Disclaimer: This story includes details of domestic violence that may be triggering to some.
“I’ll tell my story…
For those who think it will never be them.
For those who forget they have mothers, sisters, cousins, daughters, friends.
For those who are tired of hearing about #protectourwoman.
For those who still say ‘she provoked me.’
For those who think it’s just a slap.
He was my ‘boyfriend’ so I trust him right?
Waking Up to Horror
On November 11, 2017, I woke up to smacks. Being called an a**hole, a b**ch, an ungrateful wh*re. I was confused. I was sleeping. It was 5:58 a.m. The more I questioned, the harder the slaps were. The more he hit me. Slaps weren’t enough.
‘You f***ing sl*t, I do everything for you, and you’ll cheat on me’
Again, confused, I questioned what the hell was going on. Crying but so wary of the strength he had compared to me, and his beatings already escalated. I got thrown around, choked, punched, kicked. Threatened to hit the teeth out of my mouth, grabbed the pair of scissors, and told me he would stab me.
My sobs meant nothing. If anything, it fueled him. His eyes were evil with a hint of satisfaction every time his hands touched my body. I now knew what he was talking about. Innocent messages between a long-time friend and I, teasing each other. Calling each other grandma and saying it’s bedtime.
I tried to explain but with every try, another smack. Another punch. He kicked the bin at me, and it broke on my leg. My cries meant nothing. I begged him to stop. I wanted to fight back, but I kept having this inner conflict with myself: Do I hit back? Do I fight back? But I was so afraid. He overpowered me. I’d only make it worse.
I couldn’t run, he had locked me inside and taken my car keys. I couldn’t call anyone, he had taken my phone. And every time I cried, I would get another smack because I was too loud and the neighbors would hear. He left. But remained inside the complex. I contemplated jumping, but it was 3 stories high. I feared I would hurt myself and he would have me trapped because now I really wouldn’t be able to get away.
He came back and found me sobbing. ‘Stupid wh*re. No one wants you, all you are is a c*m bucket, a mattress. Not even God loves you. When I leave here, I’m gonna f**k another b***h, and when I get back you’ll suck my d**k like the wh*re you are. You don’t wanna sleep with me but you can chat to other men.’
Who says these things? Who are you even? What are you??? I call him, the devil himself.
The Long Process of Escaping
I cried and cried. But noticed he left the door open.
I grabbed my car keys and ran. He didn’t follow me because only he could open the gate and boom for me so he expected me to come back. But someone was leaving as I was reversing. I sped up knowing I could tailgate. I didn’t care that I might damage my car.
I called my cousin to find out where he was. I was sobbing, I needed to run to the closest place. It was 8:01 a.m. Yes.
2 hours later.
2 hours of abuse. Verbal, emotional, and physical.
2 hours of torment.
2 hours, you stripped me of my power, my dignity, my worth.
Yet it felt like 20 minutes.
Forward a couple of hours later to the entire ‘legal process’ of reporting my abuse. From police stations, to hospitals, to family court. It’s not easy. I now get why women don’t report these things.
I was asked, ‘What did I do?’ As if even if I was cheating, which I wasn’t, some answer would have justified why he beat me for 2 hours.
I was asked, ‘Why do you let him do this to you?’ This was the first time. I didn’t LET him do anything. I was asleep, I didn’t ask to be beaten.
When he was eventually arrested, a female officer said to me, ‘He’s so handsome, are you sure you don’t want him back?’ As if any form of physical appearance could take away everything he stripped from me or the difficulties I would face for the next almost 4 years?
While having people who are supposed to be of help to me asking me this bullsh*t, I also noticed this was an expensive process. Police stations, doctor’s visits, family court, court appearances, etc., all of this requires transport and money. If you don’t have any, how do you complete the process of reporting this abuse? How do you get from one place to another? And all this expense and effort from you, the victim, with bruises on her body, while he lies comfortably in bed or drinking a beer or whatever he did.
My entire body was in pain. I cried at every movement I would make because not only was I bruised and in pain, but I would remember every smack, every punch.
