National Domestic Violence Hotline Blog

From Survivor to Mountaineer

By Kathleen Schmidt

My name is Kathleen Schmidt, and I’m a survivor of domestic violence and abuse. I fled for my life over 15 years ago from extreme emotional and physical abuse, and created a new life for myself.

When I was living in a shelter for battered women, I kept telling myself over and over, “I have a brain, two hands, two feet and I know how to work; I WILL make my life better.” I chose to become a victor instead of a victim.  Books became my source of education and inspiration, and not only did I work on my own healing, I also had to find a way to earn a living. Not shy of hard work, I at one point sold pictures out of the trunk of my car. My efforts paid off, and it won me a trip to the Bahamas that allowed me to dive with sharks (I learned how to scuba dive while living in the shelter).

I entertained the idea for a very long time, since I lived in the shelter, to write my story. So finally, after many years needed to grow and heal, I wrote my little blue book “Escaping the Glass Cage: A Story of Survival & Empowerment from Domestic Violence.” It isn’t a big book, but something a woman in crisis can read and find encouragement in. I wrote it for women in shelters, but my hope is that it also helps those on the outside get a basic understanding of domestic violence and its effects.  But getting my book published didn’t feel like enough.

I wanted to find a way to reach more people on a global scale. So I created “Project Empowerment,” a blog talk radio show dedicated to empowering survivors of domestic violence and abuse, as well as others. I truly believe we each have a voice, and if people are able to listen to another’s story, it can help them make different choices and empower them to live a better life.

My guests have included Betty Makoni, Top 10 CNN Hero of the Year for 2009 for her humanitarian work rescuing rape victims in Zimbabwe. I’ve also interviewed actress/author Mariel Hemingway, as well as the National Domestic Violence Hotline’s Operations Director, Katie-Ray Jones. My guests have also included many shelter directors from all over the world, authors, psychotherapists, counselors and survivors, each sharing their story, their passion and the work they are doing to make our world a better place. We talk about the tough subjects, and at the end of each show we share our ideas of solutions to the issues discussed, such as why the victim stays, where do abused men get help, how a can victim get help to rebuild their life, and how we can empower the children.

It is humbling to be contacted by listeners from all around the world, to learn the vital resources shared and how their sheer willpower helped them gain the strength to leave their abuser. My dream to build “Project Empowerment” into a global resource tool is coming true.

But again, I felt there needed to be something else to raise awareness. So I am very excited to announce “Climb for Empowerment,” with the mission to empower survivors of domestic violence and abuse … one step at a time. I will be climbing Mt. Rainier September 1–3, 2011, in honor of all those who have struggled to start their lives over.

It is by choice, to take one step after another. My dream is to show the world that if I can make a new life, so can you, one step at a time. I know how hard it is to rebuild a life. It takes a lot of courage to start over, learn how to live again and grow through the pain. So this climb is a symbol of that growth. It takes time, training and a lot of determination to do this, and I will need your support. Donations will be shared between Girl Child Network Worldwide and The Pixel Project. Both are global initiatives working very hard to help end violence against women.

I truly believe that all healing and empowerment begins from within. And for us to have peace in our world, we must first have peace within our homes, within ourselves. If you can find that spark, that driving force that pulls you in the direction of doing something bigger than you, listen to it. We each have a voice, we each can make a difference in the world, and it all starts with us.

To learn more about my work, Project Empowerment, Climb for Empowerment and upcoming Empowerment Workshops (New!), you can visit my website at www.kathleenmschmidt.com.

34 replies
  1. Liz says:

    Hello I need help please my step father is deported to mexico my mom had two kids of his a boy 17 and a girl 15.. Both us citizens and my mom is too but there not married.. Ok soo my dad stays in Tecate BC and the police over there have gone too the house like 4 times hand cuff him beat him up left him for dead what can I do please help me…

    • Kathleen says:

      Hello Liz,

      I’m not sure how I can help, but I do hope you’ve contacted the NDVH. For international help please visit my friends at The Pixel Project, they have a powerful database full of resources. Their website is http://www.thepixelproject.org. I hope this is of some help.

      ~Kathleen

  2. HotlineAdmin_RE says:

    Liz,
    I’m unclear as to what the situation is, but you are welcome to call the Hotline if you need someone to talk to, and assitance finding resources for your mom. Depending on what state your mom is in, she might also try calling 211 for assistance finding housing, counseling, food, childcare, etc. The Hotline is available 24/7 and everything is anonymous and confidential.

