Scared Silent: A Memoir written by the ex-wife of the DC Sniper

I just finished reading Mildred Muhammad’s memoir titled: Scared Silent: When the one you love…becomes the one you fear.  Not only was it a powerful title, but once I started reading it, I could not put it down.  I had come across the book at a local Barnes and Nobles, read the first page and was hooked. 

The book is a biography written by the wife of the man named the DC Sniper, John Muhammad.  Him and his accomplice, Lee Boyd Malvo killed 10 people and harmed many more in a shooting rampage that terrorized DC, Virginia and Maryland for days.  But there’s always more to the story and Mildred explains just that in her book.  John was an abusive husband and Mildred knew that he wanted her dead.  She had left him and he felt that she had taken his children away from him.  Mildred felt that John randomly shot all of these victims so that when he shot her, she would be just another victim as well.    

As I continued reading the book, I looked in disbelief the entire time.  It wasn’t that I didn’t know what her husband, John, was putting her through.  I had experienced abuse myself and I understood all of the crazy-making that he was creating.  But what shocked me, was that the purpose of the shootings was that John was going to kill her and make her another innocent victim, and I was convinced that it was true.  I lived through the horrific events of the DC Sniper shootings in 2002.  I remember it on the news everyday how innocent victims were being shot down and killed randomly just doing every day things.  But the news had never reported what was really going on.  They portrayed John as part as a terrorist group, and hid the fact that he was after his ex-wife.  Maybe they didn’t believe her, but I do.  Mildred had a reason to be scared of John and he made that clear to her.

There’s a line in the first pages of the book where Mildred explains that her husband, John told her “When a man hits a woman, it means that he has lost all respect for her.  It would easy for him to kill her after that”.  Reading that line scared the crap out of me.  My abuser had hit me many of times.  That sentence made me realize that if I caught him at the wrong moment, he could easily end up killing me.  I always asked him why he never respected me and reading that made it all to clear.  I allowed him to hit me.  When he did, I stuck by his side, letting him know it was okay.  But it wasn’t and it’s clear to me now why I never got the respect that I deserved.

This book gives a powerful insight on what women in abusive relationships go through.  I was a real eye opener for me.  Mildred is a powerful voice in the world of abuse and we all can learn a lot from her.  Not only has she written her own memoir, but she also runs an organization called “After the Trauma”.  It is a website that helps women of abusive relationships.  It provides many resources and information for victims.  Her site can be found at: http://www.afterthetrauma.org/  Not only did she write Scared Silent, but she also has another book titled: A Survivors Journal.  It will be one of my next reads.  If you are interested in either of these books, they can be found here:   http://www.amazon.com/Scared-Silent-Mildred-Muhammad/dp/1593092415

Is Jake Pavelka from The Bachelor is Abusive?

After catching up on Monday’s Bachelor Pad 2 (yes, it’s my guilty pleasure), I started to see signs that Jake may actually be what we like to call a “toxic man”.  Although I had watch his entire season of the Bachelor, seen the special Bachelor Breakup Reunion on him and his former fiancé Vienna, and have been following him on the Bachelor Pad 2, I have began to think that he may be abusive towards women.  I was taken back by this idea, after all, he seemed like the perfect gentleman for most of the series.  I’d love to hear everyone else’s take on this, but here’s how I feel.

If you are not familiar with the show, I will catch you up a bit.  Jake was Season 13’s Bachelor and throughout the show, there was a lot of hatred towards the woman that he ultimately chose.  He proposed to Vienna, who was known as the villain of the season among the other women.  Jake was such a sincere and loving man during the taping of the entire season.  Then the tabloids hit that him and Vienna had broke up, then gotten back together again and then broke up again.  The typical on-again, off-again relationship.  Then ABC decided to do a “Break Up Reunion” with the duo to get the story straight.  I didn’t realize it at the time because I did not have the knowledge of what abuse looks like, but after seeing Jake and Vienna around each other again (post breakup) on Bachelor Pad 2, I started to become suspicious of Jakes ways.

