Not your typical first blog post... - Melissa Helmick Pictorial Artist

Metanoia: A Journey Through Photography

Not your typical first blog post...

Did you know one in four women (25%) has experienced domestic violence in her lifetime and nearly three out of four (74%) of Americans personally know someone who is or has been a victim of domestic violence? I am that one in four. I am a survivor of Domestic Violence. 💜

This was us. 

This was me and my son. This wasn’t the first time I looked like this. It wasn’t the first time my son saw me like this. But it ended up being the last time.

Most will ask, “Why didn’t you just leave?” The reality is that it’s not that simple. For many, it’s a Herculean task that often endangers the woman and calls for a slew of resources that aren’t readily available.

There are many reasons a woman may find it difficult to leave: Fear. Love. Family. Money. Shame. Isolation. Often “just leaving” isn’t an option. For me, it was Fear, Shame and Isolation. Fear of him coming after me and what worse things would happen. The shame of admitting that I was now a statistic and that it happened to me when I had always said I would never let someone treat me like that. Isolation because he took me away from everyone, friends and family. I felt alone.

I had left many times and always fell prey to the “I’ll change. I love you. It’s the alcohol. It’s the drugs.” I was blinded by these “excuses”. It wasn’t until one man had come into my life that I had begun to see my worth. Landon Baca, RIP 10/5/85-02/28/16, saved me, literally in every way someone can. He showed me that love doesn’t hurt and that I deserved so much better. Because of him, I have a beautiful little girl who I vow to teach her the very things her biological father taught me, ultimately saving my life on more than one occasion and saving hers.

I knew I wasn’t safe in my home state and neither was my family and if I didn’t get out, I wouldn’t be here anymore. Nick and Danielle Foor, I owe y’all my life and the happiness of my children. Y’all took me in to get me, Stephen, and unborn Calliope away from my abuser. I can never thank y’all enough. Not only did you help me find a safe haven, but that was truly what I needed to never go back to him again.

I was safe.

Because of all of this, I met the most amazing person I never thought I would find. From Day 1, he was always there and has truly changed my whole life. He has renewed my faith with the Lord and I now have found peace within myself. He has been a constant support in my life, never once straying now matter what came about. He lifts me up, accepts my flaws and my safeguards. He has broken down that wall that I had built so high and is showing me that I no longer need to fear being close to someone. He accepts my past and works with me every day to help me get beyond what my abuser has done to me physically and mentally, because domestic violence is not always JUST physical. He accepts my PTSD and helps me through it. This man, God Bless him for he has truly blessed me, keeps me strong and is a constant reminder that I am not my abuse. On top of all this, he chose to step up and love my children. He came into this full force and never looked back. Stephen knows the love of a father that he had been missing and now sees Momma being loved. My Buggy and I have come a long way together through all this and knowing he’ll never see Momma hurt again and that he’ll only see love and care in our new family touches my heart so much. He has given my sweet Calliope Lily a father. Though her biological father may have been called Home to God sooner than anyone would have liked, I know she is so loved and will have the love Landon would have given her from this man. He has come to love my children more than I ever thought possible and I could never thank him enough for all he does for them. John Helmick, you have changed our lives. You have truly shown me the meaning of love and family. Almosy 2 years together and each day you continue to shower us with love and affection showing us that love and family doesn’t hurt. I love you more than I could ever express in words. Thank you, for all you do. I’m so grateful and proud to call you my husband.

I ask that if you know someone who has suffered domestic violence or someone who is going through it, please stop asking why we stayed. Instead, begin asking how you can help. It could save a life because a domestic violence victim can’t even start a plan to leave until they first believe that life outside of that relationship is not only better, but POSSIBLE.

I ask that as you read this, please take a moment to read the Survivor’s Psalm and pray with me:

“I have been victimized. I was in a fight that was not a fair fight. I did not ask for the fight. I lost. There is no shame in losing such fights. I have reached the stage of survivor and am no longer a slave of victim status. I look back with sadness rather than hate. I look forward with hope rather than despair. I may never forget, but I need not constantly remember. I WAS a victim. I AM a survivor.”

Father God, Lord Jesus, I come to you praying on behalf of all domestic violence victims, survivors and anybody that has ever been affected by Domestic Violence. I ask, Lord, that you cover them with your wings and be their refuge. Lord, I pray that you give them strength to fight back spiritually and that you deliver them and heal them. Lord, I pray that you give them peace, strength, hope, wisdom and love. Lord, we don’t always know why situations happen or what we should do regarding them but Lord I pray that you help them realize that they are fearfully and wonderfully made and that you love them and would never do anything to harm them. I ask, God, that you dispatch your angels concerning them and lift them up to you, because you are where their help comes from. Please send them people who are understanding and willing to help. I pray for protection over all of their lives. In Jesus name, Amen.

If you are a victim, survivor, or anyone that has been affected by Domestic Violence I want to leave you with PSALM 91 (The psalm of Protection). I would like to encourage you to pray and recite this psalm everyday or as much as you feel the need to. Please know that you are not alone, God is a very present help in the time of trouble.

Psalm 91 King James Version He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide [1] under the shadow of the Almighty. [2] I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. [3] Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome pestilence. [4] He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler. [5] Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; [6] Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday. [7] A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee. [8] Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.

[9] Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation; [10] There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. [11] For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. [12] They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone. [13] Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet. [14] Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name. [15] He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him. [16] With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.

I am a survivor of Domestic Violence.

Every day I struggle to relearn to love myself.

I am not crazy or unstable.

I was abused.

I am a survivor.

Together we can stop domestic violence.

Speak up. Silence is Violence.

~ Mel

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