    Hotline Advocate_RE

  3. Marie says:

    I don’t know if you can help me. I am afraid to even type this. But, I need to ask. My husband and I have been married for 15 years and we have four children together. I am afraid that when he comes home it will be a bad night tonight. He is very controlling and has shoved me and scratched me and is taller much larger than me… over 100 pounds. He is constantly checking on me when I am at home or not. I feel like he drives around town to check and see if I am at where I tell him.

    For any reason, usually at night, he can get very angry and turn it on me maybe even one of our kids….but mostly me calling me a bitch and a slut….and horribly cursing me out, even trapping me in the bathroom. Sometimes he even wakes me up to curse at me some more. I am not sure if he suffers from depression or what. But, his dad is like this, even worse.

    I tried going to Christian counseling with him for a year and he would just put on this big act like he was everybody’s friend, like he always does in pubic. But, when the real working on himself came about, he quit going and let me go by myself.

    What can I do? He buys me beautiful clothes… and I better like them! But, it is really to make me dress the way he wants. What can I do? I have no money and no job. I am afraid if I go to a shelter my oldest son will hate me and go live with his dad. But, if I were to do this…with school coming to a close…I should do it in the summer. I am very afraid! I am afraid that he will only get worse. My family cannot help me.

    Marie
    please write to me at my email address because I may not be able to find this website again. Thank U.

  4. HotlineAdmin_RE says:

    Marie,
    It sounds like you are in a really difficult situation. You do not deserve to be treated that way. It sounds like he is very controlling and emotionally abusive. I can understand why you would be hestiant to leave, especially with the children involved, and the potential for your husband to become violent. If you are thinking about taking this step, it’s really important that you do it in the safest way possible. Leaving an abusive partner can be the most dangerous time. You are always welcome to call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. We are available 24/7 and are completely anonymous and confidential. An advocate can help you safety plan, get connected to local resources, and talk about options that might be available for help. I encourage you to contact us from a safe phone, and to keep our number in a safe place.

    Hotline Advocate_RE

  5. Karla says:

    Hello everyone my best friend is having problems at her house her brother and mother keep yelling at her and stuff she feels miserable and thinks she docent deserve anything and that she dosent do anything right . She told me she cutted her wrist and the fight her brother and her mom have are always on her head and that makes her sad please help me help her!

  6. NDVH Hotline Advocate_kk says:

    Hi, Karla!

    That seems to be a desperate situation that your friend is in. How old is your friend? If she is less than 18, she might want to reach out to CPS and/or try to go to a doctor for medical attention for her cutting as soon as possible. It sounds like she is trying to cry out for help and it is a good thing that you are there to be her friend. You may want to call the hotline for some other ideas — 1-800-799-7233.

    Some other resources for her to reach out to are —

    Crisis Line (connected with the Boys & Girls Town) — 1-800-448-3000
    Covenant House — 1-800-999-9999

    Please have her contact the hotline for other resources available to her too, if none of those seem to be a right fit for your friend.

    Thanks, for reaching out to us. We hope, too, that she does continue to reach out; hopefully, without the feeling to need to cut herself.

    NDVH Hotline Advocate_kk

  7. martha says:

