If years ago a fortune teller had gazed into a crystal ball and told me that when I was twenty-two years old I would – take a trip to Hawaii, fall in love with a hippie drug dealer a year older than my father, get pregnant, live isolated in the jungle only to endure verbal, emotional, psychological, and physical abuse by him, and would then need to escape and go into hiding to protect my child and myself – I would have told them that they had the wrong person.
You see I was just beginning my life as a bohemian world traveller. I was wide open to all possibilities. Just not that one. But fate or destiny or whatever you want to call it, had a different plan for me. I ended up being exactly the right person, for this terribly wrong turn of events. Why? Because I refuse to be silent.
I know I’m not alone in this plight. The World Health Organization estimates that 1 in 3 women worldwide have experienced physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence. In my home country of Canada, it’s 1 in 5 women, and on average, every six days a woman is killed by her intimate partner. Every year 362,000 children witness or experience family violence. In the United States, 1 in 4 women have experienced severe physical violence from their partner, and nearly half of all murdered women are killed by romantic partners.
Everyone knows a woman who’s experienced domestic violence. But how many of us know about the women who flee the authority of the family court system rather than give custody over to the fathers who they accuse of abuse? This seems to be an impossible number to tally. Follow my Mothers In Hiding blog – the starting point to uncover stories of separation and divorce, child custody issues, the legal system, domestic violence, and the hidden lives of women on the run.
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I won’t speak for all women. But I can speak from my personal experience. From the ages of twenty-two to twenty-five years old, I was in an abusive relationship. This is the average age range for females to experience intimate
No one wants to end up at a shelter. But we’re grateful that they’re around. Women’s domestic violence shelters are chronically underfunded. The support workers are over-worked and under-payed. They’re constantly trying to fill positions and find volunteers because people