This is Annie.  My rescue pup, who has a sad past, from what can be gathered.  She is a survivor just like me.  I know that she was abused, because like me, she is uneasy when someone moves too quickly to her.  She doesn’t like new people or dogs right off the bat and she is very untrusting.  The poor sweet gal didn’t even know how to play with her dog toys.  She exhibits traits that mean she was hurt badly before, and in situations where she was not loved, and it hurts my heart, because I see myself that way too.  There is an inherent understanding with Domestic Violence victims.  I am happy to report that Annie is a very happy and sweet girl, spoiled so rotten now, that she actually smiles and does her “happy dance”.  She loves A LOT, and she has learned to start trusting again.  But, she will always be scarred, she will always be wary, and her capacity for certain situations is forever altered.

So, same.

I am a survivor of domestic violence. A survivor.  The topic at hand is too large for one post, but for my new little baby blog, I say “well, we have to start somewhere.”  I want to start with a post I shared that was picked up by my good friends at the Samaritan House.  I ask anyone to better acquaint themselves with their services, if not for your self, surely someone you know.  The staggering 1 in 4 statistic means we all do in fact, know someone.  Had I known about them, things may have changed dramatically from my story now. Www.samaritanhouseva.org and see the end of post for more info.

This post of mine was a result of yet another very public, celebrity DV encounter.  I had enough, so here goes… just accept if you cannot understand.

‘I am not here to debate. I am here as a survivor. I feel compelled to speak, because the media has propelled a surge in opinion, and my nightmares have returned. When I share my story, I hear from people ALL the time, “whyyyyyyy did you stay?” I understand the question but the truth is, there isn’t any good answer, not for others or myself. All of the reasons I stayed I feel are in these tweets, [ #whyistayed ] and then some… but they are also all personal. Abuse lowers you to the lowest form of yourself, it takes your control, your dignity, your strength, your hope, your will and in my case, it wasn’t an overnight journey… in or out. My faith remained and slowly helped me, to pull me out of the darkness. Regaining my life was part of the battle, forgiving myself for staying was too, so please spare your judgement while there is always healing to do. What I prefer to hear from people when I share, is support, and maybe, just maybe, be a hope and light for others. Everyone is entitled to their opinion of course, but please remember there is a heart and soul that is damaged on the other end receiving your message, wouldn’t it be amazing for it to be a helpful, hopeful one? Everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle, BE LOVE!”

You do not need to know the why, it will not make anything make more sense to you.  What we need is more support, more open communication and less judgement.  I do not ask Annie what she did to be hurt, or what roll she played, I just try to love her more.

Domestic Violence really boils down to any situation where one you know is affecting your life in a negative and harmful way.  Physically, emotionally, mentally, financially, etc. If you or someone you know needs help, seek it. It is about survival.

Local hotlines VA state: 800-838-8238, Samaritan house 757-430-2120, H.E.R. Shelter 757-485-3384, Genieve Shelter 757-925-4365