Written by: BTSADV Survivor
I’m a survivor of Domestic Violence. I was with my abuser for 15 years before I had the courage to leave. My story is a long one, so I will give you the outline of my abuse.
When I met my husband, he was charming and very sociable. He made me laugh… for a very short time! He was to be my second husband, and I had two sons from a previous marriage. My sons, now adults, sadly witnessed much of the control and abuse. Thankfully, they are now beautiful, kind, caring men.
Within a few months, I started to notice signs of control and possessiveness and confused this with love. We were out with friends, and he was the life of the party, buying drinks for everyone. I was approached by a man who advised me that my partner had offered him money to chat me up to see if I showed an interest in another man!
I was so insulted that I asked my partner why he would do this, only for him to laugh in my face and deny it. Then took me to one side and told me never to embarrass him in front of company and I would pay later. For the rest of the evening, I sat with my head down, and that was the start of a very abusive marriage that included financial abuse and verbal and physical abuse. He controlled whom I spoke to and who was allowed to come into the home.
The cycle of abuse became normal to me which is so, so wrong. The beatings followed by being told I made him hurt me, his pushing me into objects and hurting me then denying it was him… The fear I felt was unimaginable. You don’t tell a soul because you’re utterly terrified. This cycle continued until three years ago when he was to beat me for the last time.
It was my birthday, and I drove miles to meet him as he was working away and I thought he had a surprise for me. Indeed he did. As I walked into the room, he started looking at me in disgust, and I started to panic. Then the abusive words came. He that I was sexually and physically unattractive and a “f-ing fat b****.” I can’t write the full words – I just can’t – but I’m sure you will know what they are. Then I started to cry – sobbing, actually – and he moved toward me, ripped off my clothes, and took pictures of me naked with his phone and said, “Now you see what I have to look at!”
Then the beating… he head-butted me and tore both tendons in each arm. This was not the first time because I was still recovering from surgery from having them repaired. The next thing I knew the police arrived. Thankfully someone called them. He was arrested and kept in prison overnight. At court the following day, I was too scared to press charges, and he was released.
The police department where the assault happened sent a letter to my local police station who contacted me and worked with me to get the courage to leave. This took six months of working with counseling and the domestic violence team. It was about one week before Christmas, and my sons and the police came. I left with just possessions I could carry and no money as he had total control of finances.
Yes, I cried and cried, as this was the only life I knew. Three years on, I’m still going through the legal system to divorce and financially get what I deserve. He has been as vile and threatening as he ever was, and I still live in hiding. However, I can say hand on heart that it was the bravest and the best thing I have ever done.
My biggest regret was not leaving the first time he raised a hand to me. But when you are in that situation, you are paralyzed and no matter who tells you to leave, you stay hoping things will improve. They never do; they get worse – much worse.
This is just the tip of the iceberg of what I encountered, and a friend is encouraging me to write everything down into a book to share with people who are going through this hell and people who are survivors.
For the longest, while I hated myself and did not want to live but for my sons. Day by day, I cry a little less, laugh a little more, and I am slowly starting to like the kind, beautiful woman I am.
**If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, there is help. You can visit the Break the Silence website at www.breakthesilencedv.org, chat with one of our helpline advocates at 855-287-1777, or send a private message through our Facebook page.
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