Written By: Kara, Survivor
My ex and I were together for a short period – only three months. In the beginning, the relationship was great – almost like a fairy tale. I ignored the warning signs and even dismissed my own friends telling me to stay away from this man. He had a charm to him (a true narcissist) that had me head over heels for him. However, I would later learn that after his relentless promises of reform and charming words, after giving this man every chance and, regrettably, second chances that I would be forced to admit to myself that I had been fooled.
There was a repeated pattern with my ex, and every time he had an “episode,” he made me feel like there was no help for me. I lost friends because of him, and I couldn’t run to the people who warned me about him for help. Early on, he planned for me to start living in his world where he would have all the power and control.
My ex met me during a time in my life when I was vulnerable. He would tell me exactly what I wanted to hear and made me feel just how I wanted to feel. He made me believe that abuse was normal, that people have issues in their relationships, and they work through them. Somehow, he managed to overpower my intellect and rationale. He was so persuasive, he made me believe it wouldn’t happen again – time and time again. Those are the reasons why I stayed; I believed in him. I believed he was changing until the next “episode” would happen.
It wasn’t until his out-of-control behaviors became a more regular occurrence that I would eventually learn I wasn’t getting out of this relationship without getting hurt physically or emotionally. One night he slammed the hotel door so hard that it broke, and it escalated to him spitting in my face. I knew I had to walk on eggshells and talk to him calmly to avoid getting seriously hurt.
I was trying to plan a way to leave him, and I feel like he caught onto this because I noticed a pattern of drinking and abusing drugs on a regular basis. Whenever I questioned his behaviors, he got defensive, angry, violent, and abusive. He put fear in me to make me stay with him. Anytime he would get into these rages I would beg for him to stop because my then seven-year-old son was with me. As a mother raising a young boy, I didn’t want him to see my ex’s aggressive and violent behavior.
I would lie to my family and friends and tell them that my ex and I had a great relationship. I was embarrassed that I didn’t listen to the people that told me my ex had hurt his prior girlfriends.
On the night of July 21, 2016, I would be physically assaulted by a man for the first time in my life. Later, I learned from MRI imaging that my ex had caused me to suffer a concussion and four brain hemorrhages. I was suffering from headaches and sensitivity to light, among other neurological symptoms. I had no idea that not only did I have a concussion but bleeding in my brain as well. The impact that my ex made in my life is one that I will never forget but thank God I will live on to tell my story.
Some domestic violence cases may be seen as more serious than others due to the trauma or length of time the victim suffered the abuse from their abuser, but domestic violence of any kind simply cannot be tolerated. This wasn’t my ex’s first, second, or third time hurting a woman. I spoke to three former girlfriends of my ex, and they all shared their stories with me.
My ex has been abusing women for the past decade, and he is not going to stop without serious intervention. I genuinely feared for all his girlfriends after me. I even contacted them to warn them of what he had done to me. I didn’t have a voice in 2016 because he told everyone I was a liar and that he never hurt me.
A court hearing was held March 9, 2016 (the day after International Women’s Day), and I wanted far more than retribution. I wanted to make sure I was the last woman that was terrorized and assaulted by my ex. The judge read my witness impact statement aloud in court and ordered him 30 days in jail with deferred sentencing. It wasn’t enough if you ask me.
My ex called all of his ex-girlfriends as well as me liars, or he claimed they were exaggerating the story. He would give the next girl the same story he gave every girlfriend before her. He would tell the new girl that all of his exes took him for a full ride and that he was the one to leave. Also, he would say that all he has ever done was love the girls he’s dated. He uses beautiful women for their money and good looks and abuses them. He always had excuses and could never own up to his behaviors or admit fault.
The physical and emotional effects of my short time with him will be with me for the rest of my life. I’m not the first, second, or even third woman that can say the same about my ex. I am now good friends with three of his ex-girlfriends. I believe God wanted us all to meet one another, and, sadly, through almost the same story.
This experience affected me in the following ways:
1. I lost my job in real estate because my co-workers and boss read articles online about my ex and knew of him through mutual people. My employer feared that if I was staying in a relationship with him, he was capable of coming to my workplace and possibly harming me.
2. I feared living alone with my son in my apartment, the same apartment he tried breaking into after I told him I was completely done with the relationship. He was hiding behind a dumpster and later found by K9 dogs. I couldn’t sleep at night. I was filled with fear and anxiety. I couldn’t live like this, and, as his release date grew nearer, I panicked and moved out of the state.
3. I’ve never had to get a stalking order on someone, and having an order granted for two years took an emotional toll on me. I feared that he would retaliate in some way or have someone hurt me. He did end up violating the order. He contacted me by phone, calling me numerous times every day.
4. My slate is no longer clean when it comes to a head injury. If I ever have a severe head injury, my risk is higher due to suffering a concussion and four hemorrhages from this incident. This damage is irreparable.
5. I had to see a therapist to gain my self-confidence, sense of security, and identity back. It’s been three years, and I am still suffering. My PTSD has been through the roof since learning of a recent tragic incident that occurred in March. My ex’s girlfriend was shot and killed by accident after my ex had an altercation with someone in a bar.
On March 8, 2019, my ex appeared in court for his deferred sentencing hearing in my case. I would learn that day, three years after leaving, that I would have the voice I had been praying to have one day. My ex was arrested that day in court due to a suspended license and cocaine he had on him the night of his girlfriend’s murder.
My ex’s hearing was postponed due to the murder investigation. However, I went on to tell my story to a news outlet after they had obtained court records of my case from 2016. I have done all that I can to expose the monster that my ex is.
I was invited to his girlfriend’s services by her family. The funeral was held on March 9, 2019 – International Women’s Day. I will never forget all that has happened and how it all tied into my story three years earlier. I wish I could have had the chance to meet his girlfriend before she was senselessly murdered. I would have shared my story with her and maybe given her encouragement to leave him.
My ex’s hearing for the deferred sentencing in my case was postponed until May 2019. After this day, I will be able to close these chapters in my life once and for all. I will continue to speak out about domestic violence, not only for myself but for the multiple other women my ex has hurt, and hopefully to prevent him from having future victims.
Despite the toll this has taken on me, I hope by breaking my silence that I’ll be able to empower other victims of domestic violence to break theirs. I have taken this experience and turned it into a positive one for my own well-being. I started a petition for legislation that men and women who have been convicted of domestic violence should have to register, just like sex offenders.
I have 526 signatures today on the petition, and I will not stop working on this. I believe a registry would help women and men greatly when dating someone. Men like my ex prey on beautiful, career-driven women on dating sites and social media. I think something needs to be done to try and prevent abusive men and women from hurting innocent people and ruining their lives.
Today, I am happily engaged to the love of my life. My fiancé is the most supportive and loving man I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. He is my rock through everything.
**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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