Saturday, October 27, 2012

Purple and Pink Ribbons for October

Many people associate October with Breast Cancer Awareness. However, did you know that October is also Domestic Violence Awareness Month?
Last year I did a whole series of pink bracelets to donate the proceeds 
to the cause for Breast Cancer Awareness. 

This got me started on making bracelets, 
and I've very much enjoyed playing with color combinations in them. 
This year, I decided to weave a series of purple ones 
and give them directly to victims of domestic violence.

While I have been fortunate to sidestep any direct contact with breast cancer, I have not been so lucky with domestic violence. For 23 years, I was in a relationship which got increasingly worse and finally ended when he held a gun to my head. Since he did not pull the trigger, I was able to pack up my 3 kids and leave, heading to the local battered women's shelter. That was 15 years ago and I've changed a lot.

One of the questions that people most often ask when they hear about someone being beaten or abused by their husband, lover or boyfriend  is "Why didn't they just leave?" 
As a former victim, I want to answer that for anyone who wonders. 
What characterizes these abusive relationships is not that the abuser is just physically violent. He is controlling! And that means that he uses mental, emotional, financial and physical tactics to undermine his victim and keep her feeling helpless. It works. Taking away someone's self esteem on purpose is crippling. 
In many cases, as in mine, it comes about gradually. I remember the first time someone said to me "Do you realize that what he is doing to you is abusive?" I didn't. But I learned.
If I had been able to see what was going on and extract myself from the situation earlier, I would have. It took a lot of encouragement, help and support from others to set me free. I couldn't do it by myself.
So, please, if you see that it is happening to someone around you, don't be afraid to stick out your hand to help pull them out. You could save their life. 
Written with love and gratitude to those who helped me and with the greatest hope for others who have experienced abuse, that they will have the courage to leave and the strength to rebuild.
Special credit goes to my kids for their understanding and my husband for his help in the rebuilding process.


  1. Annie- I'm so glad you were able to survive and thrive. Amen to the helping.

  2. Oh-Annie--unfortunately I can relate. It's such an insidious situation. So glad to be out of it, too. And mostly healed. Brava for your transformation.

  3. its been ten years.i still fear guns and i may never get over the moment of panic when somebody stops by unexpectedly.but my spirit and creativity have grown back.we are all worthy of love and lovable just the way we are.

  4. Thanks to all of you who commented. Jan and Heather, I'm sorry that you can relate; it is shocking to know how many have experienced this. It can take years to recover parts of ourselves that got lost. And Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome is not just for war veterans. We, who are veterans of abuse also have it. But, we are tougher than we once believed! Hugs all around, ladies!

  5. Thank you for sharing with us your story; glad you had the courage to leave and to rebuild your life.