Stories:

LATA:

Thank you God. I got out alive.

KAREN D. CHAPMAN:

I am afraid to go home. My Daddy always comes home drunk. and he beats my mother. I can't stand it. I wish the beatings would stop and I wish my daddy would go away.....

I. SHUM:

I must be careful, or I might be effusive.
I have waited for this
I am stronger now.

Whereas before I was a victim (a child in a family
whom I didn't choose and who didn't choose me, whose
culture permitted violence), I can now make my own decisions.

I am watchful not to repeat structures, not only in
my behaviour, but in the situations I find myself in.

This is difficult to do. This is everyday for me
but I am stonger now.

M:

Kevin: You're wrong, wrong, wrong.

It is everyone's Business.

I now Know "There's no excuse for abuse!"

You fucking, selfish bastard!

Do you hear me? No more abuse

Do society a favour and drop dead.

You are not worth one breath of life.

The cycle of abuse stops here!



ANONYMOUS:


LEAVE--

don't

Grieve...
MARGARET D. STETZ
(Assoc, Prof. English and Women's Studies. Georgetown University):

My grandmother

Who was knocked off ladders while cleaning windows,

Kicked in the stomach--sometimes while pregnant,

Beaten many times by her husband, Mikhail (Michael)

my grandfather.


Her Ukrainian Catholic priest told her this was her cross to bear.


ANONYMOUS:

(referring to Nicole Brown Simpson's murder)
We don't have to take it no more.

It's no longer a secret.

Tell everyone you can.

You will be believed

. . . . . . . . . . . .


I prayed to you, dear God, for a love in my life.
You gave to me a heavy cross!
Oh yes--a love with arms to hold me
And a smile to best the leprachaun;
A lithe and charming one--
Who can play and sing to break my heart!

But by the Devil he's possessed--
For as he loves me, he takes my soul apart.
Suspicion and jealousy are most deeply wounding traits
Both to the one possesed by them
And the loved lover caught within their spiky gates.


. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


It was so hard to explain the mental anguish of living with an abusive husband, particularly to my own family--that made it so hard. It seemed like if he tormented me, it was my fault, if I was suffering, it was my fault. They told me: "You should try t o understand him, be more energetic". "He hit you only twice", that's not so bad, other women put up with a lot more". I left him two years ago; he damaged my son's mind and caused him unbelievable pain and suffering. My son was ten when I left him (the a buser). I still have emotional scars; I doubt myself maybe it wasn't so bad but deep in my heart I know the abuse was horrible.
I've struggled to keep my head together because even after I left him he caused me and my son untold misery. At least now I can work on getting my life together and provide a safe, calm home for me and my son.


JAING: (story collected by Dr. Roz Wilder)

I happen to know a woman from the countryside who was lucky enough to have a baby boy in her first pregnancy. She also had her tubes tied at the same time. (The government encourages women to do that to avoid future problems). Her in-laws were happy. Her husband was happy and she was very happy also. Unfortunately, the boy drowned at the age of four. Despite the grieving part, they decide to have another child. To be a good wife and daughter-in-law--to satisfy her in-laws, and to let her husband's fa mily heritage continue, she was willing to go through all the painful operations in order to conceive again. They were determined to have a boy. If it is a girl, they won't kill her, she said, but they would give her away (without letting the authorities know) and try again and again until they have a boy.
Because of the over grown population in China, the Government has to set the limitation that each couple could only have one child. Started about 15 years ago or so. It was difficult to put in practice at first. Many couples wanted more than one chi ld. The social workers would have to track down the women in their second pregnancy and to persuade them to abort the children. What if they insist on having the second child? Well, the child would have no identity and no benefits from government at all. We call them "black market child" I can't imagine how the child would fit into the society when he (she) grows up. It is hard to live without any identity in China, not like in America, many illegal immigrants could still have a pretty decent life witho ut proper ID. The "one child family plan" was probably OK if the first child was a boy. In many people's minds in China, boys is still better than girls, especially in the countryside where field hands are needed desperately. In many families, when coupl es are married, they usually live with the husband's family. So, to the groom's family, they have just gained in man-power, to the brides family, they have lost one. That's why people always describe the married daughter as "the spilled water", means yo u kind of lose it forever, not yours anymore, can't recollect anymore. Thus when the "one child family plan" was in practice, there was always the horrible news that some people killed their baby girl so they could keep trying until they have a boy. At th at time, the medical technology in China was still behind. You couldn't tell the baby's sex before they were born. I could accept the idea of having abortion but can you imagine kill your own baby after they are born? I think these people should be treate d as murderer.
Some prediction has been made that in some years, the ratio of the male to female in China would be totally out of balance. Men would have problems finding a wife...Since each couple could only have one child, most likely they will be spoiled. I hope when they grow up they won't be a monster or self-centered.

