Written by: BTSADV Survivor
When I was 14 years old and a freshman in high school, I didn’t know about sex because my parents were old fashioned and believed that the school should teach that. My older brother was a junior that year and always drove me to school.
One day after school let out, I was sitting in my brother’s car waiting for him to drive me home. A boy from our school who I believe was a year older than I was at the time came over to the car, opened the door, and got on top of me. He kept trying to get my clothes off, and when he finally did, he shoved me into the back seat and raped me. I never told my brother because I know my brother would have killed him.
After that day, that boy started stalking me, pushing me into corners, and harassing me in other ways. It escalated to where I finally had to report it to the school counselor and the principal. The principal told him to stay away from me, or he would be suspended. Not long after that, he transferred to another school.
Around my 18th birthday, I started to engage in some risky behaviors and will admit that I did things without thinking about or understanding the possible consequences. When I was about 20, I began dating a guy I met at a local restaurant. His brother also worked with him, and they were both cooks.
One day, my boyfriend wasn’t scheduled to get a lunch break until 3:00 that afternoon, and his brother was going to lunch a few hours earlier. His brother asked me if I wanted to come over to his place and watch movies until my boyfriend went to lunch. I’m not sure why I agreed to it.
After arriving at his apartment, he started shoving me against the walls and tearing at my clothes. Eventually, he raped me. After I finally got away, I went to the hospital, reported what happened, and gave them his name. The doctor kept some clothing and also did a rape test on me; the results showed that I had been raped. I was very upset over the whole ordeal.
The doctor called the police, and an officer came to investigate. While I was in the room crying and in a bad emotional state, I overheard the officer and doctor talking. He told the doctor that I was lying about it because he knew this guy and said this guy would never do anything like that. When I heard that, I was so upset that I just got dressed and walked out of the hospital. I told the doctor I was going home.
I know that I shouldn’t have left, but after I got home, I hurried into the shower. I was living with my mom and dad at the time, and I never let them know it happened. Now that they’ve since passed away, I feel guilty for not telling them. I found out later that the same guy who raped me had also raped other girls. The same thing happened to each of those girls as well; he got away with it.
In September 2006, one of my best guy friends at that time had just finished training with the National Guard and was getting ready to deploy overseas to Iraq for a year. Before his deployment, he was able to come home for two weeks. While he was around, we spent a lot of time together and had fun.
Finally, the day came when he had to return and prepare for his deployment. On his way back, he called me from the bus, and we talked. In the middle of the conversation, he asked me “How would you feel about us getting married?” I was happy and in love so, of course, I said yes.
His aunt and I started planning a wedding reception for when he came home on his R & R leave (which turned out to be in February). Instead of having a big wedding, we had decided to go to Oklahoma where you can get married in one day. In February 2007, he arrived back in the US on leave. We met a hotel in Kansas and stayed there overnight before going to my parents’ house.
On the 12th of the month, we finally went to Oklahoma and got married. Our honeymoon was interesting – considering that I got us lost in Texas – but everything seemed to be okay. A week later, we had our wedding reception at our church with the blessings of our family, friends and church members. The next week he returned to Iraq to finish his tour. We kept in contact, and everything was going well.
Finally, in late August we were told the exact date they would be returning from overseas. I was excited! His unit arrived back home in September 2007. He had decided to go active duty after returning because I had a son from a previous relationship and he thought it would be good for the family to have the health benefits.
The day after he returned, we planned on having a baby together. When I found out I was ovulating it was the perfect timing. I got pregnant immediately. He was swearing into the army when I found out I was pregnant. That evening I called him at his hotel and told him. He was excited, too.
After swearing in, he was sent down south. My son and I soon followed, driving his car down. It was a long drive, but I managed to make it. The first thing I noticed right after getting our house on base was how short-tempered he seemed. The slightest thing would set him off. I didn’t think much of it at first, but then he would start calling me names like fat, ugly, and stupid, which made me feel bad about myself.
Our son was born at the hospital in May 2008. Arriving two weeks early, he weighed 4 lb. 1 oz. at birth and was 16″ long. A few days after taking him home my husband got mad and put me in a choke hold up against the wall. After that, the abuse continued all the time. If he wasn’t choking, strangling, hitting, or throwing me across the room, it was something else.
He also began abusing my son – his stepson – who was four or five at the time. He would hit my son so hard and leave big bruises all over his body; I documented this by taking pictures. Because of him abusing both of us so much, I called the military police frequently. I sought help from an army chaplain, but it was risky for me to do so. Since my husband had to take the only car we had to work, I had to walk right past his workplace on base to get to the family life center.
At first, every time I went in to see the chaplain, I was silent about what was happening, and he would ask me what was going on. He said, “You can’t hide it, because I see the bruises. Did he hit you again?” I would finally open up and tell him about what was going on at home. Since it was the military, the chaplain had to report it to his commanding officer. She was a small woman, and I think she didn’t do anything because she was as afraid of my ex as I was.
Every night after I would get home from seeing the chaplain, my husband would come home from work and ask me where I had been because he saw me walking across the base. I knew no matter what I said I was going to be beaten anyway, so I told him the truth. He would get angry and hit me or shove me down, yell at me, and a lot of other things.
Finally, in October 2008 he put in for a transfer closer to home. The transfer was approved, and we headed back to our home state over Christmas in 2008. At first, we stayed with my mom and dad for a few weeks over the holidays because he didn’t have to report to his new unit until after the first of the year.
