I was volunteering tonight, and on my walk home, I saw something beautiful and felt compelled to take a photo. Upon completing this action, I started thinking about it. I had forgotten until that very moment.
It’s November, and that means the Shine the Light on Women’s Abuse Campaign is happening. In our city, part of this campaign means that the municipal buildings are lit up purple to raise awareness. Trees and lights in the park downtown are purple as well and many commercial buildings take part, all to raise awareness of woman abuse. The thing I felt compelled to take a photo of was the Tree of Hope lit up purple in Victoria Park. Realizing what this meant started me thinking. It made me realize how important this is to me.
I was…am an abused woman. I am still recovering from my own personal experiences. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was emotionally abused for several years. My actions were dictated to me, and I was made to feel like I was less than. I was yelled at for making minor mistakes, and was called a liar and accused of betrayal when I became afraid to own up to those mistakes because I knew what reaction to expect. If I didn’t do things a certain way, I was punished by various means. The means were never physical, but it took its toll on me. I was left with severe social and generalized anxiety, and a struggle with the worst depressive episodes of my life. I tried to talk about these things many times, and I was shut down every time. I was made to feel like my feelings didn’t matter, like what I needed didn’t matter. I’m not sure he even realized he was doing it. I’m not angry at him, but leaving was the best thing I could have done for myself. I am still recovering from my experiences, and over a year later, I am still afraid to date. I know logically that it isn’t the case, but I fear that the next person I date will be exactly the same and I will just end up in another relationship like the last. I’m not okay with that. I am healing slowly, but this is the nature of the beast. It leaves scars.
I hadn’t thought about it until now, but this has become something near and dear to my heart. Awareness needs to be raised about men’s violence against women, and I appreciate the things my city does to try to do so. The reason the colour purple was chosen is it stands for courage, honour, and survival. It has become a symbol of the fight to end woman abuse. If you are interested in learning more about this campaign, you can visit the following links:
Shine the Light on Women’s Abuse is an Ontario-based campaign, but it is something that should be happening worldwide. It’s an important issue and there can never be enough awareness raised.