Stories of Freedom From Domestic Violence
Trigger warning- this page contains real life stories of women who have experienced abuse in various forms. Please read at your own discretion.
Earlier this week, I had the privilege to watch Taylor Swift’s documentary that just aired on Netflix. First, let me say that I have always been a Taylor Swift fan. I sometimes used to joke about how crazy of a woman she was, but watching her documentary was an eye-opener for probably many people, including myself.
Taylor talks about her sexual assault case, and since I intend on working sex crimes in the future, I got very interested when she brought this up. I had no idea she was even involved in a sexual assault case? Why???
As she kind of hinted at, no one really thought her case was “that” serious. Taylor was sued by her assailant, and many probably assumed that she was doing all of it for money, but in fact, Taylor fought back and sued her assailant for only ONE DOLLAR.
Isn’t it sad that women get criticized for admitting they have been sexually assaulted, or abused, or mistreated? They are only admitting it for attention, or for money, they assume. Taylor showed some serious woman power in her documentary, and I loved every second of it.
That is why I am now going to tell my story. We all go through experiences that change us, and none of us go through the exact same experiences. Some of us aren’t affected by situations that others get so deeply affected by. Since I was a little girl, everyone always expected me to go to law school one day. Turns out, I actually was made for law school. I don’t think any of us knew why I would love it so much.
Like I said, we all go through experiences that change us. Besides passing the Louisiana Bar exam and becoming an attorney, my biggest goal is to work special victims.
I feel obligated to be a voice for those women, those children, and even those boys and men who are too afraid, or who do not have the chance to have a voice and stand up for themselves.
We all go through experiences that are life changing, and for me, although it was an awful experience, it changed me for the better.
I was in a very toxic relationship in high school. We all have that one really bad boyfriend, and he was that really bad boyfriend for me. Unfortunately, I got pregnant for that really bad boyfriend at 17-years old, which turned out to be my biggest blessing in disguise.
For me, when I got pregnant, I think I matured almost instantly. I wanted to protect my child and give my child the best life possible. I’m not going to bore anyone with the details of how I made sure that my child would have an amazing life, but essentially, it included taking that really bad boyfriend out of the picture.
Fast-forward about 18 months after my child was born, and I get a text from that really bad boyfriend saying he has money to give me. So, I picked him up from work and brought him to where he was staying. He got in my car, as calm as any normal person, and had little conversation with me.
When we got to where he was staying, he immediately got out of my car. About 20 minutes later, after he consistently asked me to go inside of the house if I wanted the money from him, I went to the front door.
I opened the door to a dark house, and took a step back. That really bad boyfriend that I had broken up with about a month before was hiding behind the door, in the dark house, and as I ran off, he chased me, grabbed me, and threw me inside.
When I say he threw me inside, I mean that he took my small body, compared to his, and literally threw me to the ground. Details from that day are hard to recall because that is a part of my memory that I have blocked out, because that is how I managed to get through it, but at that moment, I just remember him treating me like a puppet. He made all of my moves for me. He controlled me, as if he owned me. He grabbed me by the head and threw me into a computer, and then to the floor, and then into a room.
I remember I was wearing a headband that day, and it fell off of my head in the hallway. He had calmed down for a second, and asked me to walk to his bedroom, which was in the back corner of the house, as if I had any choice.
I walked back there, and because no one was home, he did not shut the door. I remember walking into the room, and the few things he had in there were bottles, clothes, and an axe. An axe, how random, I know. But, it was in there, and that was how I assumed he was going to kill me.
In his room, he threw me against every wall, slapped me, and then forced me on the floor. He tried to tie my legs together, and got on top of me, as if he was going to rape me, and maybe he was, or maybe he wasn’t, but I kicked him, and he easily gave up.
Right outside of his door was the door to the backyard. I thought about running so many times, but I knew I had no chance. No one could hear me scream if I tried to scream, and no one would see me running before he caught me. So, I stayed. I remember not feeling anything.
It is true when they say that you don’t really feel a thing. I remember forcing myself to cry in attempt to make him feel sorry for me, but in my head, I just kept telling myself I was going to call the police; he is just psychotic; I am not scared. And to be honest, I don’t think I was scared. I do not remember feeling scared; I just remember being there, not feeling anything.
What saved my life that day was saying that our son was waiting for me to pick him up. That was the first and the last time that I have ever referred to my son as our son. It worked because, I assume he thought, why take that child’s mother away and leave him with nothing? So, he let me go. But, before he let me go, he took me out in the hallway, and he hugged me. He cried, and he hugged me.
That was the moment I felt something that I remember: disgust. I remember thinking how disgusting and pathetic of a human being he was. After he hugged me, he looked at me in the face and said exactly, “Go pick up your mess and wipe your face.”
Out of that whole time I was in that house, that moment is what I remember most. I think it is because a switch flipped in him, again, and he had just acted like he did nothing. So, he took me into the bathroom, wiped my face, and told me to leave.
I ran out of the house, and that was when I began to scream. I didn’t scream for help, either. I was screaming because that is when I felt the pain of everything that just happened. All of the bruises began to hurt; my head began to hurt.
At that moment, I told myself to just go home, and not to the police station because he was never going to see me again, or my son. So, I didn’t report it.
