MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - The United Nations is calling it a “shadow pandemic.” Memphis has seen a rise in domestic violence since the start of the pandemic, and so has the rest of the world.
While every domestic violence survivor has a story to tell, many start out the same. For one Memphis woman who agreed to tell us her story of survival during National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, but wanted to protect her identity, she said the first warning sign was jealousy.
“I’m really not thinking anything of it. I just think he really loves me,” she said.
Then, came the verbal abuse.
“Him saying you’re not good enough, nobody is going to want you but me,” she said.
Then, the physical abuse started.
“There was a lot of shoving and a lot of pushing,” this survivor said. “I’ll never forget I was pregnant and he knocked me so hard across the room.”
For the better part of 13 years, she spent her days making sure none of her husband’s buttons were pushed. She watched what she said and how she looked and hoped to never receive any attention in public.
But she said the hardest part of it all was leaving.
“There were times I could’ve left but I didn’t,” she said. “There were times I left but went back because I thought I knew better, I could control him.”
She said a pastor noticed the pain in her eyes and talked to her, and that’s what started the process of leaving. She said the biggest part of healing was getting into counseling.
Now, she counsels women.
“What I try to do is say this is what happened to me and this is what I did,” she said. “I never tell anyone what they have to do.”
But she said she sees time and time again where domestic violence situations end tragically, like Tuesday morning in South Memphis. Police said a woman was shot and killed in what is believed to be a domestic violence incident.
“It breaks my heart, it really does, because now I think those children don’t have their mother or their father,” she said.
If you are in a domestic violence situation you can call the local, 24/7 YWCA hotline at 901-725-4277.