Before I came to stay at this Korean shelter, I had been at a place with a partner I had never imagined to be with for one and half years. A place called “home” is a place where I feel safe and I can be myself. My memories of what I called “home” only lasted for about a month after we had moved in together. I did not recognize the patterns of abuse until it was too late: mentally, physically, emotionally, and financially left me in disarray. I was incessantly trying to please my partner, constantly trying to maintain peace in the household. I quietly walked around the house like a mouse, staying in my room and only coming out if I needed to use the bathroom or to go into the kitchen, making sure meals were prepared before he came home from work, and leaving him alone while he ate his dinner with his television. There was no laughter or any kind of sharing. When we did go out together, I always felt I was going to be hurt by some “random acts of freak accidents”. Our disagreements led into arguments, then he became verbally and physically violent. Eventually, all communications came to a halt. The house became a place where I just slept, and I made sure to be awake while he went to sleep. I left the house and stayed away until he went into work, and I slept while he was at work. I just wanted to be left alone. I was too embarrassed to speak to anyone about my situation. I felt lonely like an island and worried where I was going to stay. I had no where to go but I knew I had to get out of this damaging relationship. I decided to completely relocate to another area, so I cannot be found by him and his collaborators. I was mentally, emotionally, and physically exhausted but I had to keep going. I searched online for a place to stay.
I did not want to be around certain people if I were to stay at a shelter. I wanted to be around Koreans and Christians. I thought about the time when I felt safe as a child, how I felt safe around strangers. My memories went back to Christian bible studies while I was an orphan in South Korea. So, I decided to research nonprofit shelters for Koreans in Orange county. I clicked on the Home On The Green Pastures, and I was able to reach out to Victoria. She was the only person I had reached to outside of the court house. I was at first unsure if my stay at the shelter would workout because my Korean is very limited.
When I arrived at the shelter, I met the shelter manager. She seemed so Korean, and I thought I was doomed because I barely understood her. Little did I realize her English was far greater than my ability to speak Korean. Then I met another Korean women around my age, and thankfully she was bilingual.
The three of us at the shelter learned each other’s ways. We listened, we cried, we laughed, and we mediated. I needed this. I needed to have a connection between like minded women, and I needed to get in touch with my roots. Most importantly, I realized my spiritual strength is the major building block I needed. I bowed down and humbly accepted the staff members’ graciousness. The bilingual woman became my friend. She caught onto my jokes quickly. It felt so good to laugh for once in a long time. I felt good to express how I felt and what I was thinking. Finally, finally someone understood me in every way. She was going through a similar situation. The members of the staff also understood what I was going through. I do not feel like an island or frightened at this time nor have I since my stay at […]
I wasn’t living. I was kicked, hair pulled, dragged around, unable to get up…
Each time it got worse but I wasn’t able to do anything. He shoved a cellphone in my mouth and twisted when I didn’t answer his questions. I pretended to be dead and prayed. I didn’t know where I was nor who this person was. My mind was blank. I was just scared of this man who didn’t value life and only wished to crush it.
He interrogated me every night. Kept me awake and away from the children. All we could do was cry.
Broken sisters I met at the shelter…..I was thankful for them. Thankful that we can worship God, console each other, cry and sometimes laugh. This place was heaven.
난 죽어 있었다. 발로 차이고 머리를 끄집어 당기고 거실로 질질 끌려다녀서 일어나지도 못하는… 점점 강도가 강해질 때 난 그저 아무 저항을 할 수가 없었다. 그럴때면 말을 안한다고 내 입 안에 핸드폰을 넣고 비틀어 버렸다. 난 쥐죽은 듯이 주님께 그저 이 상황을 다 맡기었었다. 여기가 어딘지 이 사람이 원하는 것이 무엇인지 아무 생각을 할 수가 없었다. 그저 생명을 무참히 꺼트리고 짓밟는 남편이 무서웠다.
거의 매일 심문을 받았을 때는 아이들은 잠자고 있다가 남편이 깨워서 인질로 세워지기도 했고 내가 그 아이들을 얼싸 안고 울기도 했으며 아이들이 엄마에게 오려고 울어도 다가올수 없도록 하기도 했다…
이곳에서 만난 또다른 상처받은 자매들… 너무나 감사했다. 나의 외로움과 곤고함을 함께 나누며 함께 웃고 함께 울 수 있으며 주님 앞에 나갈 수 있는 이곳이 천국이었다.
