Blinded is the feature movie for the opening of my Soualiga Film Festival, which started today on St. Maarten.

I can’t watch it.

Hearing it is hard enough.

It’s making me uncomfortable to listen to the sounds of violence. I am reminded that that once was my life. In my case it was the verbal and mental violence that was the heaviest and all the signs were there that it would have gotten worst rather than better if I had not gotten out.

The denial of it is hard because you are constantly having to sell yourself the lie that its not that bad, you are not in the hospital and you did not have to call the cops. But yet each time, your self esteem drops a little more and you feel the darkness around you growing.

How do I get out of here? Where do I go? Who will want me and what I have become now? Do my friends remember me? Isn’t it just better to stay and try again, try to be a better mother, a better wife, a better lover, a better cook?

I want to shut out the screams of the woman on the film, but I must listen because she represents the sound of so many women screaming in silence. Not able to ever verbalize the pain or acknowledge to themselves that they have been hurt and hurting.

She is screaming because he is hurting her but even more so, her son is watching her be hurt and wondering how do I explain to him that this is not love? How do I teach him to be a better man when the hero he looks up to is hurting the woman he claims to love? How can I change the definition of love that my son now sees?

Watching my eldest daughter shove the younger kids into their bedroom so they wouldn’t see me being hurt was hard. Seeing her come back to peak to see if I was okay, is a memory I don’t know if I will ever forget or want to. It was not the only reason but it was a deciding factor in choosing to leave my marriage. I wanted to talk and not feel so shut up. I wanted the darkness to go away. I wanted to see sunshine again and there was none in my life.

I wish I could tell you today’s decision allowed me to leave tomorrow. But it was many tomorrow’s and many prayers and tears before it came. But when it did, it was good.

I live my life to scream. Not just for me but for the women who do not yet realise that they have a voice. I pray every woman who has ever been abused has the courage to scream.

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