen or ask advice—I will drop everything for any of you.


  You will always be the best thing I ever did. My love for you will never fade.


  As much as I want you near me and each other, I know that no matter where any of us are, we are totally connected. We have a strong bond. We would be there in a heartbeat if one of us needed something; we have proven that numerous times. We are a force to be reckoned with.


  I did the best I could. I am amazed at how you all turned out. You are all awesome and amazing people. Giving, caring, thoughtful and loving adults. I couldn’t ask for better kids. I am so proud of you all. I don’t want society or life to harden you or take away your pleasure and your ability to wonder.


  I never envisioned how I wanted you to be when you grew up. Not because I didn’t want to be disappointed, but because I felt it was your decision. It’s your life to live how you choose. I never wanted to be one of those parents who pushed their kids into doing or following what they chose.


  Being successful means so many different things to different people.



Money is just money. Fame is just fame. Stuff is just stuff. It doesn’t matter what you do for a living; what truly matters is how you treat others, how you are treated and if you are happy. It doesn’t matter what things you have. The more things you have, the harder you have to work to pay for them. Don’t get caught up in having to have useless stuff.


  Always remember, family and happiness is what’s important. Money and material things have never been important to me.


  I used to watch you while you slept, not believing I’d created such perfect beings. I never once thought, wouldn’t it be nice if he were a lawyer or she were a doctor? I never set boundaries, telling you that you couldn’t do or be what you dreamed of. I always said you could do or be whatever you wanted.


  I always did say that I just wanted you to be happy.


  Be strong, be true to yourselves, do what’s right, love each other, respect yourself and know that I love you to the moon and back, forever and always.


  What really matters is how you lived, how you loved and how you are remembered.


  I hope you remember me as a bohemian, hippie, tattooed, loving mother who loved you all so much and would have done anything for you.




I Am A Domestic Abuse Survivor


  But, I have finally, truly realized that by calling myself a victim, I was handing over my power and control. I refuse to give what happened any more power.


  No more!


  I am not a victim.


  I was in a relationship in which I was abused. I do not believe that anyone is a victim of domestic abuse—just situations that are abusive.


  It took me 10 years to be able to talk about what had happened to me.


  It took me 10 years to be able to write about it, which has been cathartic for me. It’s funny: I started out wanting to write children’s books. I never imagined I’d be writing about domestic violence. I never imagined that I would have the experience of being in an abusive relationship.


  No one ever does.


  I never witnessed abuse; not growing up, not with relatives and not at friend’s houses.


  After getting away, I knew I had to help others to know that they are not alone. There is help out there. You do feel alone. You think you are the only one going through it. You don’t know who is safe to talk to.  You are embarrassed and ashamed. It’s a lonely and scary place to be. Some of us have our families and friends turn away from them. Some of us are distanced from family and friends by their abuser.


  Every experience you find yourself in, always remember: it’s happened to others. You may feel alone, but you are never alone.


  If our society can begin to stop blaming and start fixing the problem, maybe we can put an end to domestic violence. It needs to stop, of course. It is a generational thing…one family, then the next and so on. But this is not normal. In these abusive homes, girls (and boys) see their mothers (or fathers) called names, being physically hurt and they think it’s like this in every family. Boys (and girls) see their dads (or mothers) physically harming their mom (or dad) and saying things, so they grow up and do it. It’s a normal way of life for them, and it continues…on and on…generation to generation. We need to break the cycle. This is not normal. This does not happen within every family.


  I’ve heard and read many times, why didn’t she leave?


  Really?


  Most of us do not know how to leave. They need help. We need to point them toward help. There are resources out there. There are shelters. There are court advocates to help them manuever through the paperwork and the system. Many women have no money, no friends and have been disengaged from family.


  We need to slow and then stop this abuse. Too many of us are physically hurt, or even killed. The statistics are staggering.


  Many of us have lost our self-confidence and self-respect. We have had their dreams crushed. We have been disrespected and treated badly. We give up, our spirit crushed. We feel trapped, with no way out. We, as a society are responsible. We find it acceptable. Many of us turn our heads away. We don’t want to get involved. We don’t want to see it.


We have become desensitized.


  Many things helped me. Many people helped me.


  One thing that helped me: Yoga. It really does. With yoga, we can regain a connection to our fundamental self-esteem, self-respect and overall sense of self. Yoga makes you feel good. If you feel good about yourself, you are not going to want to be around someone who makes you feel bad about yourself. Yoga builds your confidence and strength. Yoga helps in healing, and it’s a wonderful release. Yoga breaks down the shell that the abused surround themselves with. That protective shell. That protective shell that shuts down everything, so we are watching the chaos, and our lives, from a distance.