I tried to overdose on the medication given to me to ‘calm me’ and make me sleep. I would drive and skip red robots hoping one day would be my lucky day and I wouldn’t have to endure any more of this. I would speed constantly thinking, that one day, I’d be driving too fast and lose control of the car. I missed work constantly. I couldn’t be around the people I loved—who were trying to support me (and Lord am I grateful for them, I would be dead today without them) because every time I looked at them, the pain in their eyes mimicked mine.
I started drinking and partying excessively. Everyone talked. To this day, they still talk. Party animal. Don’t you want to grow up? You drink too much. She’s always out, she’s a h*e. A woman isn’t supposed to be in the streets like this.
It just made me drink more, because when he told me no one loved me or cared for me, they, including women, some of whom I even considered friends, would add truth to the devil’s words. No one cares. You’re just a sl*t. You deserve this. And each time I heard THEM talk, I saw his face, I felt every blow again.
I was losing myself. I lived in fear. Any car that looked like his I would have panic attacks. Any time I would see someone who looked like him I would panic. I didn’t know who I was anymore. And I believed the talk. I was nothing. I was worthless. I was a h*e. No one loved me. All I’ll ever be to a man is a sl*t. I’m just a pretty face, they want nothing more from me.
Friends begged me to see a psychologist. It took just 2 or 3 visits for her to realize if she didn’t help me now, I may never return because I’d have harmed myself. I was booked into a clinic for depression.
This was hard. I have to live with strangers for 3 weeks. Don’t leave me with these crazy people was all I could think of. I didn’t know any better. They were all just like me, damaged because of someone else.
For 3 weeks, I was out of sight. They still talked. Them, him, her. I didn’t even have the support of some of the women around me they were trashing my name. While others were trying to stop me from killing myself with my reckless behavior…Some said I was in a mental asylum. Yes, you know who you are.
Putting the Pieces Back Together
It took me almost 2 years to start putting the pieces back.
Everything in my life changed. Every day was a struggle. Every day I asked God, ‘I’ve been faithful to you, I went back to church, I served in your house, why me?’
Every day, I asked why did this happen to me? I’ve never treated people badly and always tried to share my love with everyone. And here I am facing so much.
What did he get? A criminal record.
No jail time, because another woman with a daughter, felt he could not sit in jail, I must be lying, she will bail him out. A new girlfriend to whom his mother helped him lie and made me seem like I was just dramatic. ‘He just threw the phone at her and she made a case against him.’
They trashed my name too. And the new girlfriend was almost me too. We tried to warn her though. So when she picked up on the warning signs, she made it out before he could lift his hands to her.
The monster under my bed, was my ‘supposed’ boyfriend…
But I’m here today. I’m alive. He didn’t manage to stab me. He choked me, but not to death. I’m alive. He made me feel worthless, he took me, from me. He degraded me. I’m alive, they spoke sh*t about me, trashed my name, and judged me for acting out on the trauma I experienced. And I’m alive.
But so many aren’t.
Dealing With the Trauma
It’s been almost 5 years now since that day. I’ve been in a mental health facility 3 more admissions since the first time. I’ve since been diagnosed with depression, anxiety disorder, BPD (borderline personality disorder), and ADHD. It’s definitely been a journey and not an easy one at that. I have found a partner with whom I am in a healthy relationship currently. Do I still think about that day? Yes. Does it still affect me? Yes. But, I haven’t given up the fight to find healthier coping mechanisms to deal with my trauma. I deserve to work hard on me, for me. I am not any of the things he said I was.
I, too, am someone’s daughter, someone’s sister, someone’s cousin, someone’s friend.
It happened to me.
And it happened to so many others.
So before you post your shallow comments saying, ‘I’m tired of hearing about this. I just smacked a woman once. She asked for it. She provoked me. She shouldn’t dress like that.’ And all the other bulls**t you say to your fellow shallow-minded people (and I say people because even we, as women, contribute to this abusive behavior)
It always starts with something you deem ‘innocent.’
Just a push.
I just called her a h*e.
‘All I said was, with a skirt like that, she’s definitely asking for it!’
Women live in fear, women are traumatized, women are victimized, and women are dead!
This is my story, but I am not the only one… Neither is this my only story to tell.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Raquell Japhta. You can follow her journey on Instagram, her personal Facebook, her blogging Facebook, YouTube, and 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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