May 052016

I sat there as the modem was supposed to be resetting glancing through the pictures of the first few months of my daughters life that are in the album that hasn’t been put away. I could look at the pictures of myself even then and see the exhaustion and depression hidden on my face, the abuse by the smiling and oh so young man standing next to me making it appear as though I was nothing more than tired after delivering a child.

What the pictures miss though is that I was ecstatic to be a mom, even though I was only 17 years old. I was beyond proud of this little accomplishment that had just escaped my body and been placed on my chest, that doesn’t show in the pictures and it makes me sad to think that she will look back one day at the abusive one and see the pain and sorrow in my eyes.

What’s missing are the bruises and the pain, because no one hurts a woman who is over due thinking it won’t be noticed. No one realizes that those frozen moments in time are fraction of a second glimpses into a world that digs deeper than most anyone, including abuse victims, can fathom.

I use the term domestic abuse because people understand that. They don’t understand when I say I was beaten and brainwashed through the teachings of the Bible, raped for “the glory of god” because of my insolence, denied friends and family without supervision, or that when I speak of the phantom shackles that I still feel holding me that I literally mean, I was held tied up, handcuffed, restrained while being used as a “sex slave” and then beaten for refusing.

Yeah, that’s all missed in those pictures, and in the hundreds of others. In fact, the only pictures of any of this have firmly been in the hands of the police since 2005, when I escaped with my children in tow on a cold February night after being raped and nearly killed… escaped. I didn’t leave, I fled for my life, our lives. The pictures the hospital took of his hand print bruised onto my infant’s head, photos of my most intimate parts torn, bruised, bleeding with measuring devices and other “tools” to help the police understand all that happened. Restraints that are in the possession of the police sitting away in an evidence box.

You can take away the things and pack it neatly into bags and boxes, but you can’t pack away the scars, especially the scars that live on the inside. The images branded into my brain.

All of that is missing and I go down as a victim of domestic abuse, a survivor, meanwhile, I am bobbing up and down in waters too deep always gasping for my last breath.

So much of my story sits in files hidden away because the world isn’t ready for that, I am not ready for that. There are parts of me that have been missing since I was 15 years old and in the 11 years since my escape I have wondered over and over again if those are parts of the puzzle that will ever be found.

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  11 Responses to “Domestic Abuse | TMI | Missing”

  1. Thank you for sharing so bravely, Marisa. I’ve had to read your post more than once to absorb it even a little. Only God sees what others don’t, even sometimes what we don’t. I’m glad for that. He doesn’t miss anything. He’s the only One can really handle it. Bless you.
    sharing from FMF #8.

    • Thanks for reading and reading again!! It means a lot! Unfortunately, there are a ton of men and women who have similar stories that they haven’t been able to share.

  2. Visiting from FMF. I am so sorry you went through all of that. Thanks for your honesty in sharing. Praying for God’s continued healing and restoration of all those broken places.

  3. My heart goes out to you, Marissa. Thank you for your brave that will help others who are hurting or still unable to escape. May the Holy Spirit continue to comfort you while Jesus heals you from the inside out and the outside in.

  4. i can’t even imagine the horror you have lived! i glad you were able to escape and find a life of safety for you and your children. as i’m sure you are aware, you share a life experience with supposedly 1 or about 4 women…maybe not all experience abuse to the degree you did, but that statistic is at least based on the fact that abuse has touched on that many lives in some way. considering how few people report, it may be higher than that!

    from what i understand, this has so many ramifications for the church in terms of how we treat our abused women (mostly) and children. especially since we often don’t know who they are. i’m told that they are often uncomfortable when alone with a man or group of men. for those of us who have been fortunate not to experience this kind of thing, we often don’t get it, but with a pause and some reflection, it makes sense.

    if a woman for some reason needs to talk to the ruling group (often men) in her church, having another wise woman to go with her is very beneficial! speaking up and telling your paster or a trusted elder/deacon what you need is wise and helpful to them.

    blessings as you walk toward wholeness in Christ. thanks for you helpful post:)

    • The stats are 1 in every 3 or 4 women has experienced some form of abuse, I am guessing this number is closer to 100% simply because so many women justify their spouses actions. 1 in 10 men have experienced some form of sexual abuse or domestic violence, they figure this number is closer to that of women based on the fact that men rarely report. Scary stats. I don’t think I know a single woman in real life who hasn’t had some sort of abuse -physical, mental, sexual, emotional and unfortunately with social media and my being so open, a LARGE majority of the men who I have had the chance to speak with have told me they also experienced either physical or sexual abuse. Very sad, very scary. We need to make sure this doesn’t happen to anyone again and the best way to do that is to use our voices and spread the word!

  5. Oh Marisa, my heart breaks for all of you. And it’s’ll tell your story when youre ready.

    • Thanks Tara. I have had therapists ask me if I have ever told anyone everything or if there are parts I have kept hidden, I have a ton of stuff that has never been written out or spoken… Maybe one day, but going there at this point does more damage than good. Unfortunately, it is those things that create the flashbacks and nightmares. Gotta love PTSD…

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