Day 20 of #31Survivors Domestic Violence Series - Nayomi Ayala - Poetry Saved Me

Nayomi’s relationship with her boyfriend became mentally and physically abusive after she received an STD from him.

He asked that I stay after contracting the disease. I wanted to leave but didn't feel brave enough to. I felt that because I invested in him emotionally, I might as well stay. Staying turned out to be more harmful than helpful.

When her boyfriend became heavily involved in drugs and alcohol, the mental abuse worsened and the relationship began to take a real toll on Nayomi.

He choked me in my sleep. He was also asleep during the attack, which occurred while he was under the influence of drugs and alcohol. That's what caused me to leave.

That's when Nayomi knew that she must end the relationship. Their relationship had grown abusive and stagnant.

I couldn't see myself marrying him and my soul felt tired. He was standing in the way of my dreams. He didn't want to grow up as a man. Neither did he want to grow spiritually. I knew I wouldn't have been able to forgive myself should I have children with him and something happened to our kids. I didn't want them to have the kind of life I had.

After ending the relationship, she found healing – a process made easier via the arts. She also practiced healthy coping mechanisms to ensure lasting peace.

Art, meditating, burning incense and performing spoken word have helped. I also write poetry to bring light to the subject. Sometimes I wear costumes and use fake blood/props to further stress the point and show the physical realities of domestic violence.

Nayomi decided to use her story to help others who were enduring similar hardships.

I was an advocate for a domestic violence nonprofit organization. I taught a life skills and anger management class to children growing up in domestic violence households. 

Being a domestic violence survivor means resilience as well as flaws. Being a survivor also means that I know myself well enough to understand how much strength I have bottled within and sewed into the hems of my soul.

1 in 4 adult women and 1 in 7 adult men in the U.S. have been physically abused from an intimate partner. This means that 25% of adult women and 14% of adult men have been at risk for developing a psychological repercussion after experiencing abuse.

For domestic abuse survivors, the aftermath can be just as mentally, psychologically and spiritually troubling as the abuse itself. The path toward healing is never easy. A few psychological results of domestic violence may include anxiety, anger, dissociation, mood issues and PTSD. These can all be coupled with self-destructive behavior and trust issues.

Seeking counseling or therapy may help with any of these. Nayomi found the arts to be very therapeutic. Other healthy coping mechanisms and avenues of therapy include meditation, counseling and hobbies such as writing or scrapbooking. Some people find nature and animals to be therapeutic.

If you or someone you know is struggling with a psychological repercussion of domestic violence, try exercising a healthy outlet to release and relieve the lasting effects of abuse. Group therapy sessions or individual therapy may help you discover which avenue could best benefit you. Maybe you have an interest in expressing your pain via the arts like Nayomi. It could be anything – cooking, volunteering or even composing music.

Please remember that although these are all great forms of coping with the effects of domestic violence, joining a support group or seeking professional help by going to therapy is advised.

Connect with Nayomi Ayala on Twitter @yomiayala94 or via email at or