  Every abuse shelter should offer yoga, by a qualified teacher. If they had yoga teachers’ teaching, who have been trained in helping the abused, the healing effects would elevate.


  Any healing takes time, but by doing yoga, we may find we can reclaim one aspect of our lives. Once that is established, our confidence begins to get built back up. We begin to feel in control, or at ease. We begin to rediscover a healthy sense of self. The heart who has been hiding begins to poke out and resurface.


  People are always saying yoga helps. If taught by a yoga instructor who understands how to teach yoga with love, understanding, empathy and self-love, those who have been abused can begin to rebuild their broken spirit. They can learn the tools and how to apply them. All healing begins within. We can’t heal another, or take away the pain and hurt. We can, however, provide tools so others can begin to heal. The tools to help them in decision-making, in the courage to move forward.


  I turned to yoga. You will find yourself on the mat and find you are present in your movement. A small step for many, but to someone who has been abused, it’s huge! Finding that you can take control, even if it’s just of one pose…well, with continued support and through yoga, the possibilities are endless.


  Reach out.




Finding Strength Through Yoga


  I am a domestic abuse survivor.


  Many years ago, I found myself in an abusive relationship. I didn’t and still don’t understand how I ever got into this kind of relationship. There was no abuse within my family.


  The abuse didn’t just happen, it was a gradual process. I had been with him for three years before he ever became violent.


  When he drank or was hung over, that’s when the abuse started. I was hit, punched, kicked, choked and had things thrown at me. I had broken bones and he once hit my hand while I was putting on mascara, cutting my eyeball, resulting in me having to wear a patch over my eye for weeks. I even had a hammer held to my head while being threatened to get my head bashed in.


  When I was eight months pregnant, I was kicked in the stomach—that resulted in complications. The placenta began to deteriorate and I almost lost my baby.


  I didn’t know who to talk to or where to turn. I didn’t know anyone else who had gone through this. The area shelter would only let women stay for two weeks maximum, after that you had to figure it out.


  I never knew what was going to set him off.


  I turned to yoga and meditation, through this I found the strength to leave him. Not long after, I found myself in a totally different kind of an abusive relationship. This abuse I did not recognize as quickly. He was verbally, emotionally, spiritually and mentally abusive. He made me feel alone, he instilled fear in me, he was dominating, threatening and possessive. He was abusive with his words. He alienated me from my family and friends.


  I didn’t know there were other types of abuse. I was mentally, emotionally and spiritually beaten down. I felt alone, confused and scared. I didn’t know what to do. When I tried to get help, I was told if he hadn’t hit me there was nothing they could do. The police and courts did not consider it abuse at that time.


  When I left him, I had to deal with threats from not only him, but also from his family.


  Getting physically abused is just as painful as being mentally, emotionally, verbally and spiritually abused.


  I knew I could sit and feel sorry for myself or I could stand up, brush myself off and move forward. When I looked in the mirror, I didn’t recognize myself. I knew yoga could heal physical problems, so I thought I’d try it to help heal my broken, bruised and beaten down body, mind, spirit and soul. I’d found strength through yoga before.


  I turned to yoga and meditation completely. I began practicing yoga and meditation when I was 12 or 13. I wanted to heal myself and then help others. There were so few resources available. I decided I needed to help change things, I had to become a voice for the victims.


  I practiced every day. I knew I had to make myself whole again for my kids and for myself. I had to give them back their mother.


  Through yoga and meditation I found a strength I didn’t know I possessed.


  I found courage to go on. I found peace. I meditated for direction.


I sold my house, bought an RV and traveled across the United States several times with my kids. When I needed money, I taught yoga or art classes. I also traded work for the RV space at some campgrounds.


  I homeschooled all of my children. During this time, I started writing a book about domestic abuse. While in California, I found out my book was going to be published. I began to give motivational speeches at domestic abuse shelters. I wanted them to be able to see that I had been in the same place they were and I could see the light at the end of the tunnel. I wanted to give them encouragement and hope.


  I sat down and designed a program based on what had worked for me. I began to teach it to domestic abuse victims. I have since written two more books about domestic violence. I wanted to bring awareness. I also wanted to help other victims of abuse. I wanted to share my story, listen to others and help all that I could.