    HOLA…
    CRE QUE ESTOY SEGURA?, EL PASADO FIN DE SEMANA EL PADRE DE MIS HIJOS ME GOLPEO,, LA RAZON FUE ALGO MUY TONTO AUNQUE AHORA ENTIENDO QUE NO HAY JSUTIFICACION PARA LA VIOLENCIA NADIE MERECE SER TRATADO ASI. MI VIDA CON EL HA SIDO LLENA DE SUFRIMIENTOS MALTRATOS GRITOS INSULTOS, EN CASA NUNCA FALTO NADA DE CPOMER NUNCA FALTO QUE ROPA PONERME NI NADA LES FALTO AMI SIHIJOS PERO EL NUNCA LA PARECIO MI FORMA DE SER EL DECIA SER MI DUEÑO Y TENER ABSOLUTO CONTROL SOBRE MI CONTROLABA TOD EL MODO DE PINARME LA FROMA DE VESTIR TODO HASTA LA FORMA EN QUE YO COMIA QUE YO NO VALIA NADA INSULTANDOME AMENENAZANDOME DICIENDOME HASTA DE LO QUE EM IBA A MORIR PERO AHORA CREO QUE YA ESTOY SEGURA ME INFORME Y ME DI CUENTA LO MAL QUE YO ME ENCONTRABA GRACIAS A DIOS HAY GENTE MUY BUENA DISPUESTA A AYUDAR A MUJERES COMOS YO QUE HEMSO PASADO POR VIOLENCIA DOMESTICA IBA A DECIR VICTIMA PERO NO QUEIRO SER UNA VISTIMA MAS NO QUEIRO SER UN NUMERO MAS EN UN CEMENTERIO POR ESO DECIDI ROMPER ALS CADENAS DE UAN BUENAS VES HAY GENT QUE ME DICE POR FAVOR PERDONALO YO YA HACE MCUHO QUE LO PERDONE PERO YO NO PUEDO VIVR CON UNA PERSONA QUE ME HUMILLO ME HIZO SUFRIR TANTO LOS HAGO POR EL BIENESTAR DE MIS HIJOS NO QUEIRO QUE ELLOS SE PERJUDIQUEN QUEIRO QUESEAN NIÑO SANOS QUE VIVAN SIN MIEDO QUE SEAMOS FELICES GRACIAS POR TODA LA AYUDA BRINDADA QUE DIOS LOS BENDIGA A TODOS

  8. NDVH Hotline Advocate_kk says:

    Hola, Martha.

    Gracias por comentar en el poste de Kathleen y por su historia. Sentimos mucho saber que usted todavia este en violencia domestica. Esperemos que nos pueda hablar en algun momento para poder ayudarla en su situacion particular. Esperemos que usted tambien se pueda sentir bien afuera deviolencia y control en el futuro.

    NDVH Hotline Advocate_kk/ml
    1-800-799-7233

    • martha says:

      HOLA…
      EL DIA DE AYER MARZO 31 ALREDEDOR DE LAS 10PM HORA DE CALIFORNIA, LE HICE LLEGAR AL APDRE DE MIS HIJOS LOS DOCUMENTOS DE LA ORDEN DE RESTRCCION TEMP[ORAL LO QUE YO LE EXIGIA ET ETC AL APRECER EL ESTABA MUY MAL CREO QUE HASTA LLORO ME MADNO PEDIR QUE POR FAVOR LO PERDONE, PERO 15 MAS TARDE RECIBI YO UNA LLAMADA DE LA CASA DE UN FAMILIAR DONDE EL ME INTIMIDO DICIENDO LO SIGUIENTE: SR QUE LE DIJO MARTHA? VA A VOLVER CONMIGO? EM SR RESPONDIO NO, ENTONCES EL SE TRANSFORMO DICIENDO QUE CONSEGUIRIA UN ABOGADO, QUE TODO EN CASA ES DE EL PORUQE EL LO COMPRO QUE YO NO COMPRE NADA Y QUE ME MANDARA SACAR DE CASA, Y QUE EM ATENGA A ALS CONSECUENCIAS… ESO PASO AYER HOYA ESTOY MUY NERVISOSA Y ASUSTADA TEMO POR MI SEGURIDAD… YA LA POLICA ME DIJO K ESO NO LO PUEDO REPORTAR OTRA COSA YO EN ESTE PAIS DESAFORTUNADAMENTE SOY ILEGAL BUENO VIVO AQUI CON VISA DE TURISTA CREEN QUE PUEDA HACER ALGO PARA PROTEGRME EN ESO SENTIDO? UN PERMISO DE TRABAJO ALGO? QUIERO ESTUDIAR, SER ALGUIEN NIO PRETENDO VIVR DEL GOBIERNO NI NADA D ESO…TAMBEIN NO CONSIGO CMO PAGAR MI RENTA YA METI UNA APLICACION A UN LUGAR O JALA Y ELLOS ME AYUDEN PERO Y SI NO? QUE HAGO? A DND LLAMO? YA ME DIO MUCHO MIEDO QUE EM PUEDAN DEPORTAR QUE ME QUITEN AMIS HIJOS QUE HAGO? POR FAVOR ALGUIEN DENME UN SONSEJO! GRACIAS

      • Romelia says:

        Martha,
        siento mucho lo que a estado pasando en estos dias. usted a dado un paso para obtener la orden de restriccion, y claro tiene mucha razon en tener miedo. No se si le sera possible en llamar nos a la linea aqui al 1-800-799-7233, estamos aqui las 24 horas y tenemos personas que hablan espanol. es muy possible que tengamos programas que la puedan ayudar y brindar apoyo, tambien le podemos dar informacion sobre la visa de VAWA, toda informacion es confidencial.

