Whenever I used to hear the words domestic violence, I automatically thought of what the media portrays to us on TV and in movies. I pictured scary men beating the living shit out of their sweet and timid wives or girlfriends. It's something that unfortunately happens every day, not only to women, but to men too. Anyone can be a victim of domestic abuse. And I really mean anyone, even me.
So here is my open letter to the boy who strangled me in his drunken rage, and how it changed my life forever.
Dear the boy who strangled me,
I want to firstly start by thanking you. This might sound strange but hear me out. I have a sigh of relief in me as I type these words to you, because now that months have passed and I have had time to heal from our time together, I feel so empowered.
I used to think I was a strong, independent and sassy girl, who could drink any man under the table, have a witty come back for any situation and be able to stand up for herself no matter what. Then I met you. Slowly but surely over the course of our relationship I saw the parts of myself that I valued so much start to slowly disappear. Gradually, I turned into someone I didn't know or recognize.
I turned shy and paranoid. I was nervous and anxious without any explanation. I found myself worrying about everyone else and not about myself. I was too scared to talk, in case I hurt or upset your feelings, and I believed everything you said to me. Even the horrible things. I had lost myself and didn't realize until it was too late.
Up until the night it happened, you'd shown warning signs and I'd chosen to ignore them. Clenched fists. Punching walls. Slamming doors and smashing glasses. I remember the night you drunkenly threw a beer bottle at me in bed and I didn't as much as flinch as it shattered on my skin and the blood stained my sheets. I was used to this behavior by now, and I didn't question it like I should have.
Fast forward a few months and your temper has escalated, your paranoia has increased and my personality is non existent. I was a shell of the girl I once was. Stumbling home after yet another alcohol-infused argument outside of the bar, you stole my phone and ran up the street. You were eager to see who'd been texting me all night, determined to find some kind of evidence of infidelity, while I cried my eyes out begging you to come back and stop being so ridiculous.
You finally returned,convinced I must have deleted all the evidence. You smashed my phone to the pavement, and you grabbed me while I bent down to get it. Your one hand, gripped firmly around my neck was quickly joined by the other one, pushing me against the wall and squeezing with all your strength you held onto my throat.
This wasn't an accident; this was on purpose. I don't know what you were screaming at me, I can't even remember what I was thinking. All I remember was the complete and utter shock and terror I felt in my stomach, as I looked into the eyes of someone I loved and felt for a moment that there was quite possibly a chance that he could easily kill me if he wanted to.
And it felt like he wanted to.
I was numb after that night. No amount of crying, apologies or begging for forgiveness could shake that feeling out of my gut. I never wanted to feel you beside me again. I never wanted you to touch me and I could no longer look you in the eyes. The night you strangled me was my waking moment. You shocked the life back into me.
You made me sit down and have an honest and heartbreaking look at my life and what it had become. You shook up the passion inside of me again, my passion for life. I realized how much more I deserved than the love you were giving me. I realized I was a smart, charming and funny girl who any man would be lucky to have. I knew that becoming that crying girl on the street, as someone physically and mentally hurt me, was not the future I had imagined for myself.
So as I watched the bruises fade and waited for you to stop contacting me, I felt myself slowly come back to life. I was smiling again, I was funny and witty and I was making people laugh. And sitting in a coffee shop one lunch time with a friend she looked at me with so much love and said, “I'm glad you're back." And it was the best feeling in the world.
So thank you to the boy who strangled me because if you hadn't of done what you did that night, I would probably still be in that abusive relationship, existing under your controlling thumb and sinking deeper and deeper into the depression I was already in.
Thank you for making me realize how much better than you I am, and how I will never, ever let another human -- male or female -- have that much power and control over my life ever again.
Thank you for making me realize how strong I am.
Love from, The girl you never deserved.