Mama…. he hit me.
Hardly able to get the words off of split lips and swollen tongue. Bruised face. Fractured ribs. Broken heart. She just sat there. Ashamed. Afraid. She’d been hit.
Growing up she was taught that it is wrong for a man to put his hands on her. She was taught that boys shouldn’t hit girls. Hell she tells her own children the same things. Growing up she was taught that if a boy lays a finger on her she should tell her brothers, cousins, fathers. Growing up. . . .But then she grew up. She’d been sent mixed messages about love, violence and discipline. What it feels like. Looks like and should be like. She was taught that sometimes things happen. She was taught that sometimes the love that is shared doesn’t look like the love that she wants. She was told to settle. To endure. To be loyal. To give it time. She was told to be strong. To be patient. To deal with it.
She’d been hit. She didn’t even know why. She kept asking herself, how could this happen to me? He had no intention of hiding or admitting to it. Other women he was involved with made fun of her. Condoned the beatings. Used their knowledge of her abuse to verbally, mentally and emotionally taunt her. She knows all too well what it feels like to be the laughing stock. She’d been hit, by the man she loves, adores, prefers and protects. Her self-esteem took a plummet. Her self-worth, a deep dive. She had been hit.
Instead of being reminded that boys shouldn’t hit girls, she was questioned. What did you do? What did you say? Why did he hit you? Why did you upset him? Why did you call the police? How could you do this? The very same women who encouraged their daughters to leave men who touched them inappropriately, crucified her 17 year old self. The very same women who claimed to raise him right, excused his abusive behavior. The very same women who survived their very own abusive relationships, blamed her. She, had been hit.
In an effort to make amends with her falsified perceptions of people who cared, she dropped the charges. He was released from the county jail and returned to her apartment in which he spent most of his time, but elected to no financial responsibility. He didn’t want to talk about why he had hit her, but did mention that it was her fault, he said she pushed him too far. Still, she was unsure how. So she watched what she said, she watched what she did. She further catered to him and neglected herself. She allowed him to isolate her from those people and things that really sustained her so that he, could control her. Physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. She had been hit.
When a woman is hit, it isn’t just her outer appearance that is bruised. It’s her heart, her mind, her soul, her ego, her esteem, her mental…. it is her future. Just as a child that has grown accustomed to being whooped, she will flinch when a hand goes up. She will think twice about being slick at the mouth. His hands don’t feel the same around her waist. It reminds her of when they were instead around her neck. It’s hard to embrace a kiss on the lips, when they were not long ago split, bleeding, swollen. The hugs are remnants of the restraints. And it is hardly unlikely that she’ll ever forget the bitter, sudden, and widely unexpected sting his hand made, gracing her young, round face. The very same bitterness that fills her heart at the mention of his name. The critique of her feelings toward him.
Often times she looks at herself in the mirror. Not in awe or fear. She just looks. She tries to remember what her eyebrows looked like before she had a cut through em, a reminder of the first time he laid hands on her, pushing her head through the passenger side window because she smiled at her phone while reading a text message.
She attempts to remember her lips, prior to them being swollen. She can’t recall if they were always so thick or slightly thinner before. Her eyes have dark marks beneath them. . she wonders–is it because she stays awake, until he’s in a deep slumber? Afraid that he’ll attack her in her sleep, as he’s done so many times before. Or is it because of the numerous black eyes she had over the past few months. Her neck has red rings around it. From his hands. From his belt. From his pressure.
She can’t remember the last time she had sex with him because she’d felt the urge. Lately it’s been him demanding oral favors and then aggressively forcing himself inside of her. But it’s not rape, she thinks to herself.
Her arms, purple and blue. Black spaces on her back remind her that she is in love with a monster….. she looks on…first thinking of a way out. Then of a way to make it better so she can stay. She thinks of what she was told as a child, boys are not supposed to hit girls. And then the tears push through, as if the levy to her eyelids have broken. She’d been hit, too many times to count, and she started to believe she deserved it. She started to believe this was her fate. She started to believe she could change him. She started to believe it was okay.
I’m here to tell you it’s not! Have you ever had a man hurt you? Not because he cheated, or said something disrespectful. Not because he refused to care for his child(ren) or claim them. Not because he humiliated you in public or on social media, but because he took the very hands you love to hold, and used them to demean you? Used them to bruise you? Break you? Beat you? Have you? Have you ever had a person you thought loved or cared about you, your life, your purpose, choke you until you were unconscious? Drag you down stairs? Kick you while you were carrying his child? Have you? Have you ever been afraid to speak your mind because he’s quick to smack you in your face and slow to answer? Have you ever feared being honest enough to tell someone the truth about what he does to you? Have you ever been afraid to speak the very words that he speaks to you? Because they’re just too damn hurtful to hear again… have you? Have you ever been hit?
Well she had, and because society, and its systems tend to further victimize the victim, rather than start at the root of the issue, there’s a perpetuation of this abuse, especially in communities of color, where police and race relations are not healthy. Especially in other communities where tension is high and women are deemed property. Especially in families where this abuse is a norm.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness month, but aside from the community agencies and grass-root movements that are geared toward mechanisms of prevention, we’ve heard nothing of it.
On average, 1 in 3 women will be involved in a domestic violence situation. 1 in 3. That means 1 out of every 3 of our daughters will have a man who thinks he owns her. An altercation that leads to her being bruised, broken, beaten, afraid, and apologetic. We have girlfriends, sisters, cousins, aunts, mothers and hell sometimes even ourselves, going through like situations. I am a firm believer that wrong is wrong..there are no excuses, justifications, differentiated situations or levels of approval/reasoning. We were not created to be anyone’s punching bag. Do not get love mixed up with abuse. Do not get jealousy confused with care. Don’t trade attention for abuse.
She’d been hit. | if you, or someone you know is experiencing a domestic violence situation, report it and HELP. 9 times out of 10 the victim WILL NOT do it ALONE. So do it for him/her. If you know a man/woman who hits their significant other, child, or parents, report it. For more information on domestic violence facts & resources, click here.