I talked about abuse and made you uncomfortable? Good.

“People mistake vulnerability for intimacy. It’s not just annoying, it’s damaging.” — these words from my friend and Anti-Nihilist Institute co-founder Anna Lind-Guzik have been knocking around in my head lately for a reason.

Vulnerability is a useful tool of connecting to one’s audience. This isn’t just true of confessional writing. When I began to open up about leaving Russia/an abusive relationship, I did so with an explicit goal in mind: Draw attention to the problem, and show people how abuse *really* works.

It was also obviously important for me to emotionally connect with my audience and friends in general. Pain becomes more manageable when you feel less alone. All of this is normal — mundane, even.

I wasn’t surprised by the amount of odd, insensitive, prying and condescending messages I received. A lot of them came from men who have trouble processing vulnerability — in all of its forms — and prefer to think of it as mildly distasteful/not respectable.

When a certain type of man thinks of you as not worthy of respect, he may write you off, or he may also attempt to hit on you/crowd you in a demeaning way. Because a man like this reads “vulnerability” as “she has no boundaries.”

Certain women also mistake vulnerability for a lack of boundaries, but they more frequently attempt to aggressively mentor the person they deem as having a lack of boundaries. Heaps of unsolicited advice, carefully worded to remind the individual of their lower/more ignorant status in relation to the self-appointed mentor, are the norm in this situation.

While it’s not surprising, this process has nevertheless been fascinating for me to observe, due to the fact that the Anti-Nihilist Institute is an organization that promotes emotional intelligence, not only because feelings get hurt and relationships are damaged when people refuse to be smart about emotion, but because real life issues get obscured in the process.

People who misread my tweets and posts about abuse missed important points, such as: Abuse is literally everywhere. It frequently doesn’t look like abuse from the outside. A victim can and will take cute Instagram photos with her abuser, for example (in fact, the abuser will insist on them —making sure that things look “normal” is important). Cues can be subtle. Trauma bonding is real. Bonding is real in general — nobody is abusive 100% of the time. Abusers can be charming, caring, and supportive when they’re not busy abusing someone. Making excuses for what’s happening is common. Bluntly telling someone, “Just leave him, girl,” will often have the opposite effect. Leaving can be so very dangerous. Patience and understanding are key to helping someone leave.

When we talk about abuse, we don’t just risk public ridicule. We risk breaking down the wall we have built between ourselves and the people who abused us. We risk revenge. We don’t want medals, but we do want the risks we take to be worth it.

I am better, much better now, than I used to be. These last few months didn’t just teach about survival, they taught me about what great friends I have. How lucky I am to have my country to go back to — the States is still beautiful, even under a cloud of Trumpism, even with all of the crap we have to deal with back here, and we have much left to lose. And I know know much more about my own resilience and, above all else, capacity to love. No matter what.

That’s the other part about vulnerability that people frequently fail to understand. Being vulnerable is not just about opening up to other people — it’s about opening up to yourself. Knowing yourself. Knowing what you are actually capable of.

So now that abuse is on the agenda again thanks to the likes of Rob Porter, please consider it not just as a subject you cluck your tongue at before turning away. Consider it as part of a narrative that many, many people — including your friends and neighbors — are living through. Consider the reality of it and the horror of it and how that horror can, with lots of patience and hard work, be slowly overcome.

Reality is, in many ways, a story we tell ourselves. True stories go beyond respectability politics, and keeping up appearances, and even beyond bravery. True stories take their roots in the fabric of life, in the universal latticework. They reach deep inside you and yes, they can cause discomfort and hurt, especially when they are about a topic such as abuse. But there is more than wisdom on the other side of the discomfort — there is also greater peace and understanding. If you let yourself be led there, if you trust the narrative. It can be daunting — but please do try it sometime.


The existence of this blog is made possible by the fact that you are good-looking and generous.

No guilt-trip, just good times

121 thoughts on “I talked about abuse and made you uncomfortable? Good.

  1. I think an aspect of abuse that people are often surprised about is exactly is variety. There are diffent kinds, not simply because abusers are people (they are — with good and bad sides, creative urges, philosophies about how the world works, inner lives, etc.), but because the abused are also people (and thus different from each other, with different reaction patterns, different degrees of patience, different levels/capacity for self-hatred, self-lying, smokescreen management, “look on the bright side”-ism, etc.).

