I met my ex-boyfriend in the seventh grade. I had a huge crush on him. Well, years went by and I ran into him again. He had just gotten into a car accident and was recovering. Oh my gosh, all these crush feelings came right back and I thought oh, I’m not letting him go.
Things were great at first. But once I actually became his girlfriend, things begin to change. There is so much, I don’t know where to begin. He started to lie and sneak and have affairs with women and I would just accept what he would tell me. I thought I was in madly love.
The emotional abuse hurt the most. Name calling, shoving me in corners and making me stay there while he stood over me belittling me and threatening…. I may not have gotten hit physically each day but the verbal and head games made me go crazy. He would spit in my face if I went outside after he told me not to. I would get backhanded when I least expected it. I have been pushed down stairs, required days in the hospital then I would leave against medical advice. He had very hard boney knuckles and would punch me like I was his equal.
One time he had beat me up all night and cops showed up. Me being very emotional, I was the one the cops were worried about because my ex was very good at talking. Luckily my mother got through to the officer through 911 and filled him in on the fact that he is abusive so I did go to a safe house. He went to jail, three felonies, but the next day I went back and told the detectives I was the one going crazy. I said I was going through something mental and I made it all up. He of course got off.
I have been choked. I have had BIG rocks thrown at me. I have had nineteen staples in my head. My wrists and arms have been broken. He would threaten my dog. Everyday he would want to kill himself and put the blame on me. I have been called so many things that I would tell him to punch me instead of saying all the hurtful things to me that always hurt much more.
All this has been going on for 8 years. I absolutely adore this man. I love him with all my soul. But I can’t be with him.
My story could go on, like many of yours. I am lucky to have a family who didn’t ever stop trying to get me out. The last straw was when he had chased me around the resort all day making life unbearable and he punched me three times in the head. I instantly called the police. He did get arrested but not without the cops asking me if he really had hit me or was I just mad at him….WHAT. His mother bailed him out, no restraining order. In the state of California DV laws are VERY weak.
I ended up in the hospital with a tubal pregnancy. My parents came down to help take care of me and that was the time I left with them finally. This was the 4th time my parents had come down there to take me away, but every time I would ditch my parents and go back ….but not this time.
This was three months ago. The charges in California dismissed. So now he has made his way up here. He’s constantly blowing up my phone, he harasses all my friends. My parents have blocked every number he calls from me. We now have a baseball bat next to door and always lock the door. I am going to get a restraining order. I thought he would just move on and I wouldn’t have to get a order of protection but everyday it is constant threats and craziness from him and everybody around me also gets affected GREATLY. My daughter has a recurring nightmare about him and looks over her shoulder ….SOMETHING HAS TO BE DONE to help keep my family and the people around me safe because he won’t stop till he gets what he wants.
THIS SITE IS A TREASURE. I read these blogs and they have helped me be strong. Thank you for helping me become UNSILENCED.
My name is Tracie. I am a mother, a daughter, a sister, a friend, an employee, and a survivor. I endured emotional and physical violence by the hands of my ex-husband. I’m going to begin by telling you my story.
I was married to my ex-husband for 4 years. Within a few months of us being married, he became physically abusive. I remember the first time he ever hit me, we were arguing and he back-handed me straight across the face as I got out of the bathtub and was wrapping myself up in a towel. He slapped me so hard, I hit the ground. He was immediately apologetic, telling me he loved me, he’d never do it again and that if I hadn’t made him so angry, he wouldn’t have had to do it in the first place. To this day, I don’t remember what the argument was about, all I can remember is that I wanted some peace and quiet and to stop arguing, so I went to take a bath, but he followed me into the bathroom and continued to yell and argue with me while I was trying to relax in the bathtub.
I knew at that very moment that the violence wouldn’t stop there. You see, he had been arrested on average twice a year while he was married to his first wife for 10 years. I knew about his history, but chose to dismiss it when he told me he loved me, that he had changed and that all of those arrests were his ex-wife’s fault.
