Violence against women: you, -yes, you!- can solve it.
Growing up wasn’t easy for John. He was constantly under attack from his parents, especially his mother. She insulted him, yelled at him all the time and beat him with everything she could lay her hands on. John cried and cried; and the more he cried, the more violence she used to make his tears stop. Anything John did, like coming home with dirty clothes after an afternoon spent playing on the street with his friends, was enough for her to give vent to her anger. His home wasn’t the only threatening place for John. When he went to school he had to go through the same treatment he suffered at home. His teacher was also a very dangerous woman.
feared her, not only her students but the students of the whole
institute. Everybody knew she beat and verbally abused her little
students. Children, parents and colleagues knew and many were
testimonials of those happenings, but unfortunately nobody ever took
measures to stop her. She was afterall a teacher, thus with a status
and belonging to the middleclass. Practically untouchable. She
yelled and beat her students constantly. For John going to school
meant entering hell every single day, for five interminable years. He
didn’t dare to talk at home about what happened at school. He was
sure that his parents would think that he was making it up and punish
him even worse.
Fortunately John had a secret place where he could go and experience the peace he couldn’t find in the adult world: nature. Often John went to the beautiful hills that surrounded the village where he lived. It took only twenty minutes to arrive but it felt like it was a thousand miles away from the terrifying reality he was chained to. He walked and ran immersed in nature, between the trees and the rocks. He breathed deeply the pure air that caressed his hair, his face, his body. When he was at the top of the highest hill he felt free. He opened his arms and embraced life, receiving from that beautiful environment the love he deserved. He pointed a finger in the air to touch the sky, so blue and clean, a wonderful painting of perfection. Why couldn’t there be such of perfection at home? He cried and his tears found their relief in the silent passage of a flock of birds. Then he wished he could be one of them, to fly far away from the horror he had to go through every day, to reach destinations without the obligation to remain anywhere and be free to choose when to leave for the next adventure.
Nightfall brought him back to another reality. It was time to go back. Silently John returned home. Resigned to his terrible destiny, John grew up with a deep wound in his heart. The mistreatment he went through molded him into a violent man. He lost his capacity to choose his reactions: wrapped in pain he became a slave of the toxic inheritance his mother filled him with. This manifested itself through a careless attitude towards himself and others, especially women. He was so scared of being rejected like he had been by his mother, that he unconsciously devastated and broke the relationships before the woman did. No matter how painful this was for him too, he couldn’t help it. He was program to destroy. He had forgotten to be free, forgotten what he had known as a child: that he had a choice, that things could be different. Would he remember it again?
If we really want to solve the problem of violence against women we must look at the problem from a different perspective, even though this isn’t easy. We, women have the power to give life or death to our children. When they are in our womb it’s we who decide what their reality will look like, because it’s we who pass onto them their lifeblood. If we don’t love ourselves, we feed them on our lack of love, teaching our sons to hate themselves… to hate women.
Testament of Courage
a woman’s story to overcoming violence and finding love
When I met him I immediately fell in love with him. He was so handsome, strong and charming. He had a loving, piercing glance that made me feel the most beautiful woman in the world. Something about him attracted me like a magnet. I had never felt that way. At that moment I was sure we were meant to be together. After many relationships with men who weren’t emotionally available, finally I got what I wanted: a man who loved me, just like I loved him. A man who made me feel good about myself, a man who listened to me and understood me. He seemed to know about life, about women, about how to care. During the first years of our relationship we spent a lot of time together. I was experiencing a dream...that I never thought would soon become a nightmare.
One day he decided to leave his job to give to his life another direction. Things didn’t unfold like he thought and the pressure he began to experience was strong enough to free what he had repressed his whole life: anger! His anger manifested itself in aggression. For I was the only one so close to him, I became his perfect, easy target. He began to attack me psycho-emotionally and verbally. I couldn’t believe that the man I loved and admired, the man who loved me so much could use violence against me. Initially they were sporadic episodes but in time they became an enduring routine. I was constantly under his power. I had no way to escape. I was pushed to a corner and forced to be verbally tortured. I cried and screamed, begging him to not to hurt me anymore.
I loved him, how could he be so cruel? I spent years under those terrible circumstances, hoping that he could change. In the beginning I forgave him because I believed one day he was going to open his eyes and see what this was doing to me. Unfortunately this didn’t happen. He kept abusing me psychologically and verbally over and over again. I started to get physically sick. I was losing my dignity and didn’t feel like a woman anymore. I lived in fear, constantly. Every sound made my heart leap. I knew that staying in that relationship was going to kill me. I was too scared to call the police because I knew his reaction would hurt me more - but to continue to tolerate violence wasn’t an option either. There had to be another solution!
Instead of getting discouraged, I decided to see that experience as a mirror. In some way I knew that I was the one who had allowed the violence into my life, but didn’t know how. The reason why was written into my soul. One day, while I was talking to a friend about my situation, I suddenly felt inside myself the answer I was looking for: I didn’t believe that I was worthy of being loved, therefore I attracted and forced myself to accept men who weren’t emotionally available and aggressive.
Becoming aware of this was such a relief!
Suddenly everything fell into the right place. I began to work at myself to free my heart from the toxic conviction that was destroying my life. I learned to love myself and to believe I deserved to receive love. When I decided to keep distance from my partner the circumstances around me started to support my decision. It was amazing to see how powerful this process of change was! Step by step I freed myself from the chains that kept me imprisoned. I have now created a new life full of love and I hope that through sharing my experience to become an instrument to inspire other women and men to prevent and banish violence in their own lives.