I was used to arguments. My parents were married over fifty years, and my earliest memories include their verbal assaults on another, as well as outbursts toward my sister and me.
As a young adult, it didn’t take too many years to start my own dysfunctional marriage. I was married for three years to a young man who repeatedly enrolled in college but failed to complete a semester. He couldn’t hold a job, and he eventually directed his sullen moods toward me. His anger escalated until he finally pinned me down on the couch and beat me with his fist. My pleas to stop went unanswered until our two-year old son entered the room and cried out. Thankfully, the beating stopped, and my husband ran out of our apartment. Observing or being in arguments was one thing, but physical violence was new to me. Regardless of the unknown path ahead, I ended the marriage for my sake and my son’s.
Many years later, I had a male boss who periodically unleashed his angry temper toward me and a few others at the office. During my six years working for him, his unpredictable screamed profanities and slammed doors were, unfortunately, ignored by his management peers who observed his behavior. My one attempt to explain to him my history with physical violence was delivered at a therapist’s suggestion with the hope of softening his behavior. But he was infuriated and screamed that his own boss wasn’t always smiling and cordial. Soon thereafter, I reached my breaking point and found another job. I will never again work for such a personality, even in today’s challenging times for employment.
Three years ago, a writing assignment led me to explore these long-buried chapters of my life. When I initially wrote about the abuse in my first marriage, I revealed various events that occurred. But I could not write about the beating itself until early 2009 when Chicken Soup for the Soul included domestic violence as a suggested submission topic for their book, Tough Times, Tough People. In order to submit my story, I knew I still had a mountain to climb regarding my own experience with physical violence. I had to mentally put myself back down on that brown and gold couch to relive the sting of my husband’s fist on my face. The anguish I experienced while finally writing about the beating brought about an overdue passionate desire to help with this cause.
Locally, I was unable to find a nearby agency where I could volunteer. Through Internet research, I learned of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and quickly joined. When NCADV put out a call for volunteers to help with The Pixel Project, I wanted to put my God-given writing skills to good use. Through my efforts, I hope to give courage and inspiration to frightened women who find themselves in abusive relationships. None of us deserves to be beaten or belittled—no time, no place, no how.
As The Pixel Project says: It’s time to stop violence against women. Together
– Elizabeth Bogart, The Pixel Project – Research, Admin and Writing Volunteer