Every October I flood my social media timeline with domestic violence awareness statistics. Every so often I share my own experience. Last year I opted not to be so vocal.
Things happen in our lives and we think they don’t consider how deeply they change us. We soon realize the effects of our past traumas when they trickle over into our new relationships. I really thought I had forgiven my abuser. I really thought I did.
It was the week that the Surviving R. Kelly documentary invaded our homes, TVs and conversations. It was the night that Dominique was reunited with her mom; it was that night that triggered feelings of anger, hate and shame. That night, I searched my abuser on Instagram and Facebook and to my disappointment he was alive, well and thriving. I was angry!
“Why is he living a good life,” I asked God. Why am I still hurting?
I felt guilty for wishing bad on my abuser that hurt me for so many years. I know many people feel that I’m entitled to this hatred and anger but I disagree. I’ve been angry at this man for years and what has that done? I’ll tell you. It caused rifts in my marriage, it caused anxiety, it caused me to walk around carrying a load of crap that isn’t mine to carry. So I forgave him. I forgave the man who raped me. I forgave the man who alienated me from my friends and family. I forgave the man who choked me, pushed me out of a moving car, abandoned me, belittled me and manipulated me. I. Forgave. Him.
I never went into detail about how I got into this bad relationship because in order to do so, this meant revealing a lot about my family dynamic. Since the cats out the bag and you guys already know about me growing up with a parent that suffers from BPD, I’ll share my story. I’ll share it today. I’ll share it tomorrow and I’ll continue to share it until no girl is ever in my old shoes.
I was 18. My home life was chaotic. My parent with BPD, made life hell and I often tried to leave. My parent would physically fight me to prevent me from leaving. I didn’t know then but I know now that people that suffer from BPD have a fear of abandonment. Because of this, they’ll do almost anything to avoid being alone.
Women between the ages of 18-24 are most commonly abused by an intimate partner.
(statistic provided by https://ncadv.org/statistics)
One day my parent dropped me off to the college I was attending at the the time. That morning was a rough one. My parent was agitated and on this day, they threaten to leave me at school and never return. Little did my parent know, I prayed that they stayed true to their harsh words. My prayer was answered, my parent never came.
At this time, I was working my first job and a girl at my job offered for me to live with her. I took her up on her offer. I moved in.
I was lost. Although I was physically free from my parent, I wasn’t emotionally free. They continued to manipulate me and involve outside family members in their drama. Explaining the crazy life I lived to others felt like explaining the plot of a Lifetime movie and I often felt like no one believed me. I didn’t know then but I know now, I was leaving one abusive relationship to enter another.
I was introduced to my abuser from Facebook when he randomly messaged me one day. I’m still unsure how we became Facebook friends; we grew up on opposite sides of town, he was 5 years older than me, and we had no mutual friends. He messaged me almost everyday, despite me never responding. “Good morning,” he’d message. “How are you,” he’d follow shortly after. He was what we millennials call a bugaboo.
I punished myself for what I’m about to confess for years because I really thought this was the reason things happened the way they did. I thought I was being punished by God. I’ve recently found peace and forgave myself. I now know that what I’m about to confess still makes nothing this man did to me OK!
He was ugly. He was a fat guy and behind his back I joked that he looked like Chris from Family guy. He always reeked of cigarettes and he wasn’t very bright. He was thirsty for my attention, but most importantly, he had a car! I only entertained him because he had a car and I didn’t. I was newly emancipated, working and in college, AND this guy was obsessed with me and he had a car!
Even though I felt everything above, I love to love. I’m hopeless romantic and I honestly enjoyed him fawning over me so I agreed to hang out. I watched a lot of romcoms and I had the idea to cook dinner together and watch movies for our first date. He obliged. The first sign that I ignored is that, on this date, he walked me to his room and told me to “chill there.” He cooked by himself. I stayed in the room. The night passed and when we finished eating he mentioned that his dad was going to work; we’d be there alone (second warning.) I felt uncomfortable but I didn’t know what to say. I wasn’t familiar with the area he lived in and I didn’t want him to know that I was weirded out. His dad left and he said we’d follow and leave too. We followed behind his dad but after his dad pulled off, my abuser pulled me back inside his house. He forced his tongue down my throat and I didn’t stop him. I didn’t know what to do. He took me back to his room and he raped me. I was virgin. He took my body and my virginity. I was confused. He was somewhat gentle but I definitely said no. I said it twice. I never said yes. I never agreed to this. Prior to our “date,” he was aware that I wanted to wait until I was married to have sex. He’d jokingly say, “I’m going to put a ring on your finger.” (He knew what he did was wrong.) He finished and we left his house promptly. On the ride home, I was silent. He asked, “how do you feel” and “are you mad at me?”