며칠 동안의 먹구름이 사라지고 푸른 하늘사이로 드러난 아침 햇살이 새삼 눈부시게 아름답게 느껴진다. 천신만고 끝에 아이들과 피신을 한 푸른 초장의 집이 아직 낯설고 처량한 심사에 깊은 잠을 잘 수가 없었지만 우선은 무서운 남편의 시선을 피할 수 있고 당분간 아이들과 의식주를 해결할 수 있다는 것이 얼마나 감사한지…..
그 동안도 몇 번이나 참다가 못하면 친구 집으로 피신을 해보았지만 아이 둘을 데리고 남의 집에서 지낸다는 것이 너무나 힘들어서 일주일을 못 견디고 내 발로 다시 남편에게로 돌아갈 수밖에 없었었다.그 때마다 남편과 시집식구들의 치욕적인 상소리와 모욕은 더 심해져서 차라리 죽고 싶었던 마음은 무어라 표현할 수가 없다. 무엇보다 아이들이 보는 앞에서 욕을 하고 무시하며 아이들까지 때리는 것은 정말 견디기 힘들었다. 남편은 내가 싫어하고 끔직해하는 행동만 골라서 하는 특이한 성격으로 그의 취미는 무서운 공포 영화를 시청하며, 특별히 살인 사건이나 사람을 교묘하게 죽이는 장면들을 모아서 날마다 들여다보며 나를 노려볼 때는 숨이 넘어갈 것만 같았다. 예전에는 같은 교회를 다니면서 하나님이 맺어준 배필이라며 좋아하던 사람이라고 믿어지지가 않을 정도로 결혼하고 나서 너무나 변해버린 것이었다. 어떻게든 기도하고 참으려고 하면 더욱 트집을 잡고 아무 물건이나 집어던지면서 화를 폭발시킬 때는 정말 쥐도 새도 모르게 나를 죽이고 아이들을 빼앗을 것 같아 너무 무서웠다.
감당치 못할 시험으로 고통 속을 헤매고 있을 때 마침내 하나님께서 피할 길을 주셨다 친구의 소개로 CALIFORNIA 에 한인 여성보호소가 있다는 소개를 받고 아이들만 데리고 무작정 버스를 타고 이곳으로 찾아오게 된 것이다. 푸른 초장의 집에 들어온 순간부터 벽에 걸린 시편 23편의 말씀에 평안을 발견하면서 하나님께서 내 길을 인도해 주신다고는 안도감으로 감사의 눈물이 쏟아져 나왔다.
이곳에서 가정폭력인식교육과 상담을 받으면서 하나님의 형상을 입은 내가 그동안 얼마나 무지하게 학대받고 살아 왔는가를 깨닫게 되었으며 무조건 참고 기다려도 남편은 조금도 달라질 수 없다는 것을 알게 되었다.
나는 학대받는 불건전한 관계에서 헤어나지 못하는 전형적인 가정폭력피해자의 케이스였으며 가정을 지킨다고 참고 사는 것이 나의 아이들에게도 얼마나 나쁜 환경을 제공하는 것인가 깨닫게 되었다.오랜만에 마음껏 기도하고 찬양하면서 지나온 험난한 삶을 되돌아보며 이제는 아이들과 인간답게 살아갈 길을 생각해본다.
Having to live an unimaginable life decades full of dysfunction, I didn’t think my life could turn to the right path.
I sought misguided relief from all the wrong places, adding to the dysfunction and exposing my children to trauma
and violence. I thought however horrible my life was, I could shield them and raise them to be healthy and upright.
Through HOGP’s DV awareness program, I learned that my “temporary” situation will have a lifelong impact on their mentality
and habits. I saw the cycle they will mostly likely repeat as children of a domestic violence victim and growing up in a DV environment.
I’m gratefulfor the classes at HOGP. I know now that the only right path is the path that leads to God.
Only by the grace of God, I have sanity back in my life and assurance that God will care for my family.
I can find strength and recovery through Him.