I am Robin Chappell and it’s a beautiful, but somewhat chilly Tuesday today. Halloween is slowly creeping up! Pumpkins along with the scent of pumpkin spice can be recognized almost anywhere! The leave’s colors are becoming brighter as the dark greets us sooner during the evening hours. The temperature drops more and more each day as we pull out our sweaters, jackets, and boots and store our shorts, sandals, and tank tops. I love this time of the year! Not to mention that I have been so blessed with so many opportunities, networking, and speaking at events I would have never even thought of! My first published poetry book, “Her Crowning Frenzy” is doing pretty well and yesterday it was featured in Book Mad, a magazine dedicated to promoting rising independent author’s books and generating more book sales by producing lists of the latest releases!
I now have thirteen positive reviews on Amazon and I am currently working on my next project, which I hope to release by the beginning of the new year! (side note: it won’t be poetry this time…hmmm). There have been some minor downfalls and setbacks in the past few months, but as always, they are lessons that will allow me to emerge as an even better, wiser, and more successful woman!
So with all of that being said, welcome back to The Vizzion! I know that it’s been quite a while since my last written BLOG because my focus has been on promoting my VLOG on YouTube (also called The Vizzion! Please be sure to subscribe!) I will begin LIVE videos and discussions this month also! There is so much to discuss and to make aware in our community when it comes to sexual assault and domestic violence and it all ties in together. So please stay updated on my topics about life and success after sexual trauma! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCU9q9BGwnRQJ21evLujyHsg
I decided to publish an entry today in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month! I will be posting more on both my vlog and my blog daily! This month is usually centered around Breast Cancer Awareness Month. As a female, I’m all about “saving the boobies”, and unfortunately the GREATEST physician that I have ever known and had the honor to receive treatment from on numerous occasions since I was the age of sixteen passed from breast cancer a few years ago. Her name was Dr. Tomeka Russell and she had one of the most happy and contagious spirits anyone could possess…and I still miss her.
Another topic that October represents and that is becoming a popular subject among our culture, whether male or female, is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The representing color is purple, and just last week I was given the amazing opportunity to lend my voice to a Domestic Violence Workshop/Q&A hosted by life coach Tasha Scott. She is an AMAZING WOMAN and I sat among a panel of four other phenomenal males and females who also contributed their advice and experiences to an engaging audience with many questions on several unfiltered topics!
I know that I have been mainly dealing with and discussing sexual assault among military men and women, along with illiteracy, but I was also able to lend my voice to domestic violence, the signs, and how to cope with it’s effects toward your life. 1 in 6 women have or will experience domestic violence in their lifetime. 1 in 16 men have also experienced domestic violence with a current or previous partner. This is an astounding statistic and is not a far cry from the sexual assault statistics of women, which is 1 out of 3 and 1 out of 10 men.
As I have recently expressed about sexual assault and my situation with the military, I am also the 1 out of 6 women that have undergone domestic violence in an intimate relationship. It has taken me awhile (practically all month) to get this post and my story together just like the one expressing my sexual assault and why I wanted to start Harmonious Grace, Inc. It’s a hard story to tell, but as promised, I express MY TRUTH and nothing but the truth in order to help those who have experienced the same and to let them know they are NEVER alone. I’m sure my there are many worse situations than mine, but if this helps just one person understand the value of life, love, and their heart a little more then I have helped with something!
Don’t get it twisted and do not judge. At the present moment, I am in no way a woman of regret or weakness. I am now a woman of strength that says I am a SURVIVOR and I am finally aware of what is healthy, what I want and what I DO NOT want for the peace of my life and my daughter Harmony’s life. Relationships are always complicated, especially when both parties are still hurting in some way. I know the exact reason why I stayed around with this man in the past for almost two excruciating years. Sexual assault is a hard thing to cope with, and it isn’t just the act of the assault itself, it is the aftermath that seems to hit your life the hardest. The trauma of an assault can last for up to many years and even the rest of one’s lifetime. Everyone copes with trauma in different ways. I clearly remember after my sexual assault occurred in 2008, I became numb to a lot of things. I became numb to any feeling that I was worth anything more than pain and rejection. I felt dispensable to men and decided my worth started and ended only with sexual activity because they would never see more in me. My self-esteem became nonexistent and I began to think if the military never cared to assist with my case and resolve it then why should I be so attentive to how anyone else treated me? Why should I even be attentive to how I treated myself? I truly went about it the wrong way, but I lived and I learned from EVERYTHING.
So once this man did come into my life, I brushed off all of the obvious red flags and the signs of domestic violence he blatantly presented. I was relieved that he wanted to stick around with me, had affection for me, and told me he wanted to understand my pain and protect me the best he knew how. I didn’t take into consideration that he came from a household where his father often abused his mother due to drugs and alcoholism. A man he grew up around that even stole from his mother and entire family for his own selfish agendas. Or the fact that I watched in shock from his kitchen window as he attempted to restrain his older brother from beating and fighting another female he was dating in the parking lot of his apartment. He was drunk and belligerent about the fact she was dating another guy, although she was his “side girlfriend” and he had an entire family at the time. Our backgrounds and our beliefs did not blend well together and they never would. I just didn’t want to see it.