    Which makes each situation quite unique. There’s a reason why Tolstoy’s “happy families are all alike; unhappy families are each unhappy in their own way” is almost a cliché: it is true.

    In America, threats tend to be simplified. Evil is evil, after all, so the problem is how to go away from this evil. In domestic abuse, all the ‘good’ qualities you mention — they aren’t 100% abusive, they can be charming, supportive… — are seen by Americans as ‘deceit’, hiding the evil inside, the evil that you should run away from.

    And indeed you should. But not because these things are deceitful, or meaningless. After all, those good qualities… they were part of the reason you fell in love with that person to begin with, weren’t they? They’re part of this person, just as much as the abusive part is…

    In my case, she (yes, a female abuser…) was charming and caring, and really liked animals. That is of course difficult to combine with the threats to kill the baby, the stabs with the scissors, or the crazy driving putting our lives in danger while screaming it was “all my fault” and I deserved it. But… and this may be the hard part for Americans… it must be combined, because the abuser is also a full person.

    You were in love with the abuser at some point. I know I was. I saw potentials in her that were indeed bright and deserved support. I wanted to help her, I wanted to make her become the great person I knew she could be, not simply because of “trauma bonding” or “Stockholm syndrome” or whatever, but because there was, there still is, a true person in there, a good person that for whatever reason (her past life — isn’t it horrible that being a victim of abuse makes you more likely to become an abuser yourself? If god existed, this would be one of his/her sickest jokes –, current-day events, “pressure” making your personal dissolve, whatever) is now “bad” and “abusive”… And there is some truth to that, to “it isn’t them”. Just as there is also some truth to the “yes, it is them, and they’ll never change”.

    Isn’t that amazing? Both things are true. And you have to make a choice.

    A choice you made despite having fallen in love, despite having glimpsed the wonderful person they could potentially be… In the famous cartoon show BoJack Horseman (which I recommend in its entirety, but especially its season 4, to anyone who is interested in the question of abuse and where it comes from), a character at some point tells a story from the time when she was a lifeguard: that she learned there are some people who are drowning, but that you, despite being a lifeguard, should not try to save; because they will kick and struggle in panic and grab you and pull you down and then you’ll die with them… so you should not try to save them.

    This person you love. Or loved. You can’t save her. Or him. You’ve tried. You’ve seen the wonderful things they have inside, because they are people. Like you. But you just can’t do it. Maybe a therapist, a psychoanalyst, maybe, but not you. Because you can’t.

    Even more heartwrenching: maybe there is indeed something you could do. Maybe. There are movies like that, aren’t they? Where someone saves someone else?… Maybe there is something. But you don’t know what it is. So you can’t do it.

    And you have to let go, and learn to forgive yourself, because the fact that you don’t know what that thing is you might do that would work… isn’t your fault. It isn’t your fault, and meanwhile there’s another threat, and another black eye, and another shouting match, and this time I’ll really kill myself and it will be your fault and you’ll rot in jail because you never really loved me and how can you be so horrible here let me bite you see it hurts it hurts it hurts…

    And you have to let go. Without losing self-respect. Without feeling that you are the monster. Because, you see — there aren’t any monsters either. No monsters. Just people.

    Some you can save. Some you can’t. And you have to think of yourself, because the one you want to save… s/he isn’t. S/he’s too much into her own problems to be really thinking about it.

    And you really have to think of yourself, so that you don’t become yourself like them. God’s sickest joke. Hah hah.

  2. No I just don’t feel the need to broadcast I’m an abuse survivor and warrior on every level of abuse there is, and I do not share with just u know the fuckin general public my trauma actually! So uncomfortable with what u had to say go for it girl but what I find abusive is people who are just like u if you’re not on their band wagon then they discard u as if you don’t belong in the band all together so to speak!

  3. Wait a minute, it’s abusive to want people to be respectful to you? That’s… a very odd thing to say. We all have things we’re comfortable with and not comfortable with. We all practice self-care to varying degrees of success. If I come across writing that I simply cannot process, I set it aside. I don’t blame the writer, and I certainly won’t feel the need to personally attack them. “The fucking general public” chooses what to read for themselves.

