I recently watched this interview with Melissa Dohne an American survivor of domestic abuse who was stabbed 32 times by her ex boyfriend. She has gone on to publish the photographs of her injuries in a campaign against domestic violence.
Looking through the photographs shown on the video I felt sickened. They are both shocking and disturbing, it is terrifying not only that one human being could do this to another, but that a human being could do it to the person they are supposed to have the most loving, intimate relationship with.
Melissa is what I have always considered a “real” abuse victim. In fact, even now I see these pictures and think about how my husband never even came close to doing anything like that to me. I feel like I have nothing to complain about, that in comparison to Melissa I have no right whatsoever to use the term abuse for what I went through.
But the point is, he could have done that. Abuse escalates, and not always at a predictable rate. Who knows whether I may have ended up gravely injured or dead if I had stayed, this can happen to anyone.
Melissa’s story paints a picture of what can happen to any of us; to you, your sisters, your daughters, ANYONE. She is so brave for speaking up about what happened to her and I hope she inspires women to get out of abusive relationships. I cannot commend her enough for her bravery and tenacity.
And so I am going to show you my one and only picture of my injuries after the worst attack. It’s nothing like the horror that Melissa suffered, but it is what a larger proportion of abuse victims will have suffered. I’m sharing this in the hope that someone like me, who would have looked at Melissa’s pictures and thought “now that’s an abuse victim, I’m not, my relationship is fine” will look at them and think “well that’s nothing, my husband has done that” and then realise that actually having black bruises all over your thighs isn’t nothing. It’s abuse. And you need to get out.
This grainy selfie taken in a dusty mirror is after the time he threw me on the floor and punched me repeatedly. It’s the only time I took photographs and this is the only one remaining that I didn’t delete. (it just got missed) Usually I would have more like single bruise on my arm where he’d grabbed me, or I’d be sore under my chin where he’d choked me, I often had bruises on my back from being pushed against things. If your body ever looks like this. If you ever wake up with something hurting because you’ve been shoved, pushed, flicked, grabbed- whatever. You are being abused.