Used, Abused, Battered, and Confused

A story by Anonymous (Maine Correctional Center)

I write this essay because I am a victim of domestic violence. I am currently incarcerated in Maine, sentenced to decades. The law in the state of Maine is lagging when it comes to it’s response to victims of domestic violence, and the crimes that some of us are forced to participate in. I lost my oldest daughter to domestic violence at the hands of the man I was with at that time. He is currently incarcerated as well.

The statistics of domestic violence in Maine are tragic. For example, a domestic violence assault is reported to law enforcement every 2 hours and 22 minutes, according to the Maine Coalition to End Domestic Violence. There are many warning signs in an abusive relationship such as: controlling behavior, acting jealous, threats, and blaming violent behavior on the partner. Because I am a victim of domestic violence myself, there are so many things I can tell you about my personal experience with domestic violence. There is the daughter whom I lost at the hands of the man I was with. I now know the signs to look for and recognize red flags. I went through so much like getting choked a couple of times where I felt like I was going to die. I was also punched in the stomach while I was pregnant. I had a gun held to my head. The list goes on and on. I did not recognize any signs of abuse until I was arrested and in jail. I now know, in the future, what signs to look for.

I would like to see a lot of things change in the state of Maine regarding domestic violence. Ultimately, I want the state of Maine to stop putting victims of domestic violence behind bars. I want Maine to realize that they need to look more into the survivors of domestic violence than looking at them as the perpetrator. We need to hear the story of the person who was the survivor and not believe what the perpetrator says. I wish I had knowledge I have now in the past, because I would not be here in prison if I knew all these things about domestic violence.

Countless women in the state of Maine are victims of domestic violence and experience many of things I experienced. However, the help we get is often too late. Further, many women are incarcerated who have experienced domestic violence. Luckily, I am now a certified advocate and I spend my days helping women who are in prison with me.