28 In Inspiration

Fight for the freedom to be heard

fight for the freedom to be heard

Wearing only a thin silk nightdress, she sat curled up in a dark corner of her home, legs pulled tightly against her chest, too scared to breathe loudly – she couldn’t risk him finding her.

She waited as quietly as she could for her moment to escape. For her moment to make a run for it. She could hear him calling to her, mocking her. She knew if he found her he would hurt her and she could feel the fear pumping through her veins. But there was something else inside of her, something else pumping through her veins and arteries. Determination. She would not let him hurt her.

She moved slowly, cautiously around the corner, his footsteps quieter than before, further away. He was looking for her like a wild beast hunting its prey desperate for the taste of blood, but he was looking in the wrong direction and so she knew this was her chance to escape. She ran for the door and flicked the lock, ripping it open and running into the darkness of the night. She knew he would have heard her but she didn’t care. All she could think about was running as fast as she could. She wasn’t strong or used to running, and her feet were bare and she was barely clothed for the chill of the night, but none of that mattered in that very moment. The adrenaline and determination took over and she felt no pain – she just had to get away.

She ran and ran as fast as she could but she knew he was behind her because she heard him calling. But she knew she was far enough ahead, that the streets were windy, and that she was safe for now. She found a spot between some bushes in a stranger’s garden and curled up behind them. She considered going inside to ask for help but she was too ashamed, too embarrassed. They would judge her, she thought. She had made her bed and now she had to lie in it. She had thought about telling her family – she could call her parents. But again she was ashamed and believed she had let them down. The police were an option but he had begged and threatened that if she ever went to the police he would have his father kill her – and she believed him.

In the darkness, hidden from street lamps, she sat alone.

Occasionally she would watch a car go past and wonder if she just stepped out in front of one could it all be over? Would she and everyone else be better off? Was it easier to die? She knew at some point she would have to go home to him and that her only hope was for his angry phase to be over, and for him to be in his remorseful phase. When he calmed down he always felt guilty and would apologise and beg for her forgiveness. He could be so loving and charming and knew how to be romantic. In fact, he was the most romantic person she had ever met, not like her high school boyfriend – captain of the footy team, popular, a show off, and a jerk around his mates.

This guy was caring, devoted, and loved only her. He was attentive, he cooked for her, brought her gifts, and made her feel beautiful. That was, until he got mad again. It didn’t take much for that to happen. If she talked to her family on the phone he would throw things at her until she got off. If she spoke to her best friend he would hit her. If she said the wrong thing he would cut up her photographs. If she was late home from university he would accuse her of being with other guys and rape her. She told herself that he loved her and that he was sorry. He would also beg for forgiveness or threaten to kill himself if she left him, and so she forgave him.

Every time he beat her a part of her would fight.

This usually made him madder, but there was something in that girl – a fight, a spark – something always stopped her from throwing herself in front of a car. Something that made her continue to talk to friends, something that made her hide her pill tablets in the spare wheel of her car so he couldn’t get her pregnant no matter how hard he tried. Deep down she knew she was worth more and that this wasn’t what she wanted for her life. She knew she couldn’t give up her family, her friends, her education and future for this person who beat her. There was a glow in her, a light that she couldn’t let him put out! At 20 years old, that girl packed up his shit, she threw it in the car and drove it to his mothers house. She walked in and sat for hours with his mother and told her everything. His mother supported her, she loved her son, but had suspected the abuse, she was determined to help this young girl get out of the life she had lived with his father, the cycle needed to be broken.

That 20-year-old girl was me. Is me. She is the part of me that I am learning to be proud of.

After I left him he stalked me for years. I walked into my bedroom one day to be met by his face outside my bedroom window. On another day I found him hiding in the backyard of my parents house. He also showed up at my part-time jobs, and years later called me at a job when I was engaged to my now husband. I moved several times and listed my phone listed under a different name. It’s been 12 years of no contact, and it has taken me 12 years to finally get on social media, to allow myself a voice, to find the freedom to start my blog, to write and to feel safe!

It took me three years and a complete breakdown after I left him before I told my family what I had been through, and it was my best friend who finally got it out of me. She had questioned me all along – deep down she had known, but she could never get me to admit it. What I went through didn’t end the day I left him and it damaged friendships, it damaged the closeness I shared with my brother, it hurt my family, it caused the breakdown of my next relationship. It took rape counselling and years of me learning to love myself again – or rather the first time.

Courage is not the absence of fear, it is having that fear, acknowledging it, analyzing it, taking control over it, and ultimately realising that having fears is normal, that you can take control over the thoughts or feelings holding you back, that you are courageous, and have the power to face your fears just by starting to acknowledge them.