    I don’t discard people for not always being there for me. I absolutely discard people for rudeness and cruelty. I’m not sure if you’re implying that I should just take said rudeness and cruelty, but if you are, it seems you’re making this comment while coming from a bad, ugly place.

  4. Natalia, well said: “It frequently doesn’t look like abuse from the outside.” And that trauma bonding is real – as is the confusion that arises as a result – with a little bit of narcissism and Stockholm Syndrome thrown in for good measure. What are #metoo and #timesup about if NOT speaking up, writing it down, bring it – abuse in all its (dis)guises – out into the light? Thanks for speaking up – and out.

  5. I like what you said about vulnerability is not just about opening up to your audience but opening up to your self. That was huge for me in starting my blog. Taking a real hard look at yourself is a very difficult thing to do

  6. It’s sad how people don’t understand that being vulnerable is not being weak, it is admitting that yes you have faults and yes you do mistakes. Many people think that if they are respectful to certain people their egos will get hurt. That’s very sad.

  7. Thank you for posting this. There are so many different aspects of abuse and a huge majority of them are socially acceptable. Talking about it from this angle has been needed for a long time.

  8. As a fellow survivor of abuse, thank you for talking about this. Some people know very little about how abuse can operate, and how will they learn unless we tell them? It can be so much more complicated than people realize.

  9. I agree Natalia. I personally have lived with the abuse my whole life. I was to a point recently where I really thought it was normal to get thrown at a wall and wake up in a pile of blood better yet rapped. I had to leave my job, move, start all over just to end up back in the same situation with another man. It’s been hell. I am now in counseling for battered woman. It is not fun, and every time it brings it all back. I am safe and out of the relationship but I swear to you I have that vulnerability sign written on my back. Those men I know for sure can sense vulnerability like a dog. They could be a newbie or a kid you grew up with and know there whole dam family.I don’t even want to date now because I feel I need to obviously love myself, and that’s hard to know when abuse is how you know love. It is a fucked psychological profile. It’s hard being the victim and just realizing that you are the dam victim,and not them . I am not playing the whole poor me shit either. I am simply saying I have tried for so many years to get help from others. There comes a point though that you don’t say much because you stay with the abuser. Eventually no one gives a shit. Which sucks because they do not understand that you need someone to pull you out of it or at least know the option is there . Believe me just because we stay does not mean we want to. Look what I had to loose just to get away and after that he still tried to run me over in the dark in front of my house . Simply taunting me to come outside while Erving his engine. These men are charmers. I swear! He told my mother it was me she believed him. Then again she abused me and basically gave me a drug addiction at age 14. What the fuck these men are really good in a fucked up way. You do take the pics and post them. You do start to lie for them.I have even lied to my kids when they can here me being beat in my bedroom . I would tell them it was me mommy was throwing things, I’m fine. When in reality I was laid out on the floor and a man telling me “shh I’m sorry “ because he didn’t want the kids to know. I would rather have my kids see me as the unstable one rather than them knowing I was getting beat. They knew it all along .It’s really bullshit. Police don’t really help . I have restraining orders the whole nine. It’s a hard place to come from whether you believe that is love because you were always abused,like myself. Or you simply been beat the first time and love the man so try and figure it out. There is no figuring it out. I have learned the signs of controlling men over the years. Even though I know to what to expect in that relationship that makes me uncomfortably comfortable. I can say first sign is a nope now. To me even the oddly sweet men that would never lay a hand on me,I’m scared of . Scared ,I’m to much emotional baggage. That’s why I know how to pick them. (Making a joke!)Literally I’m on a road to recovery from them from myself .

  10. I started getting abused by my boyfriend at just 14 years old. Teen dating violence is a problem that very few people are aware of. Woman like myself come from abused backgrounds mainly. Either way we need to get involved . People have turned their cheek to many times on my account We need change ! We need something so that other women like my self our young women do not have to live this way.#respectislove

  11. Reblogged this on Direct Insights and commented:
    No one deserves to be abused no matter what. This is a wide spread menace that needs to be addressed by all. Domestic violence cuts across all gender; is much more difficult for men to open up and become vulnerable and share their stories, this is mostly because of the society and culture.
    It is also very difficult for women and mostly men in some countries as well to get open about abusive relationships because the culture tolerates it or put differently, no one talk about it.
    Hopefully we all will become more vocal about this menace and encourage people to seek help and live their lives free from domestic violence and abuse.

