What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger.
Three years ago, I was at a Kelly Clarkson concert balling my eyes out while she sang "What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger."
I decided in this exact moment that I was on a mission to share my story and help other women by filming a documentary about domestic violence. I didn't know exactly how I was going to do it, but I said to myself right there in that moment that I was going to do it and then I asked my friend to take a picture, because I needed to remember the fire in my soul that night.
Below is how I first shared my story in a social media post. The reaction and private messages I received afterward are what inspired the storyline of the documentary.
We all have a story that we don't share with others out of fear of being misunderstood, judged, or dreading what could come from talking about such a painful topic.
Today, I am facing all of my fears, in hopes of inspiring other women to share their stories, because I live with one regret that haunts me every single day.
I didn't report what happened.
I protected the monster who held me prisoner in my own home that night. I protected the monster who laughed in my face as I tried to escape that night. I protected the monster who beat me and dragged me by my hair every time I got close to the front door that night. I protected the monster who destroyed my belongings that night.
I protected the monster who forced me to lay in bed with him and let him hold me after he had just physically abused me for hours on end. I was shaking with fear, I was praying for him to pass out, so that I could finally escape.
I did escape, but the damage was done.
This monster walks free, and so many years later, I can't do much about it. I hope and pray every single night that the next girl doesn't ignore the red flags like I did.
If I had pressed charges, this monster would at least have a record, that could serve as a warning to the next girl. But, no record exists and the next girl is blind to what her future may hold.
This haunts me every single day.
The two years following that terrible night I fell into a deep depression. I contemplated suicide on a daily basis and I mistreated almost everyone in my life. I was in the darkest place I had ever been and I didn't see a way out.
Eventually, counseling, anti-depressants and supportive friends and family got me back on track to the old Madison.
I don't want anyone to ever feel as sad and lonely as I was, or live with such a huge regret.
So, I'm on a mission to share my story and inspire other women to share their stories in whatever way makes them feel better, or more in control of what happened to them.
You are not alone. And, you can dig yourself out of the deepest, darkest hole. I have been there and I'm so glad I dug myself out.
If you are ready to take the first step in getting help here are a few resources for you: