Written by: Erin, Survivor
In my younger years, I didn’t have the best judgment when it came to boys and relationships. I started dating my abuser in 1999. I was a senior in high school. That year, he punched me in the face and raped me in front of his brother and cousin. They sat frozen and watched in fear. I really thought that because he was drunk and high, it was an isolated incident. I was so wrong. He also seemed to enjoy abusing his family’s pets.
The following year, I became pregnant with our first child. I believed this would change him. He asked me to marry him because that is what his family pushed us into. We were having a baby, so we had to be married. I agreed to marry him; I wanted to marry him, despite the drug abuse and drinking. I believed he would eventually change, but I was wrong.
His parents were also addicts. They all enabled each other. He couldn’t do anything wrong in their eyes, so not only did he have me convinced that all of our problems were my fault, they did too. I found myself believing this, and always apologizing.
He isolated me from my own family and friends. His rage and violent attacks became more often and literally out of nowhere. When our son was about 2, he left us and moved out for a short time. He moved in with someone who had meth available at all times. During this time, he broke into our home and raped me, resulting in the pregnancy of our second child. He eventually convinced me to have him move back in and work on things, promising to change and saying all the right things. I agreed, and I thought he would really change this time, I was wrong.
During this pregnancy, he didn’t hold back on the physical abuse. He had started choking me until I passed out. He attacked me so violently on one night that I had to pretend to go along with his sick game to escape. He had busted the back of my head open with a frying pan, tried to convince me that he didn’t and then when I wouldn’t agree, he strangled me. When I came to, he had me on the floor, and he was trying to pull my pants off.
When I fought back, he flipped me over, and all I could think about was trying to stay off of my pregnant belly. His weight was so heavy on my back, and I was dripping blood from my knees and elbows from trying to stay up. I had to pretend to be interested in what he wanted to do to me to escape. If I just played along, it wouldn’t be as bad as it would if I fought. As soon as I had enough room between us, I grabbed my son and ran from the house. My neighbor barely answered the door as he was stepping onto their porch. This incident caused me to go into premature labor.
I literally had no one and was so scared. I went to his parents and begged for help; they asked us to live there for a while. This was a huge mistake. They only covered up what he was doing to me and destroyed my spirit more. Six months after the birth of our premature daughter, he raped me again. I screamed and begged for help because his entire family was home. No one came, no one. This rape resulted in the pregnancy of our third child. His parents acknowledged this as well. They told me that it didn’t matter what he did to me; he was my husband, so it wasn’t rape. I never knew the power of shame and loneliness until this time period in my life. All those times I thought he’d change, I now knew he’d never change. It was now my quest to find a way out.
Isolated, abused in nearly every way, broken, afraid, and having no one, I endured the abuse for another four years. Being beaten, strangled, cheated on, watching the drug abuse, alcoholism, psychological abuse, verbally threatened, and I know he abused our children in different ways. I managed to get us out of his parents’ home, and after two moves, I finally found my strength to get out. I had just enough support and backbone to make this change. It was no joyride, but it had to be a better ending. I just buckled up, held on tight, and fought hard until it was over.
He told me he’d kill my family one by one until I was all that was left, and then he’d kill me. He threatened to kill himself if I didn’t take him back. He tried to turn the kids against me. At this point, I felt like if I die, I die, but I’m going to die fighting. I learned how to protect myself, got a protection order, filed for divorce, and got temporary custody. He was to have supervised visits with our kids.
The abuse continued to a certain extent throughout those eight months of our divorce. He violated the protection order several times and went to jail when he was caught. During this time our oldest child witnessed his father trying to kill me. My son did his best to protect the younger two from seeing or hearing anything, but this incident really impacted him in unimaginable ways. This incident, being more traumatizing than past occurrences, contributed to my oldest son having suicidal thoughts.
It has been a little over seven years since everything was finalized. We have moved on, attended therapy, started a new life, and have a new family. My abuser is not in the picture, and the kids do not have any contact with him. Even though the trauma still remains for all of us, happiness is possible. We continue putting the pieces of our broken past back together to once again be whole. There are so many more awful pieces to this story. I am fully aware of what I’ve been through; I know what it did to myself and my children. My goal is to recover from the trauma and heal so that my story can help others, and show my children that this was not ok. I know they are proud of me and thankful for getting them out. Never give up!
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