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.
“Did you ever file in a domestic violence case?” Ouch. My heart began to immediately beat fast and my head started to feel dizzy. It caught up with me ten years later and burst wide open as I finally decided right then to own it. The painful memories of my past abusive relationship that I had thought I had hid under the rug, swept with cobwebs with all the other things of disgust, deep inside the crevices of my arteries where the plaque is most likely already starting to build up. I have done many background checks in my career and this one was the most intense as I fought my way up a very difficult ladder. The lead investigator, trained to not show emotion, sat staring at me as I collected my thoughts. I had prepared for any job change question and that one small lapse in service as I did a semester abroad but this was not even on my radar. My work record was impeccable and this did not mix. I choked once and simply answered, “Yes.” That was it. Nothing dramatic and nothing intrusive after that one question. He moved on but had I? It was obviously recorded for all to see who were privy to the case in this particular county’s court records, but it was so long ago and no one had ever brought it up. It was an open and shut case with obvious abuse, no denial and where I was awarded a restraining order against an ex-boyfriend during the first magistrate hearing. I was just nineteen.
I still remember the first ‘incident’ at sixteen. It involved, of all things, a T-square to my back that took my breath away. Yes, a T-square. It was almost comical if not tragic. Random objects just lying around became instant weapons used against me. I learned to be aware. Actual weapons, including a samurai sword, were sometimes launched at my neck. Driving on a highway became a terrifying event in cases where shouts of promises to end it all by swerving into the opposite lane or into a ditch were a reality. Guys looking or talking to me became a horrifying experience as watchful eyes were weary. The thing was I thought I was in love. I knew better, of course, deep down, but I also didn’t know any better in other ways. I was not taught any different and the peak of the abuse happened at seventeen and eighteen, as I was barely an adult. I had no support system, no guidance and no person telling me this wasn’t okay. I hid certain things, too. We moved in together. He broke my furniture, my body and threatened suicide so many times that I once even prayed he would use that knife on his artery. I covered up things until I couldn’t deny them anymore and the final straw was when he started to pretend he was going to leave me as some sick head game. For once, I finally took that as a sign to leave and I did. I just couldn’t do it easily.
I started college at a nearby University with an old friend I had no spoken to for years. She and my other roommates were unaware that I had just escaped an abusive situation but they quickly learned. My ‘crazy ex’, as I started to call him, enrolled at the same University and began following me (okay, no sugar coating it…stalking me) every day. He knew where I worked, where I had class, where I lived. He got my phone number from the college and we would get random hang-ups at certain times. Being stupid and feeling sorry for him, I slowly started letting him back in my life at what I thought was at an arm’s length. This mistake almost cost me my life. Over the next few months, he broke into our house, slept on our porch and attacked me outside a night class. The worst was the night he followed me after work to my house, kicked me in my stomach until I was lying and chocking on the ground (while the frat houses across the street laughed and cat-called at me) until I tried and finally succeeded to get into my car and drive away. He jumped on top of my car as I drove one-handed (I thought my arm was broken) to the hospital. He didn’t make it to the hospital but I did and I told them what happened. Nothing happened except my arm was put into a temporary sling. One of my roommates, fed up with his antics, went to the cops. This is where my life started to change. I still remember her coming home and thrusting a business card of the lead of the domestic violence team of the local police in my hand and saying to me, “If you don’t file something, I will” before my anger turned to fear. I still had to ask myself, ‘Was this domestic violence?’ Yes, I knew it was out of hand. Yes, I knew I had to go to the cops. I would be dead or we both were if I didn’t stop it. I agreed to go the next day.
Talking to the cops was the hardest thing I had ever done at that point in my life. I protected him for years and here I was giving away his secrets. I knew the cops couldn’t really protect me and I had to file on and off campus to get an order of protection. The court date was a joke. My ex showed up and did not deny any of my allegations and requested he not be given a restraining order since he wanted to own a gun. His request was denied, my restraining order went into effect and that was supposed to be the end of it. In many ways, it was. The stalking continued until I graduated the next year, but it was at a distance. I saw him. People told me. I had no place to hide. I left my home state before I could walk at my graduation and just asked that my diploma and transcript be mailed to me. I never regretted it. I just buried it deep inside with a feeling of guilt and a sense of relief.
The lead investigator doing the background check into my new supervisory position brought those memories buried long ago back at the surface but this time I was ready. I looked at my past straight in the eye and laughed. I laughed long and hard laughs that finally felt good. I had survived and now after seeking help and lots of introspection I have a loving husband and family. My kids are still young but I do plan to tell them my story when I figure out the best way to tell them I was wrong to stay but right and brave when I got out. My scars are real but my feelings of the situation are not of wounds, they are of triumph and of survival. They are of knowing when to walk away from a person and when to stay and help. They are of knowing the true meaning of friendship and knowing when it is better to not get close. I choose to surround myself with those who are worthy of my time because I am worthy of that respect. I am guarded but I am not closed off. There is one thing I know that is so powerful and true in my heart. Violence is never okay. I will always be grateful to those who helped me on the way but I also had to ask for it and ultimately I was the one who got out. Protecting someone who is violent is not helping; it is hurting both of you and any innocent bystanders. Take it from me and RUN not walk away from violence.