This post is by Rev. Joseph Paluszak, Victim to Victor Ministries (Formally The Conspiracy of Silence)
Her name is Karen; she is a sales associate at one of our local Radio Shack Stores. I was making some minor purchases for our ministry and had presented her with our letter from the Commonwealth of Virginia exempting us from sales tax. As she entered the information into her computerized cash register she saw the name of our ministry. “You must help women,” she said.
“I’m amazed,” I responded, “Most people ask what The Conspiracy of Silence does, you knew with just one look at our name.”
Karen then explained to me that she had spent a year and a half in a violently abusive relationship. I then pointed her to a truth that I shared in one of my newsletters over a year ago, “Do you realize,” I asked, “that the three primary danger signals of a cult are the same three primary danger signals of an abusive personality? A cult wants unquestioning acceptance of everything they say, do, and teach, they seek to isolate their participants, and to take away their freedom of choice. In like manner, a violently abusive personality wants unquestioning acceptance of everything they say and do, they seek to isolate you from friends and family who would be your support group, and they take away your freedom of choice!”
Karen was quick to concur with this observation. She told me how she would be handcuffed in the bathroom, so she could use the commode if she had to, whenever he went out, and how he would take all of her money that she earned as soon as she got home from work. The night he broke her nose as she fought for her money was the night she left him. “I’m ashamed that it was a year and half to before I left,” she confided.
“You’re one of the lucky ones,” I told her, “I know women who have been in abusive relationships for over forty years and they still haven’t found the strength and courage to leave.” I then asked her permission to use her story in this month’s newsletter.
“Go ahead,” she said, “use my real name, I don’t care. I just hope it will help someone.”