You Showed Me

My assistant city attorneys and I have prosecuted domestic violence perpetrators for 24 years.  I have come to loathe the mentality that allows a perpetrator to use violence to maintain power and control in an intimate relationship.  The very person the perpetrator should love with tenderness he beats into submission.  A cherished friend recently confided in me that her estranged husband had clobbered her in the face with a work boot he was holding, breaking her nose.  As painful as was the injury to her face, the deeper injury was to her spirit and her mind.  That strike caused her eyes to swell and blacken, but at the same time opened her eyes wide to who and what he was, and to what a future with him would bring.  I wrote this poem to honor my friend’s courage to see the truth and to seek a place of safety for herself and her children.  I dedicate this poem to all victims of domestic violence, those who survive and thrive, and those who have not yet broken free.  God bless.

YOU SHOWED ME

You bashed my face
with your boot,
steel-toed,
to show me
who you are:
tough, in control,
powerful.

You broke my nose
with your heel.

Our lambs watched, and
wept.

I am bleeding now,
swollen, my face
red and sore.

Yes, you showed me
the man you are.

But I say
to your face:
You missed!

Bereft I may be, but
I am not destroyed!
Because
you beat me,
you bruised me,
you cut me,
but you missed
my heart
my mind
my dreams
my soul
my will.

Yes,
you showed me.

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15 thoughts on “You Showed Me

  1. Becky

    Your compassion is an inate part of your character. Thank you for writing this poem.
    Thank you for defending the broken and powerless and giving them hope.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  2. fromtheheartofmeblog

    Don’t know how a man can do this to his wife…he needs a good beating himself then maybe he wouldn’t be so free with his licks…just saying.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Roger Baker-Utah Post author

      Thank you for your perspective. I, too, find it hard to understand and believe. But many people grow up believing that they are entitled to secure their place in a marriage relationship at the expense of their partner, and that expense often includes isolation, belittling, manipulation, and violence. People ask, “Why don’t the victims just leave?” Victims don’t leave for many reasons. It is important to understand why victims stay. They have rational reasons. (1) They love and believe in their spouse, even though he/she is occasionally violent. (2) They lack the support system they need due to their isolation: geographic, financial, social, familial, educational. (3) They accept the abuse to protect their children from abuse. (4) The most dangerous time in a victim’s life is when he/she threatens the power and control of the abuser, e.g., by threatening to leave. About 1,000 women die each year at the hands of their abusive partners. Our society has made some small progress, but not nearly enough.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  3. speak766

    this poem is amazing and so very true. Thank you so much for your work in prosecuting domestic violence cases. All too often the perpetrator ends up getting away with it. I am glad to know that there is someone like you helping to stop this.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  4. Carolin Messier

    Roger, what amazing work, both as a city attorney and this piece. I’m glad your friend saw the truth of her abuser and had the resources to bring herself and her children to safety. For many women the choice to leave an abuser means homelessness for herself and any children she has.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Roger Baker-Utah Post author

      Thank you for your thoughtful comment.
      Yes, I understand why victimized women stay with their abusers. That is part of the insidious nature of domestic violence: the trap. In my responses to other comments I discuss the reasons why they stay, and how I learned.

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply

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