She just wants to live// Anat Gopstein

She just wants to live
By Anat Gopstein
(from her book “מעפר קומי”/Rise from the Dust)
He treated her like a little girl. As if she were his daughter. He was always trying to educate her. She didn’t let her family or friends know what was going on. They understood that something wasn’t right. They were worried about her. They always asked her if she was managing. She said that everything was OK and that he loves her.
Aside from herself and the children, no one knew what was really going on there. He was always angry at her and cursing her, and there were moments when it seemed to her that he really hated her. She didn’t understand what she was doing to him. She tried to please him. She tried to do everything he asked her to, she was always to blame for everything that didn’t work out for him. And he always accused her of annoying him. Because of her, he got angry. She was the one to blame for making him mad.
Even in moments of fear, she kept quiet, she took it all in. She didn’t even scream, and no longer tried to defend herself.
The children were helpless, they were so afraid of their father. They wanted to defend their mother, but they were afraid to get involved. She thought he would get over it, that he would calm down and love her again, like he once did.
But due to the virus everyone was home, he stopped going to work and sat home all day.
She didn’t have a moment of quiet. The situation was unbearable. He got mad at her and screamed at her and hit her hard, and it hurt so much. She was incapable of suffering any more; and then she screamed: “That’s enough, I can’t take it any more.” The children screamed and cried. He himself was in shock; he was used to her keeping quiet. He left her alone, and one day he told her: “I’ll kill you”. This time she believed him, and she knew he was capable of doing just that.
He went outside, and she decided that she wanted to live. That she would not stay with him. She decided to escape. She knew it would be hard for her. She was a broken vessel, not independent, weak. But she believed that she’d manage, so she called and said she needed help.
Very quietly, she gathered up the kids, took a few items of clothing with her and a few other items, and escaped to a safe place.
She chose life.
Domestic violence has become a plague, mainly in a time of crisis, pressure and distress, no money, no work, uncertainty and fear, anxiety. People with mental resilience manage to cope with the situation, but in people with emotional stress and loss of control, stormy emotions cause pressure that bubbles up and bursts open.
Relationships that have been stable, know how to overcome the crisis. But complex relationships and a stressful situation cause a greater rift.
Unfortunately, there are families who have not managed to cope with the pressure. and the despair and frustration have led to outbursts of anger, and there has been a rise in the number of cases of violence.
This is the time to be aware of the more distant environment, not to keep quiet about violence, and to listen to accommodate and to lend a helping hand.

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