Sweet sixteen. The first time he hit me I was sweet sixteen.
Mixed up in things no girl has a place in, but there all the same. Loving a monster whose claim to me seemed to give him the right to hurt me. Terror. Anger. Confusion. Sadness. Fear. No-one to talk to about it, because all of my friends were caught up in sweet sixteen things like puppy love, studying for exams and planning for the next fete.
Fighting hard to stay afloat and to keep up with sweet sixteen things like puppy love, exams and fetes, I buried myself within myself. Buried the humiliation, the anger and the pain. Pretended that this was love, and that it was okay for him to treat me that way. Too scared to leave a man-boy I did not even live with. Terrified beyond measure, I learnt to fight with lips sealed. Learnt to become volatile and submissive all at once.
Twenty years of age. Excited to be in university and away from home. New lease on life…freedom. New boyfriend; new experiences…new life. He came to my room on hall one night and dragged me down a flight of stairs. I lost a shoe along the way. Trying to save face, so I passed room after room with sleeping and waking bodies…making an effort to be silent so that no-one would witness my shame. Betrayed again by someone who whispered ‘I love you’ in moments of passion. Quieting my voice, and allowing his anger free reign to silence me once again.
Twenty-two. One blow to the face. One slap to make me reconsider my decision to go. I fought back this time. This one was not going to reduce me to silence…so I fought back; burying the pain felt at the familiarity of this…this feeling that can never be put into words. The absolute pain and disbelief that comes when hands that were meant to caress are clenched into fists of fury. This feeling of having my voice ripped out of me. This feeling of not mattering to someone who mattered to me.
I am crying as I write this. Crying for the girl-woman that was; but also in thanks and respect for her strength. What others saw as weakness was her way of coping…of bearing the pain to save others…my mother from the hurt of knowing that had happened…a selfish university student whose school life she did not want to be cut short…
Silence is the great captor of experience. It allows tragedies to continue unacknowledged…and monsters in the form of wo/men to inflict their pain on others.
This is my Story of Strength.
Original Source:Trodding Within