She scuttles around the house, afraid to make a sound.
She hides who she really is whenever he’s around.
He ‘lords’ it over her and tries to make her feel small.
He struts like he’s the man, the man who has it all.
She would leave him in a heartbeat, but the children just might suffer.
She stops his misuse of them; she’s their only buffer.
He tells her not work because he is in control.
Control is what it’s all about to keep her on his dole.
He’s aggressively abusive and domineering; without cause.
He spews insults all over her without an awkward pause.
She thinks that it’s her fault, that she’s the one to blame.
Who could she tell and expose her secret shame?
“Is it something I have done?” she wonders when he’s gone.
The fear won’t go away though she knows she’s all alone.
Is this the bed she made and therefore, must lie in it?
What should she do? What can she do? She’s almost reached her limit.
She looked down at her bruises and contemplated getting out.
She hastened to fix his meal; set aside a glass of stout.
The key turned in the lock, she heard him coming in.
This would be a fight that neither one would win.
He complained about her cooking; he complained about the beer.
He stood over her and shouted; he knocked her on her rear.
She crawled to the closet, dragged herself up off the floor,
stumbled in her haste as she made it to the door.
She called out his name; he turned and looked at her.
It was fast, it was slow; it was all just one big blur.
The stunned look; his shocked expression would haunt her every day.
At her feet he fell and that is where he lay.
Dazed though she was, she thought she heard a noise.
Her kids were coming home and she gained a little poise.
She sent them to a neighbor and then dialed nine-one-one.
Now, she’s in prison, wondering, “What else could I have done?”
Shelby I. Courtland
© 2013 Shelby I. Courtland
As we begin to celebrate the holiday season, let us not forget that this is the time of year that can bring out the worst in people. The holidays seem to induce an increase in domestic violence incidents I know that when I was growing up, the incidents of domestic violence in the home, certainly did escalate during the holidays. More information about the seriousness of domestic violence follows.
Domestic violence can increase during the holidays, resources available.
According to Noah Project Executive Director Leigh Ann Fry, an unprecedented number of victims have been seeking assistance over the past two months. She said more than 900 un-duplicated victims were served from Fiscal Year 2012 to 2013—but the project has already surpassed that number going into the current fiscal year.
Several different factors play into domestic violence. Victims can be of any age or gender and abuse can be either physical or emotional.
Fry said the holiday season does not cause abusive behavior, but it can trigger abuse.
“The person who is a batterer – it’s about control,” Fry said. “There are certain things that will set them off: Increased pressure around the holidays, when it’s cold outside the kids are inside playing [and] they can’t go outside, there’s not enough money to provide the meal—the toys that you want for the holidays—and those kinds of things, you just really begin to see an increase in family violence.”
If you’re visiting family over the holidays, pay close attention to your host and look for anything that seems out of character or out of the ordinary.
“Isolation is a huge red flag,” Fry said. “If it’s someone in your family who has always participated in family meals and family gatherings and suddenly they’re finding all kinds of excuses not to participate, that is a red flag and you need to listen to that.”
Fry pointed out a startling reality about past cases.
“Several times this year we’ve provided services to women who the police have found literally tied up in their homes,” Fry said. “If you’re missing a family member—someone’s just not answering their phone, you feel uncomfortable—call the police, they’ll do a safe well check [or] drive by the house with a friend. Just see if you can tell what’s going on.”
Enjoy the holidays, but also, please remember to please look out for one another and to look after one another.
Once again, the Domestic Violence Hotline number is: 1-800-799-7233.