I was the recipient of domestic abuse. So difficult to say - harder to accept. Even now, almost ten years after I 'escaped' I still feel a little - silly, I suppose - saying it. Thinking it.
I think my reluctance stems from a few reasons. One (and this will sound terrible, even though it is true) I'm middle class. It doesn't happen to 'us'. It happens to others. On council estates (this from a woman who was born on one). One has a mental image of a garden filled with rusty cars and other detritus and stray dogs (although that doesn't seem to happen a great deal any more), unkempt houses and people milling about at all times of the day and night, beer can in hand. Raised voices as well as fists.
Another reason is the fact that one equates domestic violence with physical violence which is even more ridiculous from my standpoint since most of the violence I was blessed with was, in some ways, far more damaging. If I, a victim (how I loathe typing that word. Not because of any strong sentiment regarding my not being a victim but because it seems wrong, belittling all those women - and men - who arrive at casualty with broken bones and bruises) have difficulty accepting my former position then how on Earth do I expect others to? Mind you, I can be delightfully contrary.
Despite how I try to dress it up, bundle it away in the furthest corners of my mind the fact remains that I was abused and the effects remain. It is very frustrating (actually that is a huge understatement; I'm furious with myself for allowing it to still hang over me but, although I believe I'm better than I was, it still hangs there, like dear old Damocles' sword) and I wish I had the ability, the strength to change and become a powerful Amazon. Unfortunately I'm not of that mould I am a wimp. A coward - even Flavia's guinea pig has me sussed and under his tiny paw. Sometimes I catch myself thinking that next time I'll do things differently - only to remember that (as far as we know) there is no next time. Just this one and I can't help feeling I've blown it.
I don't want Flavia to make the same mistakes. I think she's stronger than I ever was (which is good); she doesn't appear to worry about being ridiculed because of her personal style and doesn't pull punches (whilst I'm always terrified of giving offence).
If there is a next time I hope I remember enough to know I need to kick butt. My turn to be the kicker rather than kickee!