A client of the Mid Central Community Action, Inc., Countering Domestic Violence program wrote three poems at three different times about her experiences. She included this message:

"I had always thought that I ws the type of person that would never enter into an abusive relationship. However, when I finally met someone who seemed to be the 'man of my dreams', I threw all caution aside and committed myself fully to this man.

Things seemed perfect for a while, but after several months he began to show little regard for my feelings. Initially, his emotional abuse was so subtle that I didn't even recognize what he was doing to me. However, whey my self-esteem reached an all time low, I recognized that it was time to get out.

That is when his abuse became physical. In addition to the physical blows, he began to terrorize me to the point that I truly believed that he was going to kill me. I finally decided to reach out for help.

My advocate at the Countering Domestic Violence was invaluable in helping me to understand that I needed an Order of Protection. However, little did I realize that getting out of the relationship was just the beginning of my journey.

Over the next few months, I became increasingly depressed. Even though I was utilizing the counseling services provided by the CDV and reading every book I could on domestic violence, I felt as if I would never heal from the emotional damage he had caused.

This is when I wrote the victim poem. When I read it to my advocate with Victim Services, she reminded me that I was more than a victim, that I was also a survivor. It was her words to me that inspired the second poem a couple of weeks later.

Thus began a turning point where I began to leave him behind and to work on getting myself better. The final poem was just recently written while I was preparing my story for this article and I realized that the two poems didn't tell the complete story. After many months of work, I finally feel that I have become well again. I believe that writing these poems has really helped me to assess and process the many emotions and issues I have had to deal with. I am certain that expressing this artistically is one of the catalysts that accelerated my healing.

Yet, none of this was done alone. Not only did I receive the support one would expect from friends and family, but it has been the kindness and generosity of those people who work with domestic violence victims within our community that has given me strength to see this through abnd renewed my faith that there are many loving, deecent people in this world."

Poem 1: 'What It Means To Be A Victim

I am the beast

Which you have lain upon the alter

An offering to an angry God


I am the one

Chosen for purity's sake

Whose throat will be slit


As my blood spills out

Ask yourself

Have you come closer to God?

Is God now happy?


As my blood runs down the street

Ask yourself

Can we now find peace?

Or must we come back to this alter?

Again and again


I am the one

That sacrificial beast

Poem 2: 'What It means To be A Survivor'

I have outlived

I have outlasted

I have remained alive

I am still here


As the waters recede

As the flames diminish

As the tremors subside

I am still here


Above the fray

Above all else

To rise like a phoenix

Above and beyond


Beyond belief

Beyond understanding

Beyond a reasonable doubt

Beyond your reach

I am still here


I have outlived

I have outlasted

I have remained alive


Poem 3: 'What It Means To Heal'


I'm back


From that secret place

Curled up


No terrified

Hidden in the dark




Will I ever be safe?


Don't breathe

Not a sound

Don't let him hear you

Just the pounding of my heart

Beat by beat




The rhythm

Brings forth a song


Oh, I want to dance

To sing

To move

These numb limbs of mine

I stir

I stretch




I begin to move

To sway

To lift up my voice

What beauty

Is that really me?






So unlike before

So I dance

I sing

I love

Back again



Dedicated to Betsy


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