For years I stayed. I stayed through the emotional and physical abuse.  The beatings.  The condemnation.  Being told that I was not good enough.  Being told that he did not want me and that no one ever would.  I stayed. 

When I had finally had enough was when I had the broken ribs and the gun shoved up my vagina.  That is when I realized that I had a child that needed me and that I valued my life even more than I wanted him, but it was not as easy as typing that sentence. 

There are many of us survivors of domestic violence out there.  What pisses us off more than anything is people sitting around thinking that they know why we stay.  Some blame us for staying.  Some think they know but they really don’t.  Many survivors like myself come from a long line of victims.  We were either abused physically and emotionally as children which makes our very existence, one filled with low self esteem, or we are just fucked up so much psychologically that we are not even aware that we are fucked up psychologically.  I can’t begin to tell you how many times I look in a mirror and all I see is a fat ugly woman.  It does not matter how many times people tell me that I am beautiful, in those years (and even now at times)  I never saw it. All I saw was a fat girl that was lucky to have a man and therefore I had to put up with whatever I got. 

When Janay Rice posted on Instagram that the media had intruded on her life, she was not being delusional.  This is her truth.  Don’t you think she asks herself every day if this is love?  Why do you think she apologized for what happened?  Domestic violence and those who suffer in these type of relationships have a whole host of issues going on that many of the so-called defenders of these women (and men) have never experienced. We don’t wake up in dread every day thinking that today is going to be our last day on earth.  We wake up every day thinking that today is going to be different.  Today, I am going to make sure that I do everything the right way and all will be right with the world.  We are sometimes delusional, but it is our delusion and it is how we keep from going crazy.   The constant deriding of the men in our lives does not give us a wake up call.  Constantly pitying us in the media does nothing to help with our self-esteem.  If the truth be told, some of us hate it.  We already know that we are powerless.  We don’t need you to constantly throw that in our faces. 
You ask us why do we stay?  We stay for many reasons.  The main reason we stay is we don’t know how to leave.  We are constantly bonded to our abusers.  We don’t see that open door and even when we do see that open door and put one foot through it, we will go back because we are so bonded to our abusers, that we really and truly believe that going back will change things.

I don’t know Janay  Rice.  I don’t pity her.  I don’t feel sorry for her.  I don’t know Ray Rice.  I don’t pity him.  I don’t feel sorry for him.  Janay and Ray Rice are living their truth.  Whatever you think of their situation, that is their situation.  You don’t get to condemn it.  You don’t get to condone it. 
The only reason why we are feeling like this is because we all saw the video, but how many other women out there that don’t have their abuse being broadcasted 24/7 do we stand up for?  How many of those women who live in shelters, or on the streets do we help out?  Did you hear the screaming next door?  What did you do when you heard that?  Did you call the police?  Did you intervene? 
The people who perpetrate abuse in relationships do so because society does not do one fucking thing to help.  Governments the world over spend little or no money to enact legislation to protect women who are the victims of abuses.  In Jamaica, where I am from, it took decades of lobbying efforts to actually get shelters established and domestic violence legislation enacted in order for women to be protected.  In the Cayman Islands where I work, the facilitator of the Crisis Centre, was herself raped and murdered in the most vicious way possible.  It took years of lobbying by Estalla to actually get domestic violence legislation on the books.  Even worse, there are people who don’t even want a crisis centre in their communities. 

The Rice situation is not the only high profile case of domestic violence that has made its way into the mainstream media.  Earlier this year, Nigella Lawson was photographed being choked by her now ex-husband who then later on accused her of using cocaine.  The downside of Nigella Lawson’s situation is that she was refused entry into the US because of the drug abuse allegations.  Not only did Nigella get screwed by her husband, she got screwed in her professional life as well.
That is the downside of women like us, survivors and victims of domestic violence.  We usually get fucked by the system because we stay.  I can give you  hundreds of situations where women who lost everything, including their children, as a result of domestic violence.  As a result, women will stay in these situations because the law is just not on their side.  Thank goodness things have changed, but even more needs to be done. 

Finally, to those concerned persons out there who want to help out.  Here are some tangible things you can do to help. 

  • Offer assistance.  It does not have to be monetary, but a kind word goes a long way;

  • Buy her a cup of coffee or tea or just offer to help out around the house.  She will not leave until she is ready.  Your job is not to judge.

  •        Volunteer at a shelter.  That extra money that you are going to spend on an iPhone6, how about donating it to a women’s shelter.  You will feel better for it.

