I am still here

Just a quick post to say that I’m still here, alive and kicking!

Life is going pretty well for me these days. I’m currently writing a new book — this one to be published under my real name and not my Lucy Johnson pseudonym. I may also re-publish I Am Just A ¬†Woman under my real name with a second part, detailing my recovery from PTSD.

Please know that if you’re here, you are important to me.

And also know that life can be much, much better, even if you have suffered domestic violence or other abuse. Start by reading The Inside-Out Revolution, by Michael Neill; Clarity, by Jamie Smart; or The Relationship Handbook, by George Pransky.

Much love to you.

The Gift of Fear

I started reading a book this morning called The Gift of Fear, by Gavin de Becker. I haven’t gotten very far, but I did read one statistic in the first few pages that floored me.

In the United States, a woman is murdered every two hours by her spouse/significant other.

A woman. Is murdered. Every two hours. By her spouse.

We are losing 12 women per day to spousal homicide.

Excuse me, but is this not a public health crisis of a huge magnitude?

Do the math: That’s 4,380 women per year. MURDERED. By their spouses.

How many of those women have children who then become parentless? What becomes of them? And what happens to the perpetrators? Are they convicted? Do they get away with it?

I’d like to take a moment to imagine 4,380 women standing in front of you right now.

What can we do? I’m asking: What can we do?

A safety plan / DV awareness month

hotlineOctober is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. I almost missed it!

If you are reading this blog and need a safe way to escape an abusive relationship, click here to go to the National Domestic Violence Hotline’s excellent resources for planning a safe exit.

That link goes to a page with several types of safe escape plans:

– If you’re still in the abusive situation

– If you have children

– If you have pets

– If you are pregnant

For every woman out there who is, or has been, in an abusive relationship, please know that I am thinking of you. You are the strongest women I know, and I love you with all my heart.

Why is this so hard to explain?

Over the past few days, I’ve been working on a speech related to domestic violence and my experience with it. I don’t know where I’ll give this speech yet. OK, so maybe I’m doing this in the reverse order — I should have a gig first before I prepare the speech, right?

Maybe. In any event, I’m having difficulty. Specifically, I’m finding it hard to explain that the term “domestic violence” is completely … well, wrong. It doesn’t address the full reality of these situations, and it insinuates that “domestic” makes it somehow different from crimes perpetrated by a stranger. Much like “stranger rape” and “date rape” or “marital rape” are ridiculous distinctions.

If an unknown man comes into your home and rapes you at knifepoint, how is that any different from your husband grabbing you around the throat and threatening to kill you if you don’t have sex with him?

I mean, is it even possible to say which one is “worse”? Each creates its own wake of trauma. With the latter, you have to wake up next to your rapist the next morning, maybe make his coffee and breakfast, tell him how handsome he is, or just keep your mouth shut to avoid further retribution.

If an unknown man walks up to you on the street and calls you a f*&king c*&t, you can walk away from him (with any luck). When your husband does that, day in and day out, even if he doesn’t physically hurt you, is that “violence”? Or does the word “violence” imply only physical violence? So if it’s not physical, it’s not domestic violence?

That’s obviously wrong.

Do you see my problem here?

By even using the term “domestic violence” in my speech, I feel like I’m undermining everything I’m about to say. I’m stuck with a term that doesn’t work. “Domestic abuse” is even worse. And God forbid anyone refer to me as a “battered woman.” UGH. Talk about putting the blame on the wrong person! As if I just stood there and took it? I fought back every single day, within myself. It’s how I generated the emotional and intellectual — yes, intellectual — strength to leave and not get myself killed in the process. (And many women don’t survive when they leave, for various reasons.)

Maybe I just need to say that no term can really encapsulate the experience we label as “domestic violence.” We must look beyond the terminology and its accompanying misconceptions, to see what it really means.