The Caged Bird Does Not Sing: A Story of Domestic Violence

In the spirit of increasing awareness of domestic violence and the indescribable pain it can cause during October's Domestic Violence Awareness Month, I have invited Kim from My Inner Chick to share her powerful words about her "soul mate", her sister Kay. Kim dedicates her blog to her "dear sister, Kay, who was murdered by Mike Peterson on May 26, 2010. I shall mourn and scream and weep and lament until the day we meet again." My face is often hot with tears after reading her tributes to the sister that she loves so very, very much. The sister that was stolen from her as a result of domestic violence. I come away from her posts feeling pain for her while also feeling hopeful and empowered. I come away feeling like I need to hug my sister tighter, my boys closer, my parents more, my husband often... I am empowered to love deeper, the way Kim loves Kay.
At the end of this post are ways you can help victims of domestic violence in partnership with Verizon Wireless's HopeLine program.

by Kim of My Inner Chick

{The free bird leaps on the back of the wind and floats downstream till the current ends and dips his wings in the orange sun rays and dares to claim the sky} -Maya Angelou

“I know what’s different about you,” I say to my sister on our last walk.

“What?” She smiles with those big pink lips. The kind of lips women envy.

“You don’t need me like you used to. I like that. When do you sign the divorce papers?”
“In a couple weeks.” She says.

She skips ahead of me. Her long brown hair flowing behind her like a kind of freedom.

“I can’t wait to start my own life!” She squeals. “Hurry, get over here and grab my hand.”

We pray right there in the middle of the trail. We pray for transformations and smooth departures.

We pray for still waters and flourishing futures.


My sister never got the chance to sign those divorce papers.

Her soon to be ex-husband murdered her two days after that walk.

We were going to have a surprise shower for her.

An “Emancipation Shower.” A “New Beginnings Shower.”

Candles & Cosmopolitans. Salsa & Sangria. Sushi & Sex and The City.

We were going to fill her new home with love, love, love.

So much love that she would drown inside of it, swallow it whole.

We were going to watch chick flicks until we were chick flicked out.

We talked about painting her living room funky colors like bubblegum pink, lemony lime, or crazy cranberry.

None of that happened.

He left work early on May 26th, 2010

He said he had business to attend to, appointments to keep, phone calls to make.

He sat on the couch like a demon-devil.



He always had a f--ing plan.

He was never a man, so I shall call him The Murderer.

After all, that’s what he became in the end.

The Beretta pistol was so minuscule the murderer could conceal easily inside the palm of his hand.

I imagine he rubbed the iron between his fingers anticipating her absence, his absence, his final control.

I imagine he tasted the metal upon his toxic tongue.

I presume he was prepared to go straight to HELL.

My sister came home from work at about 5:00 pm.

She had the same routine every day of the week. He knew every move, every breath.

She changed from scrubs to walking clothes, hoisted her hair in a high ponytail. She called our dad to meet her on the Waterfront Trail.

“I’ll see you on the trail in five minutes.” She said.

Her last words. Her final beautiful breaths.
And mine.

You see, we were tangled and twisted together as one.

The same blood. The same heart.

The root of the root.

He had already locked the front door so she couldn’t escape.

Perhaps he uttered a prayer to whomever murderers utter prayers to. Perhaps he gave last rites to himself.

I often wonder why God didn’t intervene. Why He’d allow the cage to remain closed.

There were two options. She stayed with him or she died with him.

He placed the gun to the back of her head as she walked out the door.

And shot once…twice…and a third time.

He had to make damn sure she never gained consciousness, had to make certain she couldn’t fly away.

He then wrapped his arms around her like a poisonous snake and shot himself in the right temple.

I remember asking my husband a few months later, “Did he really kill Kay? Is it true?”

He said, “Yes, it is true.

“Then why am I breathing? Why am I walking? How can my heart still beat?”

People have frequently alleged that a caged bird sings.

I don’t believe it. I’ll never believe it.

The caged bird cannot sing until she is set free; she cannot form a pleasing melody of verse until the cage is swung wide open.

Only then will she sing her sweet song of freedom. Only then will her wings reach the orange of the sun’s rays.

Sometimes in my dreams, I hear my sister singing.

I see her hair flowing like a dark water through air.

I call out her name.

“Kay. Kay. Kay.

Where are you? Why didn’t you tell me you were leaving?”

“You know where I am.” She whispers softly, slowly…

Like a feather falling.

And I smile.

Because I know she is finally free of him.

Free at last.


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Kim's blog: My Inner Chick



I didn't know October was Domestic Violence Awareness Month until I read an e-mail about Verizon's HopeLine®, which "puts the nation’s most reliable network to work in the community by turning no-longer used cell phones into support for domestic violence victims and survivors".

From HopeLine's website:
"Domestic violence touches all of us. Nearly one in four women, one in nine men, and over 3 million children have been affected by domestic violence. Wireless phones and technology can serve as a vital link to emergency or support services in a time of crisis or as a reliable, safe connection to employers, family and friends as survivors rebuild their lives."

You can help.
During the month of October, Verizon's HopeLine is donating $1 to the National Dating Abuse Hotline (up to $10,000) for each picture signifying hope that is taken with a Verizon smartphone or tablet and sent here. You can also donate your old cell phones to HopeLine by going here.

 (Disclosure: I am part of the Verizon Wireless Ambassador program and have been provided with a wireless device and 3 months of service in exchange for my honest opinions about the product.)
This picture was taken by Elric H. and is featured on HopeLine's website here.