1 in 4
20 Oct, 2011
Everyday I open myself up as a snowboarder to the world but I still remain closed off on the interior of who I am. I’ve been meaning to share my story for years but still never have. Maybe it was feeling ashamed, scared or just trying to let time heal wounds…who knows. It’s October, a month that brings recognition to women’s issues like breast cancer awareness and domestic violence awareness. Last year I acknowledged breast cancer awareness and domestic violence in a post and in a comment, Leigh said “acknowledging the problem is the first step to fixing it.” I’d like to discuss my experience, acknowledge a problem and speak honestly on what October means to me.
An estimated 5.3 million women are abused every year and 1 in 4 have endured some kind of domestic violence in their lifetime. I am the 1 in 4, it does happen in ski towns and it can happen to people you know. I’m finally ready to share my story.
I thought I was exempt when they educated me about domestic violence, that I was too strong, too smart and would never allow a man to get away with hitting me. Somehow I ended up in that exact relationship despite being too strong and too smart. When the first negative comment came, he apologized right after and it was forgotten. Eventually the comments came more often; being told how stupid I was, how my degree was worthless, that my family was horrible, my friends were bad for me, the list went on. Eventually when you hear negative comments so often by someone you love and trust, you start to go numb.
I found myself deep into a emotionally/mentally abusive relationship and yet I still believed he loved me. After some time, it turned physical. When the physical abuse happened I told him to stop and he never did. When it got bad, I would turn on myself and start beating myself so that he would stop hurting me. I never called the cops because as he told me that would lead to his arrest. How could I arrest someone I loved? I was blamed as the one provoking him, I provoked a guy into hitting me, punching my head and my face. No matter how it ended, it was my fault. I was lucky because I was able to escape after the relationship ended.
Years have gone by and while there are no visible scars, beneath the surface lies the reality of a relationship turned horribly wrong. Domestic violence happens everywhere, it can happen in a ski town and it can happen to snowboarders and skiers, men or women. The signs are so apparently clear after you’ve been part of it, but hard to see when you love the person doing it. Keep your friends and family close, because without them it’s so easy to get taken advantage of and manipulation will do that. Watch for signs, whether it’s physical or mental and make sure you or your friends always have someone to talk to.
I never thought I would be one of those women…but I am, it’s part of my story and I am sharing this with the hope that it could help others. Please take a second to read a helpguide on signs of domestic abuse and keep an eye out for those close to you.