  9. kerry says:

    hi i need help i am from india my hubby is abusive to me he has beaten me for several times,i have 2 kids i am depressed i need help

    • HotlineAdmin_RE says:

      Kerry,
      It sounds like you are in a difficult situation. No matter what, your husband has no right to put his hands on you. You don’t deserve to be treated like that. If you are concerned about leaving the situation due to your immigration status, there may be some legal options for protection under the Violence Against Women Act. You are always welcome to call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. We are available 24/7 and are completely anonymous and confidential. You can call at any time that you have a safe chance to talk. An advocate on the Hotline would be able to safety plan with you around your phyiscal safety in the house, and also talk to you about options for support. Taking this first step to reach out on this blog is really strong of you. Please know that we are here for support.

      HotlineAdvocate_RE

  10. Staci says:

    I have been in an abusive relationship for five years. I have been smacked, choked, kicked, bitten, and more. I already had two children and this went on through my two pregnancies with him. A co-worker called the police after I confided on her. I lost my place to live. I called the hotline all shelters were full. Dcf wouldn’t help because I had a temporary place to stay. I have now moved my four kids from families houses to hotels and out of state and now we’re homeless. How does it pay to leave? At least when I was with him my kids had a home and their own beds. We left all our stuff and family behind. We’re left with nothing and he’s still sittin pretty

    • HotlineAdmin_RE says:

      Staci,
      It sounds like you and your children have been through alot trying to break free from the awful abuse that you experienced. I can understand why you would be frustrated with the lack of services and assistance in your area. Many victims leave and return to abusive relationships for that very reason. It sounds like you have really tried everything you could to find a safe place for your family to start fresh. You are always welcome to call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233. We are available 24/7 and are completely anonymous and confidential. You said you’ve called before to look for shelter, but were unable to find space. Shelter availability can sometimes change daily, and we have referrals to shelter programs throughout the U.S. An advocate could connect you with programs and look for resources in your area. It can be a difficult and tiring process, but you deserve help and support. If nothing else, there is always someone here. Thank you for reaching out.

      HotlineAdvocate_RE

  11. Ginger says:

    i need an want to know why every man i meet always yells, curses, accuses, degrades me i am 46 now my son who has autism will be 6 in Dec it seems like i am paying 4 the mistakes they made of what other females have done to them i have been having a 4 month phone friendship i feel he cares about me an even 2000 miles away calls me everday sends gifts m-f he is much kinder more luvable but on the weekends he changes i become a bitch slut hoe cunt! he says it is his issues 4 woman who have cheated on him but how can i be sure? he will come to visit with my son an i soon he was also in the military an has seen two wars.

    • HotlineAdmin_RE says:

      Ginger,
      There is no excuse for someone to talk to you like that and say those awful things about you ever. It sounds like this current partner is using his past relationships with women as an excuse to be abusive. If he has been hurt by someone, wouldn’t he know what it feels like, and not want to hurt his new girlfriend? You deserve respect, support, and trust. There are relationships that are long distance that can still be healthy. It takes trust, and that will not be established if he is always accusing you of wrongdoing when you aren’t doing anything. From what you’ve said about your past relationships, it sounds like you’ve been through alot of emotional abuse. You are always welcome to call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 to talk to an advocate for support. We are 24/7 and are completely anonymous and confidential. We could also get you connected with local resources for support. Thank you for sharing your story.

      HotlineAdvocate_RE

  12. jaki lou says:

    Hello! I am married to a US citizen for 2 years. I came here in US through A K1 visa and had my Green Card for almost 2 years. Within that time frame my husband has been very selfish and abusive to me mentally. I try to understand and be patient thinking it might be because of his previous marriages since he was divorced 3 times that’s why he has issues with woman. I am working but he gets all the money I had because he had my account set up in a way he has accesss to it. I don’t really know how it works. But I don’t have access to his own account. He constant yells and say bad words to me. We are married 2 years but until now his kids didn’t know we are married cuz that’s the way he wants it too. He never treat me right even his 9 yr old kid treat me as a house maid. He controlls me in regards with everything. He is very smart and acts like the best man in front of everybody and he blames me with everything. He always tell me he hates woman and I am one of them. I am not happy. I am very emotional stress out. I am living miserable with him. What should I do? I am scared cuz I don’t know anyone here in US but my friends. Is there any way I can help myself without living in a shelter?