  •      In the middle of the night you hear a woman screaming for help, you don’t need to put yourself in danger, use that iPhone5 and call the police.  If they don’t get there in 5 minutes, keep calling them until they get there. 

  •      If the woman has no place to go, offer her and her children a night’s rest. 

If you  have read this far, let me tell you, it is very hard to see a woman or children being abused and not want to intervene.  Don’t play a hero.  A domestic violence situation can escalate in a heartbeat.  Always call the police.  If you really want to help, volunteer at a shelter or a domestic crisis hotline.  It is heartbreaking to listen to the stories, but just knowing that if I pick up the phone there will be someone on the other end who cares enough to listen is all that separates a victim from a survivor.  Remember domestic abuse starts in the mind and ends in the morgue.

Thank you for reading.

Karen (Survivor) 


by Karen 

If you had Sara Errani, Victoria Azarenka, Ekaterina Makarova, Belinda Bencic and let us just say it, Serena Williams in your bracket to make the quarter-finals of the United States Open, you my friend should be picking the ponies at Belmont.
What a fantastic line up heading into the final days of what has been an exciting tournament for the women.
From the giant killer that was CiCi Bellis, to the young upstart Belinda Bencic, to the fighting spirit of Sara Errani and Alexandra Krunic, the WTA offered up its best and brightest to the millions of fans tuned in from all over the world to watch.  Who needs an IT girl, when everyone else does such an amazing job of showcasing their talents.
The quarter finals start off today with a match between Belinda Bencic of Switzerland going up against Shuai Peng of China.  I have said it before, but how great is it to see Shuai Peng, a doubles specialist who has been ranked No.1  in doubles, and winner of Grand Slam titles finally have her name up in lights.  In the absence of Li Na (knee injury), Peng has really worn the mantle of Chinese star  very well during this tournament.  For many of us who have seen Peng play, we are always amazed at her abilities and always wonder about her inability to win matches that she should be winning.  It will be interesting to see how she pairs up against a young lady who has grown into her game and who holds herself very steady under pressure.  Belinda Bencic beat 2 top 10 opponents en route to making her first Grand Slam quarter-final and I am looking for her to repeat that feat and make her way to the semifinals.
The winner of Peng/Bencic will get to play the ever resurgent Caroline Wozniacki or Sara Errani.  This match is the last match for Arthur Ashe stadium.  It remains to be seen whether Wozniacki with her new found aggressive mindset will blow Errani off the court, or whether Errani will continue to confound opponents with her slow deliveries and off pace balls. For those of us who grew up in cricket loving countries, there are certain types of bowlers.  There is the fast bowlers, medium pace and spin bowlers.  Each of these bowlers have their place in the 11 man line up.  The fast bowlers are the ones who really threw batsmen off their games, the medium pace bowlers, confound you with the off pace of their deliveries, but there is just none like the spinners.  Their balls, as the name implies, usually spins away from the batsmen causing them to either go after the ball leaving their wickets exposed with the potential that they will be stumped.  In reading Errani’s press transcript responses especially questions regarding her serves, I would think that Errani is a spin bowler.  She throws in those slow, short deliveries, that make the returners not only wait for the ball, but when they do decide to go after it, it has so much spin on it that they invariably can’t do much with the ball.
If Wozniacki steps in like she has been doing since Istanbul, then she will take care of Errani in straights.  If, however, she goes back to her uber defensive, retrieving game, we will be in for a long, drawn out battle.
After winning her round of 16 match against Kaia Kanepi, Serena Williams celebrated by saying how glad she was to make the quarter-final of a Grand Slam for the first time this season.  That line alone shows us just how much Serena has been wilting under the pressure of expectations.  Should this free her up now to play her best tennis.  I would think so.  Her opponent is the always dangerous Flavia Pennetta.  These 2 have played 5 times before with Serena getting the better of the Italian on all 5 occassions.  This one should be no different. 
The last quarterfinal pits the resurgent Victoria Azarenka, 2 times finalist of this event, up against Ekaterina Makarova, who took out the WTA’s Golden Child, Eugenie Bouchard in straight sets.  Azazrenka had a tough battle against Alexandra Krunic in the fourth round in a match which brought out her competitiveness and her willingness to survive.  Will Makarova have enough in the tank to take down the 2 times finalist, who knows, but you can bet that she will give her all in that match up.  After all her potential opponent is someone she has beaten on a big stage before.
Bencic v. Wozniacki
Williams v. Azarenka

Williams over Bencic