This is a poem I found long ago. There is no name attached as to who the author is but I felt it appropriate for this topic. The poem is as follows:
"I got flowers today. It wasn't my birthday or any other special day.
We had our first argument last night, and he said a lot of cruel things that really hurt me.
I know he is sorry and didn't mean the things he said because he sent me flowers today.
I got flowers today. It wasn't our anniversary or any special day.
Last night he threw me into a wall and started to choke me. It seemed like a nightmare. I couldn't believe it was real. I woke up this morning sore and bruised all over.
I know he must be sorry because he sent me flowers today, and it wasn't Mother's Day or any other special day.
Last night he beat me up again, and it was much worse than all the other times. If I leave him, what will I do? How will I take care of my kids? What about money? I'm afraid of him and scared to leave.
But I know he must be sorry. Because he sent me flowers today.
I got flowers today. Today was a very special day.
It was the day of my funeral.
Last night he finally killed me. He beat me to death.
If only I had gathered the courage and strength to leave him.
I would not have gotten flowers today".
There are three primary parts of domestic violence. What I'm going to share comes from "Cycle of Violence"...again I don't recall it's original source. Yet, it's something I was given when I first sought help through the women's shelter.
1) Increased tension, anger, blaming and arguing.
2) Battering, hitting, slapping, kicking, choking, use of objects or weapons. Sexual abuse. Verbal threats and abuse.
3) Calm stage (this may decrease over time) He may deny violence, say he was drunk, say he didn't mean it, say he's sorry, and promises it will never happen again.
Many times over these last few weeks, I've implored you to let someone know you are in a crisis situation. Yet, the amount of emails I'm receiving is confirming the vast majority are not doing this. There are various reasons that you are telling me for not doing so...and I understand.
My own personal experience let's me see that your reasons for not doing so are valid. However, now that I'm on this 'side' of the cycle of domestic violence, I can see some options that were available that I didn't take advantage of. Don't make the same mistakes that I did.
More times than I can count, I had to seek immediate health care. There was never a single time I was asked by a health care professional while ALONE..."are you living in a safe environment?". If it wasn't my abuser that drove me to the Emergency Department of the local hospital, it was one of his relatives (usually a female). It made no difference if the abuser was there or not...as whoever it happened to be that drove me...they were always in the room.
It's not rocket science to know that I answered, "Yes, I'm in a safe environment". We must do whatever it takes to get that health care provider...ALONE! Let them know that you need help and it needs to be now...not later. There may not be a "later".
I know that there are measures built into the health care system to help those in abusive relationships...yet, personal experience has taught me that just because it's "built in" doesn't mean it's followed.
Recently, I wrote about the need for additional surgery. I've also told my readers that I am remarried (almost 2 years now). You cannot imagine the shock I had when I went to the hospital this last time. When my husband and I went to registration to 'check-in', they still had my old information on the "face sheet" with the number of my abuser!
My husband and I both were livid. My husband told the person at registration that this was supposed to have been changed almost 3 years ago. She assured us that it had been changed in their system. My husband demanded that she print out a new "face sheet" to verify what she had just said. When she printed out that new "face sheet"...it was still the same. The information within their system had NOT been changed.
The sudden panic that hit me felt as if I'd been kicked. We were ushered into a different waiting area. This is where we stayed until I was called to go into the "prep area" before my procedure began. I felt victimized all over again. However, my husband's continued insistence proved to be of great benefit. Before I left the hospital they...finally... they had removed all old information off my medical chart. Why did it take almost 3 years to do this?
The only thing I can think of is it was not of importance. If it had been, it'd have been removed when I entered the "safe house". When I entered the "safe house" it was discovered that I needed surgery. My case manager called my physician and let him know where I was and the reason why. She had also called the hospital and let them know, too. I was to receive a call from the hospital later that day to let me know the exact time I should arrive and which entrance to use.
When no call came, I let my case manager know this. She suggested to me that I should call them. You can imagine my shock when I was told that they did call. They let my husband (abuser) know what time to have me there and which entrance to use. This was in 2005!
You can understand why I was so upset when now, in 2008, they still had the wrong information. Please understand, I am in no way saying it's like this all over. I'm simply letting you know of my personal experience. This is the reason I caution you...make sure health care facilities know what your situation is...check...double check...and triple check, if need be. Don't get caught off guard as I did.
It may seem extreme that after almost 3 years they had the same obsolete information...but they did. If it hadn't happened to me, I may have had a difficult time believing it. Yet, I must say that my new husband's insistence made all the difference in the world...as I was so panicked, I could hardly speak.
Well, it's getting late and I need to stop for now...but not before I remind you that you are being prayed for. There are a vast number of women that I'm connected to, they also read your comments. Their hearts are connected to you. We are committed to your safety and well-being.