Kim's Blogs

My Inner Chick’s Winning Submission!


 

—We chose a winner!

 

My Inner Chick’s team read and savored 74 submissions for our 2nd annual writing contest.

 

We valued and appreciated your raw words, honesty, authenticity, pain, and sharing your real-life, unbelievable, amazing stories with us.

 

What an honor to read all of them.

 

Thank you!

 

In particular, one story by Reut Amit, He Never Hit Me, caused us to rise up from our seats and yell:

 

      “That’s the one!”

 

Without further ado, here it is.

 

Congrats, Reut!

Image by Rebel Society/BigStock Sad/Scared

Image by Rebel Society/BigStock Sad/Scared

 

He Never Hit Me

by Reut Amit

 

Warning: This post contains descriptions of intimate partner abuse and may be triggering to some.

 

 

How many times did I find myself on his bathroom floor cowering beneath him, feeling the hot spit land on me as he screamed? Stop crying like a baby. You’re crazy. No one else would put up with you. How many times did I shudder on that floor counting my breaths, bringing myself back from the brink of suffocation during a panic attack that was triggered by one of these maniacal and regular assaults? But he never hit me.

 

How many hours did I remain on that bathroom floor after he had gone to bed, my eyes red with burst blood vessels? How many times did I hear the sound of his snores and realize he had fallen asleep, no more than a meter away, to the sound of me hyperventilating while still in the throes of that panic attack? How many times did I whisper aloud, “How did I get here? How did I become this woman?” How many times did I tell myself to get up, call a cab and walk out the front door? How many times did I get up and look in that mirror and fail to recognize myself? How much hate could I have for the broken woman staring back at me? But he never hit me.

 

How many times did I crawl into that bed, rather than into a cab, and wake up with his arms around me, telling me that I brought it out in him? He wasn’t like this. I made him like this. I needed to change the way I approached him about these things. Be less accusatory. If I just softened my approach, it would allow him to react differently. How many times did I adjust my approach before I realized the only way to avoid the abuse was not to bring it up at all? But he never hit me.

 

How many emails and text messages did I find? How many parties did we attend knowing that one of the women was there? I learned quickly not to address it so that “I” wouldn’t ruin a perfectly nice evening. When his family member asked me if a lipstick she had found under the couch was mine, I threw it away and said nothing more of it. Neither did she. Another humiliation taken in silence. But he never hit me.

 

How many times did he tell me he was going to sleep, out for dinner with a client, couldn’t hear his phone, but actually taking out another woman? How many times did he ignore my calls and call the next morning telling me nothing had happened? It was sadistic. I could see how much he enjoyed being that powerful. How many defamatory lies did he concoct and propagate to my old colleagues and friends when I walked away from him? How many times did he smear my reputation? How many times did I go back, believing every promise that he was a new man, believing every half-hearted apology? But he never hit me.

 

How many times did a friend pick me up because he had kicked me out of bed in the middle of the night for questioning him about one of the women? How many times did I go back before those friends had had enough. How many times did I defend him and justify his behavior when I told a friend about what he had done? When did I stop telling anyone altogether to avoid the shame of the insanity of the circumstances I was somehow in — the shame of being a strong independent woman who couldn’t take care of herself enough to leave a situation that was so toxic? When did I stop expecting more? But he never hit me.

 

How could I explain to someone that I believed it was partly my fault, even though I was embarrassed to hear those beaten woman’s words spoken from my lips. No one really understood. No one knew him like I did. It was my job to protect him from the truth of what he did to me. I couldn’t let them think he was a monster. I wouldn’t tell anyone. I was entirely alone. But he never hit me.

 

My solitude meant that I could no longer see the reflection in other people’s eyes indicating what was normal. I could only see the reflection in his eyes and began to believe what he told me about myself. I began to believe his irrational explanations despite my own heart and eyes. I let him define reality. I became isolated. It became easier to cut off my support networks completely than to have to lie about everything. Than to face the humiliation of my reality. A part of me knew that once they knew the extent of what was happening, they would force me to get out for good. But he never hit me.

 

I set a benchmark. The red line I wouldn’t cross. The minute he hit me, I would leave. But the truth is, I know I wouldn’t have left then either. I would have rationalized that in hitting me, he would realize how out of hand things were. Everything would change now. I wouldn’t have left. By hurting me, he showed me he loved me. He cared enough to go that crazy. He cared so much that he was overwhelmed by anger or jealousy or sadness and simply couldn’t control himself.

 

When it was over, I wasn’t permitted to mourn him. No one could understand how love, hate, fear and comfort could coexist simultaneously. They could not understand that in addition to my abuser, I also lost my confidant, the person to make dinner with, the person to watch movies with on a rainy Sunday, the person to laugh with, the person who knew me. I lost my companion. How can you explain to someone that the abuse was only a part of who he was? How do you explain that to yourself?

