August 17, 2009

Poems by an abuse victim

A client of the Mid Central Community Action, Inc., Countering Domestic Violence program wrote three poems at three different times about her experiences. She included this message:
"I had always thought that I ws the type of person that would never enter into an abusive relationship. However, when I finally met someone who seemed to be the 'man of my dreams', I threw all caution aside and committed myself fully to this man.
Things seemed perfect for a while, but after several months he began to show little regard for my feelings. Initially, his emotional abuse was so subtle that I didn't even recognize what he was doing to me. However, whey my self-esteem reached an all time low, I recognized that it was time to get out.
That is when his abuse became physical. In addition to the physical blows, he began to terrorize me to the point that I truly believed that he was going to kill me. I finally decided to reach out for help.
My advocate at the Countering Domestic Violence was invaluable in helping me to understand that I needed an Order of Protection. However, little did I realize that getting out of the relationship was just the beginning of my journey.
Over the next few months, I became increasingly depressed. Even though I was utilizing the counseling services provided by the CDV and reading every book I could on domestic violence, I felt as if I would never heal from the emotional damage he had caused.
This is when I wrote the victim poem. When I read it to my advocate with Victim Services, she reminded me that I was more than a victim, that I was also a survivor. It was her words to me that inspired the second poem a couple of weeks later.
Thus began a turning point where I began to leave him behind and to work on getting myself better. The final poem was just recently written while I was preparing my story for this article and I realized that the two poems didn't tell the complete story. After many months of work, I finally feel that I have become well again. I believe that writing these poems has really helped me to assess and process the many emotions and issues I have had to deal with. I am certain that expressing this artistically is one of the catalysts that accelerated my healing.
Yet, none of this was done alone. Not only did I receive the support one would expect from friends and family, but it has been the kindness and generosity of those people who work with domestic violence victims within our community that has given me strength to see this through abnd renewed my faith that there are many loving, deecent people in this world."

Poem 1: 'What It Means To Be A Victim

I am the beast
Which you have lain upon the alter
An offering to an angry God
I am the one
Chosen for purity's sake
Whose throat will be slit
As my blood spills out
Ask yourself
Have you come closer to God?
Is God now happy?
As my blood runs down the street
Ask yourself
Can we now find peace?
Or must we come back to this alter?
Again and again
I am the one
That sacrificial beast

Poem 2: 'What It means To be A Survivor'

I have outlived
I have outlasted
I have remained alive
I am still here
As the waters recede
As the flames diminish
As the tremors subside
I am still here
Above the fray
Above all else
To rise like a phoenix
Above and beyond
Beyond belief
Beyond understanding
Beyond a reasonable doubt
Beyond your reach
I am still here
I have outlived
I have outlasted
I have remained alive

Poem 3: 'What It Means To Heal'

I'm back
From that secret place
Curled up
No terrified
Hidden in the dark
Will I ever be safe?
Don't breathe
Not a sound
Don't let him hear you
Just the pounding of my heart
Beat by beat
The rhythm
Brings forth a song
Oh, I want to dance
To sing
To move
These numb limbs of mine
I stir
I stretch
I begin to move
To sway
To lift up my voice
What beauty
Is that really me?
So unlike before
So I dance
I sing
I love
Back again
Dedicated to Betsy
Original:  Poems by local abuse victim

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