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I was always drawn toward women and family issues. As soon as my boys were old enough, and in high school, I started volunteering at the family services center for women and children. This community charitable organization helps empower women by teaching them how to get out of abusive situations and live independent and abuse free lives.
One day, we, the officers of the organization, had to take part in a training session where we were shown how to spot signs of abuse and how to help women understand that it is abuse, and advise them how they can find help to get out of it and become independent. As part of that training we had to watch a video where a couple is at a party. They are talking to another couple. Everyone is drinking, laughing and having fun. The party ends and the first couple goes to their car. The man is driving. The woman is putting her lipstick on as she is still smiling and talking. All of a sudden, smack…. The man slapped the wife and changed the whole happy scene. He is yelling and the wife is bleeding in the lip, the lipstick is smudged across her face, she is in shock.
As I was watching this movie on the screen, tears started running down my cheeks. I turned to the other counselor sitting next to me and I said to her, “I think I am living that life. I have been through that many times.” She held my hand and told me she understands. She already suspected, from the kind of questions I was asking, that I was talking about myself. She could feel that I had first-hand experience of living with domestic abuse, but I had no Idea. I had never called my situation ‘Abuse’, even though I knew I wasn’t happy. I found out later that it is quite normal to do that. We often give small names to big situations so we can handle them.
It was so ironic that I joined that group to help other women and I ended up becoming a ‘case’ they helped. They made me see that I was living with abuse. They made me realize that I deserved better and that I needed to do something about my situation.
Once I was made aware, I could not hide it anymore. I knew now that how I was living was not normal. I needed to take care of my boys and myself. I could not accept the abuse any longer. I told my husband that I was going to leave unless he changed the situation at home. He did not think anything needed changing, and I left. It was hard but I had to do it. I had to leave, for my boys and for me. I could not accept anything less than to be happy and free.
Since I left, I have found what freedom is. I finally live my life the way I want to. And I am happy! Now my mornings start with, what does Veera want to do? Then Veera does!!
Life is good!