Break Away 5K: “We run so she doesn’t have to!”

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Trash the Dress private online divorce support group  member Heather is the amazing force behind the race to end domestic violence. Here, she shares the inspiration behind her Break Away 5K. This year’s event takes place on March 8th. Details below!

Almost three years ago, I was a victim of domestic violence that turned life as I knew it upside-down.  I was still newly married with a 10-month old son and I couldn’t believe that my “perfect” life was ending.  I had worked so hard to get that life that I had blinders on to a lot of things.  A life threatening incident in March opened my eyes.  I thought my life was falling apart and I didn’t know what to do.  I went from “happy family” to restraining orders, assault cases, custody battles, and divorce hearings.  Through the support of many people, especially Heartly House Inc. in Frederick, I made it through that time in my life.  In order to give back to the organization that helped me, I  founded Break Away 5K, a race to end domestic violence.
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Previous event photo. Look at that turnout! Go, Heather!

For over 30 years, Heartly House has been helping Frederick County residents who have been impacted by domestic violence, sexual assault, and child abuse. Their counseling services, 24-hour hotline, and legal assistance are just a few of the services that Heartly House provided me and other victims of domestic violence.

All revenues that are generated through this event will go directly to Heartly House.  The objectives for the race are to raise awareness about domestic violence in the DC metro area, to help educate the community about domestic violence and ways to break the cycle, and to raise money for Heartly House so they can continue to help the community.

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There’s our girl!
The race will be held on Saturday, March 8th, 2014 at 9:00 a.m. in Baker Park, Frederick, MD. Thank you for your support for this important cause!
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Do You Really Know What Domestic Violence Is? One Twenty-Something Divorcee Speaks Out

Domestic Violence Month

What would you answer be if I turned to you and asked: What is domestic violence and abuse?

What we see and know:

She stands before the mirror, her eyes are red from the tears that won’t stop flowing, the blue surrounding her eyes are not the new shade from Cover Girl, they are the marks left by her husband’s fist when she said “no.” Her lips are the most beautiful crimson red but it’s not from that lipstick she wishes she had the money to buy, it’s from the blood that dried while she begged him to stop.

What you don’t see and what we do not acknowledge:

She stands before the mirror, applying her make-up, she needs to hurry, as he is waiting, yet she is shaking because there is no margin for forgiveness if she is not perfect for him. She sees the canvas of her face and prays that today he will find her good enough. She walks out of the bathroom to find him already irritated as she took two minutes too long. He lifts his eyes to scan her body, and mentions that maybe she should wear another dress, as it does not suite her. She turns to walk to her room, and opens her closet. She has few clothes, as she is not worth having her own money and he does not believe that she needs a third dress. However, those  she does own no longer fit her because she has lost too much weight trying to please him, as eating more than twice a day is a financial inconvenience for him, as it halts him from buying a second bottle of wine. He also promised her yesterday that maybe if she lost more weight and firmed up a bit, that then he would feel like being close to her. She thinks maybe tomorrow when she walks out with her lingerie on he will not grimace at her and maybe he will not bring up how exited her friend made him. Maybe tomorrow he will want to talk to her and just maybe tomorrow he will give her a compliment on how clever she is and not highlight how she is failing.

There is no physical scar on her body that you can see; the one the only scar that you could see is the metal bent on her engagement ring.  That was the first and last time he used his body to hurt her. They were fighting over her not washing the dishes and he slammed his head into the closet. Her hand was in the way, and the ring crushed around her finger. But that does not matter because she told her friends that really it was the glass door that slammed against her hand when she hung up the washing, and his best friend is a jeweller so all will be forgotten and perfect soon, once the pliers where able to cut the ring off her finger. They are just going to put it together because he thinks it’s important that they are reminded everyday of this moment.

They look so happy together. Everyone thinks it’s the perfect young marriage, they think she is shy so focus on what he says, when really she is terrified that she will say something wrong, and that she will regret once they get home because he will let loose and she will stand before him for two hours while he screams at her telling her every single way she is worth nothing.

Physically she is perfect, but emotionally she black and blue. He has cut her up and spat her out more times than she can remember. He controls the money so she cannot leave, and she no longer knows how to speak anymore, she no longer trusts anyone, because they will tell her she is too sensitive and men are hard like that. Even the doctor told her that her nervous breakdown was an overreaction “because you husband looks like a nice man” and doctors are always right.

He is domestically violent with his voice… but the media only tells you that physical violence is what we must help women with.

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I implore you to stand up for the woman with the black eye.

I implore you to hold the hand of the woman whose heart is black.

Look to your friends in relationships this month, and pause and consider that words are never the true actions of what truly happens behind closes doors.

We must become aware that abuse comes in multi-dimensional fascists, and when a tear escapes for no reason from a woman’s eyes in the middle of a dinner, we must not turn our backs for that might be her asking for help.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

 

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Too many women divorced in their twenties have had to free themselves from domestic violence situations.  HelpGuide.org lists signs that you’re in an abusive relationship. Know that you’re not alone and there are support organizations, including Trash the Dress, which includes members that have been there and are now thriving.