  After months of teaching to abuse victims, I found that my program worked for other victims. I started to offer free yoga and meditation classes to abuse victims. I wanted to give back and reach out to as many women as I could. I saw positive effects and changes among the women. The withdrawn women began to smile, ask questions and talk about themselves.


  After each class, we casually sit and talk. The women started to open up and talk about ideas and dreams they had.


  I want others to know that there is help out there. You are not and never were alone. So many others have been in the same situation. I felt alone and didn’t see any way out, but there is. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Reaching out doesn’t vmake you weaker, it makes you stronger.


  We need to help each other and reach out to each other, isn’t that what yoga is all about?




What Really Happens To Domestic Abuse Victims


  Can we imagine our lives being turned upside down?


  Can we imagine walking away from everyone and everything we’ve known and never turning back?


  Never seeing family or friends again?


  Always having to look behind ourselves and being careful of what we say or do?


  Living in fear for ourselves and our children, worrying how we will take care of ourselves, always wondering if our abuser is nearby waiting to hurt us, or worse—knowing that we can never see or contact our families again?


  Doing it all to protect ourselves and our children.


  And yet, this is very real and happens every day.


  This happens to all kinds of women; young, old, rich or poor.


  Domestic violence doesn’t care who we are. it doesn’t care if  some of us have money while some don’t.


  Domestic violence can affect anyone.


  Power and money can’t protect us.


  Families are ripped apart because women feel they have no choice but to flee their abuser.


  The police have failed to protect them.


  The courts have failed them.


  When a woman has no other option, then she must do whatever it takes to protect herself and her children.


  The police have to catch the abuser at the scene.


  Often, the abuser knows this and is long gone before the police arrive.


  A “stay away” or protective order is just a piece of paper.


  It is often a false sense of security on the woman’s part. The abuser knows this. If he is not caught at the scene, then it is pretty much useless—unless there are witnesses, then he can possibly be arrested.


  But, the abuser will usually do things when there are no witnesses around.


  The police grow tired of the phone calls.


  If they are lucky enough to arrest the abuser, the court will let them go.


  The courts have all the power. The abuser is given many chances.


  Meanwhile, the victim has to wait for something drastic to happen to have anyone take notice—by then it may be too late.


  Domestic abuse shelters are also limited as to what they can do. For many shelters, their location is public knowledge.


  Years ago, they tried to keep the locations quiet. Women were told they could not give out the address. Some did, most did not. There was always the fear that one of the abusers would find out the location and come looking for the victim.


  This could endanger many women, children and workers.


  The workers were responsible for everyone at the shelter.


  Most shelters had security systems and alarms, but they only did so much.


  Trying to protect victims of domestic violence can be extremely dangerous.


  The abuser can give up when he can no longer find and threaten the victim, or he can make it his mission to find his victim, no matter what.


  It becomes an obsession to find them.


  You never know what mindset the abuser is in. Are they under the influence of drugs or alcohol? Do they have a mental disorder? Are they just fueled by anger?


  Some women may be housed in a “safe house”—sometimes due to overcrowding, or if they believe the abuser knows where the shelter is located. This is someone’s home, who has agreed to temporarily house the victim of domestic abuse.


  These people are putting themselves out there to help, while also putting themselves in possibly a dangerous situation. Women are also told not to tell anyone where the “safe house” is located.


  There are resources for women, but if the abuser is persistent, it puts everyone in danger.


  For some women, the only option is to leave.


  After exhausting all resources, they are left with no choice. Feeling trapped and fearing for their safety and lives, they leave. They go into hiding. Society has failed them.


  Everything must be left behind: their homes, their jobs, their families.


  Any communication could possibly be traced. They are alone and frightened.


  It is really a tragedy that society can not protect these women. It is really sad when they feel their only option is to flee—grandparents lose grandchildren and daughters, families are ripped apart.


  Women need to feel safe. We are all entitled to feel safe.


  Would any of us want to live in fear? Would we want to always look over our shoulder? Would we be able to walk away from our loved ones and never look back? Would  we be able to walk away from our life?


  This is the hardest thing for these women: being let down by our society, forced to do this on their own—forced to take care of themselves and their families, all the time worrying and wondering if they will be found.


  Never knowing if they are being actively sought.


  Many women are forced to change their names, the way they look and their past.


  Many are never able to be the same person again.


  In a moment of weakness, maybe they call a family member to tell them they are okay, only to be told the abuser is searching for them.


They are afraid for their lives and the lives of their children—afraid to look behind them, yet always looking behind them. They don’t know who to trust. They are never able to be honest about their past; they secretly look at the missing person posters, hoping they don’t see their own picture.


