When Domestic Violence Continues Beyond Divorce

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I was recently asked to ghost-write a memoir for publication in a literary journal. It is about my sister, a survivor of domestic violence and a stalking victim. The reason I approached her about writing the story is to help her process the events four years after the trauma began. Her life story is one of incredible sadness, but it is also one of amazing strength, because the failures of law enforcement have resulted in an impenetrable wall built around her daughter and herself.

The pain of domestic violence cuts deep, and coping mechanisms are often employed. Escape poses additional risks, and most victims can’t break free until the situation turns dire. Those who are already battle-worn face new challenges after the split, usually ones that they are completely unprepared to handle. The presence of children in the home further complicates things.

The irony of the family violence is most people already know about the “secret,” but spouses often partially succeed in hiding the truth from themselves. Conflicting emotions of fear and denial intertwine, causing psyche paralysis. Anger and depression are two sides of the same coin – a crushing sense of hopelessness channelled either outward or inward.

Although domestic violence often involves criminal activity, stalking is a much more insidious crime. By definition, it encompasses unwanted persistent harassment that is meant to disturb and frighten a target repeatedly over a long period of time. Victims of stalking feel as if a murder for hire contract has been placed on them, and they are well-aware of the danger in simple daily activities such as shopping or taking a walk.

I hope that writing my sister’s memoir will help her process painful events that continue haunting her, events that have frozen her in time. This is one of the common social problems that has affected my life several times. Perhaps  I will tell my personal story one day, though my sister has suffered a great deal more than I ever did.

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9 Comments

  1. Hugs! Such an important topic here xo

  2. Yes Christy, there are too many of us affected by it. {{{hugs}}}

  3. Seen this happen too many times. An excellent post.

    • Thank you Mary. I read the post to my sister last evening, and we talked about how the stalking has kept her from grieving appropriately. Her focus for the first 2 years was on staying alive.

      The ex moved about 800 miles away 2 years ago, but he still finds ways to continue stalking, mostly online. He visits his “hometown” occasionally and has his friends keep tabs on my sister.

      I hope this memoir will help her to process the events in a safe environment. She is numb now – she can’t seem to move forward.

      • I can relate in many ways. This kind of thing happens far too often. Good luck to your sister, all of you really because you go through it with her.

  4. Lorraine Marie Reguly

    I think I just found the answer I was looking for in my last comment to you on my blog … about what you’re going to be working on in the next little while…

    I think it’s great that you and your sister are undertaking this project, too. Best of luck to both of you – it’s going to be a rocky, emotional journey for you both. She’ll need your support in dealing with the tumultuous feelings that will re-surface. (I speak from experience here, Aleshia; in working on my memoirs/autobiography, I’ve had to deal with a lot. I thought I dealt with things sufficiently, but, nope, I was wrong. The pain of being abused lives on deep inside me.)

    • Hi Lorraine, It has been an exhausting yet rewarding battle with her ex. I’m trying to help her cope and recover at the same time! Her story is being written on a daily basis, figuratively speaking. It is a story that needs to be told, and I’m hoping she has a happy ending. Abuse is horrible business, and I’m so glad you are able to speak out about it. I went through it too, and now I suppose I appreciate my survival more – It has equipped me to help my sister.

      • Lorraine Marie Reguly

        Yeah, abuse is tough to deal with, for sure. I have found that talking about it helps make me stronger. Silence is not golden, in this case.

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