My Journey to Peace

I had just turned 18 and was in my first summer out of high school and my second semester of college. I was a criminal justice major. I had waited to be that age for such a long time and was so excited. I had been dating this guy casually for about a month and we got in an argument one afternoon and he broke up with me. I remember being devastated and calling my cousin to cheer me up so she invited me to a party her boyfriend was having because she wanted to set me up with one of his friends. I can remember the first time I saw him like it was yesterday. He was tall dark and handsome you know I melted instantly. The fact that he was 16 years older than me just didn't matter. He was too perfect. We quickly became inseparable.

Then within a month I was out of my parents house for the first time living with him. The first 6 months were amazing I had my own house for the first time. it was like having my own little family. Then he started to change. Accusing me of cheating, isolating me, verbally abusing me. Before long I had a curfew and would get my belongings destroyed. It escalated fast. Before long he was abusing my 2 cats, threatening my life, the man I fell in love with was gone.

January 16th 2013 was the first time he physically assaulted me. I remember being in shock and knowing it was wrong but then again I did all the classic mistakes I blamed it on stress I blamed myself and I believed him when he said he never do it again. We quickly got into the cycle of abuse the honeymoon phase in the build-up and then before long he was hitting me at least twice a week. The first time he strangled me was my breaking point.

I should include that around this time my family had heard from word-of-mouth and being in a small town about his past. A past full of prior abuse and prison time he served for abusing his own 4 month old son I didn't even know existed. I never told my family about the physical abuse but they put the pieces together. My sister's knew that I wanted out so about a month of planning my escape began. I prayed every night for God's help. I was terrified and knew that I couldn't do it on my own or without the help of law enforcement.

Then on May 9th 2013 my prayers were answered and someone heard my screams and called the cops and he was arrested. I was left with many emotional and physical scars. I'm missing part of my thigh muscle, I have a fractured jaw and PTSD. For a long time I numbed my pain and didn't seek help didn't talk about my emotions, but here I am about 4 years later and I'm a college graduate. I have amazing family and friends and I'm engaged to a man who adores me. Through my journey I've found a strength I never knew before. I appreciate the good things in life. I take things slow. I've rediscovered and rebuilt a new me that I'm so proud of. I hope my story can shine some light on someone maybe still in a dark place. I hope at least one person can take away strength and hope from my journey, from victim to Survivor.

Submitted by: Olivia Jessie

Unwed Mother

For the past 11 years, I and luckily my mom and dad have helped me fight for my now 14-year old son.

The father is physically, mentally, verbally and has all the symptoms of sociopathy (as does his mother) and NPD.

My son's “father” has hit him, punched him, screamed at him, hit me (and admitted it to therapist) but that never mattered; calls us names and has caused so much depression and anxiety that this Christmas Eve my son said he has been talking to his friend about suicide because he feels it is only way to get away from his dad. I contacted my son's therapist and my attorney but opposing counsel went to our single mother hating judge on his last day of retirement and since this this judge made multiple comments during last trial that he “hated” my son, had a closed door meeting without my attorney even being notified and signed holiday order giving the “father” Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year's Eve, New Year's Day (plus he had Thanksgiving as well) and the 11 days of Christmas Break…My job gives us Admin Days off from Christmas Eve until Jan 2nd. The “father” is a an architect and owns a beer distributorship, yet doesn't pay child support but demands Will's time.

My child is an incredible gymnast, attends a prep school with a B average, started a Tumbling Club (this Freshman Year), made the varsity cheer team and is a member of the acro team at the local college. His “father” does not support any of this and tries to make my son feel like dirt for these choices. This is his hope for college and cannot wait to never see his “father” again.

Meanwhile, I am not allowed to speak with my son privately. I have had the worst Christmas and move to 2018…my son has given up and cannot understand why he has been taught not to lie but his “father” and that “family” tells everyone my son is a liar and mentally disturbed. I did not even get to speak with my son today…when the police were called and went to “father's parents home”, they told the police they were allowed to monitor and record my 14 year old's conversations, which is a complete lie per TCA 36-6-106. Not only that but I have had sole custody, paying all bills, carrying all insurance and I escaped.
Father now wants sole custody and pay no child support 14 years later. He punches, bullies and screams at my son then tells everyone is a liar, especially my son.
My job, since 2014, gives us the week after Christmas off and ever since 2014, my son and I have had that week to be together, have fun, travel…but this year, I was given 2.5 days with my son and it was done unethically and illegally and as a means to hurt me and my son.
Sorry, this is so long but this is just tip of the iceberg after 11 years and NO marriage. Our court and legal system is corrupt and care NOTHING about our kids.

I want to help. I want to raise my voice and let my son tell his story too. The laws need to be changed and all attorneys, judges and courts should be held accountable for their actions.

