Angela Kelsey

Tell the Story

What I’m Writing Today

Filed in Domestic Violence, Memoir, Stories, voices, Writing :: April 3, 2011

[from the talk]:

I don’t know about you, but despite all my experience and all that I’ve read and all the women I’ve known and talked to, I still have a hard time shaking a stereotypical mental image of a battered woman.

I’m embarrassed to say that she doesn’t have a lot of money or education.  She has a baby on her hip, and a toddler clutches her calf.  She has a black eye; her hair is tangled.

If you don’t smoke, the battered woman in your imagination probably does.

Her skin color may be the same as mine, or it may be darker.

I see her wearing a housedress, standing in the doorway of a poorly kept house.

How many of you have the same kind of image in your minds?

But one in four women will be in a physically, emotionally, and/or sexually abusive relationship during the course of her life.

So if you are not one of us, you will run across us—you do every day.  And not all of us are like the woman in my imagination.

I’m here to tell you that the woman in your imagination is one battered woman, and I was another.

And for all our superficial differences, she and I are one.  And we shared a sense of shame and a rule of silence.