This Is What a Battered Woman Looks Like? by Janice Fuller-Roberts
It’s easy to say what you would or wouldn’t do in a situation from the safety of your own home. It’s like being an armchair quarterback or a backseat driver. The “right” thing is always obvious when you’re not in the thick of things. Everyone does it. We sit on our high horses and haughtily pass judgment on the actions of others. But the thing about high horses is that they’re precarious perches, and falling off is easier than you think. Some of us even get knocked off. I got “knocked” off my perch about 25 years ago when I was beaten by the man I loved. After all this time, it’s still hard for me to type the words “I was a battered woman.” It’s not that I’m ashamed. It’s just been so long, it’s almost as though it happened to someone else. If you’re like me at that age, you already have a picture in your mind of who I must have been to end up in this situation. Let me disabuse you of your preconceived notions right away. I was college educated (though I hadn’t graduated) and from a family where college education ran four generations deep on my mother’s side. My parents had a great marriage and provided a stable home. My father never lifted a finger against my mother, my sister or me. He didn’t even raise his voice. I had a good job, great friends and lived comfortably. I was involved in my community and even attended board meetings for a domestic violence shelter. Still, I’d never witnessed domestic violence first-hand. I didn’t know anyone in an abusive relationship. It was something that happened to other people … until it happened to me. I didn’t fall in love with a woman beater. Yes, there were warning signs. I’ll point out a couple as I continue. But by the time my relationship turned violent, I was more than a year into it and deeply in love. There was no violence in the beginning.