After spending time creating my personal blog, I decided to create a “Page” on Facebook to raise awareness of domestic violence. Common abusive tactics include physical violence, sexual violence, isolation, economic abuse, emotional abuse, intimidation, reproductive coercion, and stalking.
So far, my page has reached 1,374 people, nationwide- as of now. I encourage as many of you who are reading to this to like my story and share it with others. My own family members had no idea the extent of what was happening in my household. My life on the inside was a secret.
I felt ashamed.
Domestic violence does not discriminate. Here are some interesting statistics I found based on Georgia alone:
Georgia Domestic Violence Statistics
- From 2003 through 2015, at least 1,550 Georgia citizens lost their lives due to domestic violence.
- Georgia was recently ranked 17th in the nation for its rate of men killing women.
- Firearms were the cause of death in 80% of recorded domestic violence fatalities in 2015.
- 50% of victims in cases studied by Georgia’s Domestic Violence Fatality Review Project began their relationship with the person who eventually killed them when they were between the ages of 13-24.
- In 36% of the cases studied by Georgia’s Domestic Violence Fatality Review Project, children witnessed the domestic violence homicide.
- In 2014, law enforcement officers responded to 65,529 family violence incidents in Georgia.
- In 2014, there were 21,993 protective and stalking orders issued in Georgia.
- In FFY 2015, there were 44,317 crisis calls to Georgia’s certified domestic violence agencies.
- In FFY 2015, 5,998 victims and children who were provided 292,634 nights of refuge in a Georgia domestic violence shelter.
- In FFY 2015, 2,554 victims made a request for shelter but their request was not met due to lack of space.
When I initially left my husband back in 2016, I recall going back and forth in my head about going back to him. I did go back, several times. Each time, things got worse.
One of the Victim Advocates in Athens, Georgia pleaded with me to stay put. She said, “Jennifer, based on your situation, it is very likely that if you leave where you are at tonight, you will get killed. Your lethality assessment is off the charts.”
I’ve been told by some, that I suffered with Stockholm Syndrome. I kept going back. I didn’t know why, I just did. It was all I really knew. To me, I felt like at least with him I knew what to expect (although I really didn’t- he was a ticking time bomb, and just when you thought you’d seen it all- he’d surprise you again).
I went through phases. The problem was, he kept getting to me, and I allowed it. Sure, we had a Protective Order in place, but that wouldn’t stop him from winning me over. I needed time away from him, but never got it. I wasn’t strong enough to let him go “for real“.
It’s been almost three months now since I FINALLY let him go, once and for all. By that, I mean I abandoned my wedding dress. I left it behind. I’ve started deleting photos of us together. Any kind of “trigger”, I’ve let it go.
I don’t remember EVER feeling as healthy as I do right now. Not only am I able to discover myself, but I am growing closer and closer to God each day. He is my strength. He will provide and take care of me. My God is an awesome God. I am finally at peace.
Today… Today I received a message from a Victim Advocate saying that it looked as though Dominick was dismissing his motion to withdraw his guilty plea for the simple assault charge. She said that I did not have to appear in court tomorrow, and that the Probation Revocation Hearing and the Status Conference Hearing on the Aggravated Stalking charges would be heard on Friday, July 14th, 2017. She also told me to take time to write out my “Victim Impact Statement” and to e-mail it to her by Thursday. I will have an opportunity to address my abuser for the very first time since his incarceration in April of 2017.
The emotions. It’s funny, I can sit here and tell my story without putting much thought into it. When I blog or journal, it’s just natural to me. But I’ve found myself procrastinating on writing the impact statement. All I have done so far, is stared at a blank screen on the computer. Because that’s kind of how I feel. It’s like… where do I start?
It’s something that will get done, because I feel like it is needed- especially in my recovery. I’m praying for God to give me the words I need to say to him, and to work in his life, as he has done in mine.
So, Friday will be a big day for me. I would appreciate as many prayers as possible. The children were moved about a week ago to another foster family in a different county; so I’m working with DFCS to schedule our next visit. I miss them so much, and I pray this happens soon.
I have been in communication with my therapist, and will be permitted to begin sessions beginning the week of July 17th, 2017.
My twin sister picked me up this evening so that we could attend a “Recovery” group together at our local church. I absolutely LOVE going to these groups! I’m surrounded by such STRONG women.
Another big day, Wednesday, July 12th, 2017. I have a scheduled meeting with my lawyer in Athens, Georgia to file for my divorce.
I’m one step closer… ❤
Domestic Violence Related Links: