One of the toughest things I’ve ever done in my life was to let go of a long-standing friendship. She had repeatedly gone back to her abuser, insisted she’d never meet a better man, and in the end wound up walking down the aisle with him. I had sheltered her in my apartment for a week after he chased her around their place, threatening to kill himself with a jug of booze and a bottle of pills because she had tried to break up with him. He was, in a word, dangerous. And I could do nothing. I had never felt so helpless, so frustrated, and so terribly afraid for someone as I watched her personality morph over time and become as toxic as he was.
I couldn’t save my friend. She was like the sister I never had, and walking away hurt like hell. But I knew if I continued to stay and enable her choices, eventually my own health would suffer. Given how her abuser had treated me in the past, I had reason to believe that being involved with either one of them would endanger me. I sometimes wonder if she’ll ever walk away, realize her self-worth, and get back on her feet.
I’m not a professional when it comes to dealing with abuse; I only know what I’ve been through and what I’ve watched others go through. I’m the survivor of an abusive relationship myself, all verbal/emotional. Too often people think abuse is strictly physical, but no one can show bruises when they are being verbally threatened, bullied, and taunted by their significant other. Too many women out there, some with children and some not, suffer at the ends of their tormentors. Women’s shelters exist to help these women get back on their feet, stay alive, and learn how to survive away from the significant other who had threatened them.
When I was invited to contribute to the Dreams and Desires vol 4 anthology, I was thrilled. I was even more ecstatic when I heard its proceeds go towards a worthy cause: donations towards A Windows Between Worlds, which provides art supplies and art training as therapy for battered women’s shelters. It was the chance to do something positive. It may not save my friend, but others like her wind up at these shelters every day–four million per year, in fact.
I hope that you will consider purchasing either my short story in the volume, or the entire work in support. It will be out in print in a few weeks for those of you who prefer that format, but for now both releases are out today in ebook:
Love & Magic,