October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. The Ms. Blog will be publishing a series of posts detailing the impact of domestic violence, including personal essays and more, throughout the month.

The moment I knew I had to escape.

It was 3 am. I gripped the cool steering wheel with trembling fingers and white knuckles. “Mommy I’m hungry.” My eyes got cloudy, “Go to sleep. You’ll get breakfast when you wake up.” My oldest daughter rested her head on a pillow made out of a blue jean jacket. My 15-month-old twins slept soundlessly in their car seats. The streetlight outside the car window reflected in my youngest daughter’s tears, “I’m cold. I wanna go home.”

I took off my jacket and blanketed her with it before rubbing my bruised arms to try to warm myself.

“I want daddy,” she moaned with the insistence one would expect from a 4-year-old. For years I was afraid to go because I thought he’d hurt me more. I worried that leaving would hurt my kids or leave them struggling because my husband was our family’s provider and, despite his issues, he tried to be a good father.

I realized how badly he was failing at fatherhood when my 4-year-old daughter walked in on him attacking me. He had broken the bed and covered my arms with bruises as he assaulted me. When her father saw her terrified face in the doorway, he stopped and cradled her in his arms. She clutched her teddy bear and sobbed into his chest as he said, “It’s OK. We were playing.”

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J.D. Myall is a self-proclaimed literary lunatic, crazy about reading and writing is like breathing to her. The author of Reckless Gravity, she is also a former army wife and survivor of domestic abuse. Myall went on to earn her BA in criminal justice from West Chester University, and has worked as a counselor for crime victims, addicts and the mentally ill. She’s the mother of four children and will donate a portion of her book’s proceeds to help victims of abuse.

© and source/ rest: msmagazine (posted via inoreader/ ifttt).

#womensstories: I Didn’t Know