Don’t suffer in silence – there are plenty of people to help.
That’s the message from one woman who was the victim of domestic abuse for years. Eventually she stepped up and got out, and she is now urging others to do the same.
The woman, who has asked not to be named, married a man here in Cayman and at first, was more than happy in her relationship.
But those memories are now a distant memory as she rebuilds her life, piece-by-piece.
“I started thinking about what life could be without him. Without all the abuse,” she said.
“I was holding on to the memories, to the good times, holding on to the beginning which is always beautiful and nice. And I was always hoping it would go back to that.
“It was wonderful to me, it was beautiful. We were best friends, he was someone I could lean on. But when things started to change I started blaming myself and asking and wondering what did I do wrong?
“It took me a while to realise it was not my fault and there was something seriously wrong with this individual that had nothing to do with me. Absolutely nothing.
“I went from being a very self-sufficient and an independent woman to being someone really scared, scared of people.”
Although it’s been three years since she walked away, her outlook on life has changed. And so too has the way she looks at men and future relationships.
She added: “I’m more aware of those little things. Those little things that might not mean a whole lot for some people, but to me they mean a lot.
“I still remember the night I got to the Crisis Centre, I was broken and I had been broken for a while. Breathing hurt, living, walking, everything hurt. I just wasn’t myself. And there was always someone there to talk too.
“There was always someone there to listen to me and to be understanding. Sometimes even a shoulder to cry on and I cried a lot. For days, for weeks I cried a lot.
“We had a lot of sessions, they encouraged me to do other things, to be busy, I was going to the gym, I was going to school at that time as well.
“The job they do is really amazing. It’s life changing. I don’t know where I would be without them.”
Some wrongly say domestic violence is embedded into culture. And as a result, this victim believes many women are reluctant to speak out.
She added that mental abuse is just as bad as physical.
“Culture doesn’t make it right,” she said. “It’s not right and I’m not going to settle for it. And I just hope with all my heart that women out there can understand that.
“If you don’t feel right, then it’s not right. It’s as easy as that.
“I don’t care what other people think. It’s not about culture, it’s about you and how you feel. And it’s just not right.
“Some people have the idea that domestic abuse is only about physical abuse, if he doesn’t hit me, it’s fine. And it’s easy sometimes to settle and stay there thinking, it’s going to change, at least he doesn’t hit me.
“My husband went from very bad emotional abuse, to trying to kill me. Never a slap, never a push, never an attempt to get into my face. He went from screaming to breaking things in the house, destroying everything. I never called the police.
“Total destruction. Everything that was breakable in the apartment he would break. TVs, he break, like five. Blender, plates, dishes, you would see things flying all over the place. And it was scary, it was horrible.
“The night he tried to kill me, it’s hard for me to even talk about it without getting emotional. Even after three years now I am still dealing with it.
“The verbal and the emotional abuse is the worst. It does a lot to you. It kills you inside. It changes who you are and the way you look at people and the way you look at life.”
Although she looks at life threw different eyes since her ordeal, she is rebuilding and starting again. And she’s now using her experiences to volunteer with the Cayman Islands Crisis Centre and help others in need.
If you, or anyone you know, is the victim of domestic abuse, contact the Cayman Islands Crisis Centre on 943-2422.