  12. Thank you for this post. I am a man but I can relate fully to this story because I have experienced it.
    Hopefully I can summon the courage to look beyond cultural perception and write about it someday to help others as well.

  13. Helped me A lot in understanding what vulnerablity is.. Actually..
    It takes courage to let our stories out and making everyone feel hopeful…
    Sending positive vibes

  14. So true. Whenever, I bring it up people squirm. My first blog post yesterday was about starting over after such an experience. Childhood rape is another. You’re supposed to pretend it didn’t happen.

  15. Dear Natalia, your post was for me like a good page, good book, good movie that put something into places needed to be. I am a man, looking for establishing healthy relations with women in a future. And to know the impact of abuse – is to know what lines not to cross.
    Completely imperfect comment, but … mine.

  16. Whenever there is a murder, the first person they look at is the romantic partner. It’s a sad fact, but that is the usual culprit the majority of the time. The same also applies to the children abused as well.

  17. Openly talking about abuse and recognizing the signs are important. It’s sad how often people want to ignore it or not talk about it. I’ve had friends or people I’ve dated in the past ask me why I “only ever talk about sad stuff,” when to me, moments of abuse are shocking and interesting. I wonder how it happens and how we fall into it (myself included). To me, it’s normal to talk about things that have happened to you, especially with someone you consider a close friend. It’s your truth and your past and something that will always be a part of YOU.

    Mentioning the fact that people see vulnerability as a lack of boundaries is something I have never considered before. It always seems that those who have experienced abuse are often continuously exploited by different people. I’ve seen it with friends of mine who had a rougher childhood than I did. Men will degrade them, and other women will challenge them in a way that’s aggressively inappropriate, and I’ve never actually made that correlation before reading this. “This person has been abused before; therefore, I will get away with treating them poorly.”

    One thing I would never do is assume someone in an abusive relationship who will not leave is a weak person. They have their reasons for doing what they do, and I had to learn the hard way in the past that some people do not want our help. I wish in these situations there were other ways to reach the person, but I’ve had a friend choose her abuser over our friendship when I hadn’t given her an ultimatum or anything. I just merely expressed my worry for her safety and then she avoided me and we never talked again – they’re engaged now.

    Anyway, getting off my rant, this was a great post about something people prefer to brush over and act as if it isn’t happening. We can’t help more victims, especially children, or ourselves if we turn our attention away or tell people to keep their traumas to themselves.

  18. Reblogged this on Flutter and Glide and commented:
    *True story beyond the respectability politics*- Read something real and feeling hopeful about the state of human emotions and how it is still handled with jntegrity🙏🏽 Thanks Natalia
    No one feels can talk anymore in the world of appearances. It reassured of human aspect of deeply thinking of pain and transformation. I would love my reader to connect emotionally with empathy. Goal to understand or not but ponder and care and support the journey of others coz you are them too.

  19. Great article! Abuse can be a silent killer so to speak. My situation, verbal and neglect toward myself and my children, moreso me. It was a long 20 years. I stayed for my kids, and figured, well he never touched me, so thats better that saying things and ignoring us constantly. Being there but not being there. I’d call him ghost-dad. Of course not to his face. If we argued it was never in front of my kids, I would walk outside hoping they never heard us. We never had any type of communication except arguing or him calling me names or some sort. If ther was any type of compliment, it was a back-handed one, always. Oh, you cleaned the house, BUT I see the laundry didn’t get done and you didn’t get dinner started, you had all day, what 2 hours to clean. He would go on like this every time. When dinner was done and I’d set the table for us and the 2 kids, he never, ever sat and ate with us, he said, oh he grabbed something on the way home. It was like this the entire marriage. It sounds less than it really was, but believe me, it was very abusive. Nothing I did was good enough. Come to find out he was addicted to pain pills and had another life with another woman for years. It wasn’t enough for him to basically ignore his family and treat us like crap, make my kids have to go through therapy, but be an addict and pretend his life was normal by having a fantasy life with someone else with no children. It took me 25 years , but I’m my own person and so are my kids, we love ourselves and we moved on. I can only hope every woman/man/child can.

