A couple weeks ago, I gave my very first presentation on domestic violence. The Silent Witness event was held in the government building by The Dove House in Hamilton, Ohio. Weeks before the day came, I had to do a lot of soul searching, writing, and decision-making. I had to determine how I wanted to share my story, along with what advice I wanted to offer those attending.
What I didn’t expect was what happened the very next week.
After twenty-five years of not seeing one man who harshly abused me; tearing my phone off the wall as I tried to call 911, flipping my desk over in one fierce move, and pinning me down so that he could continually hit me over and over again, I was face-to-face with him once again. I only experienced abuse at his hand one night, which happened to be the last time I was physically abused, but it was extremely physical and terrifying for me. Although I never spoke to him again, I did run into him a year or two later, and in that moment I felt as defenseless as I had on that horrific night, but nothing transpired except my anxiety. I didn’t approach him, I didn’t stand up for myself…I did nothing.
Now, twenty-five years later, I am face to face with him again. This time, however, I am in the midst of many children. My family is attending my niece’s birthday party at a children’s game house. As I walked toward my family, his eyes caught mine. We were walking toward each other and once our eyes met, neither of us looked away. As I passed his gaze, my mind began racing, realizing that this was my chance! My chance to finally tell him how he made me feel. Now I could tell him how awful I thought he was, how scared he made me feel, and that he should be ashamed of himself as a man. This was my chance to stand up for myself! To look fear right in the face and spit on it!
Please know, this visual looked extremely inviting to me, but sadly all I could do was walk. I was right next to him, I could have grabbed his arm, stop in my tracks, something! As I headed back to my seat, which was just a few feet away from his, I just sat there. Occasionally he would stand up, allowing me to see him once again, however, my eyes never left the place where he sat. As I leered at the top of the booth where he sat I wondered: What should I do? Should I take my opportunity and go over to him? What should I say? But wait! He has a woman and child with him. Are these people his family…has he changed? Would I start something I couldn’t handle, creating a scene at a child’s event, placing me in a physical encounter all over again, or would I somehow traumatize this other child’s life? Is my event something that happened so very long ago and I was being ridiculous to give him the satisfaction of knowing that this was something that I even cared about..or even thought about on occasion? Should I wait and approach him when this woman and child are away from the table? Will I cause my husband to get involved? So many questions…except for the ones I should have been thinking.
Is he possibly abusing this woman and child? Has he just started to date this woman and she has no idea what she may be in for at his hand?
The odd thing about this woman is that right before I even saw him I had gone to find the restroom. In my wondering around to find the facility, I noticed another woman struggling to find the same location. I touched her shoulder, guiding her to follow me. She was very appreciative and friendly. The odd part is that this woman was his woman…his date…his family. Out of the hundreds of people there, God had me guiding her….to the restroom.
As I sat there deciding what I should do about my approach, he passed our table twice. Still, glued to my seat, knowing that I would regret not standing up for myself once again. I knew I wouldn’t get this chance again, but what did God want me to do? What was the ‘right’ thing to do?
As I watched him and his accompaniments leave, I felt saddened by the fact that I froze in fear during my opportunity. I questioned why God put him in front of me…after twenty-five years…one week after sharing my story in public. Why, God, why?
I woke up the next morning with the answer. I remember hearing a pastor say that those who harm you will pay for their deeds; not only pay, but in front of you. Reminding myself how bad he looked; overweight, unkept, and unhealthy, I went looking for the verse in King James Bible. Here’s what I found: Psalm 27:6 And now shall mine head be lifted up above mine enemies round about me: therefore will I offer in his tabernacle sacrifices of joy; I will sing, yea, I will sing praises unto the Lord.
Although I still would like to have said something, I know that God sees that I did the right thing..for me. As for the other woman and child, I still have to question whether or not I dropped the ball. I have been put in the position of being a woman’s advocate before, and failed, and so I had to wonder if I did indeed fail once again.
I wrote about standing up for others in my book, and if I would have thought differently in the moment, I would have handled the situation differently. All I can do at this point is pray that she and this child are not in harm’s way.
Through my website search, I also read the following:
Psalm 27:10 (AMP)
If you’ll just keep moving forward, being the best that you can be, God will take what’s meant for your harm and He will use it to your advantage; God will open doors that no man can shut; God will give you favor and cause people to want to be good to you; you may be in a situation where because of the poor choices of others it seems like you’re stuck, you’ll never get out of that rut, accomplish your dreams; God knows how to get you to where you’re supposed to be; all through the day, in your mind, in your thoughts, you should be saying “Father, I want to thank you that it’s payback time, I know you’re a God of justice, you’re restoring the years, the dreams, no person’s going to keep me from my destiny, I will become everything you created me to be”; have that attitude of faith. shake off the negative comments, what people say about you doesn’t determine who you are, shake off the disrespect, keep your head held high, and God will promote you in spite of what they said. one way God pays you back is to prepare a table before you in the presence of your enemies; that means God will promote you in front of the people that were trying to hold you down; He’ll show you favor and honor in front of those that said you’re not good enough; let that go in one ear and out the other.
To read more of what this author shared, go to http://formerheathen.wordpress.com/2012/07/30/god-will-bring-justice-into-your-life/.
To read more on dating, relationships, family and friends, check out my book, Loving with Purpose, or go to any of the following links…