During the first few episodes of the show, Jake persistently tries to get closure from Vienna, who has moved on and is now dating someone else on the show.  Vienna is very uneasy around him.  The initial part of the show, where the contestants are arriving, she is disgusted with the idea that Jake will be coming on the show.  She is nervous and looks scared that he might actually show up.  This is what really threw up a red flag to me.  This is the exact same way I would feel when my abusive boyfriend would get home every night.  My stomach was in knots, I was constantly on guard.  I looked exactly like Vienna did. 

So Jake ends up being on the show and all he can talk about is how Vienna treated him so badly and he wants to talk to her.  Vienna does everything in her power not to talk to him, she even refuses at one point.  She states that she is not comfortable even being around him.  From this point, as a victim of domestic violence, I feel that Jake emotionally and verbally abused Vienna.  But now I’m curious if he ever became physical.  This suspicion brought me back to the break up special and I decided to watch it again to review his body language towards Vienna and I was confused with what I was seeing.  (After googling it, I noticed that I wasn’t the only one that felt this way).

If you watch the video, Jake and Vienna continue to argue back and forth.  Although Vienna does interrupt him a couple of times, it is only because she can never get a word in edgewise.  But if you watch how Jake reacts to Vienna’s interruptions, is not just “babe, could you please stop interrupting me”.  It feels to me that it is aggressive and at one point he says in an abusive tone “Stop interrupting me!”.  Not only does he say this in a degrading tone, but he actually puts his hand out, with the back of it towards Vienna and “karate chops his leg”.  If Jake feels powerful enough to act this way in front of millions of viewers, then what did he do to Vienna behind closed doors? 

Not only do I feel Jake’s actions show signs of abuse, but I worry how Vienna reacts, I feel that she is a victim.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not a fan of Vienna by any means, but I feel that all women should be treated with respect.  After crying histerically, she actually curls her body up in to her lap and covers her face.  Curling up in the fetal position is a natural reaction that are body does when we feel threatened.  Was Vienna doing this to protect herself from Jake?

At the end of the reunion, Vienna actually walks off the set.  As she is telling Jake how horrible he treated her, he never even looks her in the face.  He has a smirk on his face, which he has been wearing the entire show, and emotionally abuses her by not even entertaining or listening to what she has to say.  He is trying to make her look like the trouble maker and he will just sit there calm and look like the “good guy”. 

I don’t know if my intuition is right or not, but I would love to hear how everyone else feels.  Do you feel that Jake may have abused Vienna?  I’m interested in hearing your opinions!

Statistics of Domestic Violence

Here are some startling statistics that I came across on Glamour’s Website.  They are suprising to people who do not experience abuse, but unfortunately are oh too familiar for those that do.  The great thing about statistics is that they can make you afriad to be with someone who would do this too you.  For me personally, statistics and news reports are 2 of the things that helped me most to end my abusive relationship.  Statistics don’t lie and as my relationship continued to prove each of them right, I realized things were not going to end on a positive note.  I hope they do the same for you.

NEARLY 60 PERCENT OF ALL YOUNG WOMEN HAVE EXPERIENCED ABUSE

  • 29% of women surveyed said they’d been in an abusive relationship.
  • 62% of those women have been hit, shoved, or slapped.
  • 33% choked or strangled.
  • 11% who say their partner is currently abusive predict he “will seriously hurt or kill me.” Another 30% of all women polled said they’d never been in an abusive relationship but then reported experiencing abusive behavior.
  • 23% of those women said they’d suffered physical violence, such as being slapped or punched.
  • 94% cited emotional abuse. “Emotional abuse almost always escalates to physical violence,” says Diane Lass, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist at the Family Justice Center in San Diego.

WOMEN OFTEN DON’T SPEAK UP ABOUT IT

  • 24% of women in abusive relationships have not told anyone they’re being harmed.
  • Similarly, 37% of women who have known someone in such a relationship never said anything to that person—or to the authorities.

