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The Dead Cat

Unlike the cat, I escaped. I am a free woman now, free to do as I please, without fear. But this was not always so. Following is an excerpt from my journal, many years ago:

And now it's morning, time to continue exploring the ache, to go back in time, to remember what happened, to try and see how the grey veil slowly fell over my eyes, how since that time I have been living in a dull world.

Spontaneity died that day. He killed the cat. He killed a being he loved, out of frustration, because it wouldn't do what he wanted. I was so afraid. I recall walking down the road, wanting to scream. But there was no one at all to share my fear with. And it was so much more than fear. It was horror and terror and shock. I was petrified and angry. And there was no way to release that anger, so I just held it inside.

After that, every time he got angry, I became that cat. I could almost feel his hands around my neck. Something in me died that day. When someone is dead, you no longer have power over them; you can no longer kill them. I became numb. I wanted to run away, but there was no place to run to. Everything in me said "No." Everything in me shouted NO!!! But where could I go? I no longer wanted to be with a man who could kill a cat out of frustration. But I was powerless to do anything, powerless to run away or to fight back or to scream or to reveal how I felt or to do anything at all whatsoever about it. Powerless.

Ava Carmel

Author of Severe Silence (

International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

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