Submitted by: Lisa

Untitled

I met my rapist when we were kids in the local church I was raised in. He was the pastor's son and was very kind when we were children. I moved away in high school and we ran into each other on campus five years later and over 100 miles away from our old town. We began to hang out over the next 6 months and catch up over the past five years. He had become a local police officer in the town we lived in and I was in my junior year of college. I was going through changes in my life and he seemed to be a good support for me at that time. He started coming over to my apartment frequently and over the next two months he would buy me flowers and shower me with gifts. It felt secure and safe at the beginning.

Skip to a few more months and his behaviors started changing. He started staying over at my house and refusing to leave, he started showing up everywhere that I was, coming over uninvited, looking through my phone, and demanding to know who I was hanging out with. Even though we were not in an relationship, he started to control me. I made excuses for these behaviors, because I thought that he might have just had a bad day or that he just cared, but was very wrong. I remember nights crying to my mom on the phone because he wouldn't leave my apartment and I just needed space. I remember doing homework at my apartment and him dropping by during his shift to make sure no one else was in my apartment with me. I remember him getting upset and angry when I didn't answer the door fast enough and him looking through the apartment, as if I was hiding someone. I remember him getting angry because I started exercising and he told me I was trying to impress other men. I didn't know what to do and I didn't know who to ask for help. When I would ask him or tell him that something was bothering me, things just escalated into a fight.

Unfortunately, the night I was assaulted I went out with a large group of his officer friends for his birthday. He was consistently buying me drinks all night for over 7 hours and encouraging me to drink more and more. During the course of the night, I ran into a few male friends and he became livid. He came up to me in the bar and started shoving me away from my old friend. Then stormed out of the bar and was screaming just because I said hi.
Unfortunately, due to the amount that I drank that night I do not remember how I got home, what time I got home, who took me home, etc. I do remember a small details of being dragged onto a mattress on the floor by my legs and him grabbing my face and screaming at me. When I woke up the next morning, I had bruises covering my entire body… hips, wrists, inner thighs..and by the pain I was feeling in other areas, I knew that something bad had happened. I called my mother immediately and took pictures of my bruises because they were so large. I later found naked photographs that he had taken on his phone from that night and I was clearly unconscious in the photographs.

I went to the state police, because I did not trust going to the local police (since he worked for them). I thought that they were going to immediately act due to the injuries I had. Unfortunately, I was very very wrong. The police took me to the emergency room for an examination and to photograph my bruises. This process was very invasive and unsettling after everything I had already been through. They interviewed me over and over and over until I literally was going numb to everything around me. Their questions consisted of “well if you were unconscious then how do you know that you didn't consent?” “He said the pictures were a birthday gift” “You sure do text a lot of males in your phone” “You know if you are lying you will go straight to jail”. I was consistently cooperating and getting upset and repeating my story over and over, but they were just not listening. They then demanded that I call him to record him to a possible confession. I did not want to do this but I was not given the choice. They wire tapped his phone and he admitted to knowing I was unconscious, that the assault lasted over two hours and was telling me that he was sorry and that he wanted to tell me that he loved me… I was hysterically crying because of what he had admitted. When I turned to the officers in the room with me for their reaction, they stated “well, its still a he-said, she-said”. I immediately left the station with my mother and refused to cooperate any further. The state police would not listen and did not take me serious. A month after I stopped cooperating they “lost the emergency room photos of my bruises” and “couldn't retrieve the photos” that he had taken of me that night, despite his admission of taking the photographs and the state police describing the photographs to me during questioning. The prosecutors stated that they didn't have a case due to lack of evidence. I was floored. Everything was gone, the taping of the phone conversation was gone, photographs from two different people were gone…and no one would listen to me.

He remained an active officer for 10 months until I was able to win a Title IX hearing at my university, where he was found unanimously responsible for sexual assault. He was banned from campus, a no contact order was put into place and he was suspended from the university.

I filed a protective order and was granted it shortly after. After 10 months of living in fear of his anger and him finding me, he finally was forced to resign from his job.

I went through the worst experience of my life and it took many, many things from me. It took my happiness for over a year, I lost my salaried job, I lost my apartment and became homeless, I wasn't able to attend classes regularly, I didn't want to leave bed, I lost friends because I couldn't share what happened to me without being embarrassed or ashamed… everything reminded me of what happened and I feared running into him or his friends on and off duty. I made the decision to move across the country to start over.

Although he took so much from me and two years of my life are gone that were wasted on trying to heal from the damages, he did not take my voice. I now dedicate my time to educating others on sexual assault and being a voice for the survivors who cannot speak out on their experience. I work at a local domestic violence shelter and also work as a mental health therapist. I graduated in May with my Master's in Social Work and I am planning on pursuing law school to make changes in the policies and laws surrounding sexual assault survivors.

