I am a survivor of a horrific crime called domestic violence.
I developed the skills I had, and survived. I am confident, but cautious. I am Mitali.
I am grateful to be involved in bringing attention to domestic violence, abuse towards women and children, and its prevention. This is part of my journey, and I hope it helps empower others to become successful in living a full and happy life free from abuse.
This may come as a surprise and may even upset many that I am equating domestic violence and abuse to cancer. I feel, believe, and I am of the conviction, that domestic violence and abuse is social cancer. My opinion stems from my own story and my own experience which I’d like to share with you.
The following is a recount of a typical morning that ‘WAS’…
SHSHSH! Quiet…I say to myself, as I get up to walk carefully, not making a sound—-then, OOPS! I’m realizing, I cannot walk. I am in too much pain. As I crawl to the bathroom where the painkillers are, I contemplate again taking triple the recommended amount and realize this is my normality these days. I am trying to make sense of what happened the night before, and why I was beaten up and ‘punished’, again. Why was hot food thrown at me? Why was I called despicable names? Why? Why? and Why? I was caught in a tornado and then hit by a freight train at the same time.
………still crawling to the bathroom.
There are no answers. Everything remains a blur. I know I am hurting and wonder, is it my fault? I change my focus now to get the children ready for school, pack their lunches and make sure they have their breakfast. Then the fear creeps back when I realize, I have to wake HIM up and serve him breakfast in bed because he did not eat last night … and, I have to do it all with a smile.
The ‘irony’ of me taking care of him… when I am the one who is hurting! This is how I started my day at least once a week for the years I was married- all 26 of them!
I came to this country when I was 23 years of age, already married to this educated, smart, caring and charismatic person with a humble profession…a doctor. His antics started just 20 days after we came to the country. Slowly, he was isolating me under the garb of ‘love’ and ‘protection’ from everyone, and I mean everyone! Even from my own parents and then from my children. He kept the children and me apart by manipulating and telling each of us slightly different versions of the same story in order to create a sense of fear and doubt in each other. He also would tell everyone that the reason he would not let me pursue my career as an artist is because when I become successful, I would leave him. His friends and family would be told I ‘ran the show’ and was a very ‘demanding person’, isolating me further. I often wondered why I was never invited to attend any parties or gatherings, or why I never accompany him anywhere. To avoid embarrassment, I would always come up with an excuse if any asked me directly, saying, ‘ I am too busy with my children and home.’
More of my story next time and how I found the courage to move away.