In very old Chinese tradition, women's only function in society was probably to Have a baby to let your husband's family name continue. There were a lot of restrictions to them. For example, the 'lily feet' wqas designed to limit women's moving abili ty, artificially making them physically weak. There was a saying in ancioent China, and it istill probably there foe some old-fashioned Chinese, that is, women's best quality is to have no education at all and always follow orders. In the old-fashioned mi nds, if women were educated asnd they have their own thoughts, they would be too difficult to control and manage. Thus, women in ancient China had no independence at all. They had to always depend on their families. There was\ a book which all sentences w ere constructed by only three words, called " (chinese caligraphy to be inserted)..... was a bible to all the women as to how they should behave in various situations. The most famous saying in it was "listen to your father when you are single and follow your husband's orders when you are married." It was all male-dominated society. Men were allowed to have several wives where the women, once they were married, they kind of like belong to their husbands forever. In the case their husbands died be fore them, they were better to remain widowed the rest of their life, otherwise they would be considered slut or bitch if they ever try to remarry again. Men could divorce their wives by simply write a letter and send them home if they want, but for wome n, even they were unhappy with their marriage, they had no way of getting out of it. If a woman committed adultery, she would probably be given death penalty and hanged, where the men could have as many women as they want.
Over the years, this situation has changed a lot, specially when the Communist party took over mainland China. The equality between two sexes has been achieved a great deal. The men are no longer more important and powerful than women any more and th ey were assigned same tasks in society, workplace and families, but the sexism still exists, only now it is in a new form.


A CHILDHOOD MEMORY:

I woke up to find my little sister screaming with her hand over her ears...

I looked down and saw my father with his hands around my mother's throat...

She was choking.

Then my father looked up and saw us...

And he dropped his hands.

My mother turned towards me and said:

"Girls, go back to bed."



ANONYMOUS:

It was the late sixties.
It was one of the last times my father beat on my mother,
That was the day he was also beating on my older sister.
My brother and I went next door and called the State Police. They came and told us that we had to take whatever Dad handed
out to us as long as we lived under his roof.
But, they said, my mother could go to District Court and
file a complainst against Dad,
I said we would be there when it opened.
When the time came, my mother refused to go.
My sister and I moved away from home.
The physical abuse stopped for a long while.
From then on, it was mostly psychological abuse my mother suffered.
She refused to do anything about it.
Because of the children.

Statistics: of our parents' six children
5 of the 6 were divorced from their first spouse.
4 of the 6 married abusers.
3 of the 6 were pregnant before marriage.

PLEASE STOP THE VIOLENCE!

6-YEAR OLD CHILD:

Guns make me feel happy
But when they point them to my mommy
It makes me feel sad

J. R. of "My Sister's Place"


"ME"

When did I let them change the ME
And leave an empty heart?
When did I give away the ME
And keep the saddest part?

How could I not see ME go?
How could they not care?
When did I become this ME
That I take everywhere?

Where do you go to find the ME?
Where do you look for clues?
I must go on and find the ME
The one lost to abuse.

Hang on they say
The tide will turn
Hang on to the ME you see
Hang on to the hope and you
Will find the ME you used to be.


DORIAN GORDON (8 years old)

One night at my house I was looking at the news.
They said a mother and father killed their one month-old baby.
They killed her one night by sticking her in the chest 11 times and in the heart. And they threw it in a garbage. This really makes me feel sad.


KRIS SABATTELLI :
(This true story was lived, survived, and written by one who wants everyone to know that domestic violence also affects lesbians.)

NEVER AGAIN!

When we met...I thought she looked beautiful.
When I was getting to know her..."like" turned to love.
When I got to know her better..I saw that she was never sober.