Fear is a natural response to trying anything new, to making any change, trust your intuition, listen to your inner voice, don’t be pressured to do things that feel unsafe or are against your values, but don’t let fear stop you from living your truth. This is a lesson I continue to lean, I have not told many people about what I lived through, my closest family know, a few friends and my husband. I made the decision to tell my husband when we started to get serious, because I couldn’t live a lie, it is too exhausting pretending to be something you’re not. I was scared he would judge me, or leave me, but I faced my fear because I needed to know he loved me for me – the good, the bad, the ugly and all of my awesomeness.

I had to learn to forgive that girl for her choices, to forgive myself. It took time, but I realise now in writing this – something I have never acknowledged before – I have forgiven her. She was young and inexperienced but she was brave. That girl made a decision to leave a dangerous situation and to become an educated woman. She became stronger and found a wonderful man who deserves her love. She is raising strong independent daughters, and a son who will treat women with respect! That girl, that woman, is me, and I am proud of me!

For many people joining Facebook and other social media networks is not a big deal, but for me it was terrifying. When I decided to take back my power and to give myself the freedom he tried to take from me, I not only joined Facebook, I started a funny, reflective and empowering blog. For years I had let my fears of the past and of not being “good enough” hold me back, and I was so scared that no one would like my writing or what I had to say, but suddenly people were visiting my blog and loving my posts, quotes, challenges and photography. I cried and cried because I was shedding a familiar part of myself. As strange as it sounds I had to let go of that insecure girl and I had to grieve her loss.

My default pattern had been to run away for years and when I stopped running it felt strange…almost wrong. But it wasn’t wrong, it was fabulous! I just didn’t know how to accept fabulous, how to accept not being that runaway girl, so I allowed myself time to adjust, to grieve, to feel, to be mindful of the pain, the insecurities, and now I can move on to being mindful of greater things in my world.

Since starting my blog I have felt more at peace and more fulfilled than ever. I truly believe we need to find our passions and follow them, and not let insecurities or fear stop us. I have learnt it is okay to give yourself permission to be your authentic self. I often say for me writing is like breathing fresh air – without it I wouldn’t survive. It may sound silly but for me it is my truth – it’s what keeps me sane.

This is the first time I have written my story.

When Janine first asked me if I was a “Life Changing Artist”, when she asked me to share what I had overcome, I wasn’t sure I could write about it, but I wanted to inspire people to take back their power, to believe in themselves and to face their fears.

I think most of us are scared of being ourselves, of showing our innermost thoughts and feelings to the world. This fear is normal but it shouldn’t stop us. The more I have opened up through my writing the more I have realised how many people out there are just like me. If I can empower one person to leave an abusive partner, one person to walk away from an unhealthy relationship, one person to seek help for depression or anxiety, or one person to follow their dreams, then everything I went through was worth it! What I went through changed the direction of my life, it empowered me to have a voice, to inspire women and men, to help people live a life of truth, purpose, and to learn to love themselves. I realised I had to embrace my greatest weaknesses and turn them into my greatest strengths.

When I began writing this piece I made a vow to be raw and honest, to share my story and inspire whoever reads this to face their fears and change their lives for the better. I never expected I would face a fear of my own by writing this, so I thank you for allowing me to share my story with you. I wish for you the belief that you deserve good things for you deserve forgiveness from yourself. You deserve to live an authentic life. In fact you need to demand this for yourself!

I will leave you with a quote that I hope inspires you to live your truth:

Following your dreams, your passions, is like fighting against life. It is easier to say that there is no time, that too many things need to be done today. Fight this. Fight this with everything you have because a life without dreams or passions can not be a life of fulfillment. Fight for your inner self. Fight for the freedom to be heard. Fight to be you!

Thank you for joining me.

Love Mackenzie xx

Fight for the freedom to be heard. Fight to be you!

About Mackenzie Glanville

Mackenzie Glanville is a freelance writer, blogger, University graduate, the creator of Reflections from Me, and it’s offspring Reflections from Me Photography and Dog with a Blog. She is working on her novel, as well as running around after 3 amazing children, 1 hot hubby, 5 chickens, and a blogging puppy. Mac is an advocate for women’s rights, human rights, and through her dog blog champions the rights of animals. She is funny, wacky, and very reflective.

 

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  • Penelope James
    February 9, 2015 at 12:51 pm

    Outstanding and heart-rending. Hooked me from the start! The poignant image of the girl in her thin nightdress hiding from the beast and then escaping into the night. But she did it. She got away from him and stayed away when many others have dithered or stayed and kept silent. Just hope that her determination and spunk has led her to a better life and the nightmare of her past is over.

    Mackenzie, I know how difficult it is to write a piece like this, raw and honest as you say, and I commend you on a brilliant article.

    • Mackenzie Glanville
      February 9, 2015 at 7:05 pm

      Thank you Janine for inviting me to be a part of the amazing work you do, it means more to me than I can ever express to you! Much love and respect.

