Eating The Leftovers

Dear Priscilla Bennett Friends,

I hope you were all safe over the Thanksgiving Holiday. Often domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse escalate during the holidays. When I worked in the emergency room, I saw it over and over. Drugs and alcohol played a part along with high expectations of family and disappointments. I remember a young woman who came in with a knife wound on her arm and said her boyfriend had cut her because she had embarrassed him in front of his friends. She spilt the leftovers she was holding to grab her bloodied arm, and he forced her to eat the food off the floor. “I’ll cut your throat if you don’t,” he said. “The worst part of it is that he did it in front of my three-year-old son,” she cried.

This scenario is all too frequent, and I wrote about it in my novel. Katie is battered by her famous plastic surgeon husband on Christmas night in her daughter Rose’s bedroom when she is putting Rose to bed. The child tries to stop it by screaming, “Stop! Don’t hurt my Mommy,” to no avail as Katie lies on the rug waiting for it to be over. This incident is the turning point for Katie—next time he could kill her— she decides to make a plan. She will never be able to change what her daughter saw or forget her screams, but she can try to never let it happen again. With no support from her family, no job and little money she begins to plan an escape—but it will take time to implement. Her husband controls all the finances, but she saves from her pocket money. An elderly woman offers her a part-time job with a flexible schedule, and Katie grabs it terrified that her husband will find out. Slowly step by step, she inches towards freedom.

Take good care of yourselves,