About Her

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.

 We met when we were juniors in high school. We were so young, but we instantly just “clicked”. Throughout high school, we did long distance because he was pursuing a sports career that required him to move away at a very young age. I remember him surprising me with how much he loved Jesus and how he really was pursuing Him and me in all the right ways. 

 After I graduated high school, we ended up getting engaged 4 months later at the age of 19. Young- I know, but we knew we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together because things were PERFECT. He was perfect. I truly felt like I was living the dream. 

 He ended up moving even farther to attend a university, and at the time, I felt like God was calling me there too. I ended up moving to be with him and to chase my dreams. Our dream. Things were great until they weren’t. 

 Although he never showed signs of addiction or abuse, his parents battled with it for most of his life. We always talked about how HE would break those generational curses and we’d live an amazing life together. 

 After suffering through an injury that temporarily ended his sports career, he became depressed. He didn’t know what to do with himself. At the time, I was supporting us with the help of his family until they filed bankruptcy. It was all on me. 

 Once his injury was healed, he ended up leaving me where we were to live on the other side of the country to try and pursue his sports career. I was left alone, but I still was hopeful that this was where God wanted me, so I stayed. 

 He ended up “missing me” so much that he came home. The man who came home wasn’t the man I fell in love with. It was almost like a switch was flipped. 

 He started drinking at least 20 beers a day, he was taking adderall, and also smoking pot. But even then, I still never expected it would go down the path that it did..

 One day I was texting my manager about work. He had always felt threatened by him for some odd reason, but there was never any reason for him to. He asked me who I was texting, so I told him and he freaked out, telling me to delete his number and to stop speaking with him. So, I did that exactly. 

Five minutes later, he comes back up to me and asks to see the messages (the ones that he had just asked me to delete). Whenever I voiced that I didn’t have them because he told me to stop speaking to the guy, he FREAKED out as if I had something to hide.

It escalated so fast and I don’t think I truly realized what was happening. It was all a blur. I remember trying to calm him down. In the midst of that, I got shoved to the ground, and I remember being punched twice on the same side of my face. I was in shock, and of course he was too drunk to realize what he had done. 

 I had work the next day, so I ended up wearing a ball cap as low as I could and packed on the concealer in hopes that no one would notice. 

 People cracked jokes at work saying “Oh, who’d you get in a fight with? Did you win?” I just giggled and said I hit my face on the stair railing. Unfortunately, they believed me. I was so ashamed. 

 My fiancé ended up visiting me at work that day, and was shocked when he saw my face. He had NO idea what he had done and was so apologetic as if it were an “accident”. I decided to let it slide because he said he’d never cross that line again. 

 I didn’t think things could get worse, but every day was worse than the one before. I was living a nightmare. He stayed intoxicated 24/7. He would steal my debit card, and drain my savings to go purchase beer at the one local gas station that would sell to minors. 

 The nights were the worst. He never let me sleep. He never let me shower. He would slap me across the face; pull my hair; kick me off of the bed; knock me down; spit in my face. He would constantly threaten me. 

 I remember one night the cops came because my neighbors heard my screams. They asked if things were okay, and I played it off. I said we were just horsing around and cutting up. They believed me. I look back and wish I would have had the bravery to tell them how badly I needed help. I had no one. I was locked up in a house, thousands of miles away from my family, with a monster.

 He ended up getting so angry one night, he punched me over and over and over until I felt like I couldn’t breathe. He smashed my face into the ground so hard that I can still remember the feeling of my nose bones cracking. I remember waking up the next day, and I didn’t even recognize myself. 

 After weeks of him telling me I was dramatic for being in pain, I went to the doctor and they told me my nose was broken. I ended up needing surgery immediately. 

 I lied to my family and friends and told them that my dog head butted me. Unfortunately, they all believed me. I was still so ashamed and didn’t want anyone to know. 

  The day of my surgery, he left me there by myself to go buy more alcohol. I woke up out of anesthesia alone and terrified. 

 After realizing that I wouldn’t be able to afford my college tuition, we found out our tuition would be cheaper if we got married. We decided to go to the courthouse that day to sign papers. We ended up getting to the courthouse at 4:02, and they closed at 4:00pm. God saved me. 

 I ended up finally agreeing to move back home. I was so scared. I was living in shame and didn’t want anyone from home to know what was happening, but I knew I couldn’t support us anymore. 

 I remember on the night of us leaving, he attempted to take my dog with him. If you know me- my dog is everything. She was all I had while I was there.

 I jumped in front of the door to block him from walking out with her. Without thinking, he grabbed my throat, shoved me up against the door, and squeezed as hard as he could. I still remember the look in his eyes. His whole body was shaking. He was squeezing so hard and I felt my breath slowing down. He finally let go and threw me to the ground. I just remember crying so hard that I couldn’t breathe. 

 We ended up getting back to the city where we grew up and I, of course, decided to still live with him. He attempted rehab a few times but he never stuck with it. On top of the 20-30 beers a day, he picked up taking Xanax, and the nightmare just continued. I tried fighting back a few times but it only made it worse. 

 The physical abuse was bad, but honestly the mental, verbal, and emotional abuse was so much worse. He told me that I was nothing and that I was stupid. He would constantly talk about other women’s bodies which left me feeling so beyond insecure. 

 I’ll never forget him being face to face with me, looking into my eyes he said, “You are worthless.’’ He proceeded to spit on me and shove me to the ground. 

 I remember locking myself in the bathroom, crying out to God every night. Begging Him to change his heart and begging for answers. I was wondering why He was allowing me to go through it all. 

