Breaking the Silence of Domestic Violence—High School
Another story of survival I received today, from a brave woman, named Dee Anne (she gave me permission to post her name). May this bring freedom to another woman. There is hope and there is help:
It all started one fun filled evening while at the mall with 2 of my best girlfriends in September of 1993 . We were actually headed home and there in the parking he stood with 2 of his friends. They flagged us down and I was immediately infatuated with this boy, any 16 year old girl would have been. He was so cute. We got to talking exchanged numbers and thats when my 3 1/2 years of abuse started.
It’s funny because my instincts told me to get out at the first signs of trouble however I was young , dumb and naive. We had gone to a high school football game and afterwards we all went to the local Pizza Hut to hang out as was the norm after the games. I had seen a classmate of mine that had been absent for a few days and I gave him hug. At this point was when I noticed my boyfriend not really talking anymore and he appeared to not be having a good time at all. I chalked it up to the fact that we went to different high schools and he didn’t know any of my friends. Later I would find out that I was sadly mistaken by his silence. We returned to the apartment I lived in with my dad and we were hanging out in my room and his demeanor still hadn’t changed so I kept asking him what was wrong. The next thing I knew, he grabbed me by my arm, jerked me down on my bed and told me he had better not ever see me hug another guy again. I was shocked! I couldn’t believe what was happening and I jumped up and explained to him that we were just friends and that I didn’t understand what the big deal was. He immediately apologized (of course) and said he felt terrible for grabbing me like that and it would never happen again (classic abuser). I being 16 of course believed this and was almost flattered that he was jealous, because naturally that must have meant that he really liked me right?
A few weeks passed and nothing else had happened there was nothing physical being done to me and there was no verbal or mental abuse………YET!!
Fast forward two months to November of 1993, I had gotten my drivers license on my 17th Birthday and not long after that I was in car accident that was my fault while driving 2 friends of mine home after exams, one being a male. Thank God we were all okay, that is until he came to my house to meet me. I of course thought it was because he was concerned and wanted to see for himself that I was ok, boy was I wrong. This was the first time that he literally beat me up. He threw me against walls he picked me up and dropped me on a table, he punched me, kicked me, slapped me and verbally attacked me as well. If anyone should have reacted this way about me being in a car wreck it would have been my dad whos car I wrecked (my dad would have never done that anyway). My boyfriend was so angry that I had another guy in the car and that was my punishment. I cried, I screamed and found that when I tried to fight back, it only made him angrier. Why didn’t I leave then you ask? As soon as his attack was over, he literally started crying and apologizing telling me that he didn’t know what had come over him. He begged me not to leave him because I was the best thing that had ever happened to him and he loved me so much. Again, 17, young, dumb and naive, I believed him.
Fast forward to January of 1994. I found out I was pregnant but hadn’t told him yet, I of course waited until after I suffered through another one of his beatings for God only knows what at this point. I thought this is the perfect time to tell him, he will apologize again, he will mean it this time because we are going to have a baby. He did cry again, he did apologize again and he rubbed my stomach and proceeded to promise me that this time he meant it, it would never happen again, he could never hit me now that I was carrying his child. WRONG!!!
Once he found out I was pregnant that abuse got worse but how could I leave him now? My dad was being transferred to Tennessee for his job, and I wasn’t going to go live with my mom because she had made it clear the minute she saw him, hadn’t even stepped out of the car yet, that she didn’t like him and he was no good for me!
I feel that I am extremely lucky thay my daughter who will be 18 tomorrow is even with me today. I am lucky that I was not killed and neither was she while I was pregnant with her. He busted my lip open when I was pregnant one time because I confronted him about his other girlfriend, whose picture he had taped to the back of his drivers license. He broke a glass and slammed my arm down on the table into the broken shards of glass. He told me I was fat, no good, worhtless. He told me that no one would want me now that I was going to be a teenage mom so it would be pointless to leave him. I believed him, when a person day in and day out tells you these things over and over again, you start to believe them, especially when you are young and impressionable.
There are many stories of abuse that I could share that went on through my whole pregnancy but I can’t tell them all, there wouldn’t be enough time.
My daughter was born in September of 1994 and things were good for a month or two and then they got really bad. I got a job and he didn’t like the fact that I was working and actually had to talk to people, customers and co-workers alike. Again, not exactly sure what happened, what triggered him but a few days after Christmas I suffered another beating. this time rather than just leaving marks on my arms and legs etc., he left bruises on my face. Guess who still didn’t leave? Thats right, this girl. There was another incident where we were fighting and he was hitting me and I either called my mom or she called me and she called the police from where she lived, two and a half hours away and sent them over to my house and I refused to press charges because I was so terrified. The police knew how terrified I was but with out my cooperation there was nothing that they could do.
Abuse continues and continues and in July of 1995 we have another daughter. I know, what was I thinking right? I was thinking that I was scared, lost, lonely and feared that he would take my children and run as he had threatened so many times before. I lied to everyone who asked. I told no one the truth, only my mom really knew and she was powerless to help me if I didn’t want the help.
We eventually moved to Tennessee with my dad, me, him and the two girls and my mother kept talking to me and talking to me because she had gained awareness about Domestic Violence through an agency called Women Helping Women in Cincinnati, OH. I finally listened and we came up with a safety plan to get me out of my dads house without my boyfriend knowing and let my dad deal with him after I was gone.
I have to be honest with you, that day was one of the hardest days of my life because I was broken, I was beaten down and truly believed that I was worthless and that no one else would want to be with me being 19 with two small children. We stayed separated for a few weeks and we actually did reunite for a few months but then I decided that enough was enough and I just couldn’t do it anymore, I could not be with him and at that point he wasn’t even physically abusing me.
What I have shared with you is just a small, small, almost miniscule look into the abuse I suffered. I could go one for days if I listed every punch, slap and kick.
To wrap this up, I wish I had been educated in high school about these types of relationships.
I wish I would have just ended things the minute I knew something wasn’t right just weeks into seeing him.
I wish I would have listened to my mom the minute she told me she knew he was no good for me.
I wish I had told my dad what was really going on and hadn’t been so afraid.
I wish that I had felt better about myself so Ididn’t feel that he was the best that I could do.
The only good thing that came out of my relationship with him were my two daughters that we share and the fact that he walked away from them and they weren’t physically abused by him is a true blessing even though him not being in there lives has brought about its own struggles. They did witness some abuse but not much thank God.
I just want people to know that there is help out there.
They aren’t sorry when they apologize and they will hit you again.
Tell someone you trust that can help you with a safety plan.
Thanks for listening.