But did he hit you...


Notice of absence from HannahElisabeth
Taking a long overdue mental health vacation. I will check in when I can.

Trigger warning: if you are a survivor of any kind of abuse, please make sure you are far enough along in your healing before reading this. Otherwise, I strongly advise you not to. I wrote this to call attention to how society treats domestic abuse survivors whose partners never left physical bruises or "proof". If you're reading this, I kindly ask that you consider making a donation to a domestic violence organization. Again, please make sure you are mentally in a healthy place to read this...












You hit me like an ocean storm


Violent waves crashing


Pulling me under


Can’t seem to get my head above water


Chaos and destruction walk hand in hand


The shaky foundation


We might have had


Now lost in the wreckage of your storm


And who am I


To pick up the pieces


Gasping for air


Between holding my breath


Bit by bit, slowly


Losing more of myself


But the ocean taught me how to love


The taste of salt


And metallic


As I bite through my lip


Hard enough that I bleed


Again and again


For some semblance of peace


Told to swallow my pride


When I tried to speak up


Gaslit to fear saying


Enough is enough


By a society that primes us


To fawn and to freeze


To avoid confrontation


And just people please


The magazines


They tell you


Be flawless


And sexy


We exist to please men


The conditioning starts early


Like don’t make a fuss


He’s only mean 'cause he likes you


And don’t cause a scene


How unladylike of you


Just an object


Some eye candy


My God you're so hot


Your legs are so nice


My opinions matter not


And then there was you


Laid all my cards on the table


Showed you my scars


And still you were able


To act like I owed you


Like I was the problem


Left to pick up the pieces


And they asked why I stayed


Why I didn't report


Like I had somewhere to go


And you never used force


Your attorney


The judges


Used my trauma against me


Like it wasn’t that bad


Since you never did hit me.


  • Coyote

    This is powerful Hannah.
    "a society that primes us
    To fawn and to freeze
    To avoid confrontation
    And just people please".
    That's an amazing verse!
    The mixed messages that women receive from society do so much damage. Told to act/look a certain way, then condemned for doing so. A change is long overdue.

    • HannahElisabeth

      Thank you so much!

      I definitely made this a lot more tame for publishing than it was initially, but I'm glad I got the message across.

      Toxic traditions and gender prescriptions need to be burned to the ground...

      • Coyote


      • Doggerel Dave

        ‘Like I had somewhere to go’ is, for me, one of several key lines, Hannah.
        Before Covid it was a big issue here in Oz and my guess is elsewhere too. With Covid lockdowns…….
        Sometimes my empathy module gets unplugged or something, so I haven’t much sympathy for socialisation arguments which would posit that women have no choice in partner selection.
        However if I take it up at the sharp point of crisis, then I know the situation re alternative accommodation is well nigh impossible - property prices astronomical, rents similarly very high; government benefits far too low and a dire shortage of women’s shelters.
        Good cause to shout about.

        • HannahElisabeth

          It's not just a dire shortage of women's shelters, Covid, and all that.
          There's the court systems, too many police officers lacking in empathy when taking reports... What we really need is more money going to non-profits that offer more than just shelter; legal resources are severely lacking for these situations. Covid made what little resources available even more scarce, while simultaneously intensifying the frequency of domestic abuse.

          By no means was I implying that women have no choice in partner selection. I know you hate metaphors, but the boiling frog is a better way to describe what I was trying to convey.
          The most cunning and manipulative people know not to just throw you into the boiling water...

          • Doggerel Dave

            Not entirely adverse to metaphors - I used boiling frog in relation to climate change in a shortie somewhere here....I assume you are referring to perpetrators?
            No argument re non-profits V Govt when it comes to shelter +. Just get it done....
            Police (some) are trying to rectify this situation.
            Covid - precisely as implied in my response above.
            Re Women's socialisation, it is too much to say it's society that's to blame...while I wholly commit to societal change, that change only occurs via the commitment of multiple individuals.
            Insufficient to state 'Toxic traditions and gender ......' this is analogous to a (wouldn't dignify by calling it a 'debate') quick discussion here on the troubles of the world and end with the conclusion that 'all you need is love'. - but how or wot?
            I'll sign off now (for a while) enjoy this - stimulating - thanks Hannah.

          • 6 more comments

          • Arvy

            It takes great courage to share your story with an abusive relationship. Society blames those who get abused thinking it's easy to just walk away when they're oblivious of how difficult and painful the whole deal is. My heart goes to anyone in pain and can't speak out. Thank you for this beautiful poem Hannah!

            • HannahElisabeth

              Thank you for your kind words Arvy. I'm glad you could find the beauty in it. It takes great courage indeed.

            • matthew jay

              I am thankful you wrote about this. I dated a woman years ago who went through an attack before I met her. Yes, never forget their are people in your life who love and want to help you through the pain.

              • HannahElisabeth

                Matthew, I'm so sorry she experienced that. And yes, there are so many lovely souls in this life, they definitely outweigh the pain. I'm very thankful to have the amazing support system that I do. I started making my poetry public in the hopes of publishing some day and donating some of the proceeds to domestic violence organizations in the future. I'm really glad you appreciate speaking up about this, thank you so much for reading and taking the time to comment.

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