TELLING SOMEBODY CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE

  • 62% of women who reported they had been in these relationships said that having the support of a friend, family member or coworker helped them “get through the relationship safely.”
  • 42% of women who were in an abusive relationship and told someone they were being hurt said doing so helped them get out.

WHY THEY DON’T LEAVE ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIPS

  • Love was the top answer from women in our survey when asked why they had not left an abusive partner.

These statistics are from Glamour.  Here’s the full article: http://www.glamour.com/tell-somebody/2011/05/the-facts-relationship-violence-2011-statistics#ixzz1VOGrUSlH

Closure from an Abuser

Getting closure from an abuser is like everything else that you’ve had to deal with him.  Like everything else you’ve wanted from your abuser – you never got it and he’s not going to start now.

As we all know, break ups are hard, but breaking up with an abuser is even more difficult. Abusers are manipulative and controlling. They will allow you to say what you want to say and then turn it against you.

Wanting to face an abuser after the relationship is over is a desire, just like in any normal relationship. However, it will do more harm than good. By facing your abuser, you are giving him the opportunity to re-victimize you all over again. He was not kind and sympathetic to your feelings the entire relationship, he’s not going to start now.

As a matter of fact, I know this from breaking up with my abuser multiple times. Every time I told him it was over, it wanted to explain to him why and end it on a clear note. And every time, my need to get closure backfired on me. He never gave me the closure I needed; he never said the words that I wanted to hear. I didn’t realize it until now, but he’s not capable of doing that. No abusive man is.

Most of the conversations would start out sincere. Me telling him “I’m really hurt by the pain you caused me. I tried so hard to make you happy. Why would you do something so horrible to someone you love?” I’ll stop myself right there. Knowing what I know now about abusive men, I would never in a million years say those lines again. I am showing a sign of weakness. I gave him an opportunity to convince me that “it wasn’t that bad” and he “didn’t mean to hurt me”. From there is it all downhill for me, I have given him the opportunity to say “I’m sorry, I’m going to change; I love you.” Instantly, I’m taken back and believe him. As do a lot of women. But it’s a ploy, part of his master plan. He is only trying to put you back under his control and unfortunately, it will probably work.

Instead of looking for closure in these types of relationships, you need to find other outlets to get over the breakup. Because you will not get it from talking to him. Here are some other ways to release your energy over the end of the relationship.

1. Write him a letter, but don’t even think about sending it. This will release all of the words that you’ve been wanting to say to him on how horrible he made you feel. It will be just like you told him to his face, but you are not giving him the power to say what he wants to say to re-victimize you.

2. Have a bon fire. Burn items that remind you of the relationship. Throw in photos, clothing, birthday cards, and anything else that reminds you of him. While you’re at it, burn that letter too.

3. Gain Knowledge. Starting reading and learning what you just went through and how to heal from the destructive pain inflicted on you. Knowledge makes you powerful and that’s something your abuser never wanted you to have.

4. Become you again. Abusers make us change into people that satisfy them. During the relationship, you probably lost who you really are. Set out to find your true, great self again. Do things you love, take up hobbies that you stopped because of him, and build positive relationships with others.

Image: photostock / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Why Women Stay in Abusive Relationships?

The famous question that every women faces while in an abusive relationship is: Why did you stay?  Many people outside of the relationship cannot understand why we stay in these unhealthy relationships.  Often times, we even loose friends and family members because they disagree with our decisions to stay and they don’t want to help us get out.  Or they think we don’t want to get out.  The thing is, we DO want to get out, but we are mentally manipulated to continue on-again off-again relationships with these men do to several reasons.  The truth is, there is no straight forward answer to this question.  It is complex and can even be difficult for the victim to understand themselves.  However, the following are the most common reasons women stay in destructive relationships.

