I decided to devote my life to telling the story because I felt that having survived I owe something to the dead. and anyone who does not remember betrays them again. – Elie Wiesel
All it takes is one action to cause a reaction. This week I watched Janay Palmer get knocked out in an elevator, and my writers block disappeared. I wrote frantically, as though someones life depended upon it. I wrote because I had no other choice. As a survivor of abuse it is now my calling; I share my story so that others may have an example that says, “If I can do this so can you.” There are so many women who are unable to verbalize the darkness that lives in the deep corners of their soul. I speak for those who can’t find their voice, and I speak for those who didn’t make it out alive. I write so that we remember…
Because of indifference, one dies before one actually dies. – Elie Wiesel
They say the opposite of love isn’t hate, its indifference. When we see a wrong and turn a blind eye we are in fact perpetuating hate. The Constitution was written to secure the blessings of liberty. However the truth is so often very far from this for many women in this country. It may not appear so to the naked eye, but close their front doors and the cage is waiting.
In any society, fanatics who hate don’t hate only me – they hate you, too. They hate everybody. – Elie Wiesel
There is a huge gap of misunderstanding in our society on the subject of domestic violence. I understand that for those who have never been exposed, its hard to wrap your head around the concept of trauma bonding. I lived it, and it took me years to wrap my head around it. I needed to be able to step back and understand what had happened to me; what happens to so many women. This is the human condition and we are all a part of the cause and the solution. Hate is an evil parasite that feeds on whatever it can get it’s hands on, so never say that it couldn’t happen to you because hate does not discriminate.
Someone who hates one group will end up hating everyone – and, ultimately, hating himself or herself. – Elie Wiesel
The German philosopher Nietzsche believed that whoever did not control would be controlled. The marginalized often rise up to become the oppressor. It’s written all over our history books and it’s written on the hospital walls where so many battered women go to die. Control is the epi-center for most abusers. The moment their control is questioned or challenged any facade of order is shattered, and the shit hits the fan. There are many pathologies that can create an abuser, but they have one thing in common, they HATE.
I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. – Elie Wiesel
It has taken me years to find my voice. Like so many survivors my brain has suffered enormous stress. Understand that not all wounds are visible. My adrenal glands are fatigued, I have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and chronic anxiety. It’s hard for me to deal with “me” many days. Can you imagine living with a fight or flight response; adrenaline coursing through your veins? You are in hyperdrive. Let me tell you that adrenaline is not a great bedfellow. In spite of all this, I have worked so incredibly hard to find my way here. To a place that I can string two thoughts together in order to speak not just my truth, but so many countless others. I don’t write for literary accolades, I write to save my life, and hopefully others.
Mankind must remember that peace is not God’s gift to his creatures; peace is our gift to each other. -Elie Wiesel
Lately I have struggled with the notion that my legacy is simply going to be that I survived my abuser, but I desire much more. It’s an ugly story and not one that any little girl fantasizes about for her future. It is my belief that I survived so that I can hold the hands of others as they struggle to find their way after abuse. There are moments where I feel burdened, afraid, and exhausted. The kind of exhaustion that cuts to the core; along with headaches, stomach issues, and cognitive issues. I battle night terrors, those God awful memories that come out when you are off guard; the insomniacs accomplice. There are days when I just want to wake up, walk away, and declare that I have put in my time. This week has given me a renewed call to action. As awful and ugly as my story is I must keep sharing it because my voice is bringing hope to those who can’t speak up for themselves. Like I did, they are probably trying to figure out “how the hell did I end up here?”. My gift to them is a voice, hope for a life beyond the abuse, and light to follow when theirs is dimming. It’s a lonely and dark place to be when you are trapped in an abusive relationship.
Our obligation is to give meaning to life and in doing so to overcome the passive, indifferent life. – Elie Wiesel
I quote Elie Wiesel here because he was such a light for me during a very dark time. He gave me hope, not only for a new beginning, but for peace. I believed him and he was right. My life hasn’t been a fairytale. In fact I am covered in invisible scars. What was it all for? I have to believe that it was for a greater good. That I was called to lead other women to find hope. To show them that freedom is viable and that starting over is possible. If I stayed quiet I would be doing a great injustice. I may only be one person, but I walk with courage, dignity, love, determination, and gratitude. If I remained silent, out of fear, I would be turning a blind eye to the truth and in turn endorsing the abuser. So I write…. xo Ella
When a person doesn’t have gratitude, something is missing in his or her humanity. – Elie Wiesel
9 thoughts on “A Call to Action.”
