domestic abuse survivor

‘He can’t save you.’ I was 5, lying on the floor with the covers pulled tight, my father holding a gun to my mother’s head.’: Woman overcomes abusive childhood, relationship, ‘I’m fighting to break the cycle’

“He cheated when I was 8 months pregnant. Somehow, it was my fault. ‘I’d never cheat and the baby isn’t even mine,’ he told me, even though I hadn’t been with anyone else. The next time he cheated, it was with my best friend. ‘Did you know Mary was opening a diner?’ It all made sense now! He had been having an affair and they were opening a cafe together! I knew I needed to file for divorce, but how?”

‘At 15, I caught the attention of an older man. ‘You’re jailbait. You could ruin my life.’ He blamed me for the entire affair.’: Autistic woman escapes domestic abuse, ‘It is not my job to carry his pain’

“I didn’t understand at the time, but he was triggering autistic meltdowns. He objectified me constantly and often talked publicly about my genitalia, how no man had ‘had me before.’ Months before my 20th birthday, I proudly displayed a photo of my brother in uniform on the TV, which was ‘too imposing.’ I immediately threw my belongings into a trash bag. It was like a light bulb went off in my head.”

‘His scheme to butter me up to lose his virginity worked. ‘Wow, he really cares about me.’: Domestic violence survivor reveals she’s been ‘scared to speak my truth’ for years, but finally realizes ‘I’m stronger for what I’ve been through’

“I was sitting in my room doing homework. His ex-girlfriend called. He was caught red handed. He drove to my house with flowers and sobbed. ‘I’m so sorry. I’m just so insecure because you’re so out of my league – I got nervous and cheated.’ I was so angry. My relationship was destroying my family. Nevertheless, I went to Disney with him anyway. I stood in the middle of Magic Kingdom crying, alone and terrified.”

‘My daughter fled 300 miles from her abuser, stopped at a gas station, and never came home.’: Mom loses daughter to domestic violence, ‘he was only charged for drugs, but we’re living a life sentence without our sweet girl’

“My daughter met her abuser in rehab. He was 41, 19 years older than her. Our first reaction to the abuse was to pack up her stuff and get her away from him. ‘Please give me time,’ she begged. She wanted out badly, but feared the repercussions. Reluctantly, we all agreed. Little did any of us know this would be our biggest regret. My poor baby was found with finger marks around her throat 2 weeks later.”

‘He lit my insides on fire. So, I did it. I married him. My body signaled that something was off. I pegged it as nerves. I didn’t know about the pools of women.’ Woman breaks free from abusive relationship 

“It was the same with everyone. The same love songs, the same pet names, the same date night spots, the same EVERYTHING. In a ten-day period, he cheated with 3 people. He played it off as him being drunk and stupid. I believed it at the time. I didn’t tell friends or family. ‘If I can’t even make a marriage work, what else will I fail at?!’ I kept it private, until things began to boil.”

‘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

“From the outside, our relationship looked perfect. We were a good-looking couple, young and vibrant. We had a wonderful social circle, luxurious vacations. No one knew I was being trained to accept abuse so horrible my hair would fall out – literally. I didn’t recognize the red flags waving right in front of my face.”

‘Mom, I made a mistake.’ My boyfriend left me on the side of the road, a burning sensation on my face.’: Young woman escapes abuser, ‘I only survived for my child, but now I survive for myself’

“While I was asleep, he took my phone and began browsing through my messages. I awoke to his voice. ‘Who is this guy you’ve been texting?’ He looked angry. ‘That’s just my friend,’ I explained. ‘Well, don’t text back. You’re flirting with him by texting back.’ I tried once more to defend myself, but ended up pinned down for hours while I sobbed and begged for him to let me go.”

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