I could have very well let that evil man take everything I had and I almost gave him all of my power. But, I have found strength and healing through speaking out and helping others who have gone through this and who feel as though they aren't being heard. I will not let him dictate my future or my success. I will never let him have control over me again and I will succeed regardless of what he tried to do. My goal is to help other survivors reach that point and reclaim their lives. My voice is what has pushed me through and what has kept me alive and I am so very thankful for my new life that I created.

Submitted by: Samantha McCoy

Stabbed & Beaten with Metal Baseball Bat

On June 05th 2006 my ex husband broke into my home & stabbed me repeatedly & beat me with a metal baseball bat. He was captured & arrested that same night & has since plead guilty on all charges & is serving a 22 years sentence on all charges. I'm sharing my story in hope that it may help other women know that they're not alone because other battered women have gone through abuse as well & I'm also sharing my story in hope that it might prevent another woman from going through or escape abusive situations.

Submitted by: Janice West

I’m a Survivor, Not a Victim

I have known my abuser for roughly ten years. We have dated on and off since I was in high school. I was seventeen, he was twenty one and I fell for him hard and fast. We were living together by the second month of dating and by month three he had me isolated hundreds of miles away from anyone I knew. And, of course, that's when the abuse started.

At first it was just a slap or him spitting in my face or dumping a beer over my head. But then I got pregnant, and things got worse. He'd choke me until I would pass out, punch me in the face, throw chairs and other objects at me. And I was well aware that he was cheating on me with a girl named Mindy who worked at Applebee's with him. Still I “loved him” and tried to make it work.

After our daughter was born, I left. Not because of the abuse necessarily, but because of Mindy. And that's when he ran to her. I warned her that Duane was dangerous, but she didn't listen. So one night they fought and he took off with her in her own car, beat her then left her on the side of the road and took off. He was charged with multiple felonies, but signed a plea deal which gave him five years in prison.

He spent the first four years of our oldest daughter's life in prison for aggravated kidnapping, and when he got out on parole I tried to make things work again…but only ended up pregnant and terrorized by his abusive ways once more. He ran from parole, and I kicked him out. Nine months later, I had our second daughter. He was already in a relationship with a new girl, Patrice.

I thought he was happy with her. I thought maybe we could co-parent better now. He did ok for a while, but then I started getting weird texts from him. Like why was I ripping his family apart? Why was I “letting” him get engaged to Patrice? And then the stalking started.

Eventually, I ended up in Houston with Duane and his mother where he held us captive for three days. Each night we got a worse beating. The last night, I ended up unconscious from a glass ashtray to the head. I woke up on the living room floor, bloody and certain that he would kill us both if this was to continue. He made me lay down in bed and refused to take me to the hospital. The next night, just as he began his drunken rant, his brother showed up and put it to a stop. I ran back home to Denton where I'd left our daughters with my mother and sister. Still, covered in bruises, cuts, and bite marks, I didn't report him to the police. But I did seek a protective order. I was denied.

Five months later, in August, we attended court for child support. Unable to talk directly to me because of the domestic violence flag on our case, he tracked down my car in the parking lot and left a note: “I've never been sorrier. I love you.”

I fell for it, again. He began to live by himself instead of with his new girlfriend Patrice. And we began to see each other once more. By September I was practically living with him. And then the abuse started…again.

He was mad about being on child support. He demanded I take him off of it, or marry him and move back in so it would be taken off by the state.
I refused to marry him while he was dating both myself and Patrice and because the girls get state benefits there was no way the state would let me take him off of child support.

What happened next was the scariest night of my life. He waited until his roommates were gone or in their rooms before he began attacking me. I tried calling 911 discreetly, but he caught me and hung it up before I could connect to the operator. I screamed out for help, but none came. He proceeded to beat and choke me until I fell unconscious. Then he'd wake me up by throwing me around by my hair. By the second or third time I woke up, the police were knocking at the door. One of the neighbors heard my screams and called them.

He immediately stopped. He begged me not to get him thrown in jail. I ran for the door, begging him to just let me leave. He didn't stop me, and I didn't tell the police what happened. My mother came to pick me up that night. The next morning I woke up covered in bruises. The worst of them on my face and around my throat.

I took one look at myself in the mirror that morning and burst into tears. I knew I'd almost died. If the cops hadn't shown up, he would have strangled me to death. He almost had. I went back to the city and made a police report. Pretty quickly I was granted the protective order I had been trying to get for months. The police report became an active felony investigation, which led to Duane running from a felony warrant for domestic violence strangulation.

Fast forward six months or so later, and a friend of mine informs me that his girlfriend Patrice has changed her last name to Duane's on Facebook and there's a new profile picture of them both. I informed the detective, and about a week later Duane was arrested at her place by the Texas Marshalls.

