The abuse started while we were still dating, but over time it escalated to more violent scenes. It grew to mentally controlling my every move. Somehow I believed that it would all change and work out once our child was born. It didn’t and I continued to let myself think that since getting into this mess, I should be able to fix or deal with it. I truly felt that everyone had a path laid out for them, I just happened to be given this one.
It was confirmed that I was pregnant and to save my parent’s face and reputation, I made the decision to get married. Many young Hmong girls opt for this decision when faced with this situation. There’s not really any other choice when you’re unaware of resources. I should’ve known what I was getting myself into.
The many nights I prayed to ask,
“Why can’t he see that I only want what’s best for us, why can’t he see me as a person, why can’t he just love me?”
Officially turned into nights of crying to correct myself and reasoning telling myself…
“I should’ve tried harder today, I shouldn’t have done that, I could’ve done it this way…for him.”
He was devoted to a religion that prayed before every meal, the son of a pastor. He physically and emotionally broke me to be in total control. He believed the world revolved around him and he was superior to all. His egotistic, anti-feminist upbringing was the norm for his family.
Always leaving bruises and scars where they couldn’t be seen. I’ve been stripped of clothing, dragged by the hair outside, thrown down stairs, pushed, punched, slapped, pulled, you name it.
There was one night, I didn’t think I would survive to see the morning. I saw my child as I laid in the bed. He on top of me, cranking away on my head trying to snap it off. My strength was nothing compared to his and I gave up. I prayed and then said goodbye to my daughter as she laid still sleeping.
Events played out in front of family and friends and sadly in front of children. It took some time for me to realize that it just wasn’t me in this situation. I was raised on this. All that witnessed my life crumbling in front of them were going through their own situation. They’ve become scared to get involved and children went away to hide when it happened. I was damaged but stayed for my child’s life.
I tried my best to better myself so we could have a decent income and future family home. I took classes at the community college for nursing. One night in class during the Psychology course, the instructor was lecturing about Battered Person Syndrome. I took a deep breath and had to come to my senses that he was talking about me.
Over and over I stayed for my child, but in the end, I had to leave…for my child. It took years for me to find the courage to leave the mess.
Here I am, the statistic of the Hmong term for a divorcee, “poj nrauj”. I am a failed Hmong wife, a single mother, and no more “clan” to belong to. I had no more family to bury my head when I die.
If only I knew “life” had so much to offer and living life where “love” existed, I would’ve fought against the strength that kept making me stay.
The best decision I’ve ever made was to be another statistic.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness month. As many times as I have made this private, I felt I needed to make it public once again for the victims who may need a little encouragement, understanding light. I pray you to find the courage to love yourself.
Get help without saying a word, contact The National Domestic Violence Hotline