    • HotlineAdmin_RE says:

      Jaki,
      It sounds like your husband has been both emotionally abusive and financially controlling. If you are thinking about leaving, it might not be safe for him to know what your plans are. What we know about domestic violence is that the abuse tends to escalate when you are trying to leave. His behavior is about having power and control over you, financially and emotionally. That sense of entitlement could cause things to escalate if you were trying to take some of that power back. Alot of times, an abuser will be really charming and personable with everyone else, except for their partner. If he can be nice to friends and family, he can definitely treat you with respect as well. It’s not that he can’t; it’s that he choses not to. It might be helpful for you to call the Hotline, when you get a safe chance, to talk with an advocate about plans and what to do to stay safe. Internet communication isn’t always the safest way to discuss these issues. We are available 24/7 at 1-800-799-7233. The Hotline is completely anonymous and confidential.

      HotlineAdvocate_RE

  13. Kathleen Schmidt says:

    Thank you to all the Hotline Advocates answering all questions and replying to the comments above. There is so much work to be done to help end violence against women, and education is a key in that effort.

    My climb is coming up fast and every day that I train, I think of all the women and children working to make a new life for themselves. NEVER give up on you or your dreams!

    Much love to all,

    ~Kathleen

    • HotlineAdmin_KL says:

      Kathleen,
      Thank you so much for your comments about our Hotline Advocates who answer the Share Your Voice Blog. We really appreciate your feedback. Good luck on your climb!
      Take care,
      BlogAdmin_kl

  14. Ashley says:

    hey i just got out of an abusive relationship its a very long story i put up with the mental and physical abuse for a long time. I’m just really unsure of how to deal with these after affects. how do you deal with all the trust issues or is that something that just takes time?
    And the feeling that im unsafe even though my family and friends are here for me i just feel like they dont completly understand what im going through or how i feel about the decisions i made. i just wanna feel ok agian or at least trust myself and others around me.

    • HotlineAdmin_KL says:

      Ashley,
      Your feelings surrounding your current situation are very normal. After leaving an abusive relationship, it is common to have difficulty trusting people or to feel unsafe even with the support of friends and family. To answer your question, I think it does take time to regain trust in other people. Sometimes friends and family have a hard time understanding domestic violence especially if they have never experienced it themselves. I know it must be frustrating that your family and friends don’t completely understand your situation. If you need would like additional support, advocates at The National Domestic Violence Hotline are here 24/7. The confidential and anonymous number is 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE). You can call us anytime.
      Take care,
      BlogAdmin_kl

  15. Ashley says:

    i’d like to share my story i just do not feel comfortable calling a hotline or anything. im not sure why

  16. Kathleen says:

    Ashley,

    The reason you wrote here is the first step. When you feel ready, do call the hotline. They are trained staff and there is NO Judgement! I know for me that was my biggest fear. The hotline was brand new when I fled for my life and at that time, a friend helped me get into a shelter. But when I broke my silence, the floodgates opened and I felt empowered to “let it all out”. There was understanding with people “who’ve been there” and they provide help, understanding and resources for me to learn how to help myself when I was ready.

    You are an amazing person with tremendous strength to be here and share what you have.

    Much love,

    ~Kathleen

  17. Kathleen says:

    I did want to make a short announcement that since writing this blog for the hotline, my current husband and I are going through a divorce. No, there is no abuse, we’ve simply grown apart (ever see “Eat, Pray, Love”?)

    I am forever grateful for the love and care he’s given me over the last 13 years, but we both feel it is time to move forward with our lives. I’d rather be apart and be a better parent, then together out of duty and unhappy. Many of you may not understand, I don’t expect you to. But I wanted to tell you myself as to why my name changed.

    Thank you for your continued support and understanding. NEVER give up on your dreams!

