Bring abuse into the light of day
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, but for those who live in the hell of that reality, it’s every month 24/7. There is no minute of any day that you’re not walking on eggshells, holding your breath, vowing to be more of something or less of something in order to keep a blowup from happening. There’s no minute of any day that you’re not drowning in the hopelessness of the situation and expending Herculean effort to mask what’s going on behind closed doors, questioning and second guessing how you came to find yourself in such a dark place. There’s no minute of any day that you aren’t wondering how to survive for just another minute of one more day.
Often the transformation of your life had been so gradual that before you knew it you were separated by miles and emotional distance from family and friends. Isolated in all the ways that matter from the people who could and would toss a lifeline. Then factor in the embarrassment, and perhaps the love once felt for your abuser and being delusional in believing that things will change on their own and that happily ever after isn’t just a pipe dream.
Statistics on domestic violence fail to tell the whole story. Do you think you could tell at a glance who is living in an abusive relationship? Do you presume that poverty, alcohol and drug abuse are requisites to domestic violence? I find myself about to type the statement, “I’m no expert,” but then realize I am an expert. I’m also a survivor who bears the scars of a decade-long nightmare of a marriage that I was fortunate to escape.
When I did and came home to rebuild my life, the fact the family who loved me and the friends who cared about me had no clue what I’d been through is not uncommon. In every neighborhood and economic demographic domestic abuse exists but is often invisible. In the more than three decades since I came out on the other side with my life, I’ve spoken to a number of civic groups about the experience and recorded a video PSA for Safe Passage. Without fail, women come up and quietly share they too had at one point been through the same hell of emotional and/or physical battering.
Perhaps if more of us could brave the stigma of judgment and embarrassment for having been a victim and embrace our survival, we can as a community bring the reality of domestic abuse out from behind closed doors and encourage those currently living the nightmare to see light at the end of the tunnel.
Life free of fear and filled with hope is worth it.
Safe Passage, 208-664-9303; Post Falls Police Department Victim Services Unit, 208-773-1080. Phones for both are answered 24/7.
Happy birthday today to Jan Lindquist, Pat Riley, Amber Butler, Margie Basaraba, Jonalyn Clayton, Debbie McEnespy, David Kamka, Joe Eatherton, Steve Staaben and Tim Turrell. Tomorrow Gary Marian (70!), Brooke Miller, Rochelle Seher, Katrina Slater, Kyle Messier, Kate Bennett and Ricky Blaski enjoy a piece of birthday cake. On Friday Nancy Harlocker, Midge Smock, Vicki Gehring, Mark Michalak and Erin Paisley celebrate big! Pat McGaughey (70!), Dale Bennett (70!), Craig Hampton, Suzanne DeTar, Laurie Rumore, Joel Elgee, Barbara Baltzell, Chris Nicastro, Josh Hissong and Jeff Hill toast the anniversary of their birth on Saturday. Randy Wells (70!), Kathy Epstein, Greg Luraski, Lyn Harris and Ron Deering take another trip around the sun on Sunday. 10/10 birthdays belong to Bill Everson (70!), Nancy Kosonen, Jessica Moore, Steve Fitzhugh, Lori Gravelle, Bob Cox, Allan Knight, Lynn Jackson, Mollie Sommers, Marlea Kruger and Mike Way. On Tuesday Michael Pereira, Chris Pasquale, Greg Worley, Chad Anderson, Cindy Odd and Warren Anglin blow out the birthday candles.
Kerri Rankin Thoreson is a member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists and the former publisher of the Post Falls Tribune. Main Street appears every Wednesday in The Press and Kerri can be contacted on Facebook or via email firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @kerrithoreson.