From what I understood at first, he was facing a third degree felony charge which could carry a sentence of two to ten years in prison. I just recently found out that because this is not his first violent felony, they enhanced the charge to a first degree felony. The minimum is twenty five to life. They first offered him thirty five years, but he hasn't taken a plea deal yet. He's currently sitting in Denton County Jail on two charges, the second of which was his violation of the protective order. His bonds are set at $450,000 for the felony and $150,000 for the protective order violation.

I was shocked at first, to know that the father of my children was facing twenty five to life because of me. And then my therapist reminded me it's NOT because of me. It's because of the choice HE made. He didn't have to get violent. He had other options.

He married that poor girl Patrice. I feel bad for her, married to a man who not only abuses his partners but is facing twenty five to life. I can't warn her, I tried with Mindy and it didn't work. She's better off with him behind bars. He needs help, and I need justice. I don't think he'll get better behind bars, but I know I'll feel safer at night. And I'll know that Patrice is safer too, even if she doesn't see it that way.

I spent over a year in domestic violence therapy and I still feel guilty, shameful and helpless sometimes. But I'm beginning to see my own worth, that I don't deserve to be abused, ever, no matter what the reason. Before, I felt in a way that I deserved it. I'd been brainwashed to think that my actions made me responsible for HIS actions.

We're in the court phase of this debacle, and it's dragging out. I don't think he's going to take a plea. I think he's gonna take this to trial. And I'm scared. Of facing him in court, of him getting out. It's all very up in the air right now. Despite my fear, I am going to stand up for myself this time. I'm going to make sure that he is held accountable for his actions.

Submitted by: Samantha Jones

Strong Enough Now

I've been stuck in my head a few days after watching the mini series Big Little Lies. And my ex last name was Wright. My ex husband was my high school sweetheart. The first time he hit me I was 15 in my bedroom. He was jealous of a boy I was friend's with. I forgave him when he cried and told me he was so sorry. I had no idea this would be the start to a 17 year cycle.

I divorced him at age 32, three and a half years ago. I was calculating in my head the number of attacks I have survived. The number is somewhere in the 60's. His cycle was every 3 months or so while we were young and into our twenties. Once I became pregnant at 26 it lessened. Although, I do remember him hitting me in the car very early in my first trimester. The car was a place he hit me back handed a few times, when I was 19 he split my lip and I had to tell my family a lie – that I had been hit in the face at a concert – as they took my bloody face and clothes to the ER, asking me over and over if it was my boyfriend and I stone coldly denied it was him and defended him. To this day I have a scar I wear on my lip.

Once our son was born, he'd pick fights less often, maybe every 6 moths or so. I remember being choked, slapped, shook and kicked sometimes punched with a closed fist. Sometimes I'd have to stay home a few days until my black eye looked OK with makeup. Just like the character in Big Little Lies, I fought back. And unlike her, I would call the police when I thought he was capable of killing me, but when they came, I took the blame, so afraid of the consequences that would come my way if he got taken to jail instead of me.

By the last three years of our marriage, he used his words more than his fists. And when he admitted to sexual problems and his numerous infidelities and encounters with prostitutes, I found a therapist and came up with an “escape plan”. I was weak and didn't know how to live without him. So I stopped seeing the therapist and decided to stay for my son. I left him after one last huge fight that my 5 year old son witnessed. He saw his parents attack each other in a hotel room, ripping my husbands shirt off him after he twisted and pinched my arm, screaming at him I was done and I was going to hurt him for all the years I had taken from him. I knew it was out last fight. A knock on the door and the police decide to detain me. My ex had a way to make sure I looked crazy and he the calm one. I spent a night in jail and moved out the next week. My charges were dropped. And my ex husband didn't fight me for custody of our child. We agreed to share custody.

Three and a half years later, I survived. I am strong. I am in a loving relationship with a new man and my son is doing great. I worry about the time my son spends with his dad and his new wife, I've heard from my son there have been fights, there has even been an arrest. My ex was finally taken to jail after a night of harming her. As far as I know the charges have been dropped. All legal advice I get it is California is a no fault state, it'll cost me a lot of money to try and fight for full custody, and it'll be very difficult to prove there is any problem or abuse. I hope I can combat any violence that my son may have learned with the love and stability I am able to provide him now, that I could not when I was married to his dad.

Submitted by: Anonymous

In the Promise of Love

I remembered him from grade school when he contacted me on Facebook. He didn't look the way that all of us did back then; awkward, toothy, and chunky. He'd grown up and had become a fine-looking man. It didn't matter. I'd had a crush on him since elementary school. Considering that I'd been divorced for over a year, I was ready to start dating again. I had three kids, and after discussing it with them, they agreed that it would probably be good for me to get out of the house.

