‘My innocence was taken by a 19-year-old. We jumped into a ‘relationship.’ I let him take me into bed because ‘My innocence was already taken. Why did I need to pretend like I had it?’

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“Growing up in California was a dream for me. I got to visit the ocean, I had a few amazing friends and I was completely oblivious to all the troubles that were happening within my home. I have the long story of parents that made poor decisions and so on, but this isn’t the time for that story. I was 12 when my innocence was taken from me by a 19-year-old boy, and I hid that from the world until I was 15. I will leave that there for now because it goes along with the point to my story.

Courtesy Jessica Stanton

My mom moved my brother and I to Richland, MO while my father was in rehab for the final time, he joined us later on. I was 13 and in the middle of my 8th grade year. I did not want to leave, I was being taken away from all that I knew, and I was so mad at what happened but kept it all inside, every bad thing that ever happened was pushed deep down.

When we got there, it wasn’t so bad though, I made a couple good friends and had some family that lived there that I got reconnected with. I started to like a boy… we will call him Wes. He was sweet, fun, nice, and a good guy. I was always the Girl that didn’t deserve the nice guy, so I pushed him away. A new guy moved to Richland, we will call him Willis, instant connection. We jumped into a ‘relationship’ (I turned 14 at this time and Willis was 17). I let him take me into bed because ‘My innocence was already taken why did I need to pretend like I had it?’ My mom had a boyfriend that she moved in with and my brother and dad moved back to California so it kind of left me with nowhere so ‘Willis’ let me move in with him.

Moving in with Willis will have completely changed my life. My first heartbreak was when he made me tell my dad about Brian (the man that took my innocence) or he would not stay with me. That’s as just awkward and really only made me feel worse. My second heartbreak was when I found out through his Xbox that he cheated on me, but I forgave him and stayed, where else would I go anyway? He told me he wanted me to have a baby with him, my mom even still has a letter he wrote to me. I felt like I was important and loved and a few months later my mom took me to the Doctor to find out I was pregnant, at 15 years old. I was due Nov. 8. 2008. A week after my 16th birthday. I was happy, sad, confused, and completely unaware of the responsibility I just took on when I told her I was keeping my baby.

Willis wasn’t happy. He grew angrier every day. The first time was when he held me down on his bed with his arm and knees and raised a fist over my stomach and told me ‘If you say another word, I will kill your baby’. I cried a lot after that, I also hid from my family. I hid bruises, cuts, sadness. The second time I found out he cheated on me he was mad I looked through his phone so he through it at me, it hit my shin and instantly broke the skin and bruised. He also hit me in the back of my head multiple times until I had to fake pass out so he would stop… but he took me to Taco Bell after, so he still loved me. He just had to make sure I stopped limping so people wouldn’t see.

My dad got an apartment so we moved in with him before our baby would be born, we still had a few months. He was good to me at my dad’s house. One night I didn’t feel well, my chest hurt, and I was getting sick. We went to the hospital and I had pre-eclampsia, I was still 15 at the time. I had to have an emergency C-Section to remove our daughter. She was premature weighing 3 lbs. even. She stayed a month in the hospital, and she was finally able to come home. I had to give her special vitamins and take extra care of her, she was beautiful though and I was so happy to have her, and Willis was being good too.

Courtesy Jessica Stanton

Shortly after we got her back to my dad’s he lost his apartment. So myself, our daughter, and Willis moved back to his parents. The old habits started happening. Our daughter was there a few days before I called my mom and asked her to get our daughter. I told my mom that I was a bad parent, but really Willis had folded 7 pairs of jeans and stacked them on top of our 5lb baby and I was terrified he would kill her. My aunt showed up to pick her up, I was devastated that my mom didn’t come through for me.

Little did I know I would have nowhere to go so I stayed in this situation with Willis until I was 17, right before I graduated. My aunt had temporary custody of our daughter; I still didn’t share what was happening to anybody.

Finally, one day I woke up and Willis was playing Xbox and I told him I was done, I was leaving. I clearly remember him saying ‘yeah, okay.’ So, I put my clothes in a trash bag, threw it out the window so his mom wouldn’t see and drive to my mom’s boyfriends house. Willis called me three days later and said, ‘you never came back.’ I told him I wasn’t going to. That weekend would be the scariest time of my life. I was sleeping and Willis broke into my mom’s boyfriends house after he wrecked him car, I was 17 and he was 19 at that time. He was completely drunk. He woke me up and told me he knew I had been talking to other guys, I looked over and he had my phone which he crushed with his thumbs. I jumped up and told him to leave or I would scream. He decided to try to hug me and I tried to run, he grabbed my throat, but I was able to get away and told my mom to call the cops. Willis ran out with a sword that was hanging on the wall and swung it at us. The cops showed up and chased him away, but they didn’t find him until about 6 hours later at 5 a.m. when he tried to get back into my window. He was underneath the neighbor’s propane tank. I was able to get a restraining order and I dropped all charges on him because I’m an idiot.

After that my mom had to document every time, he tried to come around me, he hacked into my Facebook, followed me, destroyed my truck (but I couldn’t prove it).

I finally graduated high school and started college, but I chose to leave to get my daughter back. I worked, for an apartment, and my aunt signed the rights to her back to me after I proved myself. My daughter was two years old. I’ve learned so much from my experiences that I wish I could pass on, but I was always too scared to tell people. I have a beautiful family now. Three children, a man that respects me, and my oldest daughter with Willis is now 10 and is the most polite, respectful girl I have ever met. She does not see him, and I get no help from him but I’m okay with that. I didn’t try to get financial help from him one time when she was 8 and he found my phone number and told me if I didn’t drop it that he would come get her and I, so I did drop it and have not heard from humble since besides him wanting to sign any rights over so my husband can adopt her. Which she is more than okay with. I’m sharing my story in hopes that young girls don’t make my mistakes, don’t keep things in, tell the truth and be proud enough to get the respect back that you give.”

Courtesy Jessica Stanton

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Jessica Stanton, 26, of Missouri. Submit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.

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