At the age of 20, Michelle Jewsbury left Idaho for Hollywood to be a movie star. She starred in some independent films and plays; and was just beginning to see success.
Then Michelle met a blonde haired, blue eyed, handsome man who swept her off her feet. He courted her, sent her flowers and gifts, sent amazing text messages. She loved the life they were creating together and became caught up in the allure of that dream.
Three months into the relationship the
first sign of trouble showed itself.
“On the closing night of a play I was in, Paul invited the cast members to our hotel room for a party. A long-time friend of mine pulled me into the bathroom and warned me about Paul. She didn’t like him, thought he was cocky, said that he gave her the heebie jeebies.
Paul overheard this conversation and claimed the friend was trying to seduce him. Paul seemed to be protecting me and forced me to choose one or the other: him or my friend.
In those three months Paul had painted a picture of us together, and I was certain it would be a reality. I should have identified the sign, but I didn’t.”
The isolation began, and Michelle
found herself being separated by more and more friends, and Paul continued to
paint a lovely future.
At four months into the relationship the first
act of physical violence was perpetrated on Michelle by Paul. She didn’t leave
“I stayed with Paul for four years. During that time, I endured psychological manipulation, financial abuse, physical violence, and sexual violence. I had never witnessed abuse at home and didn’t realize what was happening. The allure of the life I imagined with him made it difficult to leave. I was his savior. I knew his darkest secrets.”
After all the abuse she had suffered,
Michelle’s breaking point was his affair with another woman.
“I lost my mind. He let me go home to my family, but he still had a grip on me emotionally and financially. In November 2015 I got a phone call from his new girlfriend. She was pressing domestic violence charges against Paul. I contacted the DA to help with her case and filed my own lawsuit.”
Michelle took her power back!
She began todocument her story. In 2016 her story appeared on stage as a 65-minute one-woman play about domestic violence, starring Michelle.
You can now read her book:
“God taught me I can make beautiful things out of the broken pieces. I could feel Him carry me. When you sit in silence you can hear Him.”
Michelle felt compelled to start a nonprofit called Unsilenced Voices. She began by helping women in Ghana and Sierra Leone. Her organization has today impacted thousands and thousands of women.
Michelle is seeking sponsors (corporations and businesses) for a live event July 22nd in Las Vegas. She asks that interested parties email her at Michelle@UnsilencedVoices.Org
Michelle has a giveaway for our listeners. Text “Obstacles” to 26786 and receive a complimentary introduction to her book.
Provided below are some tips about domestic violence. Michelle asks you to consider a time when your partner may have become angry and hurt you. He/she has probably assured you it won’t happen again.
What if you’re wrong?
California Judicial System explains the
cycle of domestic violence in three stages:
1. Tension-building phase:
a. Batterer-may: pick fights; act
jealous; be critical; yell; swear; use angry gestures; coercion; threats; be
moody; unpredictable; and drink or use drugs
b. Partner-may: feel like they are walking on eggshells; afraid; anxious; try to reason; act calm; appease the batterer or keep silent and try to keep children quiet.
2. Violence-crisis phase:
a. Batterer-may: verbally, emotionally,
or physically abuse; sexually assault; restrain or threaten partner and destroy
b. Partner-may: experience fear; shock; use self-defense; try to leave; call for help; pray for it to stop; do what is necessary to survive.
3. Seduction-calm phase:
a. Batterer-may: apologize; minimize
or deny abuse; ask for forgiveness; be affectionate; promise it won’t happen
again and to change; give gifts (this also explains how three dynamics love, hope,
and fear, keep the cycle in motion and make it hard to end a violent
b. Partner-may: forgive; feel hopeful; manipulated; blame self; arrange for counseling; return home and minimize or deny abuse.
According to the Domestic Abuse Intervention Project of Duluth, Minnesota, certain behaviors of abusive men have been identified. Some characteristics of the early stages of abuse that precede physical battering are listed here. Women who recognize several of these traits in their partners should take a good look at the relationship, and carefully consider getting out before it becomes violent.
1. Your partner has a history of
growing up in a violent family, a setting where he learned that violence is
2. He tends to use force or violence
to try and solve problems- as indicated by behavior such as a criminal record for
violence, a quick temper or tendency to overreact to minor frustrations,
fighting, destructive behavior when angry, cruelty to animals.
3. He abuses alcohol or drugs.
4. He has a poor image of himself,
often masked by trying to act tough.
5. He often exhibits jealousy, not
only of other men, but also of friends and family members.
6. He exhibits hypermasculine behavior- he feels he should make all the decisions, tell you what your role as a woman and his as a man must be. He has very traditional ideas about appropriate roles and behaviors of men and women, and thinks women are second-class citizens. He expects you to follow his orders and advice and may become angry if you can’t read his mind and anticipate what he wants.
7. He emotionally abuses you or other
women with name-calling, putdowns, humiliation, and attempts to create guilt.
8. He isolates you by telling you who you may see or talk to, controls what you do and where you go, even what you read. He keeps tabs on your every move and wants you with him all the time.
9. He intimidates you and makes you
afraid through looks, anger, actions, a display of weapons or gestures. He
destroys your property or abuses your pets. He enjoys playing with lethal weapons
and threatens to use them against those he feels wronged him. You do what he
wants you to do and constantly work to keep him from getting angry.
10. He portrays “Jekyll and Hyde”
behavior. He goes through highs and lows, as though he is two different people,
and he swings from extremely kind to extremely cruel.
11. He uses coercion and threats. He
tells you he will hurt you, leave you, or kill himself if you leave. If you
file charges against him, he makes you drop them by threatening violence or
suicide. Have you changed your life, so you won’t make him angry?
12. He treats you roughly, and
physically forces you to do things you do not want to do.
13. He often denies his actions,
minimizing or making light of his own abusive behavior, refusing to take your
concerns seriously, and blaming you for his behavior.
14. He economically abuses you by
preventing you from getting or keeping a job, controlling all the money in the
household, making you ask for money, or concealing his income.
15. Weapons are important to him as instruments
of power or control, he is unusually fascinated with guns or other weapons, without
or beyond any reasonable explanation for such an interest (such as collecting
antiques, historical reenactment, or hunting).
16. He has battered or stalked a partner
in a prior relationship and/or has a history of police encounters for assault,
battery, threats, or stalking.
17. He tried to inappropriately
accelerate his relationship with you when you were dating, prematurely
discussing marriage or other commitment, then expects the relationship to last
forever, no matter what may happen.
18. He refers to his use of alcohol or
drugs as an excuse for hostile or violent behavior.
19. He can’t accept rejection, resists
change or compromise, is generally inflexible.
20. He is not just devoted, but obsessed with you; he spends a disproportionate amount of time talking about you, watching, or following you, and derives much of his identity from being your partner.
21. He is paranoid, believes others are out to get him, and projects strong feelings such as hate or jealousy onto others when there is no evidence that would lead a reasonable person to perceive such emotions.
22. He refuses to take responsibility
for his own actions, and always blames others for problems of his own making.
23. He is usually moody, sullen,
depressed, or any about something.
24. He tries to enlist your friends
and family in his own campaign to keep you with him or get you back if you have
25. Perhaps most important of all: If you have an intuitive feeling that you are at risk from this man, if you fear he might injure or kill you, listen to your own instincts!
“Just because we went through a certain experience, it doesn’t define who we are. We can use our stories to help other people.”
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The “pressure to be” kept Michael going. He was accountable, easygoing, kind, and enjoying the experience of new things. More and more choices presented to Michael brought with them fear. Fear of taking full responsibility for his life going forward.