Riding home the other day on the bus I was talking to one of my friends about her current living situation. Her boyfriend is now pointing guns to her head and placing knives at her throat because she doesn’t come home when she is supposed to or he thinks she is cheating on him. She assured me she was going to ask the guy to leave and I wanted her to see that the level of violence towards her is escalating at an expedious rate, and once he hits that mark, there is no point of return….well the young lady sitting in front of us turned around and apologized for eavesdropping on us but explained to us that she too is in the same situation. She explained that her boyfriend is now in jail because he tried to kill her by choking her.
Now before anyone says that I have no right to say anything to these women because I don’t understand what they are going through, understand that I was there, and their pain was my pain, all too real….
Through her tears I was able to get a little bit of background on their relationship. Since they had been together for seven years, I knew he had well enough time to establish control over her and manipulate her every thoughts and feelings. My friend was sitting and listening to her becoming aggravated, but it was definitely something that she needed to hear. I began to cry with the young lady as I told her my story. As I related to her that I was able to get away because I ran and hid in the woods in a Long Island community, I got away from the violence and the destruction. Yes I was beaten, choked, punched, kicked, and destroyed to the point that I had no one to seek solace from. I was isolated, I was emotionally and verbally abused, I even contemplated suicide because I knew there was a better way, and I wanted to be removed from the pain.
My friend slowly began to reveal all of the trauma she too had been through and began to cry as well. Finally a couple of young ladies who had heard the stories passed tissues and they too began to reveal their stories. So here is the front section of the bus full of tears trying to show this young woman and my friend that there is a way out. They need to believe in themselves. When I asked her if she valued herself, she told me she didn’t know if she knew how to love herself. I knew that feeling…after awhile you stop believing you are someone capable of a better life and begin to see yourself as someone MEANT to endure pain because you’re not worthy of happiness. Yeah, I knew that feeling all too well!
I wanted the young lady to understand that her life was valuable. I wanted her to see that she was somebody worthy of love…Healthy, unconditional love. I wanted her to understand that she could get away, and heal and grow….but as her stop was nearing, she said she would take him back because she knew no other way….Oh how I wished I could have reached her! Oh how I wished I could have gotten her to understand that there is a better way, but it began with her. When she got off the bus she thanked us for listening to her, my friend and I looked at each other, the two young ladies sitting ahead of her looked at us, and I stopped the bus driver before he pulled off and asked him to give me a moment as I got off the bus and hugged the young lady (something told me I would never see her again), my friend got off the bus too and hugged her, and so did the two young ladies….I gave her my number, please call me…please don’t go through this alone….We also told her there were safe houses and plenty of support groups that could help her see it through.
We thanked the bus driver and he pulled off….My friend said the young lady would take him back and continue to do so until he killed her…and I looked at her and asked….what are you going to do? She assured me she would be ok…she would ask the guy to leave. I told her as long as my name is Cynthia, she would always have a place of solace….
Then it was time to get off the bus…
Wikipedia definition of Domestic Violence:
Domestic Violence occurs when a family member, partner or ex-partner attempts to physically or psychologically dominate
another. Domestic violence often refers to violence between spouses, but can also include cohabitants and non-married intimate partners. The term “intimate partner violence” (IPV) is often used synonymously. Other terms include wife or husband beating, battering, “relationship violence”, “domestic abuse”, and “spousal abuse
Family violence is a broader definition, often used to include child abuse
, elder abuse
, and other violent acts between family members.
Some legal jurisdictions have specific definitions.
Recent attention to domestic violence began in the women’s movement as concern about wives being beaten by their husbands, and has remained a major focus of modern feminism, particularly in terms of “violence against women”. 
Domestic violence occurs in all cultures; people of all races, ethnicities, religions, and classes can be perpetrators of domestic violence. Domestic violence is perpetrated by, and on, both men and women, and occurs in same-sex and opposite-sex relationships.
Awareness and documentation of domestic violence differs from country to country. Estimates are that only about a third of cases of domestic violence are actually reported in the US and UK. In other places with less attention and less support, reported cases would be still lower. According to the Centers for Disease Control
, domestic violence is a serious, preventable public health problem affecting more than 32 million Americans, or more than 10% of the U.S. population (Tjaden and Thoennes 2000).
Domestic violence has many forms, including physical violence, sexual abuse, emotional abuse, intimidation, economic deprivation or threats of violence.
Domestic violence is physical, sexual, economic, or psychological abuse directed towards one’s spouse, partner, or other family member within the household.
The U.S. Office on Violence Against Women
(OVW) defines domestic violence as a “pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner.”
Domestic violence can take many forms, including physical abuse, sexual abuse, emotional, economic, or and/or psychological abuse.
The Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service
in the United Kingdom
in its “Domestic Violence Policy” uses domestic violence to refer to a range of violent and abusive behaviours, defining it as:
Patterns of behaviour characterised by the misuse of power and control by one person over another who are or have been in an intimate relationship. It can occur in mixed gender relationships and same gender relationships and has profound consequences for the lives of children, individuals, families and communities. It may be physical, sexual, emotional and/or psychological. The latter may include intimidation, harassment, damage to property, threats and financial abuse.
It’s real, approximately 1.3 million women and 835,000 men are physically assaulted by an intimate partner annually in the United States.
In 2000, 1,247 women and 440 men were killed by an intimate partner. In recent years, an intimate partner killed approximately 33% of female murder victims and 4% of male murder victims.
Access to firearms yields a more than five-fold increase in risk of intimate partner homicide when considering other factors of abuse, according to a recent study, suggesting that abusers who possess guns tend to inflict the most severe abuse on their partners.
Of females killed with a firearm, almost two-thirds were killed by their intimate partners. The number of females shot and killed by their husband or intimate partner was more than three times higher than the total number murdered by male strangers using all weapons combined in single victim/single offender incidents in 2002.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, between 1998 and 2002:
Of the almost 3.5 million violent crimes committed against family members, 49% of these were crimes against spouses.
84% of spouse abuse victims were females, and 86% of victims of dating partner abuse at were female.
Males were 83% of spouse murderers and 75% of dating partner murderers
50% of offenders in state prison for spousal abuse had killed their victims. Wives were more likely than husbands to be killed by their spouses: wives were about half of all spouses in the population in 2002, but 81% of all persons killed by their spouse.
African Americans, especially African American Women, suffer deadly violence from family members at rates decidedly higher than for other racial groups in the United States. However, it is observed that research concerning family violence among African Americans is inadequate.
Overall, African Americans were victimized by intimate partners a significantly higher rates than persons of any other race between 1993 and 1998. Black females experienced intimate partner violence at a rate 35% higher than that of white females, and about 22 times the rate of women of other races. Black males experienced intimate partner violence at a rate about 62% higher than that of white males and about 22 times the rate of men of other races.
African-American women experience significantly more domestic violence than White women in the age group of 20-24. Generally, Black women experience similar levels of intimate partner victimization in all other age categories as compared to White women, but experience slightly more domestic violence. (Estimates are provided from the National Crime Victimization Survey, which defines an intimate partner as a current or former spouse, girlfriend, or boyfriend. Violent acts include murder, rape, sexual assault, robbery, aggravated assault, and simple assault.)
Love is Respect
1-800-799-SAFE (7233) 1-800-787-3224 (TTY)
If you need immediate assistance dial 911