      Thank you Penelope for the lovely comment, it has been a long journey with ups and downs, but it has made me stronger and although it was extremely difficult and painful to write such an honest piece, I knew it was something I needed to do and I trusted Janine. I can honestly say that I now live an amazing life with the most amazing man, I feel truly blessed. Thanks for taking the time to comment, love Mackenzie

    • Janine Ripper
      February 11, 2015 at 10:33 am

      Thanks for supporting Mac, Penelope. Much love xx

  • Joy
    February 10, 2015 at 2:17 am

    Mackenzie, this was absolutely heartfelt and superbly courageous!! I admire you for being so brave to stand up for your self, turn things around and write about it to help others. You are one strong soul and I’m sure your honesty will inspire others who still need to find their voice and the belief that they are worth more than what they are getting. Bravo!

    • Mackenzie Glanville
      February 11, 2015 at 8:33 am

      Thank you for your kind words Joy, I truly hope that sharing such a personal story will inspire others to stand up and demand more for themselves, it was difficult for me to open up in this way, mainly for fear of others judging me, but I did it because if I can help just one person then what I went through was worth it. I also want to stop the stigma related to domestic violence, I came from a beautiful home, had a great support network and was raised well, yet I still fell into this trap, domestic violence goes on in all sorts of homes, poor, middle class and wealthy, we need to stop judging women and support them instead. I strive to raise my daughters to be strong, to love and respect their bodies, if we can learn to love ourselves, then we are more likely to walk away from abuse of any kind. Thanks again Joy

    • Janine Ripper
      February 11, 2015 at 10:32 am

      Thanks for supporting Mac, Joy 🙂

  • Marie
    February 10, 2015 at 6:12 am

    You are so brave to share your story and to inspire women that there is life beyond abuse!

    • Mackenzie Glanville
      February 11, 2015 at 8:37 am

      Thanks Marie, it means a lot that people are taking the time to read my story and comment. Please let others know to read this as the more we can spread this the more we can help women, children and even men who are abused.
      Many thanks, Mackenzie

    • Janine Ripper
      February 11, 2015 at 10:35 am

      Thanks for swinging by and supporting Mac. xxx

  • Maureen
    February 11, 2015 at 10:45 am

    Mackenzie, thank you for giving voice to so many that didn’t have theirs, that got their voices taken forcefully. Thank you for bravely sharing this. I got tears in my eyes reading this. You are an inspiration to many!

    • Mackenzie Glanville
      February 11, 2015 at 4:50 pm

      Thank you Maureen, it wasn’t easy sharing this, but I actually feel a weight lifted off me now that I have done so, one more step towards healing my heart. I thank you and Janine and all those who have supported me, much love

    • Janine Ripper
      February 20, 2015 at 4:35 pm

      Thanks for supporting Mac, Maureen!

  • paul
    February 17, 2015 at 6:08 pm

    Thanks for sharing this story Mackenzie, I find it interesting the way you handled the situation, as a father I would like my daughter to be able to tell me this was happening or had happened, I would want to be able to protect my daughter, that is my job.
    As a brother it really hurts to think that I could not protect my sister, it still hurts today. Knowing how close you are to Dad I bet it must still hurt him today that he could not protect you, I hope he doesn’t think he failed although I bet he does as this is how I feel, why could we, the people closest to you not see this was happening to someone we loved.
    I know that his threats stopped you from telling your family and I am no professional in this area but I would want to know.
    It took a lot of guys to share this story.
    I’m proud of you.
    I am Mackenzie’s Brother.

    • Janine Ripper
      February 20, 2015 at 4:43 pm

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Paul. It must’ve been hard, both reading and knowing. It’s a common thing for those close to someone who experiences domestic violence NOT to know. It doesn’t make it any easier, I know. I’m so grateful for Mac speaking up and sharing her story, and its important to know that people can escape these situations, that they shouldn’t be ashamed, and that there is help and a life after…Thanks for supporting Mac xxx

  • Mackenzie Glanville
    February 18, 2015 at 3:18 pm

    Thanks for leaving a comment Paul. You mentioned that as a father it is your job to protect your daughter, but as a young woman of 19 and 20, I believed that it was my job to protect my family from the horrible reality that I was living. As a mother now I see it exactly as you do, I would be devastated if my children felt they couldn’t share their pain with me or their father. As an aunty I would also do anything to protect my niece and nephews too. I find my eldest daughter Aspen has the same tendency as I once did, to protect us when she is upset, I work hard to let her know how strong I am, that I can cope with anything and that she can tell me anything. If not me then I encourage her to speak to another adult we trust.
    It is so important to make them understand that they will make mistakes and we will be able to cope when they do.
    Once I eventually shared what I had been through with all of you I learnt this lesson, I learnt that my parents could cope. I also had to learn (and this took longer) that I shouldn’t be ashamed, or hate myself for making a mistake. We are often our own worst enemy, well I know I have been.