The beatings became more frequent as time went by. He would get angry over the smallest things…If dinner wasn’t cooked the way he wanted it, if his pants weren’t ironed just right, if I took too long grocery shopping, if I didn’t want to have sex at the very moment he did. It got to the point that we couldn’t even go out and socialize with friends and family, because he was so jealous and would always abuse me when we would get home. He would hit me across the face, punch me, choke me, literally pick me up and throw me across the room like a rag doll, shove me into things, even physically kick me out of the bed when I wouldn’t have sex with him after he had come home in the middle of the night drunk and high and beaten me. He even raped me. He had no limits, and he was proud of that.
One night, he got drunk, we had family over earlier that day and he had been drinking all night. He was insistent on having sex and I was trying to clean the kitchen…he pulled me into the bedroom and started hitting me, I tried to run to the living room to get away and he started picking me up and throwing me across the house. So, I ran back to the bedroom to try and get some clothes on and he took my dresser drawers out of my hands and threw it across the room, then he tried to kill me, and almost did…he threw me on the bed and began choking me, he choked me so bad I blacked out and it ruptured the blood vessels in my eyes. As soon as I came to, I ran straight to the neighbors, no clothes on whatsoever, and had them call for help. He was arrested that night, although I begged and pleaded for the officers not to arrest him, they did anyway and I bonded him out of jail the very next morning. I was out of work for a week because of the damage to my face and neck. After that night, he promised to attend counseling and never lay a hand on me again, we made an agreement that if he did, I was pressing charges and leaving him.
Unfortunately, neither one of us held up to the agreement, within 2 weeks, he was hitting me on a regular basis again. One night while he was beating me, I decided I had enough, I ran to my dresser drawer where I kept a handgun for my protection, only to find it in pieces and him laughing at me, he knew I would resort to that for my protection, so he had already disassembled it. That’s when I knew that I needed to figure out a way to leave because he was going to kill me one day, if I didn’t. I did finally press charges and leave him one night, after he had beaten me for the last time and fractured my wrist and I didn’t look back. He was prosecuted for felony strangulation, violating a protective order, misdemeanor family assault and federal gun charges. He is currently incarcerated in a Texas prison.
Domestic Violence goes beyond physical abuse. It is mental abuse as well. I can remember him yelling at me, telling me I was nothing, I was worthless, I was stupid…you name it; he would say anything he possibly could to break me down. He would tell me that I couldn’t leave him because nobody else would want me or that if I did leave, he would hunt me and my family down and kill us. He would even go as far as to empty the bank account so I couldn’t leave him, so that I was completely dependent on him. This type of abuse has a dramatic effect in your daily life. You feel worthless, depressed and broken down, you withdraw from your loved ones; don’t perform to your fullest potential at work and in most cases end up sick more often than usual.
What the majority of the population doesn’t understand is how difficult it is to leave an abusive partner and to prosecute them. 1 in 4 women will be victims of domestic violence at some point in their lives and every 9 seconds in the United States a woman is beaten by her partner. Every 9 seconds! That’s a lot of women that have been abused, just since I began this story! Every day in the United States, more than 3 women are murdered by an abusive husband or partner. The problem is that it is difficult to leave an abusive relationship, so it goes unreported in most cases until somebody else is forced to step in, until someone is seriously injured or until someone is killed. The average response time for a 911 call is 10 minutes, I don’t know about anyone else, but for me, that was just enough time for my ex-husband to finish me off. It’s not law enforcement’s fault that the response time takes that long, its just the simple cold hard truth. For anyone in that situation, that’s a scary thought…so leave an abusive partner the first chance you get, the first time he hits you!
There are many resources available for domestic violence victims nowadays, there is help out there for them, they just usually don’t know about it. Just in my area alone, there are many aids and avenues available to crime victims. Both the sheriff’s office and police department have crime victim liaisons as well as the prosecutor’s office. There are many counseling centers available at no cost and you may also ask for financial assistance to relocate or get back on your feet.
