Whose Face in the Mirror? Surviving Domestic Violence.
To outsiders, Dianne Schwartz lived a charmed life.She had won the title of Mrs. Arizona, acted in nationally televised commercials, performed as a professional singer and operated her own business.
But these aspects of her life were simply a facade hiding a dark secret: Dianne’s home life was poisoned by the physical and emotional abuse perpetrated upon her by her husband.
“The good part of the marriage lasted only a month.During this time, he was pretending to be the man I had fallen in love with.Then without warning, the mask fell away.After 4 weeks in this marriage, he beat me to the point where I needed medical help.But out of embarrassment and shame, I didn’t go to the hospital.”
As the days passed, the abuse worsened.
“I’m very open about what was happening behind our closed doors in my book Whose Face Is in the Mirror? The abuse was extremely violent and quickly escalated.For me, it even became sexual and perverted. If you refuse to give in, which I did, you stay in the tension building stage. It’s really worse on the victim than the actual explosion stage.It’s like holding your breath - sometimes for weeks at a time.”
Dianne did whatever she could to keep the marriage alive.She blamed herself for the physical attacks.
“I really thought I was a woman who just couldn’t get it right: a woman who made her husband so angry he could only use violence to retaliate. I have since learned domestic violence isn’t about the beatings.It’s all about control and is similar to rape - used as a means of putting the victim into submission.I have learned the beatings are not the victim’s fault.There is never an excuse for domestic violence no matter what the abuser tells the victim.”
After weeks of being beaten, Dianne decided it was time to get help.
“I can remember an instance of standing in my house, looking at myself in the mirror and realizing I was no longer living my life.I was asking myself, ‘how did I ever get myself into this situation?’ When I began therapy, I understood this man would eventually kill me.I made a decision to get out while I could.I just couldn’t remain in the marriage.I was standing up and realizing I was living someone else’s life.I knew the relationship was going to get any better.I got into the marriage because I didn’t know who I really was.”
That’s when Dianne got help that probably saved her life.
“I lived in absolute fear and called a therapist. I was terrified and didn’t know what else to do.I felt I was being guided in life when I found the perfect therapist who helped me understand I was involved in a very destructive marriage.”
Dianne Schwartz is the founder and president of Educating Against Domestic Violence, a nonprofit organization providing assistance to battered persons. Dianne can be reached through her Website at www.eadv.net.