Domestic Violence Awareness Month: “I Will Survive.”Be witness. Honor survival

I was five years old when I watched my mother die at the hands of her boyfriend. Their fight started like all the other fights I’d witnessed. My mother stood with legs apart, her voice rising as she squared her shoulders and shook her fists, always the tough farm girl from Pennsylvania. Her boyfriend growled back at her, switching between both English and Spanish; something he only did when he got really angry. Next thing I knew a blade in his hand flashed, then buried into her chest to the hilt. I knelt next to her as she lay on the carpet, trying to wake her as my tears fell beside the blood stain that seeped through the peach colored fabric of her nightie. The sight forever haunted me; as did her boyfriend, and any man that looked or acted like him.

I never saw him again, but I struggled with fear, anger, and distrust towards men well into adulthood. I made idiot choices, like marrying a man I didn’t love, because I couldn’t separate passion from fear. I didn’t want to be with someone that would kill me.

Its taken me years of therapy to separate passion from violence, and I’m still not quite there. My mother was a victim, but so was I. She didn’t survive, but I did. And Thirty years later its still a struggle, but I continue to survive, and through me, so does she. IWS

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