My sister survived domestic violence too, as have several of my aunts and cousins, whether they care to admit it or not. I have a vivid memory of visiting an aunt when I was child, of one of my cousins showing me a hole in the wall and telling me, “My dad did that.” I am currently watching a niece grapple with a coercive control situation that will likely become violent, if it hasn’t already. If we don’t find a way to help her escape, she might end up like our cousin who didn’t survive domestic violence. In 2019, that cousin’s ex-husband murdered her in cold blood, shooting her in the back and head multiple times while their five-year-old played in the next room.
Yes, I am quite familiar with domestic violence. But I don’t let my experiences with domestic violence define me. Instead, I have worked hard to define it. I’ve talked to lots of survivors, read books on the subject, and even took a criminal justice studies course on intimate partner violence to try to understand how this could have happened to me. I watched The Perfect Victim and consumed Maid (both the book and the Netflix series), and read countless memoirs written by my fellow survivors. I want to understand and expose family violence in the hopes that I can help someone else save themselves the same way I saved me.
I’ve often considered writing a memoir about my experiences and might still do so. The problem is, like many PTSD suffers, I struggle to pin down the memories of what happened through those ten years of trauma. Sometimes it feels like my body remembers more than my brain does. The memories often come in disjointed flashes when I care to think about them the least.Continue reading “Hi, my name is Mandy Webster, and I survived domestic violence.”