Wednesday, September 16, 2009

All Women Are Sisters

All Women Are Sisters

A woman was murdered and another woman was wounded beyond repair. I wish I could say this is a unique situation.
Domestic violence knows no socioeconomic or educational boundaries and yet we as women rarely speak publicly on this injustice. Women empowering women must discuss this often swept under the rug subject, otherwise who are we kidding? Women need to speak together loudly to strengthen the spirits of these women who have lost their voices. We must lend them ours.
The time for conversation about domestic abuse has passed for many. The following is one woman’s expression following the violent murder of her sister at the hands of a boyfriend, nearly 10 years ago.
“ A visitor comes to my door unexpectedly, unannounced, uninvited even. He walks into the kitchen and engages me in conversation about her, her violent death, who killed her. He carries my thoughts to the funeral home and I’m reminded of her in the casket, her face heavily made-up to cover the blue bruised skin, her scratched swollen hands, and the emptiness. Mostly I’m reminded of how empty the room feels. I hear my Mother’s wail as they close the casket. I see my husband and brother carry my Mother to the car. The scenes scan across my mind like a movie, unreal.
He especially enjoys taking me to the murder trial, where I see the hollow man sit on the chopping block awaiting his sentence for a crime he seems oblivious to. I listen to his friends condemning testimonies citing his boasting about the strength of his hands. I feel compassion for his Mother crying in a bewildered state. I argue with the visitor, “This is not a memory I care to recall,” but he insists that we discuss it. He is strong and relentless in presence.
He reminds me of the autopsy photos carelessly passed around the courtroom with cavalier disregard toward my family’s suffering. He tells me I was right to take the stand to present photos of my sister and testify about who she was and how she looked before she was strangled. I tell him I don’t feel so right about any of it. I ask him to leave. He does not.
I attempt to reminisce about my sister’s hearty and vivacious spirit. I recall as children the times we braided dandelions into tiaras to don in our sun-bleached hair. I tell him how she held my hand when I was afraid and whispered to me in the dark sweet stories until I fell asleep. I describe her beauty and playful cat green eyes. He diverts my attention back to the funeral and I pull away. “Please let me remember her life for just a while longer.” It seems I cannot, the violent way she died left indelible marks on my heart, tainting my memory. I struggle to free myself from the ugliness of it all. He continues talking, tormenting me, until I cannot cry any longer and feel numb.
I pull myself away from everyone in my life, seeking refuge from the pain. I cry alone at night quietly, hoping not to disturb anyone. The Visitor stays close by, watches, and talks some more. He is a rude, wicked creature impaling me with his words until I am beaten and exhausted; until I care not about life at all.
I never know when he will visit or how long he will stay. When he leaves I am dragged in the current, further away from her. With each visit he takes more of her from me. I feel worse, not better. I feel alone. Days pass before I am able to walk confidently again.
I miss my sister and I was able to forgive her murderer, but I cannot forgive The Visitor, who continues to make me relive the pain. I struggle to hold the memories of her beauty with peace in my heart.
My visitor may visit you as well. You may recognize him as grief.”

Do you know a woman suffering abuse, sexual assault, or stalking? Share this story with her if it helps you initiate a dialogue. Be supportive, nonjudgmental, and let her know you are concerned for her safety. Gather her with other women to strengthen her spirit. For more information on how to help a friend visit the National Domestic Violence Hotline website at
If you find yourself in an abusive relationship, talk about it to your friends, to clergy, and to your loved ones. Get away to a motel, a friend or relative’s home, or a shelter. Make a safety plan. There is no reason to feel shame. You are not alone.
In the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control, 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year. One in every 4 women experience domestic violence in her lifetime. Everyday 3 women die as a result of domestic violence, that’s 1,200 deaths per year.
It is my hope that by sharing this story a life will be saved, your sister’s life, your girlfriend’s life, or perhaps yours.

For more information or to get help, please call:
All calls are anonymous and confidential.
For information on “Making a safety plan” go to website: or visit The National Domestic Violence Hotline website:
Keep in mind, all computer (and cell phone) use can be monitored; use a computer away from home!

VICTORIA HART-Freelance Writer


  1. This is something I wrote recently to express my grief. My sister was murdered by her boyfriend, it will be 10 years in October, and I can say that my thoughts are never too far from re-experiencing my loss of her. I'm not sharing this for sympathy. My hope is to help initiate a dialogue, without shame, for these women, for you if you know of a woman in a similar situation. Thank you for taking the time to read it. Be strong, we can, we must, improve these stats.

  2. Victoria,

    Sadly, very beautifully written. I'm so sorry for your suffering, along with the rest of your family. You can find me anytime you need someone different to talk to; I would listen.

    I am hoping that on the ten year anniversary you can use the occasion to celebrate her life, yours and her beautiful daughter.

    Much love,


  3. Thank you Suzanne. I need all the "sisters" I can get! I will try hard to celebrate, you will be there with me as well.