  20. I absolutely love this and cannot agree. It’s real sad too see people today not been able to take about abuse in any kind of form without people becoming uncomfortable, yet it’s happening daily in our society

  21. Anything on the dark side, people grow uncomfortable with. It’s like we don’t want to acknowledge that there is both light and dark in our world. Light is good…it makes us happy. But dark has value as well. It helps us grow. It gives us wisdom. It teaches us that we are MORE than our bodies. I’ve had much darkness in my life, and without it? I wouldn’t be me.

  22. As a man I can tell you that I often truly believe that my actions towards my partner are not abusive even when told directly that I am. I try to justify my position, make excuses and accusations. I now see a psychologist and am working at recognizing my problem and controlling my actions.

  23. I’m so happy that you overcame the situation and that you’re in the right frame of mind to share to this bit with people because opening up is a huge thing. Open up requires a person to acknowledge the fact that they have actually been tortured so bad and that’s a bold move. To accept that you’ve let your self respect bow down in certain circumstances. I hope you’re doing really well 🙂

  24. Your comment about abuse having such variety is so absolutely correct, often when we think of abuse, there’s a limited options that people think of. Sometimes the things we see, the emotional manipulation or even the subtle managing of other people isn’t seen as abuse, it’s mostly because the people who are being manipulated or subtly managed have been conditioned so much so that they don’t even think they are suffering from a kind of abuse. An uncomfortable read, yes but an important one. A really good and important post!

  25. Great read!! Very factual! Sad thing is that many individuals that have never suffered will never truly understand and those individuals may sometimes be the ones to share negative comments. Abuse and vulnerability should definitely be more educated in our society especially with women. Why is it that we need to move through half our life to begin to understand how to deal with this. Sometimes even if we are knowledgeable about abuse we can still become a victim but perhaps be able to recognize it quickly. Before it’s too late!

  26. This touched me deeply! I’ve never been abused, but I know few people who have and it’s not a great experience. I’m so glad you are recovered at least to a great level. I really think it’s important that we speak up to confidants when we are in abusive relationships. Speaking is the first step to healing. Also, it’s wisdom to know that “not all that glitters is gold”. Some people are abused, but it doesn’t appear like so.
    Thank you for sharing your story!

  27. I think this is a great post. Abuse comes in many different ways. I have lived with abuse myself. I was in a controlling relationship for 5 years. Now that I am out of the relationship, I feel so free. I’m glad I found this blog. Thankyou!

  28. wonderful piece! Abuse is a subject that is not talked about in our society..People suffer all forms of abuse and their voices go unheard! Society downplays the effects and consequences of abuse and it goes on unchecked

  29. I survived my abusive husband who on day 2 of our marriage said, “wife means slave ans you WILL do everything I say!” I actually thought he was joking, but it was no joke when the assaults on my physical, mental and emotional person started and escalated to the point of me wanting to commit suicide rather than spend another second with this man. But, I did survive and now it’s been decades, and I can smell abuse in every form. I do not tolerate it in anyone. I stand up for total strangers even if it means I am facing a bully again! Because I know they will ALWAYS back down when confronted with the truth of their own inadequacy! It is freeing to help myself and others break the cycle of abuse! But it is never ending! Keep up this fight! Keep passing the torch! Until the light is so bright every abused person can see it for themselves! Thank you!

  30. I too am a survivor of abuse and in the end of that relationship I was the perpetrator. I did nine years in prison and it changed my life for the better. I learned how to be vulnerable. I learned to love and appreciate women at greater depth, which interestingly makes me a feminist in many people’s minds. Something to ponder I suppose. Abuse must be spoken of. It’s the hame that silences and when it erupts, look out. In my case it almost took my abusers life. I’m grateful it did not even though he is now keeping our children from me. I know what it’s like to be blind and I know what it’s like to see.

  31. All you wrote is very true and speaks to many – including me. Specifically ” We risk breaking down the wall we have built between ourselves and the people who abused us”. Its not easy- the abusers are very good at getting into your mind and lets face it- nobody wants t admit they are being abused until or unless its fully open and public. For me it was purely exhaustion from feeling like crap. I just reached my limit. This is when :”they taught me about what great friends I have”, came into play. In the whole crowd of people I interacted with only 2 made the cut as being my “safe space”.