  These women live in constant fear, worrying about the family they left behind. They are constantly moving—that’s very important—they are unable to put down roots for fear the abuser will find them.


  This is unfair. This is a horrible way to exist. This hurts everyone. It hurts the families of the victim. It hurts the children and the victim.


  The years in hiding are lost. The years in hiding can never be replaced.


What effect does it have on the children?


  To be given different name, a different look, a different past, a different life—how do the children deal with that? What are the long term effects on the children? On the victim? On the families?


  Imagine the stress they all go through. Imagine having to live with that; imagine having to live like that: only being able to take a very few items with us. Only what is necessary or important.


  Knowing that we made a life or death choice.


  Wishing that it had not happened this way.


  Wishing that the courts, the police, the shelters, the safe house and that piece of paper had prevented this.


  We need to change this.


  We need to protect these families, before it gets to this point.


  We need to make changes.


  We need to bring awareness.




I'm Not Sorry Your Dead


  I was raped when I was fourteen by a man in his twenties.


  I didn't know him and I'd never met him before that night.


  I was babysitting for some friends of the family. The wife worked with my dad and the husband owned a Sub shop, which I later worked at.


  They lived on a secluded dirt road, which led to a few other small, shack like houses. I later found out that he lived in one of those shacks with his family.


  I don't remember what he drove or even what he looked like other than he had dark hair.


  I blocked out a lot of it, but I believe you can't completely move forward without dealing with and processing things.


  The little girl I was watching was two or three. I had put her to bed after dinner like I had been told to do.


  I heard a car coming down the road, it's tires crunching on the rocks. I looked out the window to see if they had come home early.


  Their house was the first one on the road, so every car had to pass by.


  The car slowed down and stopped. I watched as the driver leaned over the passenger seat, a smile on his face. He waved and motioned for me to come outside. I backed away from the window, thinking that was weird.


  I heard him drive away towards the other houses.


  About twenty minutes later, there was a knock on the door. I opened the curtain and saw the guy from the car. He was holding something in his hand. He said they had gotten their mail by mistake.


  I opened the door slightly, and reached for the mail, just as he pushed his way inside the house.


I was afraid and shocked. I didn't know what to do.


  The papers he was holding fell to the floor, almost in slow motion.


He asked me where they were and I told him they would be back soon, hoping they would be, but knowing they wouldn't.


  "The baby is sleeping," I told him.


  "Then you better be quiet and wake it up," he replied.


  My mind was racing. Should I scream? No one would hear me and if she woke up, she'd be afraid. Should I fight? No, I was 5'2" and weighed 98 pounds, he was much bigger.


  I ran for the phone and he grabbed me by my hair and pulled me away.


  He dragged me over to the couch. I kept telling him no and to please stop, as I cried.


  He pushed me onto the couch and I remember kneeing him in the crotch. That didn't stop him, all it did was make him angry. He put his forearm over my throat to hold me down while he tugged at my clothes.


  The entire time that I was being raped, I think I checked out. I was physically there, but it was like it was happening to someone else. I remember staring at the little girl's doll that was on the floor. I guess I focused on that to take my mind off of what was happening to me.


  When he was done and had grunted for the last time, he pulled up his pants and started walking towards the door, that's when I noticed he had a limp.


  He turned to face me before going out the door and said with a smile, "I'll see you next time and you better keep quiet."


  I felt sick to my stomach. I grabbed my clothes and quickly put them on. Then I ran to the door and locked it. I went to every window, locking them and closing the curtains.


  I picked the papers up off the floor and noticed it was junk mail.


  I felt the vomit burning at my chest and making it's way to my mouth as I ran into the bathroom.


  After I had thrown up, I sat down at the kitchen table, unable to go to the couch. I held my knees to my chest and cried.


  I didn't know what to do. If I told anyone, no one would believe me. It would be my word against his. I would be blamed for letting him in. At least that's what I thought then.


  A few hours later, they came home and the husband drove me home



  I didn't say a word to anyone as I jumped into the shower, trying to scrub him off me. There were bruises on my thighs, arms and neck.


  Just an ugly secret to hold.



  I was young and naive when that happened.


  If that happened today, I would have reported his ass.


  If this happened to a girl I know, I would tell her that I believe her, hug her and stand beside her while she reported it.


  I found out a few weeks ago that he had died. I don't know how or when it happened and I don't care.


  I'm not sorry that he's dead. I am relieved.


  I don't think he had any remorse. I don't think he thought he did anything wrong.



