Eight years. It's been eight years. She's confined inside the walls she's built herself. The storm she escaped changed her. Unsure if all men are the same. Will they all eventually fall into the same pattern? She still flinches and gets scared when a man yells. Instant flashbacks she can't seem to escape. The storm inside her replays more than it should. She still dreams about it, she still fears it. She takes pills and it doesn't even clear it. The shrink she sees once a week doesn't help either. It actually only makes it worse. She doesn't want to talk about it and she doesn't want to relive it.

Eight years. I.... Am still haunted by this. It is getting better. Slowly getting better. The women I once was is starting to shine through again. The scars I have on my body will always be there. They are all a daily reminder. Most are hidden under the many tattoos on my body. No one knows they're there. But I know they are. Nearly two years inside the storm I have learned a few things. One, not everyone is capable of change. Two, when you're home alone screaming at the top of your lungs really does help. Three, the storm does not like it when you fight back. Four, I learned how strong I actually am. Five, sometimes it's better to not forgive. Cut all ties and just get out any way you can.

No one will ever know all that I have been through. What it did to me mentally, and even physically. For example. I am 5'0" and 115 pounds. At one point I was 92 pounds. Mentally. I can't seem to fall in love again. I have been single for almost four years. My wall is the reason. It scares me to take a wrecking ball to it. When a man seems to chip at it just a little bit I leave. I patch it back and sit alone. Inside my walls.

Scream.... Why do I do this? Build my wall thicker and taller? Trust. I don't trust many people anymore. A very small handful of people have my trust. They know everything. Every single detail, of every single day. I will only trust people once. Don't mistake my kindness for weakness. Don't ever underestimate me. I have been through a lot. Things that would make people crumble and fall. Truth is, I am slowly taking down my wall. The bricks are heavy, so it'll take some time. It still goes right back up quick if I need it to. Sometimes.... I just scream.

    Domestic violence and abuse can happen to anyone, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, income, or other factors. Women and men can be victims of domestic violence. 1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence during her lifetime. No victim is to blame for any occurrence of domestic abuse or violence. While there is no direct cause or explanation why domestic violence happens, it is caused by the abuser or perpetrator. If you or you know someone who is the victim of domestic abuse please help them get help. Without help, girls who witness domestic violence are more vulnerable to abuse as teens and adults. Without help, boys who witness domestic violence are far more likely to become abusers of their partners and/or children as adults, thus continuing the cycle of violence in the next generation. Most domestic violence incidents are never reported. Help change the facts. Speak up, speak out, and make a difference for victims of domestic violence.

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