We have all heard stories about domestic violence. Truthfully, we all silently applaud when someone escapes and shake our heads when someone doesn’t do what we feel is most obvious….just get out! What those of us who have never been in that type of situation fail to understand is the emotional struggle and the overwhelming sense of feeling alone in this type of situation. I can say that I have been through this struggle. Let’s hear from a sister who met this head on and came out strong and wrote a book about survival as she answers my questions surrounding her life before, during and after this struggle. Meet author Tre C L Bryant.
LadyBlue: What made it hard for you to leave?
A: My children because I didn’t want them to suffer because I could not provide for them the same as if they had both parents in the home. I wanted them to have the experience that I was robbed of and I was raised by a single mom who couldn’t always provide for me and my siblings.
LadyBlue: What advice would you give someone in a situation similar to the one you were in?
A: It’s not worth it and you need to release yourself from the headache, heartache, frustration and disappointment and quit trying to convince yourself that they will change or that you can change them. If he / or she is abusive to you and has always been abusive to you it will not change. If your abuser hits you once, calls you out of your name, rapes you of your self-esteem, controls your every move, humiliates and disrespects you they will never change so get out while you can before it’s too late.
LadyBlue: If a woman is not ready to leave, what should she do to get ready?
A: Prepare yourself mentally and emotionally because the abuser will make it unbearable once you have made the ultimate decision to leave. When they lose control they are capable of doing anything they can to try to reverse your decision. Their mindset is that of you need them and once they realize you are leaving they will purposely make your life a living hell. Also start financially preparing yourself for the transition because you may also find that you have no one to support you because people are scared to become involved and you will totally have to rely on yourself. The situation will be harder for someone who is financially dependent on their partner but when you have had enough you will find away God will make it possible.
LadyBlue: Whom did you call for help, where did you find help, or did anyone try to help you?
A: Once I tried calling my Dad for help and was threatened by my ex and I had to totally learn to rely on myself for support while in my relationship. No one knew about my situation so there was never any help offered to me and because I was in denial I never seek professional help. I also made several attempts to reach out to my family but because they thought I had the perfect life no one wanted to become involved with my situation.
LadyBlue: Were the police involved in your case; and if not, could the police have helped you?
A: The police were involved several times especially at the end of the relationship and I made several police reports against my ex to make sure that every incident was documented. They were aware of the situation in our home and in public but informed me that if he didn’t physically harm me where there was visible proof there was not anything that they could do. Once my ex was informed about this by the authorities and that he could not be arrested unless he physically harmed me he began to mentally and emotionally continuously abuse me.
LadyBlue: What did you do first when you knew you were free?
A: Reflected on how far I had come emotionally, physically and mentally and broke down. I began to pray and cry like a baby and that is when I realized I was much stronger than I ever thought I could be and that the nightmare was finally over. After everything I went through I looked back and thank GOD that I was alive and that I survived what felt to be the impossible and then my continued healing process began.
LadyBlue: Media tends to focus on stats rather than actuality. What could be done differently by the media to make this a more undeniable fact that is not glorified by the cellphone happy public?
A: Stats are based on what the public comes in contact with meaning hospitals, doctors, nurses, medical examiners, first responders, correctional facilities, shelters and etc. They never take the time to hear the stories of the people like me that suffered in silence. Domestic Violence victims and survivors cannot be based on stats because there are so many people who are affected and never admit to it because they are afraid of becoming a statistic just as I did. They need to talk to the people who have experienced such acts and understand that there are more victims than the CDC and news report on.
LadyBlue: What advice do you give to survivors today?
A: Enjoy every moment of the freedom you fought so hard to get back and remove yourself from your past because you don’t live there anymore. Continue to move forward and don’t take the simple things for granted. Understand that your life serves purpose spite your storm and just continue to rebuild. Pursue your dreams and enjoy the things that you always wanted to do but were not allowed to do. I encourage all survivors to give back to their communities and become a volunteer in a Domestic Violence shelter and help someone on their journey to becoming a survivor as well. Inspire those who have lost hope and help to restore their faith and encourage them to make that necessary change and take their life back. Be a blessing to someone who needs it and you shall be blessed in return you made it through so help someone else to make too. Never forget what you went through and stay humbled but help others who are in need that haven’t found their inner voices and strength to leave just yet. Take the necessary steps and time to heal because you can’t expect for someone to love you if you haven’t had the time to learn to love yourself. Embrace your new beginning and enjoy your life to the fullest and no longer in that of fear.
LadyBlue: What is the best thing for anyone who is suspecting someone is involved in a DV situation?
A: Advise them to tell someone they trust about what’s happening to them and to seek help immediately and to carefully and safely remove themselves from the situation.
LadyBlue: When is your book set for release?
A: Where there’s A Will There’s A Way will make its debut on 6/18/15
LadyBlue: What made you decide to write the book?
A: I wanted to inspire people who are currently going through Domestic Violence and speak to them as a survivor. The book was written to show them that they can get out of the situation and live a happy and healthy life and to let them know that they are not alone. Writing a book was something I always wanted to do but I was discouraged many times from doing so by my ex. When I finally decided to leave I was blessed to find the love of my life and he inspired me to share my story and not be ashamed of my past and let it hold me hostage any longer. It became a form of therapy and has helped a lot with me moving forward in my life and also learning what it finally feels like to be in a health relationship with someone of the opposite sex.
LadyBlue: How does your family and friends feel about the book?
A: So far everyone is supportive but I’m sure I will have those few people who will swear up and down that I told nothing but lies. My story is just that and people don’t like to accept the truth when it’s staring them in the face especially in the pages of a book. The biggest supporters I have at this point are the three unconditional loves of my life (my 2 children & my significant other) and a few great friends I have met along the way that just recently became aware of my story. It doesn’t matter what anyone else says because at the end of the day it was once my reality and I don’t have to prove anything to anyone or make apologies for it because I have nothing to hide.
LadyBlue: Last but not least, tell us your story, let my readers know you and your journey to this point in your life and the feeling you put into your book!
A: My story is of my own personal struggles and heartaches over the past 37 years of my life. I can proudly say that I am a survivor who was molested at the age of 4, raped at the age of 15 and in an abusive relationship for 20 years. For years I blamed myself and realized I did nothing wrong but eventually took my life back. Everything I went through was for a reason and it was all apart of God’s purpose for my life. To be able to find the strength within myself to in return help other’s with my story and inspire them because they can get out and make it spite what they have been told. Through the pages of my book I share my most intimate thoughts, fears, resentment and some of the hardest times of my life but I thank GOD I made it through. Where there’s A Will There’s A Way was my life and is the first self-help book to be release as I began my literary journey. My blood, sweat and tears are literally all over this book and to know I’ve made it out is a blessing. Since that chapter of my life has ended I have been able to move forward with my continued healing process.
Wow! What a beautiful story and a beautiful outcome! If you know someone who is a victim of Domestic Violence or need further information on the subject check the library, your local social services and even for support groups! Chronicle what is happening to you not only to help yourself but to possibly help others. Never give up and continue with your healing process! You never know the blessing you could become!