Where do I even Start….

NOTE: The following was written by a real person. A real survivor. 
Please note potential triggers in this important piece.

I guess it all started when we moved from New York City to New Jersey. I thought so highly of the move. I was going to start at a new school, my old friend went there so I assumed we would hang out and I’d make all new friends and it would be my clean start. I was very wrong. I had no friends at my new school, nobody talked to me and I was more alone than ever. I hated it in New Jersey. I loved the house, loved the area, but felt miserable. Due to being so alone I called up an old friend whom I hadn’t talked to in quite some time due to a fight we got into.

She and myself started talking as if nothing happened and fell into easily hanging out regularly again. One night in Mid January of 2014, Just after my 17th birthday we decided to meet up with another girl we knew. That night was with numerous people, one of them being him.

He was everything I thought was attractive back then. He dressed cool, talked cool, and had alcohol + drugs that I was more than happy to take. The rest of that night everyone just hung out and had fun. The timeline of this story is all a little fuzzy so exact dates and the order of events may not be 100% accurate but I will try to keep it as close as I can remember.

It is now February and I have been seeing him more regularly. Sleeping over, drinking, partying, and had a makeout session on February 1 during the Superbowl. I was alone with him on the night of February 5, 2014 when he asked me to be his girlfriend. I was over the moon. I’ve never had a real boyfriend before. I went home the next day so happy and eager to see him again. I stopped going to school and only wanted to see him. He lived in New York City, drank, was fun - what more could I of asked for? I quickly decided that living in New Jersey wasn’t cutting it for me anymore and packed my bags and left while my father was at work. At first everything was great, until one night.

It is march now & my period is late. I didn’t want to worry him so I went out on my own and tried to steal a pregnancy test which came out positive. Having no money and being scared, I told him and asked my father to transfer money to buy another test just to make sure. I now know there are clinics which test you for free but I was young and didn’t know about resources. He, knowing that I now had money in my account wanted to buy pizza so he told me to get the cheapest one. After buying the test (with two in a pack) he was furious that he didn’t get what he wanted, pushed me against the wall in the doorway of our building and began strangling me. This was the first incident. I was so confused. Why did I buy two tests when he wanted food? Whats wrong with me? I automatically blamed myself, went upstairs and begged my father to send more money so he could eat.

After this incident it all starts to blur together. Things like that would happen to often I don’t even remember them all. There was an incident in the bathroom where he hit my head against the sink. I came out and it turned into a big fight with me, my friend and him. We all woke up the next morning with blood everywhere, furniture broken, but nobody spoke about it. Times when he would strangle me to the point I lost my vision and eventually come to lying on the floor with him standing over me with this look. If anyone has ever been in an abusive relationship, they know what look I’m speaking of. There is no compassion, no love, no safety when staring into those empty eyes. Strangling was his go to method of abuse. I remember once being strangled and coming to with my dog lying on my lap looking so scared. There were times I had bruises everywhere, where he would be hitting me in front of his friends but nobody spoke up thinking it wasn't their business. Not to mention the verbal abuse I would encounter. Being told i’m no good, I’m a horrible person, nobody will love me.

One night I remember is when we all went to Niagara. Him, another couple and myself. It started off great as usual until he started to get upset at me then at my friend. I remember fighting in the hotel washroom and he began to strangle me. This is when she jumped on his back attempting to stop him. My memory jumps to her being on the bed and him flipping the mattress over, hauling her into the air. From there it jumps to me running down the street in Niagara as she tells me to run and hide. The next morning I was in the hotel room with him while the others stayed in the 24 hour Denny’s. I know there was a point we all were locked out, a point she climbed over a fence and cut herself, and a lot more but like I said, everything's a blur.  

One day his ex came back into town from Delaware and he wanted to see her. She came to our house and the whole time they were attached to each other leaving me to feel vulnerable and helpless. Being upset at the situation I went to shower and made him come into the bathroom with me just to make her upset. One day we all got a hotel and she was there. She stated that she needed to buy a lighter so he went with her, leaving me alone for over an hour. Afterwards we went to my mother's house and I was waiting in the bathroom while he kept talking to his ex. I yelled at her telling her to get out and she did - he & I walking her of course. I later found out that he cheated on me while looking for the lighter.

We would frequently visit my mother who absolutely adored him. She praised him because I loved him, so did she. We would all go out together and have a great night but when we went separate ways it wasn’t as much fun. At this point it must be May 2014 and we are living in a new apartment after being evicted. We are all doing drugs and I was talking and talking and talking. The next morning he was furious at me, screaming saying were over. Being over was not an option for me. Where would I live? I couldn’t go back to New Jersey. The whole morning I was in tears crying so hard I couldn't breathe. This lasted the majority of the day. It went in waves where he wasn’t angry then extremely angry. Nothing I said was right. Till this day, I will never know why he was so mad. Living in that apartment lasted a total of 17 days. He threw a party which led to us being evicted once again.

Having nowhere to live we decided to stay with my mother. It was a studio apartment with one bed we all shared + the dog. One night near the end of June 2014 his sister was throwing an after prom party in a hotel. We all were having a fun time, he was extremely intoxicated and everyone went home besides us. He fell asleep on the couch and when I went to wake him up he attacked me. I guess I blacked out after that because the next thing I remember is waking up on the bed with blood stained sheets around me. My body was sore and my eyes were hard to open. When I made it to the bathroom I couldn’t believe what I saw in the mirror. I had two black eyes, bruises covering my whole body and a swollen mouth. There was blood throughout my hair, under my nose, my mouth. When he woke up he asked me what happened and I told him the last thing I remembered. His sister later told me that someone came back to the room and heard crying and yelling but couldn’t get inside the hotel room.

