Don’t Be A Victim Of Domestic Violence & Abuse
This post is hands down one of the hardest things I’ve ever wrote. I take that back, because I wrote this YEARS ago and I never really had the confidence to post it. There’s been a lot of recent things in my life that have come up and I feel that my story can not only help others, but also be a story of bravery. Bravery that many can not find within themselves and they quickly become a victim and some of them my never take another breath. I’ll start by sharing a few vary shocking facts about domestic violence with you. (Source)
- Every 9 seconds in the US a woman is assaulted or beaten.
- Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women—more than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined.
- Everyday in the US, more than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends.
- Based on reports from 10 countries, between 55 percent and 95 percent of women who had been physically abused by their partners had never contacted non-governmental organizations, shelters, or the police for help.
What I also want to say is that this is not just something that effects women, however, more women are victims then men. Now allow me to share my story of courage, bravery and confidence to know I deserved so much more.
When I was 15 I started a job working at a fast food restaurant. At 16 I started dated a teen boy whom I worked with. He was 1 year older and went to a different school then I did. We also lived in far different areas of the city. He had a license and a car so he was usually the one who took care to come and see me and pick me up. We worked together an additional 2 years and during that time our relationship bloomed. He was the perfect boyfriend. He adjusted his schedule to make sure he could pick me up, drop me off, and be there when I needed him to. We spent a lot of time going to movies and doing things that we both enjoyed. It was my junior prom night and we went with a group of my friends. We went out to dinner that evening and proceeded to head back to a hotel. Since we were already sexually active, it wasn’t the ideal situation looking back, but we were safe and not drinking. The following morning was the first time I can remember that he was physically violent with me. He was upset that we’d spent the entire night with MY friends and it wasn’t his crowd. I was packing things up and he used force to push me out of his way. I hit the wall. I brushed it off, but looking back, I should have seen that as a sign. After I graduated we moved into an apartment together. It was then that things really went downhill. We both worked full time at the restaurant and had little time to do much beyond that. We also didn’t have a lot of money. The situation had now flipped and since he moved out he no longer had a car. I however did. He expected me to do all of the running, even picking him up at 12:30am when he was done, regardless of the fact that I had to be at work for 5am. He got upset when I did things with friends and he made me pay for it. He’d verbally abuse me calling me names that were far from appropriate and names you should ever call someone you love. Every time things like this happened, he spent the next day or two apologizing and giving me gifts, flowers, etc. I always got the “I’m sorry. I love you. It won’t happen again.” reply. I always believed it.
One night after I had finished working I gave one of our male co-workers a ride home. This co-worker was a mutual friend who actually attended school with my then boyfriend. I didn’t see a problem in giving a friend a ride. I was sadly mistaken. When I arrived home I was badgered as to why it took me so long. As I told him I gave a friend a ride home, he proceeded to get very loud. He started with the name calling and he even threw a hard plastic cup at me as well as a shoe. I immediately left and went to my parents. I was scared. I never told them what happened though. The next day he was scheduled to work so I decided to go home. He was waiting for me. Again I got the “I’m sorry. I love you. It won’t happen again.” reply. Again, I believed him. We talked and he agreed he took things way out of control and he wouldn’t let it happen again.
A few weeks went by and nothing really happened. It was the basic relationship that we had before. It was close to rent time and I had gotten my paycheck. For whatever reason his check was smaller then mine. He wanted more of my check then 1/2 the rent. I explained then he should give me money for using my car all the time. He never put gas in it and he never helped with repairs. This sent him off in a MAD spiral of violence and he completely turned in to a monster. He was throwing all kinds of things at me. He hit me with an open hand and followed that up with a frying pan to the side of my face. I was crying and hysterical, but he cut the phone cord and refused to let me call for help. He blocked all the doors and locked me in the closet. I couldn’t get out but the constant pounding and crying lead the neighbor to call police. When they arrived he answered the door. He proceeded to tell the police that I was out of control mentally and he was just trying to control me and calm me down so that I wouldn’t hurt myself or him. When the police seen me they asked about my face. There was no cuts but it was deeply swelled, especially my ear. I didn’t learn till later I’d lost 20% of the hearing in my left ear as a result. I explained that HE was the upset one and that he had physically hit me. The system failed me. They decided to tell us we needed to calm down and that they didn’t want to have to come back. Not removing either of us from the situation. 15 minutes after the police left, he smacked me across the back and then threw me out into the driveway wearing shorts and a t-shirt, no socks or shoes, no car keys and no wallet. I had nothing. It was winter and about 25 degrees outside! I walked to a nearby gas station to call my mom, collect. She came and got me and we went back to her house and we called the police.. This time we wanted everything documented and pictures taken. We had officially filed a report. I stayed with my mom and went back 2 days later to collect my things with my family to move out.
After careful consideration and talking with my family, we decided to not press charges at the time. In some ways it still bothers me that we didn’t but in other ways I am glad that we didn’t. He was enlisted to leave in the Military and if I had pressed charges we knew he wouldn’t be able to go. He would be here, stalking me and harassing me because I stopped him from his career. Since he was leaving for basic training and over seas shortly after that we thought it was better, leaving him go and having him out of my life rather then him stalking my life and having him making my life even more miserable. There are so many times I think that I should have went ahead with the charges, especially when years later he still contacts me and tries to communicate with me (which by the way, he still says he never hit me). The worst thing I could have done was let him get away with his crime, which is exactly what my naive teen self did.
There was so much over the years that I let go and didn’t listen to. I should have pressed charges, I should have called the National Domestic Violence Hotline for help! 1-800-799-SAFE Thankfully for me I was able to get out. I got out before I didn’t have a chance to get out. I got out before I became a statistic.
What I touched on a bit in my story, but most people tend to overlook is that with domestic violence, there is a very real chance there is also other abuse going on. Abuse is not just physical, there’s emotional abuse too. With all the recent suicides from bullying, you’d think that emotional abuse would be talked about more, but it’s not. It often falls right off the radar. Emotional abuse is very real. I’m going to share a few examples emotional abuse with you. (Source)
- Calling you names and putting you down.
- Yelling and screaming at you.
- Preventing you from seeing or talking with friends and family.
- Blaming your actions for their abusive or unhealthy behavior.
- Threatening to commit suicide to keep you from breaking up with them.
- Making you feel guilty or immature when you don’t consent to sexual activity.
- Threatening to have your children taken away.