I went home, put makeup on, and went pick up my son from daycare. No one suspected a thing. I blocked him and took him out of my life, but before I could do that, he blew up my phone about how he was going to turn himself in before I could.
Fast forward a few months, and he is still trying to call me. People like him go through life thinking they have done nothing wrong. People like him think they are the dominants, and women are just objects at their disposal.
I remember him telling me, “You’re lucky that’s all I did to you. My friends turn their females black and blue.” The words that would come out of his mouth haunt me more than anything he could have done to me.
Fast forward a few months, and he finally got arrested for trying to kill me, again. This time, not physically, but by verbal threats. Honestly, I’m sure he would kill me if he had the chance to, even today. But who I am today is not who I was then. I am much stronger now.
I was never afraid of him. I hated him too much to be afraid of him. But, I was terrified of what he wanted to do to me. I think I was most scared of how he could articulate such a plan to attack me, when he did, and remain calm the whole day. I mean, he had planned to attack me; he had to have. He knew when he got in my car that he was going to try to kill me; but still, he remained calm, and even made conversation with me, as if he hadn’t already planned to try to kill me.
He wanted me dead, and everyone knew it. He harassed me even after he was arrested. He would drive by my house, sometimes at night, or would send me texts on a different number about how he was at my house, in my backyard, and he was. I lived everyday in fear.
That is the thing no one talks about…what happens after you call the police. People like him do not stop; they never stop. I would run to my car, even just leaving my house, because he knew my schedule.
I was always scared of closing my garage because he liked to sneak into my backyard, so I always told myself if I leave the garage open and he breaks in through the back of my house, I have a way to escape quicker. I didn’t feel trapped. Isn’t that crazy?! I felt safer with the garage open because I felt like I could escape him quicker if he broke in through the back of the house, but realistically, if my garage were open, he would likely break in through my front door anyways.
That is what happens when someone hurts you and wants you dead. You think of every way to survive and make it out alive. For a few months, I would call a few of my friends crying out of fear that he would kill me that day. It took a long time for me to feel safe again.
I had to take some time to myself after what happened to me. And it was the best thing I have ever done. I didn’t just grow up, but I grew stronger mentally.
I knew that law school was always my calling, but I didn’t realize what I would do with it until I was attacked by a man that thought he was bigger and stronger than me.
I read a quote recently that said, “A victim’s first scream is for help; a victim’s second scream is for justice” (Coral Anika Theill). And I am living proof of this quote. Except, I am not seeking justice for myself. Instead, I am seeking justice for the other millions of women who are struggling to get justice; who are too afraid to speak up; who are too afraid to leave.
Often times, women who have not experienced domestic violence try to relate, and, in my personal opinion, it just isn’t something anyone can relate to. You can feel sympathy for someone who has suffered domestic violence, and you can definitely stand up for them, but you can never know what they go through; you can never speak on their behalf; do NOT speak on their behalf. Do not try to tell them you understand why they did or did not do something because you simply cannot understand why.
For me, everything I do is for my son. We did a domestic violence activity in one of my classes, and only a handful of students had suffered or witnessed domestic violence. The other students, who hadn’t experienced that kind of trauma, did not take it seriously. That got to me because some laughed at the idea of their kids being taken away from them so they could stay at the homeless shelter so that they would not have to go back home to the abusive husband. That is typically not what happens because in reality, you would go back to the abusive husband if it meant you got to keep your kids.
I know I would personally go back if that was the only way to keep my child with me. Everyone has different stories, different life styles, different circumstances, and it is not our place to judge, or try to put ourselves in their shoes because we couldn’t know what we would do. It is our job, as men and women, to just ensure that these victims feel safe: feel safe to tell their stories, feel safe from their abusers. You don’t have to try to put yourself in a victim’s shoes to try to understand what happened. You should just want to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
I had a happy ending to my story, and not all victims do. My son went through a really tough phase of wanting everyone to be his dad. He sometimes witnessed what his biological father would do to me, and although I don’t think he remembers today, he definitely made sense of it then. He does not know him. My wish is that he never knows him, regardless of what anyone else thinks; I never want him to know him. I also never want my son to know what he did to me.
Just when I became certain that it would be just him and me forever, we found our happy ending. He was totally unexpected. He worked my son’s third birthday party (it was a super hero party, and he was our super hero…literally).
Two years later, and he is the best thing that could have ever happened to us. He is my son’s best friend; my son’s father figure; my son’s dad. He saved us, and gave my son the best thing I could have ever hoped he would have in life. Most importantly, he saved me. He has the biggest heart and the sweetest soul. He made me feel safe, and he loves doing life with me. He is what I hope any girl could have in this lifetime.
Every girl deserves to feel love and security. Do not normalize being hit, or not feeling safe. There is no excuse, ever, for a woman to feel unsafe with a man she thinks she loves.
“I want women to know that they deserve a life of respect, dignity and freedom— that it’s never too late to speak up” (Samra’s Survivor Stories).
We all deserve to feel loved and respected. Love is not being attacked and abused, and respect is not being mistreated and degraded. We are all worth so much, and we all deserve for our worth to be appreciated by someone who truly loves us. Stand up for women, and stand up for victims, and stand against domestic violence and sexual assault.
Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)