Post #15.001

Arelishia Bridges: Pulaski Women’s State Prison - GA

Real Love Doesn’t Hurt

I prayed about what to write and this is what the Holy Spirit directed me to submit. It is graphic and very painful for me to write, but I think women (& men) can find strength in knowing that they are not alone - and to find that someone cares enough to try and keep them from coming in this direction (prison). Living with domestic violence alters - dramatically - how you perceive yourself and the world. A couple of months after being brutally raped at age eleven by a neighbor, I got my first menses. I thought I had been raped in my sleep. I got into the tub and tried to wash it away like I had after the rape - but the blood wouldn’t stop. My mother told me to get out of the tub and get ready for school. I told her I didn’t feel good and didn’t want to go to school - all the while attempting to hurry and wash away the blood. My mother would kill me if she knew I’d let someone rape me (my eleven year old mind reasoned). Finally the door flew open and she pulled me out of the water and beat me with a white extension cord until my back was split and bloody. She caught sight of the panties under the sink and stopped as quickly as the attack had started. She took me to Reed’s drugstore and bought me a purple box of Kotex pads and asked the pharmacist for ointment for cuts and burns (for my back). Shortly after this, I left home. I was eleven years old on the streets. I was systematically beaten and sexually assaulted. I was even gang raped after being drugged. Since the precedent had been set by my mother that those who say they love me could beat me and I should keep silent, I said nothing. The precedent set by my rapist was that it was easier to submit to sex than to fight an unwanted advance. I accepted both domestic violence and sexual assault as the norm. This continued into my late 20’s. By this time I was addicted to crack and alcohol to numb my pain. Late one night in April 1997 God delivered me and set me free. I stayed clean until my mother got sick and died in 2008, after which, I smoked weed and drank every day. This behavior invited the wrong caliber of people into my life. Then the cycle started again. I started to accept abuse as the norm, again - hoping it would eventually get better. It got worse! Ladies REAL love doesn’t hurt, it heals! If you are in an abusive relationship, get help! Don’t suffer silently as I did. It is not noble and it’s better to be embarrassed than to have your life or his life being lost. It is a recipe for sure and certain disaster. Be a victim no more! Remember: REAL love doesn’t hurt! It HEALS! Get Help.

Arelishia Bridges