Break the silence!

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A few folks have posed the question of why I never said anything to anyone about my abusive husband. I only had one reason; when you’re married you naturally want to guard the boundaries of your marriage. It is a sacred circle where ONLY you, your spouse and God dwell. That doesn’t mean that you can’t talk to a trusted objective friend about certain things, and this can be positive or negative stuff. However, there are some things which should remain within the circle of three (you, your spouse and God). What happens in the marriage, stays in the marriage . . . sometimes.

It is incredibly difficult to open up about spousal abuse in ANY of its forms. You find yourself whirling and trying to understand what’s happening to you, you can’t even begin to explain to anyone else what is going on. You barely know yourself. When people say “why doesn’t she / he leave?”, they don’t understand how painful and even judgmental that question is. Unfortunately, you really have to live the life of a victim to fully comprehend the gravity of living in an abusive hell. I wouldn’t wish that experience on anyone. You said your vows and meant it. The other person was banking on your allegiance to “till death do us part”.

If you ever get the courage to open up about your abuse, you have to consider the repercussions of your dark confession, because once you know something about someone, you can’t unknow it. For the most part he came across as a charming and warm gentleman. People that I introduced him to were probably receptive to getting to know him because of this. Would their perception of him change? Would their interactions with him change? Would he be given a second chance if he changed?  How could others genuinely ‘reconcile’ to him knowing he was a ‘Jekyll & Hyde?’ Would they believe if I relayed the unspeakable? If I had spoken to others regarding my situation I couldn’t be sure that they would be able to give him the second chance that comes from forgiveness or that they would wipe his slate spotlessly clean. While I was married, I confided in Neriah (who later came on holiday) and my other friend. Both lived abroad and therefore their paths were not likely to cross with Mr. Impatient. Breaking the silence within your own community doesn’t feel so easy though.

It is not an easy decision to make. There is always the possibility of the harsh judgemental ignorance of others telling you that you should have prayed harder, had more faith, never given up or that God hates divorce. Yes, he does actually. It’s in black and white written in His word. There is no ambiguity here. God saying he hates divorce is not the same as Him saying that He hates the divorcee. To face the callous injudicious comments of others regarding your separation or divorce from your abusive spouse is to be abused all over again. Who wants to put up with that? This is why some victims will forever remain silent.

Break the silence; such a powerful hashtag, worthy of viral coverage on social media, highlighted by celebrities. There is much to lose and much to gain by breaking the silence. Everyone will know that you are / were a victim. You might be perceived as being pathetic for putting up with ‘nonsense’, or pitied for being too weak to walk away. On the other hand, breaking a sordid secret is very liberating. It’s all out in the open, no reason to hide or make excuses anymore. Speaking out takes the domination away from the abuser and places autonomy in the hands of the victim. Starting over can be daunting but only you will determine what your reset will be. You won’t be bullied or manipulated. It will all be on your own terms. Freedom from abuse creates your new life, a metamorphosis of your former self. A new self that you owe yourself.

. . . anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new. The old life is gone; a new life emerges! Look at it! 2 Corinthians 5:17

The Message Bible

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