Eventually...She hit me!

A LOT!

She said I was wrong... and I believed her.
She really hit me...because someone hit her...

A LOT!

And she drank... because she thought it made her happy.

I finally left her.

Because when I really knew her...She looked ugly!


J.P (age 10 years):

Someone coming home one night
Hitting you and making a fight
Feeling very afraid when he hits you
Making the sun turn blue.
Just because of a thing he wanted,
His Family. He had fought.
Now gone right in front of his face.
Leaving his hand and footprints in their face.


ANONYMOUS (Pseudonyms have been used to protect the identities of the abused women)

Three days after I arrived here (in the U.S.) he started beating me. He held my neck and beat me (for asking him what was on his mind). When I went to lie down he pushed me off the bed...I felt very sad and wanted to diw...When he would come home he start ed to beat me...for reasons like not eating, not drinking juice, not cooking or cleaning enough...he would beat and kick me and when I would start crying he would put the T.V. loud so no one could hear outside. He would squeeze my throat. One day when I got unconscious they all (husband, brother-in-law and his wife put me in a tub and bathed me and fed me for three days....

(Reena, a postal worker)

I was working for two years before he married me...he started asking me about the money. Like what do you do, what happened. Then he started asking me to give him an account. I said I can't give you an account of what I did with my money for the last two years. I don't keep the receipts...he said you are talking back to me, you have no respect for your husband... I he asks me something I have to give him an answer. I he does not like it, than it's not respecting him.. and he would slap me....

(Tara, a receptionist)

All three of them, father-in-law, brother-in-law and him (husband) all teamed up (Mother-in-law had passed away). They started abusing me physically. They kicked me. My father-in-law came and twisted my arms, and threw me in the family room....It was an e veryday problem, they wouldn't let me go to work, they would close the garage door on me. They woulod lock all the doors and I couldn't get out of the house. It was real hard....

(Usha, an insurance agent)

When we speak of the unspeakable, we break the silence surrounding domestic violence in our community. We show that ignoring or accepting domestic violence is not equal to remaining loyal to our families or our community. The voices of the abused women wh o speak the unspeakable, compel us to listen. As member of the community, we need to question those values in our community which place women aqnd men in unequal positions while simultaneously challenging those externally imposed labels which stigmatize a nd separate us from others in a common struggle. Collectively, we must challenge the institutional structures that oppress or marginalize us. We must build coalitions and collectively exercise our political voices for progressive change. Most important, w e must believe and act upon the fundamental right of women against violence. Together, we can make a difference.


MYTH #301

"You are a shameless group of social misfit girls.
You are...frustrated by being unable to get matches...Your group is evil in that it exists for the purpose of destroying the Indian family and values held by decent
traditional Indian women not influenced by so-called liberation in the USA."

-----From an anonyous letter signed by "a concerned citizen"


ANONYMOUS:

I was educated, confident, had a good job and everything going for me when he walked into my life and had me believe that he loved me and wanted to marry me. I believed him and everything he told me before we got married.

Then the story of abuse began--the verbal put-downs, the emotional and sexual abuse, the cruelty, the deceit, the torture, the pain--all of this was in the name of love!

I endured all of this because I loved him and believed this was the only way to prove it to him.

It was only after I was no longer with him that I realized this was abuse--I wonder where and how I would have been if I had known this then.

He killed me every time he put me down, negated me, ignored or invalidated my feelings and emotions--he had me believe I could never be good enough. After all, what was special about me anyway?

He made love to me even when I was sick and in pain-- all that mattered was that he felt the need and it was my duty to satisfy him. I cringed in pain and he ignored it or became frustrated, He forced me to have sex the way he wanted even though I abhorr ed some of the acts --it did not matter. I thought this was what marriage was all about so I did not complain. If I told him that we had to abstain from sex for a few weeks because of medical reasons, he became extremely angry or frustrated--if I expresse d the desire for sex, he witheld it from me. I was at his mercy and he enjoyed that very much.

He intimidated me, frightened me and his presence would often freeze me. I did not recognize myself any more.

I am dicovering myself and learning a lot about all kinds of abuse and accompanying pain. I have come a long way but still beat myself over why I allowed him to abuse me....