The first few dates were fun. They were so fun, in fact, that I didn't notice how much he drank. When I really stopped to think about it at the end of the evening, I assumed that he'd had two? Maybe three? Again, it didn't matter. Between the “Good morning, beautiful” texts and the “I can't wait to see you again” texts, I was hooked. The euphoria only lasted for a while, however.

Due to an unfortunate turn of events (losing my job in the recession), I was forced to make a tough decision. I had to move in with him to avoid winding up in a homeless shelter. He was strongly encouraging it, anyways, so I figured we could try it. I mean, why not? So, I packed up what our family had, put most of it in storage, and my children and I moved in with him and his four kids. The boys shared bedrooms, and the girls shared a bedroom.

At first, things were quite harmonious. I wasn't working, so, I'd clean the house, and have dinner for him when he got home. I'd make sure that the children were cleaned up, and that they did their homework. I kissed bruises, put band-aids over scrapes, and tried to heal hurt feelings. When the kids were in school, sometimes, I'd go to my mom's. At first, this arrangement worked.

I'd noticed that the drinking was much heavier than I thought it was. The first argument came after a case of beer in one evening, when he told me I was no longer “allowed” to see my mother during the day. I told him that he couldn't tell me what to do, and it resulted in a push so hard that I landed on the floor and skidded backward until I scraped my arm on the wooden bedpost. He immediately apologized and promised it would never happen again. Foolishly, I went to sleep that night, and believed him.

Fast-forward a few months. The pushing, yelling, and demeaning comments and insults flowed regularly, at that point. Someone was always better than me, he could always have someone else if I didn't do EXACTLY what he wanted me to do. Someone was always WORTH more than I was. Any time I would say something akin to, “Well, why don't you go get HER, then?”, I was met with a push or slap across the face. When we'd go to bed, depending on his mood, he wouldn't make love to me. He'd hurt me IF he wanted to have sexual relations that evening. If not, he'd tell me how unappealing my stretch marks were, or how ugly I was. He'd tell me how no man in his right mind would want someone like me. Why did I stay? Well, I still believed that he'd change. Underneath the drunk he was at night, he was as timid as a lamb, I thought.

The positive pregnancy test was a shock. I was on birth control. I didn't want to be pregnant. I had three, and just couldn't afford to get my tubes tied. Hesitantly, I told him that I was pregnant. He was elated. He celebrated by drinking himself into a stupor, and then fighting with me and telling me my family would never be allowed to see the child. While he was at work, I started going through cabinets, when I saw a prescription bottle in the cabinet above my oatmeal. The bottle was for Clindamycin, but the capsules were missing, and all that was in the bottle was a fine white powder (presumably, the Clindamycin). I put a tiny amount on my finger and tasted it. It tasted like a bitter powder. It tasted like an antibiotic. I opened my oatmeal canister after washing out my mouth and put some of the residue from inside of the can on my tongue. It tasted the same. He had been decreasing the effects of my birth control by sneaking antibiotics in my food. I sat on the floor and began to cry. Who was I going to call? He'd alienated me from everyone, and I was utterly alone. Feeling trapped, I called my OB/GYN, and asked him if he'd terminate a pregnancy. He wouldn’t but referred me to someone who would. I was six weeks pregnant. I told my fiancé that I was going to the doctor for cramping, and he didn't give me a hard time. When I got home, I had a prescription for something that would make my cervix open, and I hid the pills between the mattress. I had to be at the clinic at 8:00 the next morning and had to take the pills an hour before I went. That morning, I snuck the pills into the bathroom, and took them with tap water. I knew that he wouldn't suspect anything, because I hated tap water. I had the procedure that day and hitched a ride home.

That evening, I was bleeding heavily. I told my fiancé that I was miscarrying and leaned over the counter. He took the back of my head (by the hair), and hit it up against the wall while saying, “You can't even get a PREGNANCY right!” He never knew about the abortion. The recovery was horrible, as I was having depression issues from hormones and my circumstances. He asked me to go to the bar with him, and I refused. He told me, “I don't care if you're DYING. If I tell you you're going to go somewhere, you're going to go!” Again, I declined. He grabbed me by the neck and pushed me back onto the bed. While holding my neck, he grabbed a roll of duct tape from the drawer next to the bed, and duct-taped my arms to the bed posts on the headboard, then duct-taped my feet to the posts on the footboard. When I yelled for help from one of the kids, he duct-taped my mouth. He smiled, then said, “Wait for me until I get home. I have to get drunk to be willing to sleep with you. Ha!”

