A Different Point of View:
I became involved in Reach Out Speak Out because I know firsthand the long-lasting effects of domestic violence. I am the male spouse of a domestic violence survivor. I say male spouse as a matter of context only as I am certainly aware that males can and be victims as well. My wife of 30+ years was in a domestic violence relationship during high school and several years after high school. Yes, it can and does start that early. Her abuser did terrible things to her. He was not only verbally and physically abusive but was also psychologically abusive. She shared a story with me, a re-occurring one at that where her abuser, while raging over something petty would drive his vehicle at a high rate of speed toward fixed objects like telephone poles and mailboxes. He would always swerve out of the way at the last minute, but at the time she didn’t know if that’s what he would do. He would also drive at extremely high rates of speed on the highway and slam on his brakes or would get into road rage situations with other motorists and tailgate them. Can you imagine the effects this has on a teenaged girl? She has told me that as a result of this abuse she dreams, or should I say nightmares that she will die in a traffic crash.
To this day, 30+ years later my wonderful wife is still deathly afraid to drive on the highway. She is as nervous as a cat even when I drive on the highway. So much so that if we are going somewhere close by and have an option to take the highway or talk surface roads, she prefers to take the surface roads. Of course, I tell her I’ll take whichever route she wants me to take.
I could go on and on and provide many other examples of how her domestic violence has had a lasting effect on her. It breaks my heart. The bottom line is that if you find yourself in a relationship where your partner was the victim of domestic violence, please, please listen to their story and have compassion. Your love and understanding may heal those wounds but keep in mind it may last a lifetime.