    ~Kathleen M. Milliken (Schmidt)

  18. Amanda says:

    Reading your story of enpowering yourself to be a “victor” not a victim has added hope and confirmation to my choices to leave my marriage after 7 years. That being said it was in 1995 when I got married and started what I thought to be the perfect marriage. Sure he was rough around the edges but as a woman I thought I could create what I wanted in a husband and father out of the man I chose to be with for ‘the rest of my life’. Being raised in a Pentecostal home it was the right thing to do marrying him, he was my first @ 19 years old and I became pregnant with our daughter. Although he was 14 years older than I we had alot of things in common (after he got off meth which was about 2 weeks after we started dating). After our second child was born in 1998 we had the perfect family, he worked I stayed at home with our one boy, one girl, we were the picture perfect family. Heck we even had a dog. He had no children before me, and never had been married so I thought this was a sign of someone who was as serious about a productive healthy family as I was. We didn’t have much at first, and as the years passed we accumulated ‘stuff’. The house was always clean, kids had a complete routine, nothing was out of place. He “encouraged” me to stay home since if I worked all the money would just go to day care so what was the point. When I went to the nearest grocery store I took the kids, most of the time he would ask me to wait to shop until he got home or on the weekends. I thought this was to be helpful. We entertained my family more than his due to location. Although I felt kept, I thought it was ok because he provided the financial part of our family, and I had the so called ‘luxury’ of staying home with the kids.
    I know now this was control. I couldn’t go see friends I had known for almost all my life, he was always too tired on the weekends to go to church, and any interaction with anyone eventually including my family started arguements and led to him grabbing a beer out of the fridge. I would ask my family to visit, and they would but unless I told him they were coming he would threaten to cut all ties with our families. Anything I did for 7 years had to be cleared with him, most had to include him, and noone else. We didn’t have other couples to visit with, my friends didn’t drink functionally. Halloween parties were ok if he could sneak a beer or 5 to the party and go outside to drink them.
    By late 1998 beer was a staple for him every day. he commuted 1 hour each way to his job and after work would pick up a 12-pack at the little store close to where he worked and it would have 2 or 3 left when he arrived home. In which time it was ‘expected’ that dinner was ready, and things were set up to accomidate his time at home. I would have to have all my chores done before hand because when he arrived I wasn’t allowed to clean up except his messes, beer cans, dishes as well as after the kids.
    Me venturing out alone was unheard of, if I snuck to the neighbors to visit it was only during the time he wasn’t home. If I went to town with my only friend in town we had to dispose of soda cups, resteraunt packaging and any other identifying evidence that I had been anywhere but home. We would take her van because he kept track of the milage on mine, and he would even take off work for the children’s doctor appointments.
    By 2000 we had financed a manufactured home that was set on inherited property my grandmother willed me (she was not gone at this time) he pressured her into a quit claim deed so we could put a home on it and moved in. I decorated the house to his specifications down to the paint on the walls. He would get so drunk he had to put up two rails to the steps and at one time fell over one of them. He would try to cook and over salt everything, wouldn’t know in his stooper he would knock the kids over (daughter was 4 son was 2) I would chew on him for being careless or argue about his drinking and then it would be a screaming match. I wouldn’t amount to anything without him,. noone else would want me, he would take the kids and thought he could since he worked and I had no skills. Verbal browbeating, bashing, and emotional threats escalated througout that year into 2001.
    We went to a couples therapist ONCE in April 2001. He talked to us together because my husband wouldn’t let us do individual thereapy and the therapist flat out told me in front of him, if he was verbally abusing me it wouldn’t be long until the physical part would erupt. This pissed my husband off and we never went back.
    The drinking got worse that there was an undeniable urge to seclude myself to my home from embarassment. The fights got worse, and my self esteem was shot. I thought to myself “He’s right I am worthless, I am used goods!” Resentment wasn’t there until afterward until I realized at the age of 19 I started a family, lost my youth and was drug down to the lowest form of person. A second rate citizen, loss of identity, clunky thick glasses, gaining weight at a rate that was so horrible at the end I was 340lbs of worthless wife. Food was my comfort and it came in two pound bags of M&Ms, one every night.
    A long time dear friend of mine asked me if I wanted to travel with her for the day to a larger town about 2 hours away for a day of just girl time. She and I drempt of doing this for about 3 years but my son breast fed until he was 22 months, and I was always sabatoged by my husband when we planned it ahead of time. He would always find some reason for me not to go. He was at work and so my kids stayed with my mother until he got off work. My daughter had a birthday party that day so when he got home he would only have our son (3 years) to take care of.
    We left shortly after he did for work, and my mother took the kids with her. He knew we were going to the city but not that we would be gone so long. He got home about 3 and my mother handed our son over to him. He gripped and complained he had to watch him (but he never did anything else but stay home and drink) but my mother told him he needed to spend some time with his son. She left and went to check on our daughter at the party. Our daughter decided to make it a slumber party at the little girl’s house. After my husband drank a case of beer, he started calling my friends mother asking where we were and why I wasn’t home yet. For 3 hours he called her every 15 minutes and she finally quit answering the phone. The messages he left got more and more intense each time he left one to the point of screaming and dropping the ‘f’ bomb in the last few. Then her answering machine was full. By the time I got home he was drunk, and gone driving on the railroad track by our town. I have to say I initiatedthis fight. I jumped up one side and down the other about him having our son in the truck while he drank. This was the final straw.
    I took our son in my arms after he shoved him to the floor and briefly said I couldn’t take the abuse and wouldn’t take anymore. I started towards the back door to leave to my mothers house and he shoved me into the furnace grates while attempting to pull our son out of my arms by his legs. In this instance after getting my feet under me I kicked him in the groin and ran towards another door where I escaped. All the while his cursing and pleading for me not to call the police echoed in the night. I continued to walk to my mothers home across the alley called the police (this was a Friday) got a temporary restraining order and filed for divorce Monday morning.
    I knew I couldn’t go back to someone who had to respect or loved me enough not to hurt me or our children. I kept thinking to myself I wasn’t going to be a statistic.
    It took me 2 years to finish the divorce due to courts and his attourney but I filed myself, fought in court myself, and won myself respect back. I lost my home property, and financial stability but I found my courage, strength and perservearance through it all.
    I have had to continue restraining orders over the years and even had to move away from my family to another county but I did it and never looked back. It is possible in any situation to reconsider internally what happens when you leave an abusive situation, the loss of monitary help, friends who think you can stick it out, and even children who may blame you for their broken home when you initiate the departure. But your self worth, and dignity, as well as pride in knowing you survived is all worth it.

