Another Woman's Story
~ Joelle Clark

Over the years I have traveled alot, visited a lot of different

Rez's and talked with a lot of indigenous sister's. 

I have heard a lot of stories and seen a lot of thing's I could

have lived without knowing. 

Every once in a while I will share some of those stories, changing names to protect the victims. 

This is just another woman's story, one of thousands. 
I have tried to tell it in her words as much as possible. 

Hey, I grew up poor around one of the larger Rez's in the southwest,and the urban areas around it.
I am White Mountain Apache and Mexican,supposedly of Aztec descent. 

My dad disappeared out of our lives when I was really little and my mom started hitting the bottle so us kids grew up pretty wild and having to take care of ourselves. 

I definitely wasn't a saint and even though I am small and always been told I was cute,that often seemed more a curse than a blessing. 
I got into some trouble with the law and ran north. Hooking up with guys to take care of me. It was the only life I knew. 

Then I got tied up with these people in the Midwest who were mixing up all kinds of religion and medicine ways,it made me real uncomfortable. I wanted out but didn't know how to do it,then I started talking to this guy on line.

He started telling me how he drove a truck and could come pick me up and take me someplace  safe. About then he started referring to me as a Angel, "his Angel" Later I learned that was what he always called his women.But at the time he took me to one of his "sister's " He was telling me,That he was a medicine man and a pipe carrier,dont look NDN but hey I was naive in a lot of ways.

The "sister " he took me to helped me a,lot, got the old criminal charges dropped. 
See he surrounds himself with two types of women..." sister's " They are married, not his type etc but that he may be able to use,at the least to social climb.

Then there are his women, his "Angels".

He plays a big game with the courtship, everything a woman could ask for.Until he gets her up in his truck on the road or married. I understand the ones he married had a even harder time.Once you disagree with him or don't go along with one of his idea's  or plans he starts undermining you,talking to you like your a idiot.Isolating you from friends and family, convincing you that your the problem, that your the crazy one.Threatening you. 

One of the many things I learned was that he always had one or more women in the background in case this one didn't work out.

I was one of the lucky ones, he dumped me in the middle of the night in a town I didn't know with my luggage in front of a homeless shelter. 

He slapped me a couple of times while we were together but never physically beat me,the beatings were emotional and mental and believe me they do a lot of damage. 

I was lucky, the Shelter helped me get my GED, a job, and finally my own apartment. 
They also taught me that he was sick,that I was the victim and I never have to be a victim again.
Just don't call me "Angel ". I can't promise yet to not react to that in a big bad way, but I am getting stronger everyday. 

If this story is something that you can relate to, there are ways out.
Please feel free to contact the author who may be able to link you up with Domestic Violence Programs in your area.

Why do I care you might be asking, because I too am a survivor.