By Kim Bryan
Because we are in the “Month of Love” we here at Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Services think that now is a great time to Stop the painful cycle of abuse and start truly loving each other.
We have shared a story to show how one brave young woman took the tough steps to break the cycle in her family. You can too.
“When I was 13 years old I was repeatedly raped by a family friend. I tried to tell my parents and a teacher but I wasn’t believed because he was such a “respected man” in our community.
Ever since then I have really struggled with my self-esteem. As a result, the choices I made as a teenager were all in the tainted view of love.
I had multiple relationships in which I would try and get close to any guy who would even pretend like he loved me.
This made me very vulnerable and I was date raped many different times.
I continued on in my pain desperately looking for love and grasping at anyone who even remotely promised security.
I married the first guy who asked me. It only took two weeks to realize that I had made the biggest and most painful mistake of my life. The abuse was deep and as regular as the tides around our islands.
I had hoped having a baby would help him finally give me the real love I craved but he only got more angry and distant with me.
And by the time our third child came along the abuse escalated and he angrily targeted the babies to get at me even more.
I realized that staying with this abusive man was teaching my sons such a horrible distorted view of love and it felt like just a death sentence for us all.
A friend told me about DVSAS. When I finally got the nerve to call them they helped me realize that I do deserve to be respected and loved.
Through counseling and advocacy assistance they gave me the tools I needed to make a life for my three boys and me.
As I continue to heal my kids and I are enjoying a busy happy home that is full of true love.
I realize that I am building a life for my boys where they will learn to have relationships based on love and respect and not fear, pain, anger and control.
I am so glad that I found the strength to break the ugly cycle of abuse in our lives.
If you are living with abuse or know someone who is please call the advocates at your local DVSAS office today; San Juan: 378-8680, Orcas: 376-5979, Lopez: 468-3788
Kim Bryan is the DV/SA Advocate, and Prevention Coordinator of DVSAS.