As I concluded three days of intensive training to volunteer at Palomar; the center for domestic violence (DV) and child abuse, I not only relived my own personal experiences, but also was reminded of the vastness of DV. What an extraordinary group of leaders in our community to have possessed the insight and desire to establish a center where victims could receive such breadth of assistance; emotional support, counseling, legal assistance, childcare, police protection, financial assistance and more. This is a gift to not only our community, but to the countless women whom endure such trauma.
If only such resources had been available to me in 1969, I would not have endured the long-term abuse, but also would have realized I was then and am now, a person of value and worth. As with the majority of DV survivors, I remained because I loved my husband for over 50 years. Yet no amount of love could alter reality. As one of the speakers during the training noted, “we protect what we fall in love with.” Abusers don’t protect. They abuse to control.
We need only listen to or read the current news and realize there are countless validations that men in high places are indeed abusers (most often they are men, rarely are the abusers women). Career success, physical image or zip codes don’t negate such behavior. The more the victim attempts to seek help, the greater the abuse from the perpetrator. They realize they are losing their control.
Had my husband never left to begin his life with another, I would have remained, for my love for him was extraordinary. As one of our speakers noted, anyone whom endures the trauma of DV has not only unfathomable strength, but love which is inexpressible. My gift will now be to give of my time to help those currently walking this sorrowful path. They have resources I never had, but what an asset in Palomar to heal and move forward with their lives.
I have always believed, there is truly a purpose for our heartache. Though our lives may be painful, it is all for God’s glory and honor, Jer. 29:11, NIV, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”