Written by: BTSADV Survivor
Four years later I still look back in disbelief what my life was like. How did I manage to keep going and keep my children safe? How did I allow someone to treat me like that?
I was a mother of four, and I coached competitive softball and cheerleading. I taught the girls and coached to believe in themselves and that there would be endless possibilities for them.
He always told me I wasn’t worth anything and no one would ever want me. It made me be a better coach by helping the girls be strong. I thought staying would be the safest for me. I worked three jobs and put myself through college.
He would go to my work, softball practice, and softball games if I didn’t answer his calls. When I would get home, I’d find that he sat in the living room on the couch just waiting for me to come back. He stole any cash I ever brought into the house, including my grocery money and cheerleading money, from me. He stole money from my children and took the silver coins in their piggy bank.
On top of my ex being an abuser, he was a raging drug addict. He would have strange people at my house all hours of the night. I would make my children lock their doors to be safe. The abuse always followed his long nights. He would tell me often if he couldn’t have me no one will, and I believed him. I remember he would say that to me, and I could see the black in his eyes widen like death itself.
I would tell my best friend if I don’t answer the phone or they can’t find me, he did it. He told me that as long as there were no bruises, it wasn’t abuse. I finally could not take any more. This was my fourth and final attempt to go. I decided if I was going to die then my kids would be safe from him. I would be gone, but he would go to jail, and they would be safe.
I remember looking in the mirror and telling myself this is enough. I went to counseling one night with him, and the doctor asked him to step out. He handed me a piece of paper and told me to hide it. He told me to pack bags and hide them. When I looked at the paper later, I found a phone number that helps people escape. The doctor said, “Pack your bags; he is going to really hurt you this time.”
That night he wanted to know what I told the doctor in the session. I was flipped over a tv that night. My daughter tried to help me, so I begged her to lock herself in her room. The next day he told me he had been secretly videotaping me in the shower and when I was forced to have sex with him. He threatened that if I left him, he was going to email all the SVPs in the company where I worked. I had no idea that he had hidden cameras. I eventually found the tapes. There were at least 50 of them that he would show at the crack parties he went to. I was so scared. I knew I had to keep going.
I drove him to a family party and asked them to help me. I didn’t know he was drinking that night. We stayed at their house since it was in a different state, and I went to bed early with my baby. He woke me up in the middle of the night for the last time. I didn’t think I would make it, but I fought. I punched, kicked, and fought to survive.
That assault lasted hours until the family finally woke up. They told me I woke up the family because I was screaming, and it needed to stop. He was on top of me with his hands on my throat when they opened the door. I remember the taste in my mouth and I started to drift away. I knew I had to keep going. I am so grateful that door opened, or I would have been gone. He had punched me in my head, strangled me, and tried to twist my breast off. That night, he convinced me if I drove him home he would leave. I let him back in the car.
That ride lasted two hours that I will never forget. My children were in the car, and he assaulted me, grabbed the steering, and tried to run us off the road. My daughter was smart enough to call the police and give them mile markers to where we were on the highway. The state troopers surrounded us, and he looked at me and told my daughter and me we were going to pay for it.
The day he was finally arrested was the last time he would ever put his hands on me. The crazy part that he was actually arrested for breaking probation for dealing drugs not, for what he just put me, my daughter, and my son through on the highway. I had marks all over me and my hands were bloody. I had to go home and finally tell my family what I had been going through for the last 15 years. It was the hardest day of my life and the day I am most proud. It was the day I got my power back.
I got a protective order with my oldest daughter’s help and filed for divorce, custody of the children, and a name change all on my own. He fought from jail about the divorce, protective order, and custody. He said it didn’t happen. He would have to be detained in court when he saw me because he would always try to threaten me or scare me.
I don’t know how I survived. I really don’t. I lost my house, my job, and a huge part of my life. We moved three times in two months until I felt safe at my mom’s house. I decided that every day was better no matter what because he was gone.
Every day got a little easier to breathe. Every day the nightmares weren’t as scary and the night before. Every day I get stronger. It is coming up on my four years of living. I finally met a man that loves me the right way. I only ask of him to love me the right way and to make me feel safe. He understands that I have triggers and tries to help me through them. I never thought I would want to be with anyone again or allow a man to ever come near me again. The sexual, verbal, mental, and physical abuse was more than I ever thought I could endure. I survived. I have a scar on my hand that makes me so proud of my fight that day. I wear it proudly.
I was diagnosed with cancer this year. I had to go have a ton of tests. It was very upsetting for me to see all of the internal scars from abuse. I had scars all over my head and neck. They said it was from internal bleeding. I fought through being sick and surgery. I would smile and say it isn’t as bad as it was before. I would jokingly say to my mom that my neck is my strongest part of my body. It saved me from abuse and saved me from cancer.
Two of my older children do not speak to him, one daughter does from time to time, and my youngest has supervised visits for two hours every week. My youngest has no idea of what the rest of our family went through, and I will try my best to protect him from the horror. I hope my story can show someone that it is Ok to be scared and that there are people that will help. I just didn’t realize that until after I had enough.
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