I heard him tell the kids that anyone who helped me would be subject to the same, if not worse. Not one, out of seven kids, came to my rescue. I laid in that bed from 7:00 that night until 3:00 the following afternoon. The kids missed school. My fiancé was nowhere to be found. When he came in, he immediately jumped into the shower. When he got out, I croaked, “Please untie me. Please.” He removed the duct tape, and even brought me some water and something to eat. He apologized again. He brought lip balm for the bleeding cracks in my lips that were torn open by the duct tape that I was able to rub off during the night, using the bedding. I ate tiny bites and went to sleep. I heard him tell the children to be quiet so that I could rest. Not one child made a peep for hours. Maybe, just maybe, he'd change this time. That night, he didn't drink at all. We didn't argue at all. I felt hopeful, but not for long. His phone buzzed on the countertop. He had that nifty “text-preview” feature turned on, and I read: “Courtney: You were amazing last night. I'm glad you finally left that horrific girlfriend of yours. <3”

I was devastated. I spent the night duct-taped to a bed, just so that he could go to a bar and sleep with an old coworker. I laid in a pool of my blood so that he could get his rocks off with her. He saw me cry in the kitchen and wasn't aware that I'd seen the message. He asked what was wrong, and I quietly told him, “You've just received a text message. Maybe you should check it out.”

“You drove me to it.” As long as I live, I'll never forget those words. “Your inability to follow directions and act right made me do it.”

Even that, however, didn't finish him off for me. What did it is when my children went with my ex-husband for the weekend. I received a phone call from my ex-husband ten minutes before the children were supposed to come home that Sunday night, informing me that the children had told him what was happening at home, and he wasn't going to return them. He quietly said, “I'm sorry, hon. I can't have my children in that environment. You can come here to see them, but they won't be coming over there anymore. I have already contacted my attorney.”

I was able to contact an old roommate of mine, and cried to her, telling her what was happening. I was broke, my kids were gone, and was stuck with someone who was supposed to love and care for me – yet, he cheated on me, berated me, and beat the crap out of me. She invited me over, so, I told my fiancé that I was going to visit the kids (which always resulted in a beating, because I was accused of sleeping with my ex-husband). I collapsed in her arms and cried myself to sleep. When I woke up, I panicked, because it was dark outside. I cried and told her he'd kill me. She told me I could live with her, yet, I still declined.

When I arrived home, the whole house was dark, with an exception of the living room. His truck wasn't there. I couldn't have been more relieved. His kids were with his ex-wife, so, he must've been out at the bar. I called my old roommate/friend, and told her, “If you're still offering a place for me to go, I'll take it.” At that moment, a hand shot out from around the corner, incasing my neck. The hand was then replaced with a cord (it was a bullwhip that I had from an old Catwoman costume). I couldn't breathe. I couldn't see. He'd put enough slack in the cord right before I'd pass out, and then he'd squeeze again. “You stupid whore. I parked around the corner and waited here to see what you've been doing behind my back. You're not going to leave me. I'm going to kill you tonight, and no one will ever think I did it. My truck wasn't here. Once again, I'm smarter than you. You're just a worthless whore.” My head crashed against a counter. My head crashed through sheetrock. Once he let go of the bullwhip, I started to scream, and he took a dirty sock off his foot, and split my mouth on both sides, cramming the sock in my mouth. All I smelled was blood, feet, and the acrid scent of stale alcohol. Nobody could hear me. I was all alone. When the needle plunged into my leg, I barely noticed it, and then, my aching head ceasing to ache, the burning in my lungs stopped, and everything went black. The last thing I heard him say was, “I have a surprise for you, my love.”

When I awoke, I was duct-taped. My arms were duct-taped to my feet. I couldn't open my left eye. I was in a tub that was half-filled with cold water, and the water was pink from my blood. I was confused and in a fog. With the sock still in my mouth, I tried to mumble, but couldn't get the words out. He yanked the sock from my mouth, and asked, “Do you have something to say?” He was holding my phone and was going through the few texts that I had. I asked, “What did you inject me with?” He laughed, and said, “Ketamine Hydrochloride. Smile, beautiful. You're lucky it wasn't bleach. I have a fun evening planned for you. Say, what's your husband's phone number? I have to report you missing.”

I knew that if there was any glimmer of hope for my situation, him calling my ex-husband would be ideal. I gave him the number. Before he finished dialing, he stuffed the sock back into my mouth. I heard him address my ex: “Hey, this is *******. Listen, ************* hasn't come home this week. Is she with you? All of her stuff is here, and I don't see her just leaving without it.” My ex-husband said something to him, and my fiancé responded, “If you have all her information, would you mind filing the missing person's report? I'm about to go out of town for work.” My ex said something else, and my fiancé then said, “Hey, buddy. Thanks. I'm really worried about her.”

Once he disconnected, he looked at me, smiled brightly, and said, “Now, where was I? Oh, yes. That's right. Just a second beautiful. You're going to love this.”