    I am glad you pointed out that our family is close, because it is exactly why it was important to share this story, to show that even close families can have abuse affect them. There is a stigma that abused women are unintelligent, or lower class, or unloved by their fathers. I was none of these stereotypes, it didn’t make me immune from choosing the wrong guy. It also shows that we need to pay closer attention to the signs of abuse, it isn’t always just seeing the bruises (because trust me they know where to hit us so it doesn’t always show to others), it is the isolation, it is the control, it is the way they stop their victims from seeing family and friends, and for me that was more painful than being hit.

    I truly hope my story can help families look out for these signs, and that it can help women to speak up and fight for the right to live safely.
    Thanks Paul for supporting me, Mackenzie.

    • Mackenzie Glanville
      February 19, 2015 at 10:46 am

      Love you, and thank you for supporting my decision to share my story. How do I ever thank you for all you do? Much love xx

      • Janine Ripper
        February 20, 2015 at 4:37 pm

        You’re beautiful Mac. Your presence and authenticity is enough 🙂

  • Norm and Ros
    February 18, 2015 at 6:11 pm

    How could this happen to a loving, caring person who is our daughter. If only we had known,how did we not see this,and how did she hide this cruelty from us for so long. We now know why you didn’t share your situation because he threatened to harm any one you told. We admire your strength to be able to cope in such a dire situation , yes you did cope because you are a stronger person than you think you are. We admire the strength and courage you have shown throughout this traumatic time in your life,and to be able to tell your story to help others in your situation. We are so grateful that you had the courage to do what was needed in such a grave situation. We know now how much this has affected your life for many years and it shows what a strong person you are. We are so proud of the way you broke away from such an abusive monster. We are your loving parents and we admire the person you are courageous,strong and loving also an inspiration to all that know you and love you.

    • Janine Ripper
      February 20, 2015 at 4:54 pm

      Your comment bought tears to my eyes, thank you for stopping by, reading Mac’s post, and providing your love and support xxx

      • Mackenzie Glanville
        February 20, 2015 at 6:41 pm

        I am truly blessed to have beautiful supporting parents xx

  • Michelle
    February 22, 2015 at 5:27 pm

    So proud of you for breaking the cycle, as a young girl I can only imagine how scared you must have been. I have a friend going through domestic violence at the moment who has shared her story with me, she is still living through the violence every day and sadly unable to leave, I can only hope she one day will have the courage like you, to be free. It was only after I became a Family Violence Officer at my workplace that I truly could comprehend how hard it is for the victims to make the decision to leave and unfortunately many don’t due to control and fear. I’m so happy that you found your inner strength to leave that monster.

    I hope by sharing your personal story that it can inspire others to stand up and leave and even if it only helps one other person it will be worth it.

    Amazing story, it shows how much strength you really do have, it brought tears to my eyes!

    Thanks for sharing Mackenzie
    xx

    • Mackenzie Glanville
      February 23, 2015 at 9:39 am

      Thank you so much Michelle for your comment and beautiful words. Yes it is an incredibly hard situation to leave, it is not like they reveal themselves early, I know with me I was fooled to think he was so sweet and loving and then gradually once they know they have you hooked they increase the isolation and violence.

      I too hope my story can help people, not just the ones suffering, but help open the eyes of their family and friends. Sometimes when people push you away they need the opposite. Please share my story with anyone you think it would help, the more we spread the word, the more we break the cycle.

      Thank you for taking the time to comment, it means more than you know xx

  • Corinne Rodrigues
    February 28, 2015 at 3:21 pm

    You’re an amazingly brave woman, Mackenzie. I’m glad you found the courage to break free and now to share your story through your writing. I’m sure there are plenty of women out there who would benefit from reading about you. Stay YOU! ♥

    • Mackenzie Glanville
      March 1, 2015 at 6:37 am

      Thank you so much! I haven’t always felt brave but sharing my story was important to me as I truly hope it can help others. It means a lot to have your support, many thanks xx

  • My Inner Chick
    March 1, 2015 at 12:16 am

    You have EMPOWERED yourself.

    And by doing this, you are Empowering others!

    I am applauding you in Minnesota!

    PS. when my sister decided to leave, it was too late. He shot her three times in the head. Darkness poured over the earth SO happy you made it out!!

    • Mackenzie Glanville
      March 1, 2015 at 9:20 am

      I am so sorry it was to late for your sister, this is why this message is so important we have to stop this violence and we need to start by spreading the word and teaching our children that violence is NEVER OK! I have never smacked my children because I will not allow them to ever confuse violence with love. To tell a child I am doing it to teach you a lesson just confuses them.
      I know your sister would have wanted to protect people from having this happen to them and she would be so proud of you using your voice. You have empowered me today and I am so thankful for your message! Bless you!

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