After that incident we ended up living with my father for a bit until finding another apartment under a hair salon Mid July 2014. While living there a few occurrences stand out for me. One is where we were screaming at each other and I thought dying would be better than living like this anymore so I attempted to slit my throat. One morning my father promised to send money but only sent half which drove him crazy. He threw me on the floor and began stomping on me and kicking my head. I tried to get up over and over but he just continued to stomp or push me forward until I landed on my face. This happened for hours. I told him I would get the money but he didn’t care at this point. Eventually I convinced him to let me go switch the laundry from the place down the street and ran as fast as I could onto the bus. While sitting on the bus his sister called me saying how horrible of a person I am for leaving and making him stuck with the laundry. She called me so many terrible things and convinced me I’m horrible if I don’t return so I did. As for what happened the rest of the day, I don’t know.

That was another house we didn’t stay at long. He convinced himself that moving to Florida would be a better idea and we packed up and left once again. I felt like I couldn’t breathe without him. That was the longest week of my life without a doubt. I sold my laptop and anything else I could find, begged my sister for money and flew out to Florida. I convinced myself I could go to school there and we will live happily ever after but issues arose with his father, fights broke out between us, and we both flew back to New York City mid September 2014.

We stayed with my father at this point until late October 2014 until we moved into our Dufferin apartment. It was gross and small. While living here I remember locking myself in the bathroom terrified of him, being strangled on the bed, having to pee into an empty liquor bottle because he wouldn’t let me use the washroom. Any name you can be called, he called me and any bit of self worth I had was taken from me, yet I couldn’t live without him. Isn’t that how it always is though? They convince you that you are nothing without them.

March 2015 he was arrested for assaulting a transit driver and having a concealed weapon. He spent a week in jail for this and my father was the one who bailed him out. We went to go see a friend a few weeks after he was out and that night is when I was dragged by my hair on the sidewalk, pushed onto the bus and hit across the face, leaving my body on the bus floor. Tyler told the bus driver to call the police but she just told him to stop. Another witness who wasn’t phased by me being hurt.

It’s hard trying to piece together the timeline for when these happened. I am getting to the point where I cannot give you a specific month for these occurrences. I know there was a time when he strangled me at my mother’s house, another time we got into an argument at my fathers which left me with a chipped tooth from being punched in the mouth with a ring on, a fight that left me so vulnerable I sliced my leg open with a pair of scissors which resulted in 25 stitches. Being strangled up against a door with a key lock, sliding down to free myself and getting a cut from shoulder to hip across my back which left me with a scar,  kissing which led to him biting down super hard and leaving me with a hole right above my chin, being strangled in the washroom in New Jesey , being pressed between the door and wall until I couldn’t breathe, should I go on?

December 2015 we were living in Scarborough and were having a pretty ok night. We decided to have sex and during it he looked down at me and said your going to die tonight and began strangling me. I somehow got out of his hold and ran to the washroom. He came to say sorry and I got into the bedroom and locked the door. He banged and banged on it for an hour until it was knocked down. The next morning when the people upstairs asked what had happened, he explained that I fell asleep with it locked. Silly me.

January 2016 he moved away to Florida for good and I moved out on my own. This was the end of our relationship. Although I kept in contact with him and we spoke daily we agreed not to date. July 2016 was the final time he hurt me. I went to visit him in Florida and the whole time he was rude to me because we weren’t together and he felt hurt. I booked my plane ticket home because I couldn’t deal with how he was treating me. When he found out I was leaving he pushed me into the closet and strangled me until I lost vision. His dad came running in and I was crying. I got on the plane the next day and haven’t seen him since.

Although we spoke on the phone I never saw him again. It took me a very long time to cut all strings with him and move on. I know people are thinking “ why would you stay for so long?” and honestly, I can’t give a simple answer for that. I didn’t want to live with my father, I wanted to be loved. He convinced me that nobody would ever love me and I would be alone without him. He made sure I was dependent on him and that I couldn’t be on my own. He took me to places and we had a great time. I thought that I was at fault. If I didn’t say that I wouldn’t of got hurt.

It has taken me over two years since him leaving to be able to even speak about what happened during our relationship. I still flinch if someone moves to fast, and cry if someone raises their voice towards me. I am relearning my worth and to be honest, I will always have a piece of doubt in me because of him. I will always think back and wonder how it could of been better, what I did, why was I so hard to love. Why didn’t this happen to other girls ? I must be the issue. My mother passed away while we were together and I think somewhere within me held on to him because he knew her. How could I be with someone who didn’t know my mom?

I now have an amazing boyfriend who bends over backwards for me. He is my sunshine on all of my cloudy days and I am grateful that he loves me. I convinced myself I wasn’t capable of being loved. I did a lot of bad things towards myself physically & emotionally. I will never be who I was before this and I’m learning that it's okay. I have to grow from my experiences and don’t think any less of myself.

Other times stuff happened out of Timeline
* One night we are at his friend’s house and just like always a fight starts. I was pushed down the stairs and when I came back inside even his friend said he saw the look on his face. The empty eyes look. The next morning we’re outside screaming and fighting and he pushes me down the front stairs again and starts stepping on me. A neighbor witnessed this and called the police. When they showed up I freaked out saying don’t take him from me. This resulted in a restraining order, anger management courses and many court dates. Even that wasn’t enough to keep us apart. I was going to marry him, I was sure of it.

* Punched me in the face with his ring on and chipped my teeth