  1. She’s in love:  Abusers are very manipulative.  Even though a man may be abusive to a woman, there are good times in the relationship.  Victims often push the bad memories out of their minds and live for the happy moments.  This is what causes the “Cycle of Abuse”.  She looks forward to the honeymoon stage after a violent act.  Which reminds her “how much he really does love her”.
  2. Money problems:  In abusive relationships, many times the men will control the finances, even if it’s her money.  He might also ask of money for this and ask for money for that and before she knows it, she has no money for herself.  She has gotten so far into a bind that she feels she cannot survive by herself financially.  This is especially true if there are children involved.
  3. Children:  Women feel that their children need to have both parents in the household.  They do not want their children to grow up without a father.  They want to keep their family together, so they just endure the pain he causes. 
  4. Loyalty to him:  She feels that she needs to stay by her man and “save” him from the problems that he is having.  Something from his childhood or something in his life made him this way and it’s not his fault.  If I had cancer, he’d stay by me.  We can get through this together, she thinks.
  5. Fear:  When a woman leaves her abuser, this is one of the most dangerous times of her entire relationship.  Abusers need to be in control and by her leaving, he has lost all control.  Even if he was not physically abusive, he may have made threats to her to ensure that the idea of leaving never crosses her mind.  She may feel that there will be consequences that not only put her in danger, but also her children, family and friends.

Staying in an abusive relationship is what many women think is the best or the only way to live.  They cannot view their lives any other way, even though they know they are suffering.  Finding the courage to leave may be what we really need to ask ourselves.  After being belittled and having our self-esteem crumbled for years, it is not exactly easy to say “it’s time to leave”. 

The Day I Realized It Was Time To Leave

In early August 2011, I finally got the courage to leave my abuser.  I hate to admit it, but it took at least 3 years to leave.  We had been together for a total of 6 years and he became abusive around the 3rd or 4th year.  On August 5th 2011, my abuser punched me in the jaw, breaking it.  I had just returned from my sister’s wedding and he went into a jealous rage because “I took too long to bring up my things from the car” and “I wasn’t wearing the earrings he bought me”.

I don’t know what finally hit me (no pun intended), but I knew I had to change my life.  It had been a long time coming and I had planned for the past couple of months how I would do it.  After he broke my jaw, I was not only angry with him, but I was unhappy.  I realized there was no more love for him as a partner.  It wasn’t even the pain that he had caused me, but I was no longer attracted to this person he had become.  It seemed like an easy thing to do, but it was far from it.  I had so much fear instilled in me that I did not know what he would do to me if I left him. 

They say when you leave your abuser, that is the most dangerous time.  Even more so than actually being in the relationship.  I knew this from the previous times I had tried to leave my abuser.  When I had previously moved his stuff out, he physically knocked my door down and threatened me.  I knew this time I had to go about it in a safe and smart way.

In early June, my boyfriend had signed a lease to move in to his new apartment on July 20th, 2011.  I was ecstatic.  He finally had a date that he would actually be moving out of my place.  I was counting down the days. 

During this time, it was very difficult to be around him.  The entire time, I felt like I was walking on egg shells.  I never knew when or why he was going to snap.  He was unpredictable.  I did everything in my power to keep him happy during this time.  I allowed him to use my car whenever he wanted, he could come home at any time, I made sure to have dinner ready for him every night, I answered everything with “yes babe” and “ok babe”.   This was probably the most degrading time of the entire relationship.  He would still be little me and now I was belittling myself.  But I put my feelings aside, because I knew this was the only way of surviving my time with him. 

I realized that I was playing the part of a victim of Stockholm syndrome.  This is when a victim plays the roles and does everything to please the person who is threatening her.  I feared for my life and did what I could to survive.  If this meant degrading myself, I was okay with that.  It was all a game, and I did not want to lose my life.

Hi Everyone!

Hi Everyone!  Welcome to my site.  This is my first post and I want to start by thanking everyone who visits my site.  I also want to encourage your comments.  Unfortunately, if you are visiting my site, you are probably not in a happy and loving relationship.  I promise you, that can change.  Please continue to check my blog for updates and new topics.  I look forward to the journey of this new project!

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