As someone who grew up in an abusive household, I was always told that I was lazy. It was an attack that was leveled against me throughout my childhood, and into my teenage years. Well, when I was running (and this is true) over eleven miles per-day in the first ten months of 2018, I was proving to myself that I wasn’t lazy.
The night that was the last time I ever had sex with him was the night that haunts me to this day. He called me and sweetly asked if he could see the kids. He wanted “family time,” including playing a board game together. He said we could have dinner and a drink. Unfortunately, he talked me into it as my “mom guilt” and loneliness overtook logic.
When I was elected to U.S. Congress in 2018 as one of the first two Native American women to serve in the House of Representatives, I made it a priority to call out the “silent crisis” and seek solutions.
Honesty is another key to a healthy relationship after domestic violence. You don’t have to open the first date with your history of abuse, but eventually, if the person seems like someone you could see a future with, it’s important to share your journey with them.
She was fourteen and naive; fifteen and damaged; sixteen and broken. By seventeen, she’d lost her soul with nothing left to believe in. Having lost friendships, hopes, and respect, she blames herself. Deep down, there is nothing left – no voice; no will to live. Afraid that she’ll never be strong enough, she attempts to rebuild, but the wounds haven’t healed yet.
We can’t be “good guys” until we have learned what that actually means, and how it looks in our societal interactions. We can’t be “good guys” until we can look back on a situation and admit we made a mistake. To truly be a “good guy,” you have to work towards equitable workplaces and public spaces where people can feel safe and comfortable to interact.
After 18 years in a controlling relationship, she realizes that her marriage is abusive and that she has lost herself. She still struggles to share her story– it doesn’t paint the typical picture of abuse. Her greatest wish is that the fight against domestic violence will be won so that our children will never have to go into battle.