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

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