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Why didn't you tell anyone?

One of the questions I'm often asked is "Why didn't you tell anyone?"

Even now, years later, I'm wary, careful about what I reveal.

He made sure I didn't tell anyone. He made sure I understood the consequences of telling.

So whenever he went into a rage, I closed all the windows, so no one could hear him shouting.

And when my upper lip was black and blue I told people I tripped over the cat and fell down the stairs.

I longed to reach out and tell someone, to ask for help, but I was afraid he would punish me if he found out. So I retreated into my shell, curling up in bed under the blankets and waiting for the storm to pass. Sometimes his anger dissipated right away; other times he was silent for days.

Then things would return to normal until the next time.

Ava Carmel

Author of Severe Silence (

January 25, 2018: International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

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