 

There are still days when I remember tender moments and wonder if it really was that bad. I still struggle with reconciling how he could love me to the point of tears and yet hurt me as if I was an enemy. Like a child, I’m learning to redefine the borders of normal behavior and to realign my expectations. I remind myself that acts of violence can never be acts of love.

 

For the first time, I see my own reflection in other women who have emerged from the depths of such darkness. Indescribably courageous women whom I have never met, but who have shared their stories and in doing so, saved me. These women embraced me with their pain and unknowingly convinced me that I was not alone, that I am worthy of more. I hadn’t believed that singular truth in a very long time.

 

Knowing that others were there has allowed the shame to dissipate. I used to default to the trained belief that I was crazy, overly sensitive or had imagined it all because I could not reconcile the love and the abuse. I have permitted myself to accept that both existed. Their stories have allowed me to forgive myself. To recognize how arbitrary that red line was. Seeing myself in their eyes has allowed me to name my abuser. To name my experience as an abused woman. And then to let go.

 

I pray now that my words will travel to the broken woman staring back at them and embrace her. I hope they equip her with the strength and love she needs to raise herself from the depths.

 

 

~Reut Amit is a lawyer who writes about gender, public policy, law and politics. Follow her on Twitter @reutamit ( this piece was originally published on Huffington Post

 

 

—-Call the National Domestic Abuse Hotline Today: 1-800-799-7233


Subscribe To My Inner Chick

Never miss an update!

You have Successfully Subscribed!

You Might Also Like

28 Comments

  • Reply
    Elephant's Child
    November 11, 2016 at 8:05 pm

    Powerful, searing truth.
    For too many.
    Thank you both.

  • Reply
    Balroop Singh
    November 11, 2016 at 9:00 pm

    Emotional and mental abuse leaves incredibly deep scars, which never heal. Those who never hit are more dangerous than those who don’t. Hope this story reaches those ears who keep on increasing their limits of tolerance.
    Thanks for sharing Kim. Stay blessed for highlighting this issue.

  • Reply
    Chris Carter
    November 11, 2016 at 9:05 pm

    I held my breath while reading this entire essay… And I think of all the women out there who could write very similar ones, and I hope and pray they read your words, this message. Thank you for sharing your story, Reut. I pray it reaches deep into the hearts of all those precious souls who need to be pulled from their own darkness. I am SO glad you realized your worth and the true definition of love.

  • Reply
    ladyfi
    November 12, 2016 at 2:53 am

    Mind-blowing, powerful, sad, empowering. A worthy winner!

  • Reply
    lisa thomson-The Great Escape...
    November 12, 2016 at 11:35 am

    Wow. This was so hard to read. An exceptional piece, Kim and I can see why your panel chose this. It breaks through two huge stereotypes about domestic abuse 1. that the woman is weak and not smart enough to get out and 2. that it isn’t really serious unless he hits.

    You are strong, courageous and intelligent. It can happen to anyone. He hit you everyday with his vicious words and disloyalty. Sharing your story will change many lives, Reut.

  • Reply
    Debbie
    November 12, 2016 at 12:38 pm

    Powerful stuff and oh-so-hard to read. No wonder it stood out as your winner! Congrats to Reut for the grand prize!

  • Reply
    Shamitri
    November 12, 2016 at 1:35 pm

    Moved me to the point where I couldn’t breathe. The darkness, the truth, it is all there. Congratulations Reut. Kim, this is intense and raw, amazing and strong all at the same time.
    xx

  • Reply
    Dad
    November 12, 2016 at 1:47 pm

    Well done Kim.
    Love You

  • Reply
    TheKitchenLioness
    November 12, 2016 at 3:00 pm

    Dear Kim, what a powerful message, what an amazing read! Congratulations to the winner Reut Amit and thank you to you and your amazing panel!
    I love all about your writing contest!
    Lots of love,
    Andrea

  • Reply
    nan @ lbddiaries.com
    November 12, 2016 at 4:42 pm

    Why is my heart beating 90 miles an hour and I’m having trouble catching my breath? I cried when I this line: “I’m learning to redefine the borders of normal behavior and to realign my expectations.” THAT’S what I was doing. I didn’t know it then but I recognize it, remember it. I went through that alone; no one ever knew what he did because when I tried to tell someone, not one of them believed me. “But he’s so n-i-i-c-e!” “But your such a PERFECT couple!” Even my mother said, “Well, I guess then you shouldn’t have married him.” I quit talking. I will say that later my mother said that it was too hard to hear that someone had done that to her “baby” and she couldn’t stand it. My thought: YOU can’t stand it? I went through it! This piece was heartbreaking and healing at the same time.

