I Dream Of The Elimination Of Violence Against Women

The carpet felt fuzzy and warm, and I derived strange comfort from it as I lay there, unable to move, unwilling to try. I licked my lips and tasted my own blood, then closed my eyes. I disconnected from reality as I finally gave up my unsuccessful attempts to stop replaying his hurtful voice inside my head. “You’re worthless!” he said with disgust as he kicked me with all his strength and mercilessly walked away.

Before he’d pushed me fiercely to the ground, he’d hurled abuse at me by criticizing virtually every part of my body, tearing me apart with brutal words. I felt unclean as filthy rags. I felt ugly, undeserving. “He’s probably right,” I thought. I felt worthless not because I wasn’t worth anything, but because I’d lost all sense of worth.

“Destitute of worth, having no value, virtue, excellence, dignity, or the like,” is how Webster’s dictionary defined me. As I thought about Eleanor Roosevelt’s quote “no one can make you feel inferior without your consent,” I realized I had given him consent—numerous times.

International Day For The Elimination Of Violence Against Women

After years in this unhealthy, painful dynamic, dysfunctional submission had become my norm. I’d justify his behavior as related to his childhood issues or his stressful days at work. I told myself I could fix this, yet the more he became a king in my eyes, the more I deteriorated into a slave.

He interrupted my thoughts by shaking my body with his foot. I sobbed with pain and opened my eyes as he remorselessly called me a “faker.” Although thick black curtains in the apartment darkened the room, no amount of light, self-help books, or three-day seminars could give me more clarity than this rock bottom moment. I’d literally been “knocked into consciousness.” This was my first moment of awakening.

“To Be Awake Is To Be Alive” – Henry David Thoreau

This wake-up call was just the start of a long, long journey; a quest, if you will. Someone once said that the quality of your questions determines the quality of your life. And so I asked myself what had kept me stuck in a miserable, unfulfilled, abusive relationship where I was often assaulted, dismissed, ignored, belittled, and humiliated?

In my naiveté, I thought that if he recognized my love for him it would actually inspire him to become better. It didn’t help that he told me I was the only person he’d ever loved, said I taught him what love was and to be a man, and that I did make him a better person. When he promised me over and over again that he’d change, I believed him and gave him another chance.

Now I see how this man took advantage of that part of me that wanted to be a mother figure for him. Ironically, it was also my strong belief in my faith that allowed me to stay so long. Taught to be unconditionally loving, I assumed self-sacrifice was a positive attribute.

What I didn’t realize at the time was that I’d missed the real meaning of the second part of the equation about unconditional love—that I can be godly, loving, giving, self-sacrificing, and unconditional, but also deserve to receive these things as well; to be with someone who loves me back. I realized I was worthy of the loving relationship I desired: one involving mutual commitment, affection, appreciation, support, respect, freedom of expression, and mutual care.

Deepak Chopra was recently asked what steps he believes individuals can take to shift human consciousness. “No social transformation happens in the absence of personal transformation,” he replied. “Therefore, without worrying about other people, the questions to ask yourself are these: can I be the change I want to see in the world? What kind of world do I want to live in and how can I become an agent in that world for myself?

Today, November 25th, has been designated by UN Women as the International Day For The Elimination of Violence Against Women, and as I write this, one in three women around the world experience physical, emotional, or sexual violence at some point in their lives.

Like me, you may feel a sense of helplessness to know you couldn’t possibly rid the world of this ill. However, I agree with Deepak that, when we transform our own lives and operate from a higher level of awareness, and learn the art of receiving, we not only experience more joy, balance, and success, but we can actually become a blessing to others, especially those in our care as moms.what the daughter does, the mother did ~ Jewish Proverb

There’s a Jewish Proverb that says: “What the Daughter Does, the Mother Did”

The moment I decided to take responsibility for my life, stop giving away my power, set healthy boundaries, and design the relationship I’d always longed for, was one of those defining moments of my life. It changed the way I live, the way I love, the way I show up, the way I teach, and, most importantly for me, the way I parent.

Armed with the knowledge that this vicious cycle could end with my torturous experience, I solidified my determination to find within those deeply buried golden nuggets of personal wisdom, excavate them, and use them to become the best role model for my daughters, and to impact the lives of other moms.

I am now thankful for my moment of awakening, because I recognize that it happened to teach me something. It was a magic mirror that reflected my weaknesses, strengths, core values, and deepest desires.

