Bound by Domestic Violence
In honor of Domestic Violence this month, I did a,” Let it Go,” activity with the women at the shelter. I divided the room in two teams and they chose a woman to wrap up in toilet paper.
The object was to cover her up in one minute and nothing was to show. However, it was hard to cover the model without a hand, nose, mouth, etc. sticking out. The purpose of this activity was to remind them of how their abuser made them feel. Many of them felt wrapped up in an abusive relationship and felt like dying. One woman yelled, ” I can’t breathe!” I told them to leave her nose and mouth free because I didn’t want anyone to feel uncomfortable. Another lady had so much trauma that it was hard for her to watch the women being wrapped up. I reassured her that if she needed to take 5 minutes to get some air that that was fine. After she left for 5 minutes, she came back in and joined the group. The women shared that every-time they tried to leave their abuser he’d lock them in the house, in a closet, etc.
Sometimes they ‘d isolate them from family and friends to control them. Their abusers made them afraid to Let Go of their relationship by threatening to kill them or their children. One woman shared that her abuser threatened to kill her mom if she called the police.
When both teams finished wrapping up their teammate, each gave an example of their past abuse and how they overcame it. Many shared that even-though they left their abuser they still carry the wounds and the scars daily. Many of them have a hard time trusting, and are afraid to, “Let it Go!”
At the end of the class, I had everyone to unwrap the women while I played the song, “Let it Go!” As they unwrapped their teammate, the woman began to clap and cry. Everyone sang along with Elsa and one lady said, ” I’m glad we did this. Thank you so much for this activity.” She continued, “I didn’t realize how much shame and hurt I’ve been carrying until I saw us wrap up a person, and when we unwrapped them I got free for the first time.”
Remember if you or someone else is being abused in a relationship please contact the National Domestic Abuse Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 1-800-787-3224 (for death and hearing impaired)