  32. Most abusers….male or female are narcissists. They have an ego that needs stroked. Whether the abuse is mental, emotional, verbal, physical….its there. I’d rather deal with Trumpism then Obamaism any day of the year, but that’s slightly irrelevant.
    Brene’ Brown’s definition of Vulnerability is Emotional risk, exposure, uncertainty. It fuels our daily lives….Is our most accurate measure of courage.” “Its (also) not weakness”. We (as a society, regardless of the country) have learned over the decades, that to be vulnerable or to show vulnerability, is a sign of weakness or it is to be weak.
    I have been in a mentally & emotionally, verbally abusive relationship for 23 yrs, it took the last 7 years to finally stand up & realize that I was not at fault for his affairs or his other issues, there’s only so much 1 person can do to prove their love, to show it & there just wasn’t anything I could do to change how he perceived me. Things slightly changed when I told him I wanted a divorce. But the affairs continued till the middle of Sept 2016. But the damage has been done. We have 4 kids to get raised up. When the last one is out of the house 6+ yrs….then I will worry about changing the marital status IF things haven’t changed. but for now……I am working on me. I am more important than the abuse I endured, then the trauma, the anxiety & PTSD I now deal with.
    Abusers aren’t just men. But there’s a huge stigma towards the men that they are weak or less of a man if they’ve been abused by a woman.

  33. Thank you. Sharing our stories is how others can begin to recognize their own reality. It is SO easy to tell ourselves “this is normal”. The gift in having the strength to be vulnerable is the reflection in the mirror. There are many things in my own life that I did not see as abuse until I reacted with horror when I saw another person going through the same thing. Again – thank you.

  34. We as women suffer in silence because of fear or being naive..We suffer because at times it boils down to self preservation. Which in itself is also a smoke screen..long and short we have to be vigilante and pay attention to the signs..Abuse in shape size or form is a dangerous thing!!

  35. Yes I spend time reading this as I have being abused for years but found it difficult to move away because I love another human being than myself. In the end I have to go away even though I was pregnant. I found peace of mind and made a life of myself. Great article. People in abusive relationship please move you are not a tree.

  36. I really appreciate your comment, Asehpe. One of the things I encountered through my experience with an abusive partner was the idea that he was “mostly bad” so “forget him and leave him.” It’s alienating since, to me, he was horrible but he wasn’t only horrible. People are happy to point out the awful things as evidence to leave but it seems that most people don’t think to address the positive aspects or the potential goodness that the person may also embody. I think it’s crucially important to address the full picture when in a situation like that or if you know somebody who is. In the end, it’s a sink cost fallacy, but it does take work to get to the point where you can see and accept that.

    Then you might add on top of that the potential that the person in the abusive relationship simply has no self esteem and may have resigned themselves to their fate as their partner’s punching bag.

  37. I relate to this blog so much! Growing up in an abusive household. Physical towards my mom, but emotional to my sister and I… I know how uncomfortable this topic is to some, but how revealing it is for both the one telling and the one listening. Also when saying that everything can look perfect to those looking in is so so so true!

  38. When people start mistaking vulnerability for intimacy, you’ve got to get up and leave or you’ll get to experience the intimacy part, unless that’s what you want!

    If abuse is against the law, it will be corrected! However, when undirected to anyone, it is merely a waste of time!

    It is better to become purposeful than to become abusive. When useful things start to stop working, the converse can be said!

  39. In my country they have a little proverb that says,” thief nuh like si thief carry long bag”..this means the person who is guilty of an act undercover is the first one to condemn another who is doing the same thing and is caught. Another is ‘ throw you stone inna pigsty the one you bawl a him it lick’..simply put, you said something and you didnt call anyone’s name u were speaking about your experience but persons took offence , is it that they are guilty of doing the same thing to someone else and th words hit thm and they decided to retaliate or is it that they have been through the same situation and suddenly became defensive?….its your truth, speak your truth…..

  40. Honestly, the thought of being vulnerable itself eats me alive. I have built up a wall that blocks me from opening up to people especially the opposite sex, and I have convinced myself that it’s for the best. Is this only going to hurt me in the end?

