Domestic Violence!

Love should never leave bruises, nor lead to killing. Pick up the phone. Help IS available!
Love should never leave bruises, nor lead to killing. Pick up the phone. Help IS available!

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?”

Written by,
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.

19 thoughts on “Domestic Violence!

  1. Very powerful post, Shelby. Spent years married to the man you wrote about…holidays were always the worst and the violence and abuse always spiked from Nov-Jan. I never even knew about a domestic violence helpline…wish I had known because I certainly would have used it. Thanks for the great reminder for us all to beware and help one another!!!


    1. Thank you for your comment MisBehaved! Same here! I spent years married to this mess and had to leave everything behind and everyone I knew behind to get away from him. It wasn’t easy, but the alternative was just too much to continue to put up with. I am just so thankful that I had the education and skills to start over. Many women do not have those advantages, I only wish they did. It does not make it easy, but it makes it easier to start over somewhere else. Oftentimes, family are enablers as mine were. Sometimes abuse is a generational thing, handed down from one generation to another. That was certainly the case with me.
      My mother suffered abuse and my ex-husband watched his father abuse his stepmother and yet, I was a victim of abuse from him. The first time he hit me, we were sent to counseling, together. The second time he hit me, he was sent to view films of what impact continued abuse has on a woman; emotionally, physically and mentally. That didn’t work and the next time he appeared in court, he was sent to jail. But of course, they cannot keep them there forever. And yes, I remember that I always seemed to be headed to court during the holidays.

      I am so glad to know that you got out and I sincerely hope that you are extremely happy, well and enjoying the holidays now.


      1. Part of what kept me bound to the ex for so long was the fact that I had no education and had only worked the family business so no real job experience – or at least not enough to make me easily employable. I went back to the family after the first beating; was told that “married people fight” and I should grow up & go home to my husband – exactly what happened to my mom when she went back home looking for help as a young woman. Married people may fight but they don’t all put fists through walls and break things…I just had no way of knowing that back then. No wonder cycles repeat and repeat themselves! The last time I left him, I escaped through the bedroom window…he was beating on the door and I knew if I was still in the room when he beat it down, I’d be dead – or wish I was. I had $30 in my pocket and the clothes on my back when I made that final break; didn’t even have a place to sleep that night but knew I’d be safer on a park bench than in that house. That was Nov. 2002 – just before Thanksgiving and just as his hollydaze horror mood was starting up. Go figure, eh?

        After the escape I couch surfed & lived on the edge of being homeless. I borrowed a bike, got a job in a cabinet shop…and well, the rest is history as they say. I did volunteer work with the local PD as part of their victims’ advocacy program helping other abuse victims and that work went a long ways towards healing my wounds. The time in hell felt a little less wasted if I used what I learned to save others, ya know?

        Oh – I remarried and my hubby now would chop off his own hand before he’d ever raise it against me so the most stressful part of our holidays together is choosing pecan or pumpkin pie! 😉


  2. Sigh. Warned him once, warned me twice. Good thing you got the additional information up. To call is to have at least some evidence of abuse should things end up for the worse.
    It is war. Peace.


    1. Indeed, No Black Pete! I am hoping that the scenario depicted in this poem does not have to actually play out, although I know it does. The children suffer, the mother is imprisoned after believing that there is no alternative. I realize that some people do not care for battered women’s shelters and no, they are not the Savoy or The Ritz, but safety is of extreme importance. And many women are ashamed and think that it is something that they are doing because many do not believe that they do nothing, absolutely nothing to bring on attacks of violence. The problem lies with the abuser. And he wants to isolate his victim because she would be less likely to receive help if she is discouraged from talking to former friends and family members.

      I know that you are shedding light on this terrible, tragic, serious and ongoing horror and I thank you!


  3. Sigh. As if there isn’t enough shit to deal with in life, we terrorize one another because … damned if I know why. To make the abuser feel better, more powerful? One of my aunts got out only after her husband almost killed her. And she lived in fear of him coming after her for 40 years. The man’s been dead since 1997, and I’m not sure she isn’t still half-afraid of him.

    If I try to watch many talk shows, I get the feeling that we talk about everything too damn much. But then I think of my aunt, and how nearly fatal her silence was.

