Don’t let this happen to you! The purpose of this column is to show how some of us get out of domestic violence successfully, while others, like a former co-worker of mine, simply snap. They lose their minds or kill the perpetrator the way Farrah Fawcett’s character did in a well-known movie.
Thank God I didn’t snap! Forty years ago, I married a tall, handsome Marine who turned out to be violent. I was 19 years old, and I had a “good government job” working for the U.S. Tariff Commission, now known as the International Trade Commission. Some of my co-workers there have become my best friends. But one of them changed.
The late Farrah Fawcett earned Emmy and Golden Globe nominations for her portrayal of Francine Hughes in the aforementioned 1984 TV movie “The Burning Bed,” in which she stands trial for murder after she snapped one day. She poured gasoline around the bed of her sleeping spouse, doused him, lit a match and walked away. Her husband, Mickey, had driven her over the edge after more than a decade of domestic abuse.
For me, the violence in my marriage began during my honeymoon. It frightened me terribly that my husband grabbed me around my throat, choking me because of something I said that displeased him. Shocked by what had happened, I jumped on the telephone with a tearful plea to my father, asking him to come and get me.
By the time Daddy arrived, my husband had persuaded me to stay. He hugged me, apologized, and was kind. It was only just beginning.
But I’m not sorry I stayed, however. I have three beautiful adult children and three lovely grandchildren as a result of that union.
I’m a firm believer in Romans 8:28, which reads, “And I know that all things work together for good, to them who love the Lord, and who are called according to His purpose.”
My co-worker’s story didn’t end very well. She had been a minister and was married with two children, a boy and a girl. She appeared happy and came from the Pentecostal faith. She shouted, preached and loved the Lord. She was a special person.
Here’s what happened to her: After having lived in California with my husband and children, I returned home to D.C. to start my business. One day in the grocery store, I ran into that former co-worker — my minister friend. It was the end of the year, and she invited me to her home to bring in the new year with her and a few friends. Back from California after seven years, I had no plans, so I accepted.
That evening, I realized something was different about her. She was dancing like a crazy woman to “Little Red Corvette” by Prince. She danced with such frenzy that I thought, “And this woman was a staunch, saved minister, who talked about the Lord, quoted scriptures and acted saved.” Something had changed!
Although I was afraid to ask, she soon shared her life story with me. She told me that she was an outpatient from St. Elizabeths Hospital in Southeast, with the armband to prove it. She said her husband had held a gun to her head and played Russian roulette, taunting her with each click of the trigger. She said that she fully expected to die with this lethal game of chance. He chased her down the street with his car in an attempt to run her over. He beat and tortured her. It was all too much. It caused her to snap.
It matters how much strength you have within. I don’t know if she was a young Christian. I might have been abused on the outside, but the Christ in me kept me. My friend, on the other hand, didn’t fare as well.
Lyndia Grant is a speaker/writer living in the D.C. area. Her radio show, “Think on These Things,” airs Fridays at 6 p.m. on 1340 AM (WYCB), a Radio One station. Visit her website, www.lyndiagrantshow.com, send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 240-602-6295. Follow her on Twitter @LyndiaGrant and on Facebook.