I, a survivor of domestic violence, have no advocacy or crisis training. Many women do, after experiencing such emergencies in their own lives, give back to their communities after undergoing such training.
I aspire to this. I have not been able to make the time. I am still reaching out.
I have done many things, to refer women to professionals or to help the local DV shelter. But the most important thing I do is a secret thing, between myself and one other. I have a secret friend.
She has a secret phone. I have the number. We text. Her abusive husband, who has crushed her spirit for decades, must never know she has this secret communication. I am one of three in possession of this secret number.
Sometimes it is agonizing. The two times her phone rang me, with no discernible noise on the other end, I was certain she was caught. I could not be calm until I heard from her again. When she admitted her husband probably had molested one of their children, I did panic. I called the doctor who had given me her phone number. I got a text, a minute later, telling me this had already been reported.
Her husband, from her hurried confessions, seems to be a sadistic man. He uses religion, criticism, gaslighting, threats, violence, and the children to keep her caged. He has raped, molested, violated, beat, and threatened whoever he wanted, when he knew he could not get caught for it. The sort of man who keeps a smiling face turned to the community, and then pours the sand from his shoes out on the floor, after he shuts the door upon arriving home. Just to mark his territory. Just to prove he is king, of all in the house.
I have never seen her, nor heard her voice. The doctor gave me her phone number, and her first name, and no more, only telling me I should text her, never call. What is done to her is done behind closed doors. It is all her word against his. That is what it boils down to, in the courts. She asks me, “What if the people he has harmed, who told me they would testify, do not?” What can I say to that? How can she protect her children from him, without being there? How can she leave? The unknowns are the most frightening, your mind fills the unknown with the worst that could happen.
She has been brainwashed into believing that she is a failure, not good enough, barely tolerable. She has been gaslighted into such a state that she doubts her own sanity.
Tonight she told me I provide her with a sense of calm, a comfort. I hope so. That is all I want to be, for her.