The doctor stared at my swollen, bruised jaw. “What happened?”
A voice strained within. Tell him the truth.
Although shame and humiliation kept the abuse and suffering locked inside, I desperately wanted someone to know. To care.
Maybe he’s safe. Maybe he can help me.
“Someone hit me.”
Panic raced through my brain. What happens now? Will my husband be arrested? Will people think I deserved it?
My heart stopped beating as I waited for his next question—who? Would I have the guts to admit the truth?
He cocked his head and studied me. Finally, he opened his mouth.
Here it comes. I can do this.
“Wow,” he said. “You were hit really hard.” He turned away to look at my x-ray.
My soul deflated like a slashed tire.
I wanted to yell, to ask why he didn’t care. Instead, I remained silent.
Emboldened by my almost confession, I made a momentous decision to confide in my co-worker. Although my husband wouldn’t let me have friends, he couldn’t keep me isolated at work. Over the last few months, Mahasti and I had spoken frequently. She seemed to care. Maybe she could be trusted.
I had to tell someone.
Had to take the chance.
At lunch, I confessed why I sipped broth instead of eating solid food. Mahasti frowned and gave sympathetic nods as I described being backhanded, flying across the room, landing in a crumpled, sobbing heap. An earthquake of fear trembled my body with each word.
“That’s terrible. I’m sorry he did that.” Mahasti patted my hand. “You know, you can talk to me anytime.” Her eyes moved to her watch. “Time to get back to work.” She stood and left me sitting alone.
Why did I even bother?
Defeat drowned my desire to ever reach out again.
No one cares.
Not the doctors or nurses.
Not the one person I considered a friend.
My mother’s words from long ago haunted to me. “You made your bed. Now you can lie in it.”
Does this sound like you?
I didn’t get help, but wish I had before things went seriously wrong.
Don’t make my mistake. Don’t let shame, guilt, or isolation keep you from talking to someone. Get help before it’s too late.
There are people who care.
You’re not alone.
Call a local shelter or the National Domestic Violence Hotline for confidential help at 1-800-799-SAFE.
If you’ve confided in someone or had someone confide in you, what happened?
If not, what keeps you silent?