Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Rose's Story: Domestic Violence

The text below, so strategically placed in black surrounded my white is the e-mail in which I received from Rose Starkley-Mason. This is her courageous story about survival through an overly abusive relationship. It touched me more than words normally do (and I'm a writer). Though she doesn't speak in fancy metaphors or put together poetic sentences, her message is given and that's all that counts. To Rose, I've heard you and I hope the world does as well.

Terry J. Snipes

Terry Snipes,

What can I say? When I first stumbled across your website and realized that it wasn't the same "find him" type of topics I knew I should write you about this subject. It seems like you get many interested readers to your blog and I most certainly have become one of them. This is why I would like to share a story with you. I know your website says content may be published so I am giving you all control to publish this e-mail. Please forgive me if it is not written in the greatest of prose. I am not a writer. I am a reader. lol.

My husband, Thomas Starkley took my hand in marriage on July 15, 1990. We were destined to be together. He was 30 and I was 22. I'd just come out of college with an associate's degree in Criminal Justice (which I never used).

Life with him was pure bliss for all of one year. He was always a light drinker and that didn't affect me much. Hell my father liked to have a drink every now and then as well. I must admit, sometimes he would make passionate love after he was drunk.

One day he got fired from his job. He is an electrician and a damn good one if I may say so myself. He was getting drunk as usual. Wild Rose was his favorite. It was always strong on his breath and I found myself slowly becoming un-attracted to him.

After about a month of neither of us bringing in any money, we got evicted from our home. THe bank snatched it from out under our noses. The house was in Thomas' name, but as married people know, what's his debt is my debt. My husband filed bankruptcy and we moved into an apartment on the south side of town. Around this time I got pregnant with my first girl, Atina. This is when my husband began to leave at around 6 in the evening and not come back until 5 the next morning. There were plenty of nights that I cried my eyes out. I was pregnant, alone, horny, lonely and in pain.

6 out of the 9 months I was alone during my pregnancy. Luckily he made it to the hospital to see the birth of her girl. four months later and I was pregnant again. He kept yelling for me to get an abortion. I wouldnt do it. I am most certainly not pro choice because I've always believed a child should live. That night he beat me with the butt of his gun. I do believe he tried to kill my unborn baby that night.

The beating I received caused complications and I ended up in labor 5 months before the baby was due. I stayed in the hospital for a while having labor pains. It was the most horrible experience. Of course my husband was no where in sight at this time. My mother and my best friend Mike were at the hospital almost every day.

When I had my second child and came home, the house was a wreck and Thomas was drunk. After putting Atina to bed Thomas slapped me and kicked my stomach until I felt like it was bleeding inside. Yet this was not the most severe beating I would receive.

After this the years went by as routine. It was pretty much beatings, cleaning, raising children, beatings, cleaning, cooking, sex (rape), cleaning... on and on and on. The kids and I were forced from house to apartment whenever Thomas would get fired from a job for coming drunk or failing a surprise drug test. I finally decided to get a part-time job. Thomas didn't agree with women working so I started off sneaking. When I'd talk to Mike about it he would tell me I was the female version of James Bond. I'd sneak and plan schedules just perfect for me to go to work while the kids were at school.

By the age of 32 I'd been beating numerous times in numerous places for numerous reasons. His food was cold, I got beat. I didnt groan loud enough during sex, He'd punch my vagina. Now contrary to what people believe, if a strong man punches a woman's vagina it WILL HURT.

I'd successfully kept the beatings away from my two girls for years. After a while they began to see and cry on the staircase or behind closed doors. When Thomas would leave they'd come into the room I was in with towels and clean up.

Mike and my mother tried calling the police and putting me into battered women's shelters but I always refused. The reason why is because after beating me Thomas would simmer down and treat my like a Queen. Yup, there was a catch. For the first year or so it was devastating. After a while it became second nature. When my friends and some co-workers looked at me with disbelief I would return the look. It was almost like I was saying WHAT? This doesnt happen to you?

In the winter of 1999 was when I'd had my last beating. Though he would still abuse me mentally. I was outside with my girls talking to Mike. He would often invite me and the girls over to sit and talk. On this particular day I'd forgot to set Thomas' food in the oven and instead set it on the table. How could I have forgotten? I dont know. In the middle of a wonder December day Thomas comes rolling his Chevy on Mike's lawn. He pulled out a gun waving it at Mike. I could tell he was very drunk. It didnt make matters better when Mike shouted things at Thomas. All of this things he said was true but it provoked Thomas. He shot at Mike nearly hitting one of our girls. We got in the house safely and called the police. The girls were so shook up we started taking them to therapy.

The story doesnt end like a Hallmark movie. When I divorced Thomas in 2001 it was very difficult to live or breathe. Though I hated the beatings it was all I knew. I found myself even looking Thomas up on the Internet to find where he was. I was determined to run to him. I'd received so many messages on my cell phone from him stating he loved me and he was sorry. He called me an evil bitch for keeping his children away from him. It hurt. I cried many nights.

One particular night I almost got hit my several cars when I met up with Thomas at a local bar and tried to crack a bottle over my head. Here I am stumbling into the street, blood in my eyes screaming the words I love you.

I'm not fully over my husband or the incidents. I have been single for 4 years. I just started dating a new man and I find myself extremely violent with him. I instantly began to fight him. I know it's wrong that I take my frustrations out on him. It's sad that he must suffer my my ex husband's mistakes. I don't know when I'll ever fully get over it. But the lives of my children, friends and myself was at stake. Though I crave the love and crazily, the beating of Thomas (thats all I've known), I know this is for the best. Thanks for reading this email. And may God bless you.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this story. Wonderful site!

Anonymous said...

I think it would be interesting if you could conduct an interview with her and see how it turns out. Great story. I will come back.

Poetiq Expression said...

I always try and find ways to inspire people as well as tell a story that will move them. I am very happy that Rose decided to send the email. I am still waiting for her respond about doing the telephone interview. Thanks for your kind words.