Elise Steven suffered through years of abuse from her ex before realizing she needed to get out. Like many others, it was difficult for her to escape a cycle of abuse and to ensure she wouldn’t be hurt again.
“I was taken against my will and moved 300 miles while pregnant. I escaped and moved back to my hometown, but my ex followed me,” Elise tells Love What Matters about the end with her ex. “He then stayed with me after having an abortion 7 weeks postpartum, due to him forcing me. I knew I had to get out.”
The danger of the situation was clear to Elise and she hired a bodyguard to keep her safe. The relationship between the two quickly blossomed and they got married not long after. “BigRed” as she calls him, is seen throughout much of Elise’s social media, where she talks about all the ways he’s saved her.
“BigRed is the sweetest man I know. He is so gentle and kind. My grandma always says, ‘He would pave the streets gold for you.’ He is very patient and understanding,” Elise says. “When I married him it was definitely ‘puppy love,’ but as the years have gone on and I have gotten to know him, I can’t imagine my life without him.”
The two now live in Oregon with Elise’s children as she continues to heal. She has worked to heal not only for herself, but for her children as well.
“I realized I projected my own pain on my children and took them to a counselor to help explain how sorry I was and to help them heal,” Elise tells Love What Matters. “I was not a mean mom but I was a disconnected mother for a long time because I walked around with a fog of my own pain clouding reality.”
Elise recognizes she has not gotten this far alone, and apart from her relationship with BigRed, she is thankful for the kindness of everyone in her journey.
“There were a lot of people that tried to help me see if I could leave, but it wasn’t until a group of strangers didn’t stop supporting me and showed me I was worthy,” Elise says of her journey. “That is what we want to do for others.”
This philosophy of help inspired her to share her story on social media. She has since amassed over 44,000 followers on TikTok.
“When I put my story on social media, I prayed God would allow my story to show at least one person that they can heal, they can grow, and they can conquer their pain,” she tells Love What Matters. “I never imagined it would go this far, but I would love to get to a point where I’m helping others all over the world see their worth.”
Her goal has become so much more real than she ever imagined, as she continues to grow online and has begun to write a book. The darkness that shrouded her for so long has faded as she has found light and love in her new life.
This article was written exclusively for Love What Matters by Anna Steingruber. You can follow Elise Stevens of Oregon on Tiktok. Submit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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