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26 April 2015

Scarves Cover Only the Bruises

I have a large collection of scarves. Most were gifts or purchased from the clearance bin at a department store. I used to wear scarves all the time. I wrapped them around my neck when I went out to hide the bruises on my throat. I did a lot of things like that to hide my abuse. I was ashamed. I didn't want anyone to know that someone like me could be a victim of domestic abuse.

When I finally spoke out about what was happening to me, some people just could not believe it. Fortunately, after years of abuse and hiding that abuse, I knew I would not be believed by some people so I filmed my abuser. The only thing that hurts worse than the abuse is not being believed when you finally do speak up and speak out. I went to the police. I went to the courts. I got justice for me and my child. However, my struggle did not end there.

Healing is a process and sometimes it takes many years. On August 8, 2012 I physically escaped my abuser and the abuse, but you cannot escape the emotional pain by simply removing yourself from the situation. No matter how far you run, you cannot outrun the pain, the humiliation, the shame, the guilt for not leaving sooner, the nightmares, and the memories. It all goes with you -- sometimes for the rest of your life.

When someone I thought was my friend used my past abuse to abuse me again by threatening to make contact with my abuser and then making good on that threat, I felt abused all over again. He called me a liar, ignoring the undeniable court records and evidence, saying I was never abused, that I made up the stories against an innocent man. He called me a bitch. He contacted my friends. He posted ridiculous things on Facebook and Twitter. I can only presume he said all these things just to try to hurt me. I admit, the things he said did hurt me, but I survived 11 years of horrific emotional, psychological, and physical abuse. While being called a liar hurts, nothing he can say to or about me can be as horrifying as the fear that I felt as my abuser squeezed my throat until I lost consciousness - not once, not twice, but many times - while he whispered "I'm gonna kill you bitch."

So, my scarves hang in my closet where they belong. I will keep them as a reminder to never closet abuse, no matter where it comes from and no matter who is doing the abuse. I have learned to speak out and to speak up. I am not a victim. I am a survivor. I will tell the world the truth. In the end, the truth has a way of being revealed. Scarves may cover the bruises but the truth cannot be covered by scarves anymore.

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