Editor’s View: Grateful
The Thanksgiving holiday is always a time to reflect on what we are grateful for in our lives. Often those items include family, good health, a job, food on the table and good friends.
For Christine Marcus*, she counts her blessings every day for the opportunity to help others in a similar situation to what she found herself in back in 2007-08. After a whirlwind romance, her then-partner threw her down the stairs six months into the relationship. He never apologized as some abusers do.
“I took on the problem, thinking I could change his behavior if I changed my behavior,” Marcus said.
She quickly found out he couldn’t be changed.
“He would lose his temper over any number of situations - if dinner wasn’t ready when he came home, if I had a glass of wine before him, etc.,” Marcus added.
There were other incidents; she took a blow to the head and her abuser took her to the emergency room, where the room was filled with residents and nurses. She was asked by a nurse if anyone had hurt her; her response was, “Other than now?”
Her abuser’s response to the blow to the head? “I love a woman who can take a punch.”
Nothing was done. The abuse was not reported to the police.
For Marcus, that event was the tipping point to her realizing what a bad situation she was in.
“I realized I never wanted to be in that position again,” she said.
She returned to the home, learning it was the abuser’s mission for her to stay. Her mission was to leave under the radar and moved her belongings to an apartment shortly thereafter, putting an end to the six-year relationship.
The shared home required her to go back periodically to handle certain tasks while the abuser was supposedly working. He would show up while she was there.
One such encounter resulted in him putting his hands around her throat, leaving hand prints. She drove directly to the Pennsylvania State Police barracks to report the abuse.
“The process was terrifying,” Marcus said.
Her abuser was arrested and charged with harassment because there were no open wounds or blood.
In most cases, “now strangulation is a felony charge. I am grateful this was changed,” Marcus said. “Laws are changing, but more work needs to be done.
“Trooper Tony Weller (now Cpl. Weller) with the Pennsylvania State Police took ownership of the situation and called for an emergency protection-from-abuse order,” Marcus added.
Court battles followed, but Marcus remained strong, with the support of Weller.
Marcus said getting traction again was really tough. Helping her through the process was Turning Point of Lehigh Valley. There she found support, guidance and an understanding staff.
Turning Point of Lehigh Valley, 444 E. Susquehanna St., Allentown, offers confidential resources to individuals and families in an abusive situation, which could be verbal, physical, emotional, sexual or financial.
Through their guidance and support, she has now become a mentor to many who find themselves in similar situations.
“It has been fabulous to be in a position to effectively help victims shorten the time it takes to get assistance,” Marcus said. “People are terrified of the process, and I am willing to help them through it.”
She is also a mentor to medical professionals who are “stopped in their tracks” when they find out this is going on with victims. She is also looking forward to working with law enforcement professionals as a mentor as well.
Marcus also knows she is a trusted resource for friends who have reached out for those in abusive relationships. She shares important information and is available to lend a caring ear to the victims.
This Thanksgiving, Marcus can provide a long list of items she is grateful for.
She is thankful for the trooper who helped her when she was terrified.
She is grateful for the opportunity to be of any help with Turning Point of Lehigh Valley, which helped her when she needed it most.
She is grateful for the opportunity to share her experience with others.
She is grateful for the attention she is given when she is speaking at events.
She is grateful for her family, who has always been supportive.
“I know how very lucky I am to have had the support of family and friends during that period of my life and now,” Marcus said. “I am all too aware that not everyone has that.”
She is grateful the laws have changed regarding abuse against women.
And I am sure she is grateful she is no longer in the abusive relationship.
“I work at a bank with a community outreach division overseen by Fair & Responsible Banking,” Marcus said. “For the first time ever, I have a clear path to focus on being a community outreach professional with the bank to help others. I am so grateful for my job and the work the bank does with community outreach.
“I am still recovering, but it does not consume my life. It has made me stronger - an advocate. I have learned how to stand up for myself effectively and stand up for other people,” Marcus said.
A special thank you to Marcus for sharing her story in hopes she can help someone who is an abusive relationship and needing help. If you, a loved one, a friend or neighbor is in need of help, Turning Point of Lehigh Valley has a 24-hour helpline at 610-437-3369.
Please reach out before it is too late. We need you here next Thanksgiving, so you can list what you are grateful for.
*Christine Marcus’ name has been changed to protect her privacy.
East Penn Press