The situation began so subtly and started with unhealthy factors such as control, always wanting and needing to know who I was with at all times and why, dictating the clothes he felt I should and shouldn’t wear so that other men wouldn’t notice me. It almost seemed he rarely even wanted me out of his sight, but at the end of the day it never mattered if I was with him for twenty four to forty eight hours straight…it still NEVER mattered and I was constantly accused of ulterior motives against him. I could never have locks on my phones and he was able to access it whenever he wanted and for whatever reason. The woman that I once was became so lost and broken that this man became the only feelings that I felt I had left, even though they were extremely negative. The pain and anxiety he contributed to my life let me know that I was still alive inside, that I could feel and be aware of my existence. Before then I felt as if I was aimlessly walking around the earth as a mere shell of who I was. I wasn’t very interested in anything at this point in time except him and keeping him satisfied. I even stopped singing in gospel choir at Troy, which I LOVED. The therapy I was attending at Troy University (which I sought for myself after my assault because the military never did) was awkward and consisted of me silently sitting there staring at the therapist until the 30-45 minutes was up. I still remember the first incident of violence with him. It started up because of a procedure I needed done because of abnormal gynecological exams that required them testing further and I was told to abstain from sexual activity for seven days in order to properly heal. He accused me of lying and possibly sleeping with someone else, catching an STD, and making up an excuse for it. That was the first moment…the first slap and I knew EXACTLY what I had set myself up for. He didn’t even ask the reason I had gone to the doctor in the first place. I can’t remember the feeling that I felt when I came to realization he was abusive. I can’t remember telling myself to run, or cut him off, or tell anyone. I really just accepted it as a moment he became angry because of a misunderstanding. That it was just…him and his personality and the hurt he had also gone through. I saw him as wounded from something and I shouldn’t give up on him, maybe try and save him.
Just always know that it never gets better…it always gets much worse. There is a saying that people will go as far as you let them take you and I let him take me to unnecessary places and situations. My family and friends were there for me and active in my life, but even they never understood my mindset after my assault and what I was going through. But they did notice his aggressive and controlling behavior many times and expressed their feelings about it. I had an excuse for everything. I hid this domestic violence situation from them the entire relationship and he was always clever to violently jab, pinch, bite, and grab me in places that were hidden beneath my clothes. I never experience domestic violence in my household and my father and mother had always taught me boundaries and how a man should treat me. I wasn’t scorned from anything during childhood and never saw violence in a natural light. I just simply DID NOT care about myself or my well being any longer during that time. I stopped being this amazing woman to him after just 6 months and started to become “b****es” and “dumb a**es” and “hoes”. I can’t explain myself for the most part and why I kept letting it happen. I never knew why the REAL ROBIN couldn’t snap me out of it. It’s as if I was on the outside of my body most days…watching my life as if it were a movie or a terrible sitcom. But it was real. Others would also wonder why I never told my family or make the choice to leave, but I don’t always have the LOGICAL answer to that. Everyone knows that it’s a choice and that you can leave if you really wanted, but it isn’t always easy when your mentality is telling you one thing…no matter how much you feel another. I remember breaking up with him after a year of arguing, fighting, and being belittled by the most insecure man I had ever met. My decision was followed with crying, ultimatums, back-to-back calling, stalking, and random appearances at my job during the time, begging, and making it seem as if it was all me doing the hurt toward him. All because I finally said NO. I was embarrassed because he would cry and beg so loudly outside of my job that other service members took me to the side to ask if everything was alright and if I needed any help because they could see the entire act through their office windows and hear him yelling.
The “dramatics” finally ended after just 2 weeks. I finally felt relieved, able to be myself and do what I wanted without any backlash or control. I spent time with friends and I took refuge in my family and our lifestyle that I was raised to live and not something that was practically a nightmare. It was like a breath of fresh air and I felt as if I had gained my confidence back and knew the person that I was striving to become. Then something in the earth shifted. It’s as if the devil arrived in the flesh and made me feel down on myself all over again and my self-esteem disappeared for the umpteenth time following my assault…allowing him to eventually make his way back into my life after just five months. We began slowly at first as if he wanted to prove he meant no harm and wanted to become a better man toward me. It seemed he was happy about his second chance. He charmed me, we were doing all of the activities that I loved to do, going on great and expensive dates/trips. Then not even a month later, while he was at my apartment, a former lover I had been dealing with after our break-up showed up at my doorstep around midnight to talk to me since I wouldn’t answer my phone. This reopened the wound I thought he was trying to heal for me. I attempted to explain the situation as delicately as I could.