What can you do to end the cycle? Share your story, help a friend change hers, raise honorable men, and strong women… and, in the immortal words of Gandhi: BE the change you wish to see in the world.

How are you celebrating the International Day For The Elimination of Violence Against Women? I’m home with my loving husband, whom I know will never lift his voice or hands to hurt me, and with my confident, strong, happy daughters, who enjoy the gift of a mom who knows how to give and receive, like God intended her to.

PS- Happy Thanksgiving, my lovelies!

[ela]

33 thoughts on “I Dream Of The Elimination Of Violence Against Women

  1. Elayna, thank you for your courage to share your story! You broke the cycle in your own life and will help many, many more women break the cycle in their lives.

    That’s right, you are so worthy of 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 type of LOVE! All women are.

    I’ve been through physical abuse in my own life in the past and felt unworthy of love, ugly, and useless. BUT GOD! We are fearfully and wonderfully made AND more than conquerors!

    The moment I opened up to share my story with other women is when I received the MOST inner healing. “They overcame by the power of their testimony.”

    I’m so happy thay the UN is helping to shine light on ending abuse against women.

    Thanks again for this heartfelt post about your own experiences! (Sending a big hug your way)

  2. Beautiful message. I’m not sure if this will ever end, but I sure hope it will lessen. You are strong and admirable, thank you for sharing your experience.

  3. Thank you for sharing your story with us. It is brave, heartbreaking, and inspiring. I have heard Eleanor Roosevelt’s quote that no one can make you feel inferior without your consent numerous times before, but in this context, it takes on such a deeper and more honest meaning.

  4. This is heartbreaking and powerful. It is so important to model proper behavior not only to our daughters but to our sons as well. I am proud to read that you are no longer a victim, you are a survivor and an example to others.

  5. I don’t think violence against women will ever end until the women being abused say enough. That’s when things will start to change. It’s so sad to hear tales of women being abused.

  6. A lot of women stay in abusive relationships because they think that the abuser would change. I’m glad that you had the courage, and yes you are courageous, to leave. You broke the cycle and I’m proud of you. You are an inspiration to others going through the same thing, and people need to realize that abuse doesn’t have to be physical, there are LOTS more ways that you can be abused. Thanks for sharing your story.

  7. It makes me sad that this still happens in modern society. Men and women are equals. I can totally relate to your story as I was also in an abusive relationship at one point in my life. I got out of the relationship quickly before I ever believed that I was worthless.

  8. It is sad in this day and age that there are still so many women out there that are unable to connect with the appropriate services to help them deal with domestic violence. We need to do better as a society.

  9. This is something that has to end. No question about it. Thanks for spreading more awareness, this is something that cannot be overlooked or avoided anymore.

  10. I agree with Pam. I cannot believe women are still going through domestic violence and abuse in this day an age. I am happy you removed yourself from this situation.

  11. Thank you for posting this and breaking the cycle in your life of violence. You’re so inspiring and I hope that you know that you’re a very strong woman, inside and out. I hope this will help many others!

    I have gone through sexual assault before I met my husband. It was the hardest thing I’ve been through. I have a blog separate from my blog for entertainment that I have not updated in a long time. I wish that there were more resources in smaller towns for sexual assault, and physical as well for women to get the counseling they need, and have local events to bring awareness.

  12. One would have never thought, YOU, yourself had experienced such a terrible situation. I admire your bravery to get out of it, for breaking the cycle. And to write about, share with others who might be in a similar situation. TO help, give hope, create awareness, make understand that there is hope.

  13. Ms. Elayna,
    Thanks for sharing your story, we’re overcome by the words of our testimony! I do understand, I’ve never been hit physically, however the emotional abuse damaged me for years, until I took control over my life as well! I tried to commit suicide, because of the emotional abuse. I kept doing things to myself to make him see me in the relationship, maybe I would be beautiful today or not. Either way I kept doing things to be accepted and all it did was hurt me mentally and emotionally. Reading your story brought tears to my eyes, because I felt your pain in the apart of wanting to be love for who I am and not what someone wanted me to be . We are both Fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are thy works and that my soul knoweth right well!!! I feel like we are sisters frome another life, because we share so much in common. God has a way of bringing you through all the pain that you have encountered and allowing you to be with someone who truly loves and see the love and good in you! All praises to God!

    Thank you for sharing, love you much!!

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