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My name is Dori, and this is what I am....a college graduate, a daughter, a fierce negotiator, a friend, a singer, a successful businesswoman, a loving sister, a writer, a reader of hundreds and thousands of novels, a person who cares about people and who makes a point of asking the right question at the right time. I am a mother. I am the person that many people reach out to for help and guidance and love. I am also a survivor of domestic violence. And I believe that if it happened to me, it can happen to anyone.  

My name is Dori, and this is what I am.....lucky. During the two years that I spent married to my abuser, I was punched, I was kicked, I was thrown across the room, berated for allegedly flirting with waiters, busboys, and parking attendants, I was shoved, I was locked out of my own home in the pouring rain, I was jailed, I was called a whore and a slut and a worthless bitch, I was left stranded at countless restaurants and stores, I was homeless, and I was afraid. And still, I am lucky. I got out.  

My name is Dori, and this is what I am today...a woman who speaks the truth. I spent over two years lying to every person I loved to keep my dirty little secret under wraps. I told concerned co-workers that everything was fine, and that I was wearing long sleeves in July because I was cold blooded. I told the nurses at the hospital that my husband was under a lot of stress and acting completely out of character when he stormed out of the hospital the day I was to deliver our daughter. I told my girlfriends that I was happy and secure in my marriage, and that the fact that my husband tried to bed them was amusing to me. I am smart and I am tough and I believe in honesty, even when it hurts. And I lied every day. I have no doubt that there are other women living the same lie - because the truth is too horrible to accept, much less admit to anyone else.  

The million dollar question that everyone eventually asks is this: Why did you stay? It is difficult, if not impossible, to explain to anyone who hasn’t been there. I stayed because I was convinced that if I did everything “right“, he would no longer be angry. I stayed because he said I was the problem. I stayed because he told me he would take our baby from me. I stayed because he promised me he would take medication and see a counselor. I stayed because he had pushed my friends and family so far away from me that I felt alone. I stayed because I felt sorry for him, because he had buried us in so much debt that I couldn’t see my way out, because he made me believe that I was worthless and ugly and pathetic. I stayed because I was deeply ashamed of what my life had become. I stayed in the hope that the rare moments of normalcy would last. And ultimately I stayed because I knew that leaving him would be the most dangerous decision I’d ever make.  

My name is Dori, and I’ve only just begun.




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