Silent tears streamed down my face as I watched him produce a hair dryer, and plug it in. He turned it on and started dangling it over the tub. He was going to electrocute me. I tried to struggle to scream with the sock in my mouth, tried to fight against the duct tape, and tried to stay calm, but it was no use. I accepted the fact that I was going to die. We went through twenty minutes of this, while he told me how he was going to get rid of my body so that no one would find me. I watched this transpire from outside of my body. As I watched, I heard a knock on the door. My fiancé rolled his eyes and turned off the hair dryer. “Someone always has to ruin the fun,” he said, as he kissed my forehead. He chuckled, “Don't move, baby. If you make a noise, I'll kill you, okay?” I just nodded.

What happened next was a blur. I heard a man scream, and I saw blue and red lights flashing through the windows. I heard my ex-husband screaming my name as he ran to the bathroom. My son, who was sixteen at the time, was right on my ex's heels. I felt gentle hands lift me out of the tub and succumbed to unconsciousness. It was finally over.

After I was released from the hospital, I moved in with my former roommate. She registered me for college, so that I could get financial aid. She helped me find a part time job. She took care of me throughout numerous night terrors, meltdowns, and fears. I couldn't have done it without her. My ex – his shrewdness used to irritate me, but that night, I'm convinced that it saved my life. He came to the house because my ex-fiancé was asking him to file a missing person's report, yet was about to go out of town, meaning that he wasn't very concerned about me. He was trying to cover his tracks.

That was six years ago. I have graduated college and remarried a man I met in church. He treats me and my children wonderfully. I still go to counseling on a regular basis, and I still cringe any time that I hear ANYONE call another person, male or female, worthless.

If you are in a relationship that is moving at 90 mph, there's substance abuse, or there are constant insults being spewed, LEAVE WHILE YOU HAVE THE CHANCE. Just LEAVE. Don't wait for it to escalate, thinking it'll change, I promise you this: It won't change until you're gone, and how you go it completely up to you. LOVE DOESN'T HURT. If it does, walk away, or you could leave in a body bag.

Submitted by: Corrine

My Story; Like Many Others…

A domestic violence story by Christine Davis.

 

I married my son’s father the week after I turned 18; I had second thoughts while walking down the aisle but felt the conviction for my son to have his father and legally be married would bring less shame to myself and my family. He was usually so nice to me, except when I was pregnant, the first time; he was angry as if it was my fault alone. His kindness seemed to come to a screeching halt the night of our honeymoon… he brought a friend along, decided to get drunk and tell me at 135lbs, and measuring 38-28-38 that I was “fat, lazy and no good”… we didn’t consummate the marriage that night, I went to sleep with my son next to me and my husband partied into the wee hours of the night.

Later there would be coerced escapades staged that I was to take part in with him and his friends, that made me feel so small, so worthless. He would use drugs and alcohol, his personality was not easy to read. If he had a bad day at work, I was the one who would get beat, or pushed, or emotionally abused until he felt better. He would put me down, not allow me to wear make-up because to him it was a sign I was trying to look good for his friends. Certain clothing was no longer allowed, my hair was never right. To try and strangle me, throw knives and keys with sharp objects on them became the norm. He would call multiple times a day; and if I had not answered by the 3rd ring; he was certain I was having an affair and I would get his wrath when he came home from work, we had a corded phone, so I had to drag it around the house with me, I had to pull the phone into the bathroom to bathe, to use the toilet whatever it took, as long as I could hear the phone and get it before the 3rd ring I was safe.

There was no visiting friends, or family alone, he would send me out to get him cigarettes really late at night and have me walk a few miles to get them; our neighborhood was scary at night with gangs infiltrating and random shootings. His type of abuse was very blatant and came on so quickly it seemed and so strong; I had no idea how I would escape. He never worked double shifts at work, and when he did stay away from home, he was having an affair; yet still managed to stay in contact at home by phone or by having a friend of his “check in on me”. If I mentioned my unhappiness and how I thought we should separate, or go to counseling, he was angry. He took parts out of my car so it wouldn’t start and hid them until he got home. Eventually he worked a double-shift for the first time in a year and a half. This was my opportunity. I had snuck a few cents or a dollar from him over the last year and had a little less than $25.00 to my name hidden in the closet. I called my family and told them what had been happening and that I had to get my children and I out of the house and I desperately needed their help, and I had 8 hours to get out with anything of importance. Family came from out of town, my mother opened her house to me and my two children, I was to find out a few days later that I had left him; 8 days pregnant with our 3rd child. He denied that she was his; spreading false rumors to our neighbors that I’d had an affair. I didn’t, she was his and looked just like his side of the family when she was born. I didn’t know a thing about how restraining orders worked back then, but I bluffed and said I had one and he was to stay away. Come to find out he’d been having numerous affairs and fathered a child with one woman he was with. I filed for divorce after our 3rd baby was born; he didn’t show up to court. I hadn’t heard from him again for 22 years. He never visited the kids; he was heavily into street drugs and drinking and had kept under the table jobs in order to not pay child support and even ended up homeless. Point is I had to find my courage to make a move, strategize and get help as soon as I could. My story doesn’t end there, but it’s enough for now.

