Whether it be physical, verbal, or mental, no woman deserves to be in an abusive relationship. Through the strength of sharing one’s story, Diana was inspired to share her own. It takes a lot of courage to leave an abusive partner, but with the love that you can find for yourself and that of one’s family and friends, it is possible. Every woman can achieve a happy and healthy relationship.
By Diana Petrenos
“Because sometimes to remain anonymous we remain victims.” -Heidi Markow
I saw this quote and it made me want to share my story with other women, who have been through domestic violence.
I went to a scholarship charity event the other night and there were baseball players there doing signings, but most importantly there were kids there that had rough times in their lives. One girl especially stood out to me, because her story made me think about my daughter. Her story gave me chills, because it brought me back to a time in my life that was very painful but has forever changed me and who I am now.
This girl watched her mother be abused by her ex-boyfriend, she talked about how a day could be so happy with her mother but ended so tragic – because of this man. She explained how she was in the car and he was outside the car with her mother. She opened the window to hear them better and she heard him telling her mom that he loved her and her mother’s reply was if you loved me, than why are you choking me. These words soared through me back to my past where I myself was abused by my now ex-husband and my daughter who was 7 at the time who watched me be emotionally, verbally and physically abused, even though I tried to shelter her from it the best I could.
It took me 11 months to finally end this cycle of abuse, which doesn’t seem long but when you’re the victim of abuse it is an eternity. I got out of it, because he was no longer abusing me but was now starting to verbally and mentally abuse my daughter and the cycle had to end. I finally got the strength to leave him. I remember that day so clearly, he was leaving for a business trip that night and he argued with me and punched a hole in the wall, he refused to give me the car keys to the new car to leave. I waited till he simmered down & took the keys to the old car and I told him my daughter and I were going to the park to play tennis and I left with my daughter. I then went to the court house to get a protection from abuse order and within that time he called me 125 times, he even changed the number to private, so I would answer. The police finally called to tell me he was gone, but he wasn’t gone for good. Yes, he was gone from the house and that night we slept a little better but I could still hear his words, “If you ever leave me I will burn the house down with you in it.”
Since that day I am even stronger, because I made it out and I made it, because of my daughter and I survived. When I heard that girl’s story, she was an inspiration to me, just like my daughter; she is stronger because of what happened and even better now, because she made it out and she will continue to be a success, because she is a survivor. My daughter has been through, so much in her little 10 years on this earth but she is strong and she continues like that girl to be a survivor, just like her mama.
I want to tell all women who are abused that you’re not alone and there is a way out. You deserve better and there are plenty of places and people who can help you get through it. Remember you are strong and deserve to live a happy life and surround yourself with everything positive. I know it’s hard to see that light at the end of the tunnel now but it is there. Sometimes we choose these men because we don’t feel we deserve better but we do deserve better. Remember – love isn’t supposed to hurt and if it does hurt then it’s not true love. I am stronger because of this and I accept & appreciate who I am and I will continue to achieve everything I set out to accomplish in life and I hope all of you will do the same. Most importantly I would like to thank that girl at the charity event who shared her story, as she is an inspiration to me and I know her mother would be proud of all she has accomplished and will continue to accomplish in the future.
What have you accepted within yourself and/or within your life?
I accepted the chance to love the real me and it took lots of time to get to this point of loving who you’re but once you get to that point then there is room in your life for everyone to love the you that you love.
What do you appreciate about yourself or your life?
I appreciate all the happy things in my life only I never focus on the negative as life is to short to be anything but happy.
What have you achieved, or what are you working to achieve personally, physically, or mentally?
My most rewarding achievement is attending Penn State to finish my Bachelors degree, as it has been a goal I set up a long time for myself to finish and I’m achieving it. I graduate next spring.
What is your not so perfect way?
My not so perfect way is that life is a roller coaster but I buckle up everyday for the ride and take every day, as it comes rather good or bad. You just have to keep riding and eventually you enjoy the coasting much better than the loops.
How would you complete the phrase “I Love My…?”
I love my daughter because she is my inspiration and shows me that life is worth living everyday.