Through the eyes of a victim, you see the face of anger. You see the face of your abuser quickly switch from happy to angry as he sees the outfit that you wore to school today. You felt like dressing up and putting on a little bit of makeup and his only response is, “Are you trying to impress other guys besides me?” Even after you explain to him that you just felt like looking good for yourself, you hear those dreaded words: “Wait until we get home.” As someone approaches the two of you during this heated discussion, you watch his angry glare quickly turn back to happy again. You suddenly feel guilty because you weren’t the one to cause that smile, and you will hear about it later.
Through the eyes of a victim, you see the person you love hurt you in ways you never thought were possible. As you walked on egg shells all day to avoid making your abuser mad, you think you made it all day without a fight. You think you finally did something right, until he comes home from a bad day at work. He doesn’t even say hi, he just comes and throws you onto the bed. You take the blows, because you know he’s upset. He promised to never hurt you, but as long as he apologizes afterward, everything is OK, Right?
Through the eyes of a victim, you see the face of fear. When your abuser goes a little too far one night during a fight, you see his anger slowly change to fear. He knows what he has done, and he knows that it was wrong. The apologies start swarming in, and every single time, you tell yourself that this is the last time. But this time, you are serious. Suddenly, he realizes what he is losing. You pick yourself up off of the floor he threw you on and you start to walk away, but his apologies become more sincere. He promises that this will never happen again, and that he will get help. You wish that he was being truthful but you know that this time, enough is enough.
Through the eyes of a victim, you see the faces of sadness. You see the face of your abuser go from fear to sadness as he watches you run away. You watch as he runs after you, but you get away just in time. You know that now is the time to tell someone. You see the faces of your family and friends whenever you tell them what your abuser has done. You see your parents start to cry, not knowing how they let something so serious go on for so long. You see the guilt grow on your friends’ faces, as all the fights they watched and heard about start to add up. Everyone wishes they would’ve noticed sooner. You wish you would’ve noticed sooner, too.
Through the eyes of a victim, you see the officer read through your statement. You listen as the officers and judges question all of the things you worked so hard to hide. You are told to write down everything that happened to you, when you can’t even collect all of your thoughts in your own mind. You feel the fear that you had when you had to keep all of these things to yourself, but then suddenly feel relief when you realize that those things will never happen to you again.
Through the eyes of a victim, you watch your abuser glare at you as you testify against him. As you’re standing in the courtroom, you watch the person you used to love walk in and look directly into your eyes. You watch him sit down at the wooden table right in front of you, and listen as the judge sentences him to counts of domestic abuse. You’re relieved and saddened at the same time, knowing that the person that promised to love and protect you, turned out to be everything you told him you never wanted in a man.
Through the eyes of a victim, you watch as people give you those looks. You realize now that everyone knows about what happened to you, rumors have started, and no one knows how to react. You listen as people try to spark up conversations, to make your life seem a little more normal. You listen to your parents give you pep talks every morning before school, to help you actually make it through a whole school day. You try your best to make it through the day, just for them. You know that people are trying their best to make you feel better, but they honestly have no idea what is going through your mind.
Through the eyes of a victim, you feel the tears fall down your cheek as the flashbacks fill your mind. You find yourself lying in bed wondering what went wrong. You ask yourself what you could’ve done differently, and why you couldn’t make your abuser happy. All the bad memories flood your mind, and you can’t shake them away. Crying seems to be the only way to let all the pain out.
But through the eyes of a victim, you wake up the next day stronger than ever. You look into the mirror, and notice that your bruises are starting to fade. You realize that you no longer have to buy that expensive makeup to cover them up anymore. You no longer have anything to hide, because you finally got away from what was hurting you. You put on makeup just because you want to, not because you need to. You dress up because you feel like looking good for yourself. You feel so free because you realize that the person that used to control your life, no longer has a say in what you do or think. You smile because you can, and because you no longer have to walk on egg shells to keep a smile on your abuser’s face. In that moment, you know that you will make it though.
And now, through the eyes of a victim, you see a survivor.