As the former guy sat in a truck across the parking lot begging me to come and speak with him, my violent significant other slowly sat on the steps, took out his pistol and told me to make him leave before he shot him, then me, then the witnessing old man doing security at my apartments sitting in his truck that I hadn’t even noticed to the right of the parking lot. Once I did as I was told I was thinking I’d come into the house and everything would be fixed and he would be satisfied with my obedience, instead I found myself forcefully thrown against the door and the walls of my own home several times like a rag doll, bitten down my back, and emotionally abused. At this point there was more fear instilled into me from then on. He was worse than the first year we dated. Threats of death started to become normal and part of me felt like I practically embraced it. There were nights he kept me awake on purpose to make sure I was “understanding of his agenda” and I got it worse if he noticed me dozing off in front of him. My work performance began to slip drastically and I was counseled on many unnecessary mistakes, almost losing my job. I was drinking heavily and I started to expect death with each day that I opened my eyes and looked into the sun and woke up right next to him. I wondered if it would be so bad and that maybe that’s the way my life would end. So the times that he choked me until I almost passed out or attempted to smother me with pillows as I fought to breathe beneath him thinking “this is it…this is the end”…nothing inside of me was telling me to fight and that I could be more than this. In my head…that was it and I belonged there. That was my life I settled for. I didn’t have any value to this earth, to him, to anyone…not even my family.
What finally made me come out of that mindset was the moment that he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him and I actually told him “yes”. But there was something in that “yes” because as soon as I said it, I felt like my brain practically caught on fire from screaming at me. I physically began to feel sick to my stomach every time he was around me and any type of attraction that I ever felt for him disintegrated. My body physically began to feel the effects of him being in my life and acted as if it literally became allergic to him. Finally, my unit called several months later with the news that I would be deploying to Iraq with another unit for four hundred days…without him…there was automatic panic. As soon as I was boarding the plane from New Jersey and able to make my last phone call before we arrived overseas, I broke it off over the phone…cut throat and dry. I didn’t even really wait for his reaction. I blocked him from any and every channel he could try and reach me. I gained a lot more confidence being hundreds of miles away, and that was finally how I decided to break free without any of the random pop-ups, manipulation, or guilt trips. He would have an entire year plus more to move on to the next victim and forget about me. I went on to finish my tour with no stress and came out an honorable war vet. I found more and more small pieces of myself while serving overseas, I wrote my feelings down in poetry and songs I kept in a journal the entire year and I acquired a strength that I hadn’t possessed in a long time. I even ran into him a few times at social gatherings once I returned home because we had a few of the same friends, but I never fed into whatever he tried to say or express. I finally found my worth. I finally realized how amazing I was and that what he gave me was never any form or version of love, but he taught me a very valuable lesson and how to value myself as a woman. I finally decided that I wanted to live on my own terms, not the time and the terms of the weakest version of ANY man ever again.
I will close it out by saying this…LOVE DOES NOT HURT. LOVE DOES NOT BECOME ANGERED. LOVE DOES NOT MANIPULATE. LOVE DOES NOT TRY TO ELIMINATE NOR CHANGE WHO YOU ARE AS A PERSON. It EMBRACES you and make you better than you were before. The more that we give into the toxic people in our lives…those weak and miserable individuals that try to make your spirit worse than theirs…the more we take away from ourselves WILLINGLY. We all have the choice and the spirit of discernment to live our lives in healthy and positive ways. Our spirit of discernment exists to avoid those who are unhealthy for us mentally and physically. So don’t lose sight of who you are and everything that love means to you. Do not make excuses for someone that wouldn’t even care less if you live or not. It’s all about their ego and their control over you and when they no longer have that, they have NOTHING!
It is always hard to see signs that someone is being domestically abused (especially a loved one). It is going to be difficult to watch them lie to you and make excuses.Or to see how many times the police have been called just for them to return to them no more than a week later. It’s practically like a terrible addiction. Just know that the journey to get out of a domestic violence situation starts with the individual themselves! I mainly discuss self-esteem and self worth as the underlying factor and the main assessment after trauma because it makes all of the difference and it must exist for someone to want to help themselves and want better for themselves. You will never be able to push or pull anyone out of a toxic relationship, but please always show love and support with very little judgement and more than often they will see it for themselves and appreciate you the most for being there for them after getting through the storm. Just ALWAYS be sure that you are mentally healthy and evaluate who you are before entering a relationship with someone else. It’s alright to wait and love yourself before attempting to love someone else!
If you’d like to hear more about my story and experiences, please do not forget to tune into The Vizzion on here and YouTube along with my Facebook pages @harmoniousgraceinc and @robinlchappell. If you also have any questions or would even like to know about outreach involving my nonprofit, book, or blog, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
“Changing Our Momentum One Crown at a Time!”