  41. Thank you so much for speaking out! This is absolutely a subject that needs to be talked about. We need to talk about it. Never stop talking about it.

  42. This is beautiful. Thank you for opening up and sharing this with us. Trauma and abuse too easily steal our voices and I congratulate you on finding yours, and having the strength and self love to use it. This is great.

  43. I just posted a poem on my blog that it on topic. Titled Abuse Neglect and Disrespect. We must speak up and speak out. Not always easy and never just black and white. It can be quite a sticky web.

  44. “True stories go beyond respectability politics, and keeping up appearances, and even beyond bravery” how very poignant and spot on! Thanks for writing this, truly hope others read this eye opener!

  45. Abuse is real and comes in many forms … the most scary the ones that make you forget as quick as it happened. Twisted little boxes of dark memories shoved down little rabbit holes …

  46. Here in our country Philippines, is now respecting more women it’s because we have a law Republic Act 9262 of 2004, it says Violence Against Women And Their Children.

  47. Thank you for saying these things. I was in an abusive relationship and have had some mean comments thrown my way after being vulnerable about it. One that really stuck in my head was, “Well, I would have never got into that relationship in the first place. I’m too strong to be abused.” This made me terribly mad because I am a strong person. I was just manipulated just like anyone can be. Obviously, I wouldn’t have chosen to be in that relationship if I had known what it would be in the beginning. The real strength is in getting out of an abusive relationship.

  48. I’m glad you are able to be vulnerable yet show everyone what a strong person you are!

  49. I have done lots of forgiving and healing. I am pretty much there, and don’t feel much need to relive the horrors of my story. However, in order to connect with the people I’d like to help, I must resurrect those ghosts. I am navigating confusing waters and your article was extremely helpful. Thank you for your honesty and common sense.

  50. Not everyone will understand why a victim chooses to tell their story. I am telling my story so that others can see that it exists in ways you would never expect. I am telling my story to find my own freedom from the 20 years of hiding. I am not telling my story to out my abuser. And if someone can not handle the vulnerability, the truth, the raw emotion, they don’t need to read my blog.

  51. Thank you for speaking out…I think it’s necessary for all of us to understand the difference between vulnerability and intimacy.

  52. I’m sorry to hear that.. I think maybe the reason those men have abused you is because they sense vulnerability and weakness in you and so take advantage of that… Know that no matter what, your happiness comes first, and know that no one is going to take care of you or love you more than you do and so make yourself a priority, make your no’s clear to your partner before entering a relationship. I hope you recover from this trauma as quick as possible and begin living the life you were called to.

  53. Thank you for your explicit goal “draw attention to the problem.” It is healing to hear others share their story. The assaults endured as a result are reflections of the truth. “Abuse is literally everywhere.” There is hope and our stories help along the path to healing. http://www.hopehasahome.wordpress.com

  54. Hi, Natalia. Talking about abuse is complicated, inasmuch as it unravels hurtful memories in the minds of many folks. You see, except for a small number of people, everybody had been abused in a way or another, by parents, by their (in)significant others, by their employer, etc. There are very few those who are disposed to accept that abuse it’s disgraceful, and blaming the victim is the most common mistake made by those who are/used to be victims themselves.

  55. I genuinely don’t know what to say other than thank you. Thank you for writing this. Thank you for raising your voice. Thank you for encouraging other women to raise their voices. Thank you for being honest and discussing the issue from a realistic point of view and not sugarcoating it

  56. Saw you trashing devoted military wives on Twitter n just had to look you up! Yes, my suspicions are confirmed, your nothing but a selfish, entitled brat who thinks she’s an “philosopher” and “writer.” Go ahead and call me a dependa in return, I wear the badge with pride! It means that I can always, 100% be there for my husband, when women like you wouldn’t know the first thing about being there for anyone. Criticize me for basing my identity around my husband’s job? It’s called putting OTHERS first, you’re very clearly unfamiliar with this concept. Women like you often have the gaul of complaining about being abused, when you’re the ones who are true abusers. So ironic! You’ve never known hardship or sacrifice and your entitlement oozes from every word you write. Quite frankly you are just a bitch, Miss Antonova!

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