    Thank you Shelby, let us hope this will help. I certainly wish I had understood more, and had recognized the (several) domestic terrorists in my own family. – Linda


  4. Linda, I can certainly understand where your aunt is coming from because I could not live with another man. If I go out on a date, he has to go home. There is to be no staying with me. I’ll not have that and I think that it is leftover fear from my marriage. It took me years to not flinch when a man approached me. I dearly love having my own home and no one to tell me to do shit. Or have a problem with any thing I do or say. If I don’t want to burn up a meal trying to cook(I don’t cook very well)I don’t hear a damn word. I cannot cuss myself out and wallop me one upside the head.

    At least we know that there are some signs to look for. And I think that more information is available nowadays, than there was back when your aunt was being abused. It is such a shame that in many instances, the abused never fully recover from the abuse, much like in your aunt’s case. I truly feel for her.
    And thanks for taking the time to comment Linda! I know that you are ‘gearing’ up for your babysitting gig. Bless your heart! I’m sorry, I couldn’t resist. I am SO bad!


    1. Shelby, I can hardly wait! .. for Friday. I don’t suppose you’d be interested in trading gigs? I’d be happy to take on your next run with the bulls, if you’d watch that little devil — I mean darling Little Johnny tomorrow. No? No way in hell, you say? See, I knew you were a very, very smart woman! That’s all right, I’m almost prepared for battle … as long as they don’t mind me tasering the fun-loving little cherub. – Linda


      1. I absolutely ADORE your sense of humor!! Even if I drank an entire bottle of the finest French champagne and was drunker than a sailor on shore leave, it would still be HELL NO when it came down to babysitting that little badass piss! A taser? From what I hear tell from the psych reports from his last babysitter who is, unfortunately, wrapped up in a straight jacket and institutionalized with no hope of ever being released, she tried using a taser and let’s just say that she didn’t fare very well. You need a military tank to roll over the little SOB. And make sure you back up and roll over him again and you may not be able to quit doing it until his stupid parents get back. Then, just stay in the tank and ride off and don’t look back because he will get up and commence to stomp a mud hole in their ass.
        I think I’ve found a way out for you! Ask Tubularsock if he’ll step up to the plate!! I think he’s up to the task! I’d love to see that! Wouldn’t you? LMAO!!!


  5. Shelby, you’re brilliant! Sounds like a great show — from a safe distance. Tubularsock probably even has his own commando squad, if he needs backup. And we could sell tickets for it — Battle of the Titans for sure! I can’t believe he’d take the job though. But thanks for trying to help. – Linda


    1. Shelby – On second thought, I’m sure he would do it — for you. Still think you’d make a fun couple … though it’s a little scary thinking of the kids you might have together. I’d absolutely retire from babysitting before that happened! – Linda


      1. Oh, you’d retire from babysitting, eh? I wouldn’t blame you. Me with my so obnoxious, wild and rebellious, jumped up attitude and all that and Tube with his love of ALL things material, not to mention his ability to skip out, only to resurface in the damndest of all places, damn it to hell!, the little tyke would hardly stand a chance! He’d be James Bond on steriods and with a serious flair for the dramatic. It would be all that I could do to keep him/her from ‘running with the bulls’ right along side me. Can you imagine a little 6 year old tyke in 18″ stiletto heels running with the bulls? Trying to keep up with mummy’s adventures and keep out of daddy’s hair twist. Geez! We’d better not even go there!! We’d even give that little shit Johnny, a run for his money. My money’s on Tube and I, or should I say, the ‘King and I’? LMAO!!! Too funny, the thought!


    2. ROFLMAO!! That response was priceless! Get your tickets! LOL! Tickets over here! Tubularsock’s hair twist would be twisted around his neck by Little badass Johnny! But, we must not count Tube out as he may have something up his sleeve that we know nothing about. For his sake, I certainly hope so, that is if he consents to babysit the little piss for you. I cannot stop laughing!


