NOTE: The following is a journal entry from a real person. A real survivor.
Please note potential triggers in this important piece.
I feel safe. That is not a feeling that I have had in so long. But now I feel safe. I no longer have to hide in a bedroom praying someone won’t wake up. I no longer worry about leaving my house because I knew I would come home to be beaten. I no longer get called terrible names and hit because I needed to stay late at work. I no longer worry that my daughter would be his next target because he knows she means the world to me. I no longer worry that my stuff will be destroyed, pictures ripped up, or sentimental items thrown out. I finally feel safe.
I grew up in an abusive home. I was called names and abused. Looking back I think this is a big reason why I didn’t leave sooner. Abuse was normal to me. He showed me what I thought was love and I craved it. He made me think that I would never be loved as much as he loved me. It never starts out as abuse in the beginning. Everything was perfect, too perfect. I still remember the first day he hit me. It was in front of his mom. He held me down on the ground and kept hitting me until I was able to get away. I should have stayed away, but of course there were the roses, chocolates, and I am sorry. He blamed it on drinking, he didn’t know what he was doing and he never wanted to hurt me. I believed him because I thought he loved me. And then several months later it would happen again.
I am not sure when it shifted from every few months, to every few weeks, to every few days, and then almost daily. The hitting turned into punching or an extension cord whip. It turned into putting lighter fluid on me and trying to set me on fire. It turned into my fault and not his. I let this go on for eight years. Eight years of being fearful of everything. Eight years of hiding objects so I couldn’t be hurt by them. Eight years of forcing me to have sex with him because “I was his wife”. Eight years of him not working and taking any money I earned.
I still remember the final moments of living with him. I had asked him to move out. I was tired, but more importantly I saw how fearful my daughter was and I didn’t want that for her. I came home from work and instantly I knew something was wrong. This time hiding in the bedroom was not enough. Something told me to call the police something I was never brave enough to do. He took a kitchen knife and said it was over for us. I begged him not to do this. I fought hard. I fought with everything. In what seemed like hours the police showed up and he turned his rage on them. I don’t know why but I begged them not to hurt him. I lied and said it was the PTSD. He finally was disarmed and arrested.
Now this is the part I am really not proud of, I protected him. I lied to the police and didn’t tell them about what happened prior to them getting there. I lied like all the other dozens of times the police were at my house. I instantly went in the mode to not let anyone know what was really wrong because I knew that meant it was really over. I went to court and begged them to go easy. The judge listened and sent him to rehab for a few weeks.
Since I live on a military base and I am in the military my unit was notified of the incident at my house. For the first time someone was on my side and only cared how I was doing. They let me talk to them about everything and they just listened. At the end they went with me to get a restraining order and started my journey to end all contact with him. They were my support and family, something I really needed.
I have now only seen him a few times and that was for court. I was strong enough to testify against him for the incident that happened that night. I was the reason why he was finally punished for something he did. Recently I saw him again in court and this time it was to stand up to him for a divorce. It was like a huge weight had been lifted. I am no longer tied to him. I no longer have to worry he will hurt me. I feel safe.