Beyond Violence - Moving Forward
ABUSED TO THRIVER STORIES
Gaylene’s Story He had been drinking all morning. He told me to sit there on the stool in front of the front door as he had me do every day. The stool he made me sit on was about four feet from him. He always slept on the couch even at night.
     You see, he was always so paranoid of the neighbors, he feared they were after him, plotting against him, watching his every move. My husband had me sit on the stool to watch the neighbors and report back to him everything they were doing. They only time I could get up was to go to the bathroom and then only if I got his permission.This day was like no other, so far…..He said, "I’m going to take a nap now." "You sit there on the stool and don’t move……He lay there sound asleep. Then about twenty minutes later, I heard a voice say, "Gaylene you need to get up and move now." I didn’t move and thought it odd. Was I going crazy? Perhaps….
     Shortly thereafter I heard my name being called again about three more times within five minutes. The voice was saying to me again. "Gaylene MOVE!!"  So, I got up from my spot regardless of the consequences I would suffer as a result of moving from that spot without my husbands’ permission. I quickly went into the bedroom were only I slept now. I was there in my bedroom for maybe two minutes when all of a sudden I heard a big BOOM!!!!!! My heart was in my throat!
     Our teenage daughter came running half way down the stairs when I ran to her and told her hysterically but trying to remain calm, that she needed to go back up stairs. She said, "What was that!?" "What’s going on?" "Is everybody okay?" I said, "Go upstairs Now!!" "I’ll take care of it!" Go!"My husband then called for me to go into the living room now. He said, "Come see what I did!" I ran in where he was. There was a huge hole about 9in by 9in in the living room wall and full of buckshot in the middle of this large hole. I felt weak at the knees. I was just sitting in the line of the gun going off! He would have shot me in the back! It had a hair trigger on it he said. I wondered….."It just went off when I picked it up!" he said.
"All I know is my Guardian Angel was watching out for me that day!" 
    Since I left him in 1992, I went to counseling with the Prudence Crandall Center and my minister. I worked two jobs and saved money-I hired an attorney to file for divorce.A year after I left, I was in college full time, working 3 part time jobs. I became a grandmother during finals my first semester. I also started speaking publicly about the abuse I went through-to help others. After receiving my Associate’s degree, I transferred colleges to go on for my Bachelor’s. I worked full time days as a legal secretary and went to classes full time nights.
     I trained with Prudence Crandall to counsel abused women. I organized two seminars on domestic violence.My Avenging Angels Workshops came along and I attended, becoming an Arch Angel, going to monthly meetings and yearly retreats. My public speaking continued-at the state capital in Hartford, several state colleges, and candlelight vigils for victims. I have done two Beyond Violence shows with Christine-one as a panel member and one describing my abuse. In 2008 I moved to Charlotte, NC. I have attended training to be a victim court advocate and to be on the Domestic Violence Speaker’s Bureau.
     I have done several events for them. I also attend the monthly "lunch & learn" meetings on domestic violence. I am also a member of the Domestic Violence Advocacy Commission. I have applied to be a board member of that and the Women’s Commission. I have attended a seminar on human trafficking.My mission in life is to educate the public about domestic violence and help victims become survivors and move on to becoming thrivers. By Gaylene Macuska
 
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