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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

WOOLARD: No silver lining to abuse

In some of the most beautiful places in the world you’ll often find people claiming that the “veil is thinner.” Which means the place is so beautiful that it actually brings you closer to God and subsequently heaven.

However, I’m more interested in places where the veil is thicker, places where you’re furthest from God. For me, I find the veil to be thickest in Marquette’s very own O’Donnell Hall.

Prior to last week, the last time I was in O’Donnell was in late January of 2021 during the second semester of my first year on campus. With the help of my roommate I hurriedly packed everything I owned within the span of 10 minutes and moved out.

The month prior I had gotten out of an abusive relationship with another O’Donnell resident and I’ll spare you the details but it was a rather ugly situation that met a violent end.

As my abuser was still at Marquette the entirety of that semester, I stayed clear of O’Donnell. But earlier this semester when O’Donnell was converted into a gym space due to construction on the Rec center, I was intrigued.

After avoiding O’Donnell for the past few years, I was hoping that by returning I’d have some cathartic moment where I “reached the top of the mountain” and be able to reclaim the sense of safety that was taken from me.

That’s not what happened. I felt uncomfortable as soon as I entered the building. Instead of feeling some sense of accomplishment, I just felt immense sadness.

The thing about abuse that makes it so damning is that you feel a deep sense of shame for things that you didn’t do. It often feels like you’re paying the price for other people’s sins.

Thankfully I had a support system that helped me further understand what happened to me once I got out of that relationship. Yet, a lot of the support that I got didn’t quite line up with my experience.

A common thing that was said to me was that although the abuse was horrible it “made you who you are” or “it taught you a lot.” These sayings never sat right with me and it wasn’t until my return to O’Donnell that I was able to piece together why.

First off, the abuse did not make me who I am. I’d argue that it made it incredibly hard to become the version of myself that I am today and I would have been much better off without it.

A good abuser will take your deepest insecurities and maximize them to their fullest extent. They’ll then make you believe that everything is your fault, and if your abuser does anything wrong it was your actions that prompted the behavior. It feels like you’re going crazy because you can’t find any truth in your reality. All the while you have no idea that you’re actually being abused.

How the hell does that help me in any way? Abuse has deeply impacted the way I view myself and the world around me. It’s difficult to trust myself and trust other people. I often say that I view the world through “abuse colored glasses.”

When people say that while the abuse was horrible but “at least it taught you something” it feels like I’m somehow expected to be thankful for the abuse.

As if I’m somehow supposed to be enlightened by treatment so damaging to my soul. Even the growth I’ve had throughout the healing process wasn’t dependent on the pain and suffering that I experienced throughout the relationship. People don’t need abuse to grow or become a better person.

I’ve begun to realize that there is no silver lining to abuse. The reason I haven’t been able to find some greater meaning in the abuse I experienced is because there isn’t one.

Abuse is tragic and no one deserves it, and that’s all there is to it.

This story was written by Megan Woolard. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @MeganWoolard4

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About the Contributor
Megan Woolard, Managing Editor of the Marquette Tribune
Megan is the Managing Editor of the Marquette Tribune at the Wire. She is a Senior from Portland, OR studying journalism and English literature. In her free time, Megan enjoys collecting CDs. She is a huge fan of the Portland Trailblazers. This year Megan is looking forward to spending time with other staff members and producing important content. 

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