January 2009 came quickly, and we were relocated to on-base housing. On January 13, 2009, it was snowing and very cold outside; our youngest son had been running a fever and was sick. My husband asked me if I was going to walk my son the five blocks to school. I told him that since our other son was ill, I didn’t think I should get him out in the cold. Of course, my husband got mad at me and told me that I had better send my son off to school.
After he left for work, I decided to keep my son home school, because our youngest son was sick. That evening when my husband arrived home, he asked me if my son had gone to school that day. I was so afraid of him that I told him he had gone. That’s when my husband started yelling at me and calling me a liar. He said he went by the school to check and my son wasn’t there.
My son was standing on the staircase watching as my husband threw me to the ground and started to bang my head into the floor. I finally managed to get up and headed for the door so that I could get help. I couldn’t call anyone, because my husband had the only cell phone we owned. As I started to head out the door, my husband shoved it shut on my left wrist, almost breaking it. He called the military police and told them I started the fight; I didn’t know about that until later.
When the military police arrived, the paramedics were right behind them. The Paramedics took me to the ambulance and put my arm in a sling until we got to the hospital. After I got to the hospital, I was so scared and didn’t know what to do. I found out later that he lied to the police by making a statement saying I threw a bookshelf at him. While at the hospital, I was in too much pain and too upset to make a statement, so I got charged with battery. The army hired me a civilian lawyer from a nearby city, and I had to go to court on the base. I wasn’t convicted of the charges, but I was warned.
As we were living there, things continued to escalate. I was constantly having to call the military police on him for abusing me. On Mother’s Day in 2009, he assaulted me, and I called the police. They arrested him and put a military protection order in place. He wasn’t supposed to contact me for 72 hours in any way while he was being held in the barracks.
About six hours in the barracks he somehow managed to get out and tried calling me. At first, I didn’t answer. Because he kept calling, I finally answered and asked him what he wanted. He said, “I’m sorry I didn’t mean to hurt you.” and apologized. After he was released to come home, I decided to stay.
Finally, around June 2009, his commanding officer had him tested for PTSD, and it was determined that he had severe PTSD. Instead of getting him help, the army allowed him to continue serving with his unit. In late August 2009, the whole post was prepared to deploy to Iraq. Fortunately for us, a week before the deployment, my husband received an other-than-honorable conditions discharge because of all the issues with the abuse. I know if they would have sent him over to Iraq with having PTSD already that when he returned, he would have killed my children and me.
After his discharge, we relocated to another town where he found a job working at Walmart. The abuse continued to worsen. One evening, I had bought a new hand can opener and for some reason couldn’t get it to open a can to make supper. My husband was in the living room watching a movie, and I called him into the kitchen to help me. When he came into the kitchen, he got furious and started yelling at me about how dumb I was. I got angry, and I yelled back at him.
After I yelled at him, he shoved me up against the wall and began punching me as hard as he could in the stomach and the head. After that, he shoved me to the floor while my son was watching and grabbed my ponytail and slammed my head against the floor.
I looked over at my son who was standing in the doorway to the kitchen as I cried and screamed for help. I didn’t know at the time that my son had run to his room, locked the door, and called 911 using an old cell phone he found.
Once I was able to get from the kitchen floor, I started running down the hallway toward the front door so I could try to get help. I had almost gotten to the front door when he jumped on top of me and started to strangle me. I thought to myself that it was over, that I was going to die and my kids wouldn’t have a mother anymore.
The police finally arrived. When they rang the doorbell, he knew who it was, and he got up and opened the door while I was laying almost dead on the floor. He, of course, was arrested and they came in and took pictures of my neck and bruises. They told me that if it weren’t for my son calling 911 when he did, I would be dead. I thank God for my son every day.
Unfortunately, I took my husband back, and the beatings continued. Finally, in August 2010, I had enough and told him to get out. He left, and my son and I had to start counseling. I was glad I left when I did, though, because otherwise, I wouldn’t be sharing my story now. In June 2011 our divorce was finalized, and the judge gave him custody of our son even though we had proof that he was abusive. I do have joint legal custody, but his dad won’t let me see my son anymore. I am working to resolve this in court.
After the divorce, I began dating again but never really got involved in a serious relationship. In 2012 after I moved, I met a guy online, and it didn’t work out well. He seemed nice and everything. He moved to my town just to be with me. After he moved in with us, I notice he had a temper as well. Things escalated, and once again I was abused. He threw things at me, shoved me, hit me, among other things.
I had him arrested one time for assaulting me, but I still took him back later. I was with him until August of last year. On July 3 of last year, he was sent to jail on unrelated charges. My son came up to me one day and told me to dump him; he even put his head on my shoulder and cried. He told me he was tired of seeing me cry and hearing me scream for help all the time. That’s when I finally ended it all because my child comes first.
Now that this guy is out of jail, I don’t know what will happen. I am so afraid of him that I had to get a protective order against him. The bottom line is that you can’t be afraid to get out of an abusive relationship. There are people who can help you. I am so glad I got out of these relationships because if I hadn’t, I would be dead by now.
I hope by telling my story that it can help someone else understand the dangers involving an abusive relationship. Because of the beatings my ex-husband gave me, I now have a traumatic brain injury and have major seizures all the time. Please don’t let this happen to you!
**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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