What many victims don’t realize is that it is their decision to leave, their decision to start fresh and their decision to prosecute. That being said, it requires effort on their part. You can’t just leave and put it all in the hands of a victim liaison, a police officer, an investigator, a prosecuting attorney or even a family member. You have to follow it through to the end. Just like any other life altering decision, it requires effort and participation. You wouldn’t expect to get a college degree without attending college, so don’t expect law enforcement to repair the months or years of damage from the relationship that you chose to stay in. Time and time again, women have their husbands arrested and start the prosecuting process with every intention of following it through, but it is rare that they do. It is because of this, that law enforcement may not take it as seriously as you would like. It’s because of this that men are still out there beating women, I know, I was one of those women at one time. As a victim that is looking for justice, you have to fully cooperate with the justice system. It is set up to protect victims. But you have to help yourself as well. The only way to stop domestic violence is to stand up to it! Leave your husband, press charges, follow up with the investigators, with the prosecuting attorney, make your presence known, show up at every court hearing, arraignment and sentencing, follow up with the parole board. Take a stand! If they are behind bars, they know someone got tired of the abuse, maybe they will think twice before doing again!
I will admit, it is stressful, standing up to anyone who has hurt you. I attended hearing after hearing for all of my ex-husband’s charges. I even had his attorney in my face on the witness stand a few times. It seemed like it was never going to end, they would just keep getting reset to another date for this or that…one time I left the court house, got in my truck and just bawled my eyes out, instead of going back to work like I should have, I went to spend the day with my dad. I felt like I couldn’t take any more resets, I just wanted it to be over with….and then it happened, a few court dates later, we didn’t even have to go to trial, he pled guilty to everything. After he pled guilty, I exercised my right to stand up there in that courtroom and give what is called a Victim Impact Statement; it is a statement, off the record, to the court and the offender of how the crime impacted mine and my family’s life. It was the first time I had ever got to stand up to him and tell him how much turmoil he put me and my family through and how I have learned from the situation. I would go through every single court hearing all over again to have that moment…it was justice in and of itself. I was finally free, free to be me, a mother, a daughter, a friend, a sister, an employee and no longer the abused!
The only way to stop domestic violence is to stand up to it. If you see the signs in a loved one, offer help, let them know that whenever they decide to do something about it, you’re there for them. Contact your local law enforcement, counseling agency, hospital….they all know the resources to help you or a loved one get out of an abusive relationship. But don’t stop there; use your knowledge to help others who are going through it. Remember that it takes time and be patient.
Look for these warning signs and offer help:
Constantly putting their partner down
Checking on their partner’s every move
Isolating their partner from family and friends
Rarely attending social gatherings
The abused partner calling in sick to work to avoid showing signs of abuse
Withholding money or hiding money from their partner
Preventing their partner from reaching their goals (job, school)
Not allowing their partner to make any decisions on her own
Drug and alcohol abuse
If you see any of these signs in any loved one or family friend, please offer help, it may be the one thing that they need to hear in order to take a stand, stop the abuse and leave!
Now, it is time to give credit where credit is due. My family, friends, co-workers and bosses were absolutely wonderful through everything for me. If anybody deserves applause, they do. They stuck by me, when it was easier to walk away; they were there for me to lend a shoulder and helped me get out of the abusive relationship. Especially my family, just knowing I had somewhere to go when I finally decided to get out and knowing they would be there for me through every step of it all was an amazing feeling and a true blessing. My sister, in particular, although she may live miles away, has been a rock! She was in an abusive relationship at the very same time I was, and we both left those men almost simultaneously, so we completely understood what we were both going through when we went through it. We no longer talk about the details of our tortuous past, we just tell each other we love each other and we are thankful to be out of that and close again. We understand each other and how precious our lives are. She is an amazing woman and I can only hope that someday, she too will be on a stage with me advocating for domestic violence victims.
And to end my story on a happy note…Since I left my ex-husband and followed through with prosecuting him, I have found myself again. I have figured out what it’s like to think and act for myself again without worrying about any repercussions. I’m able to enjoy time with family and friends and socialize. I believe that everything happens for a reason and always have. That being said, I went through that abuse for a reason, and my belief is that I went through it so that I may be able to reach out and help others who have been abused or are being abused. I am a stronger person today, because I stood up for myself. We all have a past, and some of us have worse than others, but it is ultimately up to us to determine our futures…make yours a happy one, I know I am.