  6. @MisBehavedWoman, Lord have mercy! Your situation sounds so similar to mine, I am getting a sense of déjà vu! I, too had to leave hurriedly out into the night. The sad fact is that I had already left him, but because we lived in a small town, he knew where I had moved to and would get his friends to park outside my home, attempting to terrorize me. Of course, back then, there was no Homeland Security just waiting to lock somebody the hell up over a terroristic threat of ANY kind. Then the SOB would come over and practically knock my door down trying to get in. I had to call the police, but even getting a restraining order did not stop him from coming. But I digress. Before I forget, I wanted to add that when the beatings first started, I went home to my parents and was told almost verbatim what you were told. My mother, even to this day, tried to deny that court papers came to their home for me to go to court because my ex was brought up on assault and battery charges. I told her that she can deny the truth until the cows come home, but I thrust the court papers underneath her damn nose and told her, “deny it now!” She looked so stupid, it’s ridiculous! I have kept those papers and I kept them just so that not if, but WHEN she denied it, I could damn near slap her with them. I came close. She even now, calls my ex, the same one who beat, stomped, body slammed, choked and kicked her daughter and she even gave him my dad’s Sunday church suits when he died. And I had the gall to drop everything and rush to her aid when I found out that she had congestive heart failure. Seriously? It would seem that I am a glutton for punishment.

    My mother and I are not even speaking now and I would have it no other way. I don’t care how ‘old school’ she is to think that a ‘beating a day is a sign of love’, that shit doesn’t work for me and never will.

    Again, I am so glad that you have found true love and know that it is not supposed to be one pain filled day after another. Good on you that you helped others who were going through what you, yourself had gone through and that by doing so, it sort of helped you cope. Me, I moved to another state and went underground as much as I could, stayed off the radar and I later learned that it was a good thing I did because they(my mother and my ex was trying to find me and had even called my cousin who worked for the Washington, DC police department to try and find me). A former co-worker of mine told me that he had been to her home, beating down the door demanding that she tell him where I was. To this day, she shivers every time she tells me about that. She said that even my mother called her and cussed her out for not telling my ex where I was. I felt so bad because she had been a wonderful friend and co-worker to me and she did not deserve to have them come down on her as if my leaving was her fault. My mother? I’ll never understand her and I have long since given up trying. She is what she is and that’s that.

    Anyway, I hope that your holiday is going great and I hope that you know only love and, take care of each other! Happy holidays to you and yours!


  7. I can remember when I was growing up and seeing domestic violence in my family as well in the street and in friends homes, it seemed like it was just normal. The women never left, and they showed up to the cookout as a couple like nothing happened. The men always seemed a bit weak to me, it’s like they had no options for some strange reason.

    This helped to solidify my love for Black women and the absolute rocks that they turned out to be. The women in my family as well women on the outside where always the real reason we could eat. It was my grandmother and mother that put food in front of me no matter what kinda hell they went though.

    I knew that I would never abuse any woman, much less that I professed to love. How could I sleep next to a woman that I just beat the shit out of? I couldn’t and how any man could is beyond me. You know nobody cooks grits in the middle of the night for the most part, and why is she heating up all that cooking oil?

    Anyway, another thought provoking piece sista. Very good.


    1. I am so glad to know that there are actually MEN out there who could never see themselves, stomping and beating unholy hell out of a woman and then turn around and say, “I love you so much, this hurts me more than it hurts you!” Seriously? I have heard THAT before, and like hell it did!

      I hear you! Because, when I was growing up, as you know children are to go away when grown folk get to talking but we are still well aware when something is not right and when women get together and talk in whispers and you can catch some words, and you see someone with a swollen lip or wearing shades on the inside of the house, you know what’s what especially when you’ve had to pull your father off of your mother. I don’t know why grown-ups think that children do not understand, nor have the ability to figure out just what the hell is going down because we know! Domestic abuse was prevalent in my family and families of people we knew. It was like an epidemic. By the time we were older, it was no keeping it from us at all.

      I’ll admit that there was the rare occasion when it was the man who got stomped because my ex-husband’s mother knocked out all but one tooth in her husband’s mouth and then would call us to come get her so that she could stay with us for a time. She was tired of her husband’s drinking problem and his wrecking their vehicles every time he left home.

      So for those of you who think that I have not given the problem of the man being a victim of abuse in a relationship, enough coverage, I do know that it happens. However, it is not as big of a problem. Spousal abuse is usually the man attempting to use every weapon at his disposal to wield power and control over his wife. And unfortunately, there are many women sitting behind bars today because they snapped and he’s dead.

      HLJ, thank you so much for your comment! As there are many women who did suffer abuse, stayed and went on to bury their abuser(of natural causes or a disease as opposed to killing him)just like my mother did. She never left my father, only his untimely death on December 1, 2001 put an end to their married life.


      1. My heart breaks for the people who are victims of this closed door violence.

        No need to rundown example after example of this fuckery, we know and we must continue to speak on it.


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