When I was 19, I too was in an abusive relationship with the man I thought I would be with forever. It amazes me how stupid I was at 19, even though I thought I knew everything! He didn't hit me until we were 6 months into the relationship, but alienating me from my family and friends had already begun. So had the arguments.
The first time he hit me, we were arguing in his mother's home. I said something he didn't like. He calmly walked over and punched me in my left eye. I remember seeing stars and hitting the floor.
The next thing I knew, he'd picked me up, taken me into the guest room and was putting ice on my eye. The honeymoon period had begun! I stayed in this sickening relationship for almost 2 years until the last attack, which almost sent me to prison.
We were, once again, at his mom's house having a heated discussion. He started beating the living daylights out of me. I wear glasses and he punched me in the face, around the head, the body, etc. Once he finished and I was lying in a bloody heap on the floor, he went in to the guest room and closed the door.
At that moment, I had an epiphany. I saw myself stabbing him until I was tired and I picked myself up off the floor and went into the kitchen and found the biggest knife I could. As I stumbled out of the kitchen, fate (or my angels) intervened. Clutching the knife, I picked up the phone and dialed 911. I told the operator the situation and also told her about me holding the knife. That made her take the situation seriously and I heard the sirens as they approached the street. I opened the door, calmly sat down in a chair and waited for them to arrive. They took one look at me, (bloody, bruised and swelling - I looked like the Elephant Man!!) and asked me where was the perpetrator.
The youngest officer, who was clearly upset as he looked at me, went to the guest room door and banged on it. When it didn't open quick enough, he kicked it in! They took my boyfriend out of the house in handcuffs.
His mother had the nerve to be angry with me. All the times she heard us fighting and me being hit, she never once intervened or told him to stop. She knew it was happening and it was almost like she truly didn't have a problem with it. It makes me wonder now if she was an abused woman herself.
I clearly remember that day 15 years ago. Two officers took me to Union Station to catch a cab (I forgot why they couldn't take me home). The oldest officer, a kindly gray-haired man with beautiful blue eyes, took me to the side. He put his finger under my chin and made me look squarely in his face. He said, "You seem like an intelligent young lady. You don't belong in that environment. Please do not go back to that man. You put him in jail and he is now angrier than ever. Get yourself some help and promise me you won't ever return to that neighborhood. I don't want to be the one identifying your body because he WILL kill you, if you allow a next time."
Profound words for me, especially coming from a complete stranger. I took his advice and never looked back. I then had to explain to my mom (by this time I was 21, but still living at home), why I was coming in the house with my head down. She took one look at me and completely freaked out.
To this day, I've never seen my mom so angry and hurt. She wanted to confront my ex, but I told her it wasn't necessary because I was never going to be with him again. And I kept my word to my mom, myself and that police officer!
I am now a mom to a beautiful little boy who will turn 10 next month. One day, I will share with him the big, black notebook that I still keep to this day. I don't know how we will talk about this, but we WILL talk about it. In that notebook, I kept every wrist band from every hospital stay caused by my ex (cracked ribs, cracked bone in my nose, chipped tooth, black eyes, bruises, etc.). He'll also see the death threat letters my ex sent me and all of my paperwork from my therapy sessions. I found a really great group of women who helped abused women.
Unfortunately, the group disbanded, but they helped me tremendously that first year after. He'll also see pictures of me in various stages of healing (purple bruise under my eye, ace bandage around my middle for the cracked ribs, etc.). I know this will make him angry, so we won't have this discussion until he's in college, but I'm already telling him now that there is never a good excuse to put your hands on a young lady. I don't condone physically fighting anyone, but especially a young lady. He already knows where I stand on that issue.
Thank you for letting me share a part of my story. I don't re-visit that part of my life often. Reading your book was a very cathartic experience for me.
Thank you for being brave enough to give abused women, especially those still in the relationship, a voice to be heard. You are living proof that there is life after abuse!