    I am not saying I don’t have my bad days when a man tries to use his masculine approach to bully me into something, or when I am broke and my kids need something to succeed but knowing I said no and I am able to say it again is the empowering drive that keeps me going.

    • mbeckham says:

      Amanda,

      Thank you for sharing such a powerful story. It takes a lot of strength and courage to decide to leave an abusive partner, to fight for custody and protective orders, and to start a new life. I hope that other victims can read your words of suvival and realize that it is possible to break free and move on towards a better future.

      If you are interested in counseling for you or your children, you can contact us 24/7 at 800-799-7233 for resources.

      Hotlineadvocate_mb

  19. Kathleen says:

    There is so much strength shared by so many on this page. Thank you everyone for finding the courage to speak up, share your story of empowerment and reach out for help.

    Wanted to post an update (as I realized I haven’t written in a while) but Mt. Rainier was AMAZING! I made it to high camp at 11,200 feet, but due to altitude sickness, I simply could not summit. I did write a blog about the experience here http://blog.climbforempowerment.com/

    Seattle Children’s Hospital also filmed some of my training and work I do. You can watch that video here http://www.seattlechildrens.org/videos/i-am-seattle-childrens-climb-of-courage/

    This week I will be speaking at a local college for nursing students on the topic of Domestic Violence and will be giving big kudos to The Hotline for such a powerful source of resources. Nurses are often the first to learn about DV in a family and it is so important for them to understand the dynamics of not only how it effects the victims, but how a listening ear can be of great help. One of the screening questions nurses do ask in the ED (where I work on my “day job”) is “Do you feel safe at home?” Bold, but opens the door for the family to get help.

    Thank you again for all the support!

    ~Kathleen

  20. Kathleen says:

    Wanted to share the climb on Mt. Rainier was AMAZING! Made it to high camp at 11,200 ft, but altitude sickness didn’t allow me to summit. I wrote a blog about this adventure as well as posted pictures. Just go to the Climb for Empowerment website.

    Everyone’s stories of courage to begin again is powerful. Will be speaking at a local college for nursing students on the topic of domestic violence this week. Never give up on your dreams or the power of intentions.

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  2. […] featured on the National Domestic Violence Hotline website under their Survivor Blog Series titled “From Survivor to Mountaineer”.  Filming will also begin in August with Seattle Children’s Hospital as they will be featuring […]

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