    • Reply
      My Inner Chick
      November 13, 2016 at 11:03 am

      Nan,
      thank you for sharing a bit of your story. We all need to be educated about DV.
      You know my sister Kay would be VERY surprised to know that she was in a DV relationship…
      and now it’s too late. x

    • Reply
      Debbie Miller
      November 13, 2016 at 1:07 pm

      I had to reply to your post. Your lines about no one believing you and shoving the “oh, he’s so nice!!! “You are a perfect couple” Oh how that resonated for me. I went imediately to tears and hurt. It is so disheartening to be with a man who has the Mr Perfect outside persona. They are tge absolute worst. They have perfect control while in public view. Hours later in the car on the way home and it starts. Verbal and physical. They go on hours long tirades of every perceived insult that he claims we did to them in public. I can so relate to this type. I was with one like that in 1981 for 3 years. Thankfully he crossed a line that I wasn’t able to move. He struck my son by back handing him in the face. I left him physically but remained emotionally tied to him almost a year more. I’m so grateful to women’s shelters and domestic abuse classes and anger management classes. I watch for red flags and similar behavior. I will never ever tolerate that again. I’d rather be alone than to be with someone like this. We all deserve respect and love. If you don’t have it get out.

      • Reply
        My Inner Chick
        November 13, 2016 at 2:08 pm

        Debbie,
        I’m applauding you for GETTING OUT &
        becoming EMPOWERED! xx

  • Reply
    Debbie
    November 12, 2016 at 5:15 pm

    What a powerful story. So perfectly written. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  • Reply
    Kristi R Campbell
    November 12, 2016 at 5:26 pm

    Incredible writing. I can see why this piece won for sure and it fits the site so well Kim! <3

  • Reply
    Minnesota Prairie Roots
    November 12, 2016 at 7:47 pm

    Congratulations to Reut on winning this contest. This is one powerful piece of writing that every woman should read. Every mother. Every sister. Every daughter. Every.

    Thank you, Reut, for sharing this. I admire your strength and your courage and your power to rise above.

  • Reply
    Liz
    November 13, 2016 at 5:43 pm

    Reut, you are a winner in more ways than one. You were strong enough to leave. Congratulations.

  • Reply
    Marie Kléber
    November 14, 2016 at 9:30 am

    This story moved me. I understand your choice Kim. And well done Reut for writing such a powerful piece.

    “he never hit me” – it’s the hardest part for me. I assumed he was a kind man, the best for me, he would make me better and the way he behaved was just the only way he had to love me.
    It took me years to understand this was not love, this was abuse.

    Like Reut, “I wasn’t permitted to mourn him” once I left him. It was maybe the hardest part!

    Love to you Kim, to Reut and to all women supporting other women in such a beautiful way.

  • Reply
    Annette Connelly
    November 14, 2016 at 10:26 am

    I’m glad you chose this piece. Because so many women who are on the receiving end of emotional abuse tell themselves it’s not abuse if he doesn’t hit me.

    WRONG! I’ve been through both and ptsd is always set off by a loud voice, and weird sentence, you name it. I REMEMBER the emotional crud.

    I recall my ex feeling ashamed because he pushed me against a dresser and there was a nasty bruise on the lower part of my back. It bothered him immensely to see the bruise whether I was reaching for something and my shirt lifted so he could see it,or, if I flinched when he tried to hug me. Why? Because it was concrete; visual to his eye.

    What he didn’t see was the abstract abuse that I felt inside. In addition, I was appalled when speaking of his first wife he’d defend himself by saying he was emotionally abusive to his first wife but he never hit her. OH MAN! Disgusting huh?

    Women who see this can hopefully see themselves in it and break free. Abuse is abuse.

    Little Chickie

  • Reply
    Dana
    November 14, 2016 at 5:57 pm

    Wow. What a brutal and honest piece. Thank you for sharing your experience with us, Reut. And thank you, Kim, for sharing it here.

  • Reply
    Reut Amit
    November 14, 2016 at 8:17 pm

    Thank you, Kim and to all of those who left comments. You are all beautiful and strong <3

    • Reply
      My Inner Chick
      November 14, 2016 at 10:06 pm

      Thank you, Reut…

      For RISING up and TELLING your story.

      because of this….others will tell their story! xx

      Congratulations, dear!!

  • Reply
    Jeri
    November 15, 2016 at 11:57 am

    Wow! 74 submissions. You could make an anthology out of all of them 😉 Thanks for sharing Reut’s powerful words with us.

  • Reply
    Caroline Abbott
    November 17, 2016 at 5:29 am

    Outstanding. I will share it with my readers. Thanks my friend!

  • Reply
    Mandy
    November 17, 2016 at 6:57 am

    Absolutely beautifully written and frightfully apt for so many women. May Reut’s words reach those who need it.
    Love to you darling Kim from back home in Africa.
    🙂 Mandy xoxoxo

  • Reply
    Nikky44
    November 24, 2016 at 7:00 am

    “By hurting me, he showed me he loved me.”

    YES! That is exactly what it felt <3

  • Leave a Reply

    CommentLuv badge