 I remember taking a knife with me in the bathroom, and running it over my thighs trying to think of how I could escape this. Thoughts of taking my life entered my mind. I wanted an out. I felt like I had nothing left. I lived in constant fear. I was so terrified to leave. I was lying to everyone, but especially to myself. 

 I’m sure you’re probably thinking, “Why did you stay for so long?” Honestly, I don’t have a good answer. I felt like I owed it to him to stick by his side since we were engaged. I felt like the man I fell in love with was still somewhere inside of this monster. I was blinded. 

I’m begging you, please don’t ever think your loyalty has to lie with someone who has abused you. Please leave the first time. Please leave WAY before there is a first time.

 After putting up with everything for a year and a half, I woke up one day and gained the courage to walk away. I brought him his stuff, gave him his engagement ring back, and tried to gather myself enough to move forward. I was so broken. 

I look back and still wonder why I went through the things that I did. I am so grateful that I didn’t marry that man or have children with him. Jesus showed me so much grace.

Since going through it all, I’ve already been able to speak to a few younger girls about abuse. It’s my testimony now and I know that Jesus had a purpose for me in spite of my pain. 

Little did I know, there would be so much joy on the other side.

Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)

About Her

About Her

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.

We met when I moved to America. I had only been in the States for a few months. Me and my family went out to eat and he was working at the restaurant as a waiter. We connected almost automatically. He was funny and charming, and invited me to hang out with him and his friends at the college nearby. 

My initial thoughts of him were that he was fun and down to earth. A little careless, I guess you could say, about the way he dressed and what others thought at the time. We fell into a relationship pretty soon after I met him, although I was a little hesitant, mostly because I had just moved here and wasn’t sure if I wanted a relationship. 

We got married quite quickly- 2 years or so after meeting, and we were married for 4 years.

Looking back, there weren’t any definitive red flags early on in our relationship.

He was very mature for his age; he’s 2 years younger than me. He loved God, and you could see that in him. He was always trying to better himself and his relationship with God. He was kind to people, and had a very warm personality, albeit a slightly quirky one. I was originally an unbeliever and I found God through him. 

I got pregnant, and almost immediately after giving birth to our daughter, the abuse was daily.

It’s like a switch went off in his head and he started drinking excessively. To the point where he would go out after work, turn his phone off, and come home the next morning or night. He was drinking at work and lost multiple jobs over it.

He would verbally abuse me on a daily basis. He called me worthless, fat, ugly, a bad mother, and a bad wife. One time he told me he wished I would die because I didn’t bring any value to his life.

He also cheated on me with many women. When I would find out about him cheating, he would lie and tell me I was crazy and controlling.

It was a huge struggle because I began to believe everything he was telling me. I ended up not taking care of myself, my hair fell out, and I began passing out a lot- probably from stress and not eating right. I had nothing left at the end of the day. I was barely alive.  

The last straw for me was at the end of 2018 when I came across the “Love over Addiction” podcast and really implemented it to my life. I listened to it constantly and I detached from him completely. I learned that I had no control over him or his addiction, and that I didn’t cause it.

Around April 2019, he was drinking and threw his car keys in my face, pushed me to the ground, and told me once again how worthless I was. I had saved enough money and detached from him so much that I was able to say “Enough”. 

I don’t think I was ever scared of him. I felt sorry for him and for who he had become, because I remember who he was before and his heart. I believe that the man I married is still in there somewhere, he’s just very lost and me and my daughter won’t be dragged down with him.

I hope one day he addresses his alcohol issues, along with his anger, need to please people (which I think played a big role in him drinking to begin with), and other deep-rooted emotions he is running away from. I hope he comes back to God. I pray that happens for him. 

I learned from this experience that I am stronger than I ever imagined. I am not who he says I am, only who God says I am. I learned to never again give so much power to someone’s words that they control me.

There have been days where I was so drained, running on no sleep, sick and taking care of a sick toddler, depressed and at the lowest of my life, and I still made it through.

There were days where I would wake up from passing out and hitting my head on the floor, begging him to come home and help and he wouldn’t, and I STILL made it through.

I am built to last. I am a great mother. I practically raised her all by myself through the darkest time of my life, and if I can overcome that, I can overcome anything.

Since filing for divorce, I haven’t had any relationships. I have dated here and there, but nothing serious. I have been trying to concentrate on myself for once, my daughter as always, and my career. I have always worn my heart on my sleeve, but I’m a lot more guarded with it. I don’t trust easy, that’s for sure.

I have definitely become okay with feeling my emotions, and not pushing them down or running away from them. I’m learning how to sit with my feelings, and that it’s okay to feel a certain way but to not to let it control me.

My hope for the future is to not project onto another person or bring my hurt into my next relationship. 

I want women who have been/are going through the same things as me to know: you are worth so much more than you could ever imagine. Just getting out of bed in the morning is a HUGE accomplishment for someone who has experienced what you have. Be strong and don’t believe the lies. Stand up for yourself and say no…”enough!”

God loves you too much for you to be stuck in an abusive relationship. He doesn’t want that for your life. He has a purpose for you and to be abused by your husband/partner is not it. Staying in an abusive marriage is not it. Don’t let one person dictate your future.

Yes, being lonely sucks. Yes, having to work so hard to provide sucks. Yes, the future is scary, but what is even more scary is staying in the same place.

I was fearful of the same things. I was putting up with it/allowing the abuse in hopes he would change, and telling myself it’s better than being a single mom, but that is not true.

A year and a half for me felt like a lifetime. What was meant to be the best time/experience of my life was overshadowed by abuse and addiction from someone who was meant to love me unconditionally. Press into God. Forgive, and be free. 

Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)

About Her

About Her

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)