It took me 3 times. I left. I came back. I left. I came back and then I left and tried never to look back. It did not start bad. I knew he was bad, but I thought I could keep it all under control. I never realized that he was the puppeteer the entire time. My story unfortunately is like so many others. We all have our reasons for starting a relationship with someone who we know may not be the best for us, and we all knew we had to get out but just could not. We all have our reasons for staying, and they are all our own and should never have to be justified. My reason for staying was pure fear. I was more afraid to leave then I was to stay. He threatened my family. He threatened me. He was a drug dealer (cocaine and crack) and I was his mule. He forced me to drive him around with my infant son in the car. He forced me to keep all the drugs and associated items in my house. In my car. In my pockets. In my purse. He forced me to keep a gun in the house and made sure that my fingerprints were on it. He forced me to have a child with him so that we would be bound for life.
I had my own escape plans. I stashed keys to the car and the house all over. There was always a key to the car in my bra and panties. I had a key to the car in the dresser, in the bushes outside and in the car itself. I had a duplicate of my license in my bra at all times.
I never had a spare key to my house because I never wanted to go back there. I had a secret bank account. There was no ATM card. I had the statements delivered to my mom’s house. I told her that it was an error and I would change it. I never did.
Five days before my second child was born we were arrested. Five days before my son was born I spent 7 hours between the police department and my apartment where they turned my house upside down looking for the drugs and gun. I told them where the drugs were and in return the police handcuffed me in the front of my bulging belly and allowed me to sit down. I was booked on 7 various charges. I was giving birth and he was in jail. I believed his promises and used my dad’s house as collateral and bailed him out on a 300k bail.
He spent the next 2 months terrorizing me, my children, and above all the beatings did not stop. Twice I pleaded to strangers for help. Twice I was turned away. Black eyes, bruises and all. My neighbors finally called the cops when they witnessed him drag me into the house by my hair. He locked me in the house and it was not until the police threatened to knock the door down did he allow them inside the house. And still I protected him. I got a temporary restraining order that night, and as I was filing, he was bailing out once again. In fear, I fled to Florida and did not get a permanent restraining order. I figured since he was in jail I would be safe. I was wrong.
He was still controlling me. I visited him in the county jail. I visited him in the State Prison. He took those visits to let me know how much of an idiot he thought I was. He was still abusive to me even while he was in prison. I never went back. I have not spoken to him in 3 years. He will possibly get parole soon.
Yet I am stronger than I was. I went to therapy. I went to group. I read the books. I FORGAVE myself. I learned that it was NOT my fault. I learned that I did not CAUSE the abuse. I was able to escape. It was not normal, but when dealing with domestic violence what IS normal? I still hurt. I still cry. I still mourn. I still remember. But I say every day that no matter how hard it is for me, a day without abuse is a GOOD day.
My story is my own, but it is shared by so many others. I am thankful that I was blessed to be able to share my experiences with anyone who wishes to read them. My friends; be strong, be safe, and remember If our voices are loud enough, they can not ignore us forever. Love does not hurt. Stop Domestic Violence.
Follow Abby’s story here: The Left Side
If you are interested in sharing your story here…please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org