‘On my daughter’s birthday, I woke up in a garage to him trying to douse me with gasoline.’: Domestic violence survivor says ‘if you need a sign to leave, this is it’

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Disclaimer: This story includes details of domestic abuse and may be triggering to some.

“The first time I prayed in a long time was on June 18th, 2020. I was sitting in my car while my abuser was talking to his friend who could clearly see I was all bloody. I repeated aloud, ‘God, please let me go,’ over and over and over again until I could see him walking back to the car. After leaving his friend’s house, he finally brought me home after beating me with my phone and his hands for over an hour while driving around the metro area. On the way back, he hit me a few more times, busting my head open more, before throwing my phone out the window.

While driving around, he was saying things like, ‘I haven’t even got to your ribs yet,’ ‘I should throw you off raspberry island into the river,’ and, ‘I should get you good one more time before you get back.’ There was no remorse this time, none at all. That’s what made me fear for my life, for never seeing my babies again, and fear that it was my last day on earth. That’s when I knew this was it, this was the time I had to call the police on him because I feared he would come back and finish me.

When he brought me home, he ran into my house with the keys and took my new MacBook pro before making me go inside with my kids. He drove off in my rental car with my house keys. My babies were shocked at the sight of me. Their mommy was covered from head to toe in blood. Our son asked me, ‘Mommy why you got blood? Did daddy shoot you?’ That broke me. We got out safely that night.

Courtesy of Brianna Winge

I had to call the police at the station because that’s the only place I knew he wouldn’t go. They transported me to the ER where I had x-rays and CT scans done and ended up getting staples throughout the left side of my head and my forehead glued shut. I lived that night, and it was the start of me getting back to being me again.

Some may call me a victim, but I don’t look at it that way. I’m a survivor. I got out. I got my family out of an unsafe, unpredictable situation. Now I’m left to pick up all the pieces, but if I’m strong enough to leave him, I’m strong enough to figure out how to be alone again. I am resilient. I have been surviving him for 5 years on and off. I am resourceful, I’ve gotten back on my feet 3 times and this will be the 4th and LAST.

He’s taken so much from me: my mental freedom, happiness, my peace, my confidence, my sense of safety, my relationships with my children, not to mention all the material things I’ve worked hard to provide my kids and I with. My apple watch was ripped off my wrist while I was being choked, my phone thrown out the rental car window, my laptop taken, and my $4,000 savings I was living off during COVID gone. This was all while being charged $1700 for the rental he never returned, and the list goes on.

Courtesy of Brianna Winge

Just before that last incident, he ruined my daughter’s birthday. I was knocked out by my abuser in a garage and woke up to him searching for a gas can to douse me with so he could light me on fire. He transported me to many different family and friend’s homes, and I had a panic attack from all the abuse that day. The ambulance was called, and I ended up in the hospital on my daughter’s birthday. He’s broken my ribs, my nose more than 5 times, he’s stolen my only vehicle and tried driving it off a cliff. He’s chopped my hair off, blackened my eyes, busted my face open, hit me with our child in my arms while my other son saw, and he’s even hit me in front of many of his children.

Courtesy of Brianna Winge

This list is horrible. Many of you may be confused as to why I stayed through all of this. It doesn’t start off this way. It starts off with a slap and an apology. It starts off small then blows all the way up. I stayed because the person I knew and fell in love with, the man I knew was still there. I grasped onto the happiness I thought would fully come back one day, but things didn’t change. I had to learn the hard way; things WON’T change. That man needs help, and I cannot be the one to give it to him. I have to let go of the person who made me happy because he is now the person that’s created obstacles and unhappiness. Not just for me, but for my babies too.

I was left with painful scars from head to toe, depression, anxiety, extreme PTSD, and a heart and mind I have to work hard to mend. If you need a sign to leave your own abusive relationship, this is it. I know it’s hard. It took me forever. I kept going back in hopes things would be better, but they never get better. I have to learn to love myself and live for my babies again. I hope this helps girls out there realize you can leave, you can survive, and do it ASAP, before your chance to live is gone. Just know that NO MATTER WHAT happened, YOU DON’T DESERVE to be abused and mistreated. EVER.”

[If you need help, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or visit thehotline.org to live chat with someone 24/7. Help is out there and you are not alone.]

Courtesy of Brianna Winge

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Brianna Winge. You can follow her journey on Facebook and donate to her GoFundMe here. 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.

Read more brave stories from domestic violence survivors:

‘I know you beg him to stop. I know you think you can love him hard enough he won’t hurt you anymore. One day, sweet girl, there won’t be a next time.’: Domestic abuse survivor shares powerful testimony for fellow victims, ‘Run and don’t look back’

‘I kissed him with a face full of blood. I hid his gun every time an argument was coming. I built up every part of him, while he destroyed each part of me.’: Woman’s harrowing story shows ‘how easily domestic violence can go unnoticed’

‘He proposed in a big, elaborate way in front of my family. I was terrified. I didn’t know how or when, but I knew my life was over. I had to make my move.’ Woman escapes after decade-long abuse

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