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I remember my first black eye like it was yesterday. He threw a jar at me because I was talking back to him. The next day he came home with two dozen roses and a teddy bear.
At that moment I should’ve known to walk away because I had seen this many times before. I grew up in a household were there was domestic violence and for a while there I thought it was normal.When I met my ex-husband I had just lost my grandmother. I was grieving and I was hurting, I was lost.
But he would say all of the right things to me, and I believed him. He was a police officer and I believed that he would be a man who had morals and good values. I believed that he would be safe and caring, I believed that he would be my protector, but boy oh boy was I wrong.He was everything but my protector.
He would abuse me and then apologise for it.
It was a cycle that never changed.
I remember one weekend before my birthday my friends and family took me out to eat. This was the worst birthday that I have ever had. He walked into the restaurant and made a big scene in-front of everyone. He argued with my mother and my best friend, and by the end of that night I was bruised up and swollen.
This was the night that he told me that I had to choose between him or my family. And after only knowing him for six months… I married him.It was after I married him that whall hell broke loose. I was no longer his girlfriend, I was not even his wife, I suddenly and very quickly became his property.
As time went on, I lost all of my friends, I lost family members and the relationships I had with them. I was isolated, I wasn’t aloud to go out without his permission, and if he couldn’t come with me then I wasn’t aloud to go.
He controlled our finances, he controlled what I wore and he controlled who I could talk too. As time went on the emotional abuse would increase, until he had me where he wanted me. I finally lost my identity.I was no longer me. I was his, just the way he wanted it. He would go the extra mile to remind me constantly of my worthlessness.
He would tell me that I was ugly, that I was fat, that no-one would love me, and told me that I should never consider myself a woman because I couldn’t give a man children.
He made sure he broke me, he had me where he wanted me. Vulnerable, broken, depressed, lost and scared.
I was so depressed that I started taking my medication with alcohol. I was praying and praying that God would take me. If this was the life I had to live then I didn’t want to be alive anymore .Things got worse as time went on.
He would abuse me, he would punch me, slap me and kick me, and after every incident of his brutal beatings, I would receive a lovely gift.
If I didn’t want to be intimate with him, he would hold my wrist down and force himself on me. Sometimes I would cry and scream “no” but he would just tighten his grip and continue anyway. I was raped but my ex-husband a few times. And whilst his abuse towards me was escalating, so was the anger building up inside of me. There were numerous times in our marriage where I actually wanted to kill him.
I felt trapped, the thought of leaving would send me into a roller coaster of all sorts of different emotions and questions. I was too scared to leave. I had no-one to run to if I did, he managed our finances so how would I be able to financially survive? Where would I go? What if he goes after my family in retaliation? What if his work colleagues on the force help him? What if I leave and he finds me? so many fears and “what if’s” that I felt paralysed in staying. And so, I stayed.One afternoon my ex-husband was arguing with me. Things got pretty heated and I was so fed up with him that I threw a plastic water bottle at him, but in return,
he discharged his off-duty gun at me.
I moved out-of-the-way as I watched that bullet fly only inches pass me. I should be dead today because that bullet had my name on it. My husband shot his gun at me and I still stayed! That’s the thing about abusive relationships that people don’t understand, the abuser doesn’t only abuse you physically, they put fear in you, they make you feel worthless and they manipulate you and trap you into feeling like there are no other options other than to stay.After a few months of dealing with this trauma and living hell that I was in on my own, I finally spoke up and told my therapist everything that was going on. She told me that a miracle is coming and that I will get out of this marriage, and she was right.
I had previously told my ex-husband a few times that I wanted a divorce but as always, he would say “hell no! Over our dead bodies”
But finally my miracle happened and after another long night of fighting and arguing he went to work. He sent me a text message and to all of my family members too, he stated that I was cheating on him and that he was going to kill us both. What he didn’t realise was that he sent this text message to a work colleague by mistake and his colleague passed the text message on to his captain. My miracle finally occurred!I was finally getting my divorce! It took a two-year battle and it took me to lose everything that I had in that process as well. But money and material items mean nothing compared to my life.
I could never press charges against him because when his family offered to pay me in return for my secrecy, I accepted their offer.
I took the money because I needed it to move on and survive. He was the one managing our finances and I lost everything in that divorce. I was left with nothing, and what the government gave me went straight to my medication for my health conditions and bills.
So I took that hush money and moved on the best way possible.
After being married to this man for ten years, today marks almost nine years since the shooting occurred. It wasn’t an easy journey moving forward from this trauma, it took me some time to work through what I had experienced, but I did it and I am stronger for it.I still suffer from depression, anxiety, and post traumatic stress disorder but I am not suffering through this alone anymore. I have grown and learned from my past and I now know that I am worthy and valuable.
I decided to share my story because I hope and pray that my story can help someone leave before it escalates.
Please don’t let someone control your life, don’t let them tell you who you can be with or where you can go. If they hit you once, they WILL hit you again. Apologising does not take away what they have done! There are many forms of abuse so please educate yourself on all of these forms before it’s too late. And if you’re feeling trapped or scared, or if you need to learn more about the different types of abuse or are a survivor and need support, contact Ann (the editor of this page) she can help you.
To anyone reading this that is going through an abusive relationship, please know that you are not alone. Now is your time to leave, not tomorrow, not next week, not when you have planned ahead, there is no other perfect time to leave other than NOW .
This article was submitted by a brave woman who wishes to keep her identity anonymous .