Panama City - October is domestic violence awareness month. Often women who were abused as children grow up and become victims of domestic violence. A Panama City woman is sharing her painful story hoping that it will give others hope.
Jeanne Byrns is an artist. Her paintings and sculptures fill the home she now shares with her adoring husband. But life wasn't always so picturesque. Jeanne faced severe sexual, physical, and emotional abuse as a child at the hands of her father and stepmother. "He was allowed to do anything he wanted to do, usually a woman tempers a man who is violent but there was no stops," said Jeanne.
Having faced such horrors as a child, she says she didn't have a healthy foundation with which to make good decisions as an adult. The man she married nearly strangled her to death. "I fell to the floor and when I came to he was shaking me and said "Now look what you did, you almost made me hurt you, but you are not hurt," from then on eventually I knew if I stayed with him he would kill me." The two eventually divorced.
Jeanne says it took her years to finally understand she was worthy of love. That's why she is sharing her story in her book "The Eyes Have It." She wants other victims of abuse to know they matter. "You are not a victim anymore. Once you have made it out, you are not a victim and what you choose for the rest of your life is your choice, but you don't have to accept second best."
Her books are available at "Books by the Sea" and on Amazon.com. Jeanne will be sharing more of her story at St. Andrews Episcopal Church at 1608 Baker Court Wednesday night at 6.