I came from an average, American family, went to church every week and lived in a good neighborhood. It never crossed my mind that someone I loved would try to hurt me. I was a good person! Boy, did I get that wrong.
I have been in three abusive relationships, but I didn’t realize it until it was too late. You see, none of the men laid a finger on me, until the relationship ended. I was being emotionally abused. I was ridiculed, controlled, manipulated and isolated from my family and friends.
My first husband struck me one time and I was out of there. The second time my boyfriend broke my nose after we were broken up for several months, because he realized I wasn’t coming back. Later, he came back with a gun to kill me. And my third, well – he tried to kill me after he broke into my house and stood waiting for me to get home. The chances of a woman being murdered when she leaves an abusive relationship increases by 70%.
I will never forget sitting on the window ledge of my bedroom with only two choices. Jump or be killed. I jumped 20 feet and shattered my ankle. What followed almost caused me to take my own life several months later. This was my reality — a severe bone infection, realizing soon after that I was pregnant, 4 years of constant pain, 16 operations over a 10-year period, debilitating depression, losing my job and finally hitting rock bottom.
Because of the abuse, I suffered from chronic depression, anxiety, PTSD and nightmares. I medicated myself with alcohol. Nothing helped. I finally got on medication, went to therapy and received support from a local church, which saved me. It’s been 20 years now and I am still suffering from the effects of domestic violence. However, I came out on top. Domestic Violence was not going to define who I was.
The one thing I didn’t do was give up. Deep down I knew that something good had to come out of all of this. I was confused and alone. I didn’t understand why these bad things happened to me, so I dove into research. I had to understand what domestic violence was and how to overcome it.
I decided that the only way I could really heal myself was to give back and help other women. I was determined and I was passionate. With my church’s support, I started a non-profit, which later became the largest transitional housing program for domestic violence victims in middle Tennessee. This year I finished my memoir (which is the title of this article and in the process of being published.) I raised a beautiful daughter and am married to a loving, supportive husband. I also try to give back by helping other domestic violence agencies such as TN Voices for Victims.
As an avid horse rider, a Trail Ride to raise money for TN Voices for Victims was started 3 years ago and is an annual event. We need your help! This is such a worthy cause. Will you contribute today? Domestic Violence effects everyone. I’m sure you know someone in your family, church or neighborhood that is being abused this very minute. Your financial help for this cause will make a difference.
I found my voice, in spite of all of the horrific things I went through. Will you find yours? Every voice matters.
Written by Beth Lowry
*Note: If you are interested in supporting our work either through a donation or through the Trailblazers event, please visit here. Questions? Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.