The following is a blog written by someone dear to me, and she asked that the authorship of this stay anonymous.
There was this friend I once knew….
I used to know this woman, we were close for years. I look at her now and she’s nothing like I remember. I gaze at her and in every wrinkle, every scar and frown line there’s a story. Not always a pretty one either.
For many years she spent her time advocating for Equality and against Bullying. She lived her days bringing awareness to discrimination, sharing stories of love and compassion.
Nowadays she’s rarely seen in that circle. No longer answering her Advice column, or updating her Equality page and rarely responds to her email.
I see the pain, sorrow, and loneliness in her face. The overwhelming toll it’s taken on her. She’s drowning in it every single day.
She once had a family but now her children are long grown and living their own lives. Her today family consists of herself, the beloved dogs and her wife. She buries her pain deep in the continuous repeat of the day-week-years before routine.
There was a time she had it all. A bright carefree smile, a heart full of love, hope for her future, a job that she loved, a car, family and friends and most of all- freedom.
Her smile long ago faded, hopes and dreams vanished, friends all abandoned. Her secrets haunt her every day.
You might see her at the Post Office, bank or store, online in text form but you won’t see the inner bruises, hear her silent cries and you’ll never see the tears she dare not let fall. What you will see is the painted on mask, a forced smile and her wife never far from her side.
Oh sure, you might see the occasional bruise, ace bandage here and there. That one black eye that lasted the entire month of May. Through her son’s High School Graduation, Mother’s Day and including her very own Wedding Day. It was easily explained away with a tripping over the dog on the steps. Clothing covers the hundreds of scars on her legs and arms- these particular wounds were self inflicted in a gross attempt to release her pain. Her shame.
There is this friend I once knew, she’s an abused woman with little means to help herself.
Her marriage, like thousands of others, has two sides: The public version and the private reality. Rarely does it become physical, the real torture -the very real violence is mental and emotional. Those are the scars you don’t see, the secrets she hides. The ugly side to inequality is having no help. Her marriage is not legal.
Freedoms you and I have are forbidden. She’s isolated. No job, friends, lunch dates, a friendly call home to chat, no car. She can’t even enjoy a leisurely walk with her two dogs without her wife chaperoning her. Her social media monitored, and she’s ridiculed if someone posts on her wall. Every conversation followed.
Friends? They long ago left. Forced out because of her wife’s temper. They couldn’t deal with the jealous wife. The awful truth of knowing people in her community know her secrets, is observing their blind eyes. They are afraid to get involved.
The explosive accusations of unfaithfulness- all false. Why not just leave?
It’s not that simple. The local women’s shelters aren’t ‘equipped ‘ for battered gay women. Family can’t hide her from a jealous wife.
The only solace she feels she has is her home, her prison while the jealous wife is at work. That has been invaded now too. The jealous wife moved her best friend in.
Her quiet space is now constantly invaded. Every move, text, phone call is dutifully reported back. No more privacy. No place to cry. No place to hide. No place to scream. She’s alone, trapped at home. She tries to work at her hobby. She has her dogs. She has her addiction to alcohol. It’s there every day. She feels like it holds her hand, wipes her tears, lets her forget how lonely, sad, and hurt she is.
My friend is an abused woman feeling that she has little means to help herself, except to write this secret blog note. I see her every morning when I look into the bathroom mirror. My friend is me.
Note from Rob to the author of this piece: I love you and believe in you. I want to freely give you voice here, and am pleased to do so. Please recognize that by doing this, you are taking the first step in reaching out for help, and I want you to continue that process. There are people to replace the alcohol, and they will step up, if you let them. You are courageous, you are a warrior. It doesn’t feel like it, but you are. Hopefully people will suggest resources for you in the comment section and I am begging you to make use of them. Do not let yourself get lost. You are too valuable to all of us.
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