“My eternal optimism”
Firstly I wanted to say all of the stories posted here have moved me greatly and I feel this website is doing such a wonderful job in bringing these issues out of the shadows.
I grew up in an abusive and dysfunctional household and, by virtue of that, I didn’t know what a healthy relationship looked like. I moved out when I was 17 and wanted to start fresh. I thought that I had finally escaped my abusive past and fallen in love with my Prince Charming.
The first two years everything seemed good. It appeared to me that I was living in a bubble of happiness and I genuinely thought this person was my best friend. Looking back on it I can see that there may have been signs as there were a few instances where he was short tempered with other people. But I shook those off because I loved this person completely.
My bubble burst about two years into the relationship when his violence surfaced. I remember it began slowly where during an argument he would hold me down or pinch me surreptitiously in public if I said something that upset him. This made me feel like it was my fault, even though I know it’s not true. Then one time he threw me off of our bed and began to kick and hit me. I was in total shock. There was no apology. There was no recognition of what had just happened. We both just walked around as though it had never happened. I mentally blocked it out as best I could because this was the man that I had broken my virginity to, this was the man that I loved, the man who I thought loved me.
Similar incidents began to occur with greater frequency. I remember he launched at me and smacked my head into a cupboard when I was arguing with him about watching pornographic material. I believe this caused me concussion because I was in a lot of pain and very dazed and confused and all I wanted to do was sleep. He was very clinical about it and said that I couldn’t sleep because if people have concussions then they can die so he kept me awake for half an hour. It has always puzzled me why he did that. Was he afraid I would die and then he would be charged with my murder? It seems like a very strange thing to be so concerned about after having done the act itself.
Another time I was having a huge panic attack and shaking all over and he began to punch me so that I would stop. He punched my stomach repeatedly. I said to him I felt like I was dying and I just remember him saying, “you’re not dying” and punching me as though in his mind he was just trying to make me see reason. I felt like I was the person in the wrong and that he was just doing the right thing by calming me out of my panic attack. It’s strange how we can be made to feel that things are our fault.
Another time he flipped me over on the bed and began sinking his nails into my neck and as I struggled to get up he pushed me back down. I remember wondering whether my neck would snap; whether it was a reasonable or unreasonable fear I don’t know. I just remember feeling very afraid.
I recall countless incidents after that of being thrown across the room, attempted strangulation, bloody nose, bloody lip, bruises, scratches, being thrown out of my chair and being denied the ability to contact a therapist. I can see now why he didn’t want me to speak to a therapist because he was worried perhaps that I would report him. It seems the more depressed I became the more the violence continued, he even ripped a number of special items of clothing and one necklace while it was on my neck which he had given to me.
One of the final counts of violence was when I was at his house. I was surfing the net and I think I must have had a cup-of-soup in one hand. I had brought up the number for a psychologist. He came behind me to see what I was looking at and seeing this he flipped me from my chair and the soup fell all over me and scalded me. He didn’t say sorry and he didn’t help me clean myself up. At times I asked him why he did these things and he said that it was because I made him do it.
I found the entire experience incredibly dehumanising. Perhaps the greatest blessing in disguise was that he ended up ditching me for another woman (I sincerely hope he never hurt her). However, I was finally free as I don’t think I would have known how to free myself. I was that deeply entrenched in that world. My whole reality was altered. I suffered with deep, deep PTSD after the relationship broke down and was even hospitalised with severe symptoms.
Since then I have rebuilt my life and I am proud of how far I have come and what I have achieved. I am writing a law honors thesis on a legal issue to do with domestic violence. I intend for the exercise to be healing and to propel me in my journey, which I hope will ultimately be one that helps other survivors.
Despite the fact that I hear so many tragic stories, I do still believe in love. I believe that love can conquer all burdens and wounds. However, I now know what healthy love looks like. I am an eternal optimist.