Letter to Him


  I'm not sorry you died.


  You took something from me that I will never get back.


  You violated me.


  You forced me to do something I would have never done with you.


  I don't know if I can ever forgive you for that.


  I will never forget it.


  I was a young girl and you were an adult, who knew better.


  You ruined a part of me.


  You ruined my trust and my spirit.


  I had nightmares.


  I became withdrawn.


  I was afraid.


  If you are ever raped or assaulted, report it.


  You aren't alone.


  I wish I'd known that.




Starting Over Again


  For years, I maintained the wall I had built around my heart, my feelings, my thoughts and myself.


  For years, I thought I had figured out how to never get hurt, simply by avoiding feeling things.


  I loved my kids, but didn't allow myself to love or become interested in anyone else.


  All those years, I thought I was protecting myself, but I actually wasn't.


  I was letting a part of me die. I was afraid to feel. I was afraid to experience anything. I was afraid to get hurt. I was afraid to love. I was afraid of living. I was afraid of life.


  I thought I was happy. But, I really was only existing, meanwhile a part of me was dying. The very best part of me was being unused. I was afraid.



  Fear is a very powerful emotion. Fear can stop us dead in our tracks. Fear is paralyzing.


  I don't want to just exist. I don't want to not feel anymore.


  I know that I may get hurt. I realize that deep down, I am afraid. I know that there are risks. I also know that I am stronger than I ever thought.


  No matter what happens, I know that I can handle it. I may feel vulnerable and get hurt, and I may not.


  I am ready to open myself up to live. I am ready to open myself up to be vulnerable and to take risks.


  I know that if I keep trying to protect myself, I am not experiencing life. I would be just wasting this precious life.


  Don't be afraid to feel.


  Don't be afraid to live.




Once Again


  To totally trust and to let go of the fear of getting hurt is really scary.


  There will come a time at some point in your life, when you feel you may want to go back out there and try again.


  I've heard people say that we are not meant to be alone.


  Does a person really have to be part of a couple to be happy?


  Does someone have to be beside you, to assist and guide you?


  I'm sure in some ways it's easier to have a partner by your side. Someone to help make decisions. Someone to help with the bills, the children and day to day stuff. Someone to talk to any share your thoughts and feelings with.


  But, what about those of us who enjoy or enjoyed being single?


  We made all the decisions ourselves. We did what we wanted, when we wanted. We didn't have to deal with anyone else unless we chose to.


  Neither way is right or wrong. Whatever way you choose is right.


  For years, I stayed away from getting close to anyone. I'd made some horrible partner choices and I was afraid.


  Was I living or hiding?


  I honestly do enjoy my alone time. Part of me feels ready to share, but the other part is concerned.


  Am I afraid? Yes.


  Am I going to let fear dictate what I do? No.


  Am I going to let the fear of being vulnerable stop me? No.


  I want to live. I don't want to hide from life anymore. I don't want to hide from my feelings.


  There are no guarantees. I may get hurt, I may not. You may get hurt, you may not.


  I'm not sure exactly what I want, but I know what I don't want.


  Take a chance.


  Take a risk.


  Don't be afraid to live.




Cheating


  Relationships are so misunderstood. Some think a relationship involves a couple who are exclusive, while others feel it's okay to see more than one person, as long as you don't put your partner at risk.


  If you are aware that you are both able to see others people and have agreed to it, otherwise, I think it's cheating. I wouldn't want someone messing around and not saying anything. I feel like I have a right to know up front, and then I can decide if I want to be in the relationship.


  I dont get the whole, 'You don't need to know unless you have been put at risk.' Once you are put at risk, it's too late.


  Granted, I understand that people cheat. I don't understand cheating. Why would you want to be in a relationship if you are going to cheat? Wouldn't it make more sense to be single, then you could do whatever you want and not hurt anyone?


  If you aren't happy in a relationship, leave. Don't cheat. It hurts so many people. It also puts everyone at risk for STD's and STI's.


  Being cheated on is hurtful.


  Being cheated on makes it hard to trust.


  It's unfair, inconsiderate and disrespectful.


  I just can't wrap my head around being in a relationship, while seeing other people.


  Why would you want to be in a relationship if you want your freedom?





My Message to Women


  I never labeled myself as a person with an eating disorder or ever said the word anorexic.


  Maybe I do have an eating disorder, maybe I am anorexic, but I will never use those words to describe myself.


  I will say that I know I have a misguided, distorted and unrealistic vision of myself.


  When I look into a mirror, all I see is fat. I see huge thighs, a big butt and a fat stomach.


