Last week, Higher Perspective — a website which “seeks to bring together like-minded individuals [who are] focused on personal growth and expanding their consciousness” — shared a painfully powerful video on their Facebook page: A video about physical abuse. A video about domestic violence. And while the video made me shudder and cringe and cry, I refused to turn away because Emma Murphy deserved my attention.
The subject of abuse and violence and domestic violence deserves not only my attention, but also international awareness.
In the video, Murphy — a 26-year-old mother of two, now 27 — spoke directly to the camera while her son could be seen playing in the background. But itwasn’t her words that drew me in, at least not initially. No. It was a visual, i.e. it was the bruise on her face and the swelling both above and beneath her eye. But as I continued to watch and listen, it was her words which captivated me. It was her words which touched me, and it was her words which stuck with me.
Which still stick with me, almost an entire week later.
You see, in the video, it is clear that Murphy is speaking from her heart. Her pain is palpable, her tears are real and fresh, and she is clearly distraught and hurt and confused. But instead of shutting down — instead of shutting the world out — Murphy decided to publicize one of her darkest moments of her life. Murphy chose to turn on the camera.
“I’ve been thinking long and hard and contemplating whether to post this video. And I was, and I wasn’t. And I was, and I wasn’t. I finally decided after a lot of thinking that, yeah, I need to do this for me and my children. I need to raise awareness for other women out there.”
Murphy then went on to explain her story.
Murphy had been in a relationship for three-and-a-half years. A relationship with the father of her children, the man of her dreams, and a man who “was the love of [her] life.” But things changed when, two years into their relationship, this man cheated on Murphy.
“I found out he cheated on me with one of his clients…my world was turned upside down as you can imagine…I tried to forgive him and I gave him another chance. I took him back. And unfortunately I found out that he did it again…so I went to the gym and confronted him. And he denied it, of course, and when I threw his phone he punched me in the face.”
This wasn’t the first time Murphy’s ex-boyfriend had struck her.
“Last year he split my head open, [and] at an event prior to that as well he punched me and I had a black eye.”
But it was the last.
And while these details may be particular to Murphy and her situation, Murphy’s story is not unique. Unfortunately, the same story happens all over the world countless times each and every day. In fact, according to Safe Horizon — a non-profit agency which aids children, adults, and families affected by crime and abuse — “1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence during her lifetime.” That is both a horrifying statistic and one we should not – and cannot — accept. “No man has any right to put his hand on a woman,” Murphy explains. “No man at all…even once it’s unacceptable.”
Murphy’s advice to other women who are in a similar position as she was is simple.
“If anyone out there has gone through something similar to what I’ve gone through, you need to find the courage and get away from anything that’s as unhealthy as violence. Go to your friends and family, people who love you, people who care about you, and talk to them…you have to walk away because more often than not, if it happens once, it’ll happen again.”
And she is absolutely right, but leaving is easier said than done and, for many women, walking away is hard.
Walking away feels impossible.
So if you are or have been the victim of abuse and need help getting help, download the ASPIRE news app. (ASPIRE is a free app from Robin McGraw which is disguised as a typical news site, features actual stories from Yahoo! News, but has a hidden “Help” section with domestic violence resources and a “Go” feature, which allows the user to send a pre-recorded message to authorities and previously designated contacts.) And be sure to check out Safe Horizon’s “Get Help” page.
© 2016 Kimberly Zapata, as first published on Sammiches & Psych Meds