Eds. note -This is the first in a series of columns by Johnnerlyn Johnson as told by a survivor of domestic violence survivor. The columns will share one domestic violence survivor’s “last night in hell.” Its content, which has not been altered, supports why the proposed Violence Against Women Act should both continue receiving bi-partisan support and be signed into law. There is no mention of the abuser or the survivor’s name to protect their identities from continued abuse and/or vigilante justice.
If you suspect domestic violence issues, contact the Scotland County Domestic Violence and Rape Crisis Center. The shelter manager is Beth Taylor, and she may be reached at the office phone 276-5505 or email@example.com. The 24-hour crisis line is 276-6268.
“For nearly two decades, the Violence Against Women Act has helped ensure that no victim of domestic violence has to suffer in silence or in the shadows,” said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi last week.
“Think quickly: Do you remember where you were or what you were doing on Sunday, November 19, 2000? Probably not. I remember that night; it is etched into my memory for eternity, and if you’ll allow me to, I’d like to tell you about it.
He’s been drinking all day long; probably smoking pot, too. These days, I avoid him as much as possible, even though we live in the same house; I know that if I can somehow manage to keep from getting his attention, I don’t have to worry about him flying into another of his violent rages. I’ve been going through this for more than two years, but this last month has been so much worse than ever before. Lord, if I could ever master the art of invisibility, now would be a great time for it.
You see, his younger brother was killed in a car accident in October. Without question, this was very tragic, but it has really just given him an excuse to drink, drug, and be abusive more, and worse, than ever before.
What’s that you say? … Well, don’t be silly, of course I want to leave, escape, evaporate…if I felt that I had anywhere to go, don’t you think I would? …Anyway…
Oh, well look…this is cool. The kid from across the road just showed up and asked him to go “fishing”. Yeah, that’s guy-speak for “let’s go do something that your girlfriend wouldn’t approve of”. Yes, go. ((DEEP sigh of relief)) He’s gone…let’s see what’s on television and stretch out on the couch, and enjoy this reprieve…
It was during this moment of rare peace that I fell asleep. When I woke up, I was very nearly convinced that I was in hell. By the time I realized that I wasn’t, my heart, mind, and soul were all screaming “I’m going to die tonight!!”…Or shall I rephrase, when I was awakened by this man, straddling me where I slept, pinning my arms with his knees, swearing at me, calling me names, and slapping me repeatedly. I was rudely snatched from my peaceful slumber right into the face of satan himself! My brain tried to comprehend what was going on, punctuated with punches, slaps, and the pungent smell of stale beer and pot…”