by Anissa Canova
It amazed me how many of my friends posted #MeToo on their social media pages. Yet, I did not.
I wondered, “How many other women out there are not posting “me too” on social media because they felt like me.” We are embarrassed, ashamed, too scared to share and petrified to type those two words because it might seem like an admission of a wrong or a memory we choose to bury.
[bctt tweet=”How many women out there are not posting “me too” on social media because they felt like me.” username=”womenoftheelca”]
As I boarded the airplane to Chicago for the women of the ELCA executive board meeting last month, I reflected on the first time I flew to Chicago.
More than 25 years ago, I was in an abusive marriage, and I was filled with fear with no hope. I spent a lot of time in women’s shelters only to go back home to broken promises, failed Protection from Abuse orders, and a broken me.
My ex-husband would get me to return home by threatening to violate my elderly aunt. He reminded me daily that I was “lower than pond scum.” And he degraded and demoralized me in other ways.
I felt like I was nothing, and I truly believed I had no way out. I prayed in desperation for God to take his life or mine.
Around this time, my aunt from Chicago visited us in Pennsylvania. She asked me to come back to Chicago with her but said I would need to pay for the plane ticket. Yet, I didn’t have the $750 I would need for a one-way plane ticket.
God opened a door
Then God opened a door for me. My aunt and I went to church bingo a couple of days before she was going back home, and I won the $1,000 jackpot. That night, I slept with the money in my pillowcase because I was afraid my husband would find it and spend it all at the bar.
The temporary change of residence allowed me to gain some self-worth, get a job and save money. I still get a lump in my throat talking about it. And the pit of my stomach still stirs with a tiny bit of fear that he will find me someday.
Yet, I know with the Grace of God, I will heal completely.
Have you got a personal story to tell about #metoo? Who will you tell?
Anissa Canova, Gouldsboro, Penn., serves on the Women of the ELCA executive board. She is a member of Grace Lutheran Church, Gouldsboro. Download #MeToo: A litany for speaking out (or not) here.