  I know they aren't really like that, but I feel like they are and that's what I see.


  In reality, my stomach is not fat, my thighs are not huge and my butt is not big.


  I know these things, but my mind see's differently.


  I can't really explain it and it's probably hard to understand.


  If my clothes start to feel even the slightest bit tight, I don't eat.


  Well, I do eat, just smaller portions, until my clothes feel looser.


  This has always been a struggle for me.


  Growing up, I took ballet, gymnastics and dance.


  I enjoyed them all very much, but there was such an emphasis on weight.


  You had to be thin. I never weighed over one hundred pounds.


  In my early twenties, I modeled, where again being thin was prioritized. I wasn't tall, but I was thin.


  So much emphasis is on weight...too much.


  Actually, the only times in my life I was okay with gaining weight was when I was pregnant.


  I ate healthy during my pregnancies, despite having morning sickness the first six months.


  I made sure I ate right, took my vitamins and did everything my doctor told me to do.


  I really couldn't wrap my head around the term anorexic, because I didn't mind putting on weight while I was pregnant.


  I enjoyed being pregnant.


  But, as soon as the baby was born, the weight needed to go away.


  I was mortified when I looked into the mirror.


  I was disgusted with how I looked. With my first child,


  I lost thirty three pounds in less than two weeks. Did I do it in a healthy way? Absolutely not!


  I didn't eat, I pretty much fasted the entire time.


  I was seventeen, I saw or thought I saw a huge, enormous, disgusting person with a sagging belly staring back at me from the other side of the mirror. Who the hell was she?


  All I knew was, she had to go, and she better go fast!


  The baby weight always came off quickly.


  After having most of them, I'd leave the hospital wearing my pre-pregnant clothes.


  With my last three, I wore my regular clothes throughout my entire pregnancies.


  People didn't even know I was pregnant with my last child until I was in my last month.


  My lowest weight was eighty three pounds. My doctor threatened to admit me into the hospital with an IV if I didn't gain some weight.


  I got mono, from being run down. During my three weeks of mono, I came down with Guillain-Barre Syndrome. This is a very rare illness. It starts with tingling and weakness in the feet and legs. Then it travels up to your upper body and arms. Only about 10 percent of people get this. With the disorder, symptoms begin in the arms or face. As it progresses, muscle weakness can evolve into paralysis. Most people have to be on oxygen because you can't even breathe on your own. This lasts for months. All people need to be hospitalized and monitored.


  My arms and legs felt so heavy. I wouldn't go into the hospital, because I had two small kids and no one to watch them.


  I had to go to the doctors every day to monitor my breathing.


  It usually peaks four weeks into the illness, then gradually gets better.


  I fully recovered.


  Was it caused by my eating habits? I don't know, but it hasn't been ruled out. I struggle.


  To this day, I sometimes struggle.


  I normally don't get hungry and sometimes don't even think about food.


  I have to be conscious and aware of my weight.


  I try to eat right and stay healthy, but I still sometimes see a fat person looking back at me from the mirror.  


  Our society creates eating disorders.


  We drill into young, impressionable girls heads that fat is ugly.


  We are bombarded everyday with images, although photo shopped, of perfect women with perfect bodies. No flaws, no wrinkles and no fat.


  Other countries embrace women in their natural, healthy and real bodies, not us. We ridicule.


  The messages we send are destroying our girl's.


  We are creating low self-esteem, little self-worth, a poor self-image and absolutely no self-love.


  This usually starts to become a problem for teenagers and young adults, but it does follow you through life.


  We are all beautiful and unique, just the way we are.


  We all have different shapes and body types.


  We need to celebrate ourselves, our bodies and each other.


  We shouldn't make anyone feel bad about being different.


  In doing that, we are creating unhappiness, confusion, self-hate and eating disorders.


  We are all different and we need to be different.


  I believe we need to educate them, by building their self-esteem and self-worth.


  Help them to learn self-love, instead of self-hate.


  Value themselves instead of criticizing.


  Look into the mirror with loving eyes, instead of looking for and focusing on flaws.


  Build and design programs to help them understand how to cope and deal with these feelings and thoughts.


  We need to put realistic pictures and values out there, instead of fantasy, airbrushed pictures.


  We need to accept each other just the way we are.


  We need to stop being so critical of ourselves and others, only then can we be truly happy, live united and as one.


  If our girls/women felt good about themselves, they will make better choices and decisions.


  If they feel good about themselves, I really feel there will be less domestic violence.










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