TRIGGER WARNING: Domestic violence, including images.
Darrian Amaker is a singer, photographer, and writer — and now she's also a survivor.
Amaker created a video and wrote a post that she shared on the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence's Facebook page, in which she detailed a horrific domestic violence incident at the hands of her partner.
"A few days after thanksgiving this past year, my Love went straight psychotic and beat me brutally for ten hours. He had planned it out; I was supposed to die. I survived or escaped, whatever you want to call it, and spent four days in the hospital, eyes swollen shut, wondering why, wondering why."
Amaker wrote a song and recorded herself from her hospital bed while she was still recovering.
"I don't generally record videos of myself but it was the only thing I wanted to do in the hospital," she explained. "I insisted — it felt important and a small triumph to make something, salvage anything from my shipwrecked heart."
Hit "play" on the video to hear her beautiful song:
While Amaker says she is physically safe now — she explains that her former partner was indicted for six felonies and faces a lengthy prison sentence — she notes that she's different, both physically and mentally. In addition to the injuries to the bones in her face, which she says is half an inch wider now, "[f]or the first time I have brushed up against an inhuman story and am deeply shaken."
In a followup post, the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence wrote, "Too often in our culture, violence against women is not understood. These brave victims and survivors are bringing a new level of awareness — using technology and social media to help us understand their lives and share their experiences."
Listening to stories like Amaker's is important because there are many misconceptions about domestic violence.
Consider a few key points: There is no one "type" of domestic violence victim or survivor — it can happen to anyone (including men). Abuse and violence are always the fault of the person perpetrating them. And ending domestic violence isn't as simple as picking up and leaving the relationship.
"Anyone can be a victim of domestic violence. There is NO 'typical victim.' Victims of domestic violence come from all walks of life, varying age groups, all backgrounds, all communities, all education levels, all economic levels, all cultures, all ethnicities, all religions, all abilities, and all lifestyles.
Victims of domestic violence do not bring violence upon themselves, they do not always lack self-confidence, nor are they just as abusive as the abuser. Violence in relationships occurs when one person feels entitled to power and control over their partner and chooses to use abuse to gain and maintain that control...
...leaving an abuser is the most dangerous time for a victim of domestic violence. One study found in interviews with men who have killed their wives that either threats of separation by their partner or actual separations were most often the precipitating events that lead to the murder."
The final few lines in Amaker's post are words to remember:
"Domestic violence is not a faraway issue. It affects people you know, cheerful people, people who sing, people who love. We the humans must be better, kinder, stronger. We the loving must not tolerate abuse. We the living must facilitate life."