Written by: Giovanna, Survivor
I was 14 when I met the father of my two adult daughters. It wasn’t at all love at first sight. In fact, it wasn’t love at all. For me, it was an act of rebellion. He was a partier and popular. All the girls wanted him, but the funny thing was that I couldn’t stand him. He pursued me continuously until I gave in. My being 100% Italian and his being 100% Jamaican was a complete no-no for a relationship in my family.
I started to get involved with the parties that he would have; everyone went to them, and there were drugs, drinking, and people being plain stupid. Eventually, I lost my virginity to him. Six years later, my first daughter was born. Actually, he tricked me by sabotaging the condoms to purposely get me pregnant. He knew what he was doing. He knew once my family found out, I would have no choice but to move in with him.
Well, it worked. I was trapped. Almost two years after my first daughter came my second. I didn’t even love him. The abuse started pretty quickly after my first daughter’s birth and got worse through the months and years. I left him three times in a span of 20 years.
The third time, he raped and beat me for three days with my then 9 and 11-year-old daughters in the house. Those 20 years were a nightmare. He is such a horrible person that the devil is most likely terrified of him.
That weekend in hell was the scariest of them all. He was leaving the horse, and he turned to me and said, “When I get back, you’ll be lucky if you live through the night.” That was when I knew I had to get away from him while he was gone.
You see, a few months before that nightmare weekend, I decided to get a prepaid mobile phone. He didn’t let me have much money from my paycheck, but what he would give me I would save. Ten dollars on a 120-minute card went a long way for me. I cut a slit in the inside pocket of my purse, so if he went in there, he would never find it. He had a cell phone that I wasn’t allowed to use, and we had no house phone because he didn’t allow it.
After he left, my girls and I watched him pull away, and I instructed them to pack as much stuff of theirs as they could that they wanted to take with them, and I called my mom who lived ten minutes away to come get me before he came back to kill me. She came quickly. We had a total of four garbage bags. I was able to find our social security cards and both of my girls’ birth certificates, and I took as many important documents as possible.
That night we left with my mom, and we never looked back. It was hell for a few years after. We lived in a domestic violence shelter that was luckily in a nice hotel and were code red. We were in and out of court, but the judge kept letting him off. Eventually, it died down. That final day of our suffering and struggle had finally come to an end.
I met an amazing man who, four years later, became my husband. He unexpectedly came into our lives. He helped me get back into my family’s lives and heal my relationship with them. He helped heal my girls and me, helped us to trust again, and made me feel the most beautiful unconditional love that I never knew existed. My girls love him like a father and call him their dad. He has shown them what a healthy, loving relationship looked like. He was patient and so loving.
My abuser has stalked us, but he will never be able to find us again. We’re safe and a few hours away from him. Almost ten years later, here we are. We own a beautiful home and a business, live in stability, and I have an endless amount of love from my incredible husband.
There is so much more in between what I have written here, but it would take me days to write it all out. There were many beatings… A LOT. I was raped numerous times by him, tortured, held captive, and taken away from my family. There is just so much. But what I look at when I look back at all of this… I see myself and my girls – now 21 and 23 – as warriors that survived hell.
My husband and I are grandparents to our almost two-year-old beautiful granddaughter that my 23-year-old daughter blessed us with. We have a total of four kids, my girls and his kids, aged 13 and 14.
There is a light at the end of the tunnel. It’s a terrifying journey, but what waits for you at the end is beautiful freedom. You can finally start living instead of just merely existing. My goal is to get my story out there so maybe a woman that comes across it one day will be able to understand that there is hope.
You can begin to live a happy life after going through hell and back; never give up. Fight. Be that warrior and take your power back. Find that inner strength and win that battle. The courts won’t always help. They surely didn’t help me; I had to make a choice: live or die. I chose for my girls and me to live, but not just live, to tell our story and help another human being in that situation.
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