My cousin (we’ll call him Ben) sexually abused me throughout my childhood. I don’t think he knows what he did, or at least that it was wrong. He’s only two years older than me, and in retrospect I’m sure he was abused by someone else, but that doesn’t make it okay. I still don’t know if I can really blame him, but I know I can’t blame myself.
It started so young. I was 6. He made me kiss him because we were playing house. But then I had to get naked, somehow he knew that’s what married couples did. He made me do this multiple times, but eventually it stopped for a few years.
Later, I can’t remember how old I was but I couldn’t have been older than 9, we were playing video games in his room and he said, “Remember when we used to kiss when playing house?” I timidly said yes because I now knew that was wrong, but he continued on about how fun that was. He then showed me his penis. He said whoever lost the next round of the video game had to get naked, and I lost. My grandmother came home (my cousins lived with my grandparents) and told me to fold towels and that I was spending the night. Ben asked if I could sleep in his room that night instead of the girls’ room and he made me ask too, but my grandmother of course said no. This was the end of it for so long, and I almost forgot.
When I was 13, in the 8th grade, I went to the same school as my cousins, so my grandmother would pick us all up from school and I would wait at her house until 6pm for my mom to come get me. Unfortunately, my grandfather was sick and had lots of doctor appointments around this time and my other cousins were old enough to be with their friends all the time, so it was just me and Ben. I would go in the girls’ room to watch tv instead of the living room because I liked the beds, and soon Ben started coming in and watching with me, laying on the other bed. We would joke and laugh and he made me think it was safe.
Let me be clear that in between these sexual abuses, he would verbally abuse me. He hated me. This time I knew his kindness was just an act, so I started locking the door when I went into the bedroom, but I couldn’t just tell him to stay out because I had no real reason to be worried, and so after jiggling the door handle multiple times every day and acting like I was being weird, I started letting him in again, and I curse myself for this. He started saying, “Oh wow remember when we were kids and used to kiss? That was so crazy and weird!” I thought he meant it was bad, but I guess not, because he started asking me how girls liked to be kissed, touched, etc. I had only kissed a boy (boyfriend I should say) once so I didn’t really know, so he asked if he could practice on me because there was a girl who he liked. I told him it was wrong, I told him it was gross, I told him he shouldn’t think of me that way, and I told him I didn’t want to. I don’t know how, but he talked me into it.
Does that make it my fault? I feel like it does, and I feel like other people think it does, but I don’t know. I do know that I was scared of him all the time. He kissed me, he touched me, he grabbed me, he asked me if things felt good. Nothing felt good. He did this multiple times and each time I said nothing because he was so much bigger than me, I was so scared he would just beat me if I said no.
One day we were in the room, and I had been trying to be firm against his advances, but as I got up to get water he jumped on top of me and started tickling me. I thought, “This is it, my cousin is going to rape me and nobody can help me.” I heard his belt buckle. I started screaming that I couldn’t breathe, that I was having an asthma attack and that I needed my inhaler. I don’t know why but he stopped. That was the end of it, he hasn’t touched me since, but it was the worst.
I have nightmares, and I feel guilty that I am so traumatized even though I escaped, I feel like my experience doesn’t really make me a survivor, it just makes me a whiny baby. I won’t let my male family members touch me anymore, and I’ve heard my dad crying because he can’t kiss my forehead to check my temperature or hug me when I cry, and it makes me feel worse. I told some people, close friends and some people at church, but they didn’t understand that I couldn’t rip my family apart by telling my parents. My boyfriend at the time told me I was too sensitive when I cried about it instead of holding me. My best friend called me a lying bitch and stopped talking to me. I stopped going to church, I started self-harming, and I tried to hide myself. Two years after this, I told my mom, and later accidentally told my father. I thought my dad was going to kill him, but I told him that he can never talk to Ben about it. I have support now, but I still cry when I think about it. My current boyfriend holds me and tells me it’s not my fault. I don’t know if this story has a resolution, but I needed to share.