The Pixel Project is proud to present our fourth annual Survivor Stories Blog Interview Project in honour of Mother’s Day 2017. The annual campaign runs throughout the month of May 2017 and features an interview per day with a survivor of any form of violence against women (VAW) including domestic violence, rape, sexual assault, stalking, online violence against women, female genital mutilation, forced/child marriage, sex trafficking, breast ironing etc. This campaign was created to provide:
- VAW survivors a platform to share their stories and solutions/ideas on how they rebuilt their lives and healed/are healing.
- Girls and women currently experiencing or who have survived VAW ideas, hope, and inspiration to escape the violence and know that there is light at the tunnel and there is help out there.
Our 11th Survivor Stories interview is with Angela Giles Klocke from the USA.
TRIGGER WARNING: The first two Q&As in this interview may be distressing for some Domestic Violence survivors.
The Survivor Bio:
I am a client advocate at a pregnancy centre where I use my experience as a teen mom and abuse/sexual assault/domestic violence survivor to help others. I have three grown-up children and three grandchildren (I’m only 41!) and have been remarried to a good man for 18 years. I share my story of my painful past and healing journey at Scars and Tiaras: Alive to Thrive (scarsandtiaras.com). I am a writer, speaker and photographer, and I love my everyday life in the mountains of Colorado.
For as far back as I can remember, I have experienced different types of abuse:
As a young girl, I was a victim of abuse at the hands of my mother and stepfather. Later, I fought off an older brother’s attempted rape. Then I became the victim of molestation by a stepgrandfather.
As abuse continued in my life without justice, I fled my mother’s home as soon as I could, right into the arms of a boyfriend who became my first husband. He was my next and final abuser from the time I was 13 to 22, when he tried to kill me but died instead.
By the time I was 22, I felt used up and broke, worthless and stupid, hopeless.
2. How did you escape the violent situation/relationship/ritual?
When I tried to leave my abusive marriage, three children and too many years later, my ex-husband came after me with a gun.
Ultimately, he was killed instead. He had always said “till death do us part,” and he meant it. I just don’t think he meant for it to happen the way it did.
Some of his family blamed me for his death, so ultimately I had to remove myself from their influence as well.
3. How did you heal and rebuild your life after the violent situation/relationship/ritual? What actions did you take?
I am still on my healing journey. For years following my freedom, I stuffed all my pain away. But 22 years of trauma eventually explodes, so I ended up with a breakthrough (as I call it) in 2012 that led me to counselling.
I now speak out and share my story openly with schools, groups, and one on one. I work with others as much as I can to assist their healing, and I find every single time we get to share our stories of hard places, we heal a little more.
Healing really IS a journey, and this year I found myself re-entering counselling to continue working through some of the pain that still sits in my heart.
4. What would you suggest to or share with another woman or girl facing the same situation as you did?
I thought I was alone. I thought no one could help me. But even more today that 20 years ago, there are so many places available to help. I understand how hard it is to break away from an abusive situation, especially when a part of you really loves the person hurting you, but I also know we are worth so much more.
My ex-husband used to tell me that no one could ever love me the way he did – and he was right in many ways. I am re-married and my wonderful husband does not indeed love me the way my ex did, and that means I am happy and cared for and without bruises on my heart or body.
5. How do you think we can end violence against women?
I truly believe that we all have the ability to step up and speak out. To shine a light into the darkness that is violence and abuse, to say we won’t take it, we won’t look the other way anymore.
When we stand together, when we stand for each other, we are powerful.
And when we open ourselves up to share, to help, we invite others in pain to start making new choices too.
6. Why do you support The Pixel Project?
I support The Pixel Project because it does exactly what I just highlighted – stepping up and speaking out, shining light into the darkness, saying NO MORE!