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By Tara Cohen

He hit me again last night. This time it was so hard I heard my nose crack and I fell to the floor. While I sobbed in pain, he continued screaming, seemingly incensed all the more by my cries. I slunk from the room and fumbled through the freezer for an ice pack, all the while listening to his continued raging in the next room. Tears flowing down my face, I wondered how my life had come to this.

Long ago, I promised myself I would never marry a man who would even consider raising his hand to me or our children. I would never accept a partner who would intentionally hurt me because my adult life would be what I wanted it to be: happy, peaceful, free of yelling or violence or the threat of either. My children would never fear me or my spouse. They would know unconditional love and security at home. And yet, last night, I lay on the couch, icing my face, contemplating how much yelling, hitting, and eggshell-walking goes on in my home, no matter how much I struggle against it. How had I gotten to this place? How did I become  the type of woman who is grateful when her bruises aren’t easily visible? How did I come to have this secret and to carry this guilty weight of unabating abuse? Why was I so ashamed to tell my friends or family?
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