Wonderful post. I love your use of Elie Wiesel. He’s a hero of mine, and an inspiration. I celebrate you, as a fellow survivor.
Hello there and thank you so much. Elie Wiesel …what an amazing human. Love to you! xo Ella
So beautifully from the heart. Genuine empathy that allows the amazing voice to echo. Please know that your writing is touching lives. XO, stay blessed!
Thank you so much Bridget. This is my hope and my words are my prayer. I have to act. xo Ella
I just want to say “thank you,” an understatement indeed, for voicing what many of us have gone through and are still going through. Gwen Smith
Gwen, You are so welcome. It took me years to find this voice, but I don’t intend to stop writing about this subject. I will keep writing. Thank you for commenting here. If you are on Facebook come join me. xo Ella
Perfectly done. I had a discussion with some close to me who sees another side, I don’t disagree with him fundamentally, but argue with him constantly because his logic runs against the ‘walk in my shoes’. What I mean by this is logic cannot entirely answer the emotional issues involved with domestic violence, it is easy to apply logic from the outside looking in but until you ‘walk in my shoes’ you will never understand.
His anger at the current debate is understandable, I get it. Our raised voices as survivors, our stories sometimes drown out the reality of the complete picture. I agree with him and others who are trying to open the door. Your voice, it is so important.
I don’t know why it still comes as such a shock to me when I relate to the symptoms of abused individuals so similar to mine. I hesitate to go public with my story because of the confusion it brings and the fingers it points. I know it is my gift to those who were raised in the same damning religion I was.
I am the only child of an independent fundamental Baptist preacher. My dad is my adopted dad since around the age of 6. My mother is biological. My biological father was cut out of my life for what can only be prejudice of his lifestyle. He was a creative, community active, successful human being…..he was gay. He was the primary caregiver for the first 3 years of my life. He died at the age of 43 of aids which he survived for 15 years. I spent the last two years of his life with him for which I am grateful.
My parents have more recently, I am 44, apologized, quit the ministry, started working through their own abused issues. They both came from non religious abusive homes. we are loving but don’t have a continual need to be in each others lives. It is still uncomfortable.
That being stated, I want to write and publish my story. But I want it to be healing to those that read it not just a vent session. I am still confused and stunted in my own life. I am in a position for the first time in my life to just be still and look at myself and this inner child of mine. I have done a lot for myself in the way of self healing but never reached the point of complete healing and more so acceptance. I also live back in the region in which it all happened and so many of the kids who were raised in that mess have found me.
I have one very dynamic gift in my life that is proof to me that I did the courageous thing in leaving that religion as painful to myself and many others it has been…. my daughter. She is 19 and an amazing, compassionate,,beautiful and confident young woman.. She is also my best friend. I just chose to be very honest with her though the course of my crazy, emotional, “i’m gonna figure this out” years.
The term Rebel has been negated me for years. It is what drew me to you in the first place. You replied to a comment I wrote on your fb post and I knew right then I wanted to tell you a watered down version of my story. My book will be very raw but it will meet the need for an “answer”.
I welcome any advice, references, information that will help my journey. you have already encouraged my heart. thank you…Jaemi Michelle
I am so glad that you commented here. I remember responding to you on the main RT page…i love your name.
First I am sorry for all the struggles, but remember that it is from our struggles in which we grow. Your dad sounds like he was awesome and I am so sorry you lost him to that terrible disease far too early. Its a terrible loss.
I too was raised in a very oppressive religious home. My parents have also come to me as an adult and apologized for their mistakes.
What advice can I give you? You need to dig deep. Learn why you have fallen into certain patterns that may be destructive. Have self accountability for you life. I also suggest that you learn to forgive your parents and then forgive yourself. The past is in the past and in order to move forward you need to arrive at a clean slate. I don’t say this lighty as it it took me some years to arrive at that place. Dig deep…you are worth it.
I agree that your story should be shared as I share mine. It connects us. Might I suggest you start a blog? Writing a book is a great plan, but you might want to try to do a little writing in “chapters’ first.
Go for it no matter what. Writing is such a healing meditation…if you saw how many blog posts i write and never publish you would be shocked. sometimes it is just for my own growing. It helps me to have thoughts on paper.
Love and light to you my friend…stand tall! xo Ella