Author speaks out about domestic violence

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Kate Klaver, a pseudonym, and survivor of domestic abuse, has written about her trauma in her recent autobiography, “Portrayed Crazy: A Memoir of Spousal Abuse.” (Press photo by Caroline Rosacker)

By Caroline Rosacker

Domestic violence, or intimate partner violence (IPV), is a common problem in the United States. It is estimated that 10 million individuals (including intimate partner, child and elder abuse) are experiencing some kind of mistreatment each year. A stark uptick in IPV, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, has recently received national and global attention. Current estimates from the United Nations Population Fund cited three months of quarantine, as a result of COVID-19 lockdowns, will result in a 20 percent increase in domestic violence with a prediction of 15 million additional cases in upcoming months.

Many government officials were alarmed at these statistics, but for anyone living with IPV, the increase was predictable. Data indicates at-risk individuals often experience an increase in violence during times of natural disaster. Clayton County is no exception. 

Kate Klaver

Kate Klaver (a pseudonym), an Iowa survivor of domestic abuse, has written about her trauma in her recent autobiography, Portrayed Crazy: A Memoir of Spousal Abuse. The author shares her personal experience with the hope of helping others trapped in an abusive situation. "I survived a loveless relationship, an abusive marriage, a bitter divorce and the destructive aftermath. How would I pull up from the brain fog of depression and start over with a new normal? For me, everything I’ve ever wanted was on the other side of not giving up. Sometimes, you have to get knocked lower than you’ve ever been to stand up taller than you ever were," said Klaver.

The author shared her story, "We met on a blind date. I was in my 20s. I agreed to one date. Things were different than they are now. It was unheard of for a woman to pursue a man. You felt fortunate to be asked out. I knew in my heart he was not the man for me. After I left my marriage I looked back, and things started to fall into place like a puzzle."

Once Klaver garnered the strength to leave, she grew stronger. "I’ve learned that broken girls evolve into unstoppable women. I was going to be one of those unstoppable women, tears and all. I was determined to become stronger and wiser," she said. "I refused to stay silent any longer. Silence only protected him, and caused the shame and fear that had kept me his property for all those years." She went on to say, "When someone has control of your emotions, they have control over you. Once I took control of my life he no longer had dominance and control over me." 

Speaking out

Speaking out is the first step. "Don't keep secrets. If you want support you have to tell someone," she advised. "The toxic pull of negativity had become my worst enemy. I was degraded to nothing. I lost my self-worth, and didn’t love myself enough to fight back and defend myself. After years of swearing at God to rescue me I realized he wasn’t going to help me if I kept screaming at him. I had to change my mind set and ask for God’s help rather than cussing at him. I prayed big asking for small."

Leaving an abusive situation can put a strain on personal relationships. "I fought hard to overcome the aftermath that road-blocked my recovery. People quit on me. Friendships dried up, and family support diminished. I had to get up every day and make sure that I would never quit on myself. No matter how powerless I felt, I couldn’t give up. I thought I’d never see myself smile again," she remembered. 

Riverview Center 

Klaver found compassionate assistance at Riverview Center, located at 1789 Elm St., Dubuque. The Riverview Center works closely with Clayton County's Sexual Assault Response Team (SART), which specializes in assisting victims of sexual assault. Riverview Center services are free for survivors and their families. The center validates the experience of all survivors and treats them with empathy and care in a non-judgmental safe environment. 

Clients seeking out assistance will find a staff focused on supportive care, providing options and empowering individuals to make informed decisions about their care. Survivors are encouraged to develop their own individualized service plan. All cases are handled with confidentiality and discretion, respecting the survivor's right to privacy. If you are a victim of domestic violence or sexual assault call:

• 911 if you are in immediate danger

• Riverview Center 563-557-0310

• Iowa Sexual Assault Hotline 888-557-0310

Klaver commented, "I can't say enough about the Riverview Center and the counselor/therapist who helped me. She was empathetic and compassionate."  

Inspiration for Portrayed Crazy

"I had 36 years to overcome. I was determined to bring my old self back by purging the abuse onto the computer screen rather than throw self-pity parties," the first-time author shared. "Armed with the powerful force of prayer, learning from my mistakes and years of perseverance, I empowered myself to emotionally heal.  

Lies, fabrications and atrocious stories that trashed my name and reputation alleging that I suffered mental illness required the truth. Thus, why I titled my memoir Portrayed Crazy.”

Klaver remarked, "Unless you have endured mental and physical abuse, please do not judge victims — telling them to, 'Get over it' or asking, 'Why didn’t you just leave.' These are remarks that actually victimize the individual all over again. 'Second wounding' traumatizes a person's validation to be heard and believed. Writing my memoir has empowered me –  setting me free to educate others about the emotional destruction that weakens a victim into depression."

She advised, "The first positive step I took was to obtain a restraining order. When an individual is living with an abuser, they develop trauma bonding. It makes the victim unable to break away from the abuser. You become addicted to their abuse similar to other forms of addiction. Once you are granted a restraining order it separates the victim from the abuser as if they were coming off a drug.”

“I would like to thank River Lights Bookstore/Publishing in Dubuque for validating my story, giving a platform to have my voice heard. I would also like to give credit to Tech Mates in Dyersville. I applaud their quick response equipping me with my security needs. I highly recommend them,” she said with gratitude. 

If you would like a copy of Portrayed Crazy: A Memoir of Spousal Abuse, contact the author at Additional copies can be found at Earlville Public Library, Worthington Public Library, Winthrop Public library and The Gathering Place in Manchester. A copy of the book can also be purchased through Amazon and River Lights Bookstore. 


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