Written By: A cousin, in memory of Chloe
Domestic violence is not selective to race, gender, or cultural ethnicity. It is not discerning to the rich or poor. Domestic violence became a nightmare turned reality for our family in March in a Kentucky town.
The evening before her death, my 20-year-old cousin was frantically searching for her son after her estranged husband threatened to kidnap him and leave the country. He provoked her with several text messages, phone calls, and live streams on social media telling her she would never see him again.
On the morning of March 23rd, he sent her a message telling her she could come to pick up her son. Her ex told her not to bring any family, or he would not give their son to her. She went to his apartment not knowing that she would never leave alive. Her last text message was to her father letting him know where she was headed and to text, but not call if he needed anything.
Hours went by, and my uncle had not heard from her. Something was not right; no one else had seen or heard from her either. Our worst fears were confirmed later that evening when her estranged husband was found with their son several states away, and rumors were spreading that he had told his family members he had killed his wife. My uncle, aunt, and cousin’s brother waited outside the apartment for hours praying they were wrong.
My cousin was found stuffed in the closet of an air-conditioning unit. She thought she was picking her son up to bring him to safety and was brutally murdered instead. He hit her head with a hammer when she wasn’t looking and continued beating her as she fought him. When the hammer didn’t kill her, he took her final breath with a knife to her throat.
March 23rd is the day my cousin became a statistic of domestic violence. It is a day that will haunt her family and friends for the rest of our lives. Twenty years old is too young to die. Her dad will never talk to his baby girl again. Her stepmother and three brothers will not see her walk through the door or hear her laugh.
She won’t get to see her son take his first steps, graduate from high school, get married, or ever hold her grandbabies. She was robbed of her life and so many memories. Her son will grow up without either of his parents and will one day ask questions about what happened.
This is a reality no family should have to face, a beautiful life extinguished at the hands of an abuser. Domestic violence is real, and it exists behind the walls of homes across the world. Physical, sexual, emotional, psychological, and financial control are all considered abuse. According to domesticviolencestatistics.org, “A woman is assaulted or beaten in the US every nine seconds” and “Every day in the US, more than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends.”
Our family wants society to know that it should not and does not have to be this way. There is a way out, and, although the road may seem impossible, it is not. The grief and heartache we face each day are preventable, and we do not want to see anyone else go through this pain.
We hope that by sharing my cousin’s story, we can shine a light on domestic violence prevention. We are working to provide a safe place for those who are affected by abuse. Please help us get the word out that every life matters and understand you are not alone in this.
**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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