One Pair of Panties…”A True Story of Abuse, Survival and Victory”

A domestic violence story by Debra Bell-Vanzant.

 

My Prayer is that it will help somebody..Only you know when you are sick and tried of being sick and tried…

It was not easy, but anything you want in life, bad enough won’t be easy…
This is the introduction of my book and the end of a dark life and the beginning of a new.

My book Title is:
One Pair of Panties…”A True Story of Abuse, Survival and Victory” It will be avail. in July/2012…

About the Book
Debra Bell-Vanzant exposes how a family, who lived with abuse, adultery, lies and deception behind the closed doors of their seemingly perfect middle-class existence, crippled a precious little girl emotionally. It was a life that she never should have known. The story gives a riveting account of why this little girl became rebellious and felt forced to live on the streets of Chicago at the age of fourteen – lost, lonely and looking for love. It covers her life of drugs, abuse and more abuse at the hands of men, disgrace, shame, loss of self-respect and total abandonment by her family at such a young age.

This story is intended as an eye-opener for young girls, alerting them that there are wolves in sheep’s clothing just waiting for them to run away from their parents and into the streets. No longer a child, the woman described herein has lived a life of trials and tribulations, but overcame her struggles and is now a survivor of an apparently hopeless situation for over eighteen years.

The book will hopefully serve as inspiration for women currently trying to escape the cycle of abuse. By the grace and mercy of God, you will be able to make it through; not necessarily by duplicating the efforts of this woman, but by the path that the Heavenly Father has laid out for you.

This not a new story, but this is my story…

I’m here at the end, but yet the beginning of my life that at one time I thought, I would never see. But God… I made it by the Grace and Mercy of God, through Hope, Faith and Prayers, with a sincere heart and made up mind, but most of all, Prayers from my Na-na and from other people that were praying for me. I made it out of a life that had me racing straight to Hell!

I’ve grown a lot. There were parts of my past life that have taken me years to overcome, but I made. But God…

As I wrote the details of my life in the form of an open book, I wanted readers to know that it doesn’t matter what you went through in life or where you are right now in this present moment; there is a brighter day. The sun will shine and you will see a rainbow, you just have to hold on to God’s unchanging hand, and don’t look back.

Writing about my experiences in life helped me to realize, I had to go through what I went through, to get where I am now, and to see where I’m going!

During my difficult journey of writing my story, I had to go back to some dark, dark places that was scary and painful. I cried, I got angry and I even laughed at times, but all while I was going back down that path, I realized how truly Blessed I am; how God has given me favor and power over it all.

People have tried to pull me down, but come to find out I was my worst enemy. See sometimes we can blame other people for all the tragedies in our lives, but if we really stop and think about it we had a choice. Remember, that God gives us a choice, at our own will.

It was a serious battle for me to re-visit those dark places, to break the strongholds that Satan had on my soul and spirit; the barrier’s of my past. I had to realize that there will always be temptation, in my life. I know that Satan will never stop trying to lure me into his trap of destruction. It’s up to me now to do the will of the Lord in order for me to stay on this side of the battlefield.

I have shed many tears and endured heartaches and pain. I have suffered in this battle of life only to come out standing firm and staying suited up with my Armor of the Lord awaiting the next temptation/battle, and it is not easy!

There will always be trails and tribulations in our lives until we die, but God is able. We only have to make up our own minds which side of the battlefield we will stand on.

I would like to apologize to all the people I may have hurt while I was walking the path of destruction. To my children, I’m so sorry that Mama put you through that life. I would also like to say to my ex-husband, James that I forgive you for all the hurt and pain you caused me.

I released it all and I thank you for being part of my strength today; I will continue to pray for you.

I thank my Heavenly Father for Life, for the Battle of my Life and even more for helping me get to the other side of this Battlefield.

We all need to know that we have choices in our lives. You can stay in the situation that you’re in or you can remove yourself from people, places and things.

It is your choice of which way your life is going to continue in this race of what we call life.

I’ve told you my story of how I overcame the trials and tribulations of Abuse, Alcohol, Drugs and the Barriers of my Past.

If I can make it, you can to! Remember it’s your life; it’s your choice. The question is will you make the right decision and make it to the other side of this Battlefield?

I will pray that you do, I made it, so can you.