I whispered, “what do you think?” He dropped me off home.
Almost half of female (46.7%) and male (44.9%) victims of rape in the United States were raped by an acquaintance. Of these, 45.4% of female rape victims and 29% of male rape victims were raped by an intimate partner.
(statistic provides by https://ncadv.org/statistics)
I knew what happened wasn’t right. I called a friend and told her what had transpired. She assured me that it was ok and that some men were “more eager than others.” This didn’t sit right with me but I was what my friends called “a Jesus freak,” so I accepted my friend’s advice.
I continued to see him. We hung out and every time we hung out, God would warn me to stay clear of this man. Like many of us, I would ignore God’s signs. My abuser threw tantrums. When I would threaten to leave he’d threaten to kill himself. I learned later that he did this often. He would threaten to hurt people close to me and he was really territorial of me. It felt like I woke up one day and realized that I had stopped going to class, I no longer had a job and I had “ghosted my friends.”
Click here for examples of signs of abuse⬇️
The first time:
In the heat of an argument, my abuser choked me. He choked me for so long, I began to feel lightheaded. He apologized and I remember calling him a “domestic violence abuser.” He laughed and said, “choking didn’t count.”
I thought he was right. No one ever complained about “chocking,” plus he apologized. My situation didn’t mirror the horror abuse stories I had read. I didn’t think my situation counted. “It was just choking.”
Chocking turned into pushing. Pushing turned into him throwing things at me. In the beginning he was good at hiding his violent behavior but eventually other people started to notice it too.
The system that failed me:
I didn’t have family support and my city didn’t provide much support for women in situations like mine. When the beatings were too much to take, I’d call the police. The officers would advise me to find another place to stay.
“Where,” I’d ask.
They would reach into their pockets, hand me a card with services to “help me” and always, the numbers either never worked or no longer offered services for women in my predicament. Tears in my eyes and no fight left from within, I’d go right back to my abuser’s arms because I had nowhere else to go.
Click here for help for yourself or to help others in need ⬇️
The great escape:
This relationship went on for about 2 years–on and off. I’d leave and come back. It was the week of my 21st birthday. I was asked to go out with some “friends.” My abuser got angry.
“You’re not going out,” he screamed.
I ignored him. He dragged me outside and attacked me. He banged my head against the wall outside. The police were called and when he found out, he carried me into the bathroom. He threaten to kill himself right in front of me. Sirens sounded and he fled. The police met me. With blood on my face and lump on my head, the state pressed charges.
75% of domestic violence related homicides occur upon separation and there is a 75% increase of violence upon separation for at least two years.
(Statistic provided by http://stoprelationshipabuse.org/educated/barriers-to-leaving-an-abusive-relationship/ )
Even though my abuser had done all these things to me, I still loved him. In all his chaos he stayed consistent. He was the only one there for me. I would’ve stayed with him but God removed me. God literally removed me from that toxicity.
When I found out that I couldn’t have contact with him I was depressed. I missed him. He wasn’t always bad… because he fled the scene before the police could arrest him, I saw him one last time. It was at a hospital. We were both there visiting a “friend.” He thought I had moved on so, there in the waiting room, he assaulted me. After this incident, the police found him at work and arrested him.
God removed him.
Moving forward by myself was hard. I felt like a baby learning to walk for the first time. Everything was new. I was free. Like a newly emancipated slave with only the knowledge of farming, I felt stagnant. I was free, but I had nothing to do with this newfound freedom. But God placed people in my life: to help me get on my feet, to love me, to encourage me and to build me back up. I had hardcore prayer warriors. I had just met my now husband, who unbeknownst to me at that time would become my forever Superman, best friend and companion.
In the mist of my transformation as a new woman, healed and healthy, I found myself. I found my independence. I found my worth. I found my husband. I found my peace. I found my voice.
If you know someone is a domestic violence situation pray for them and get them help. If you’re currently in a domestic violence relationship, know that you’re so beautiful. You’re worthy. This is not your fault. You are strong! Leaving your abuser is dangerous; I know you’re scared, but you have to leave him! Leave!
Most Heavenly Father,
Release this woman from bondage! Free her from her satan on Earth. Embrace her with your love and give her the strength to walk away. Cover her and those closest to her in the blood of Jesus and grant her a safe departure! Fill her new life with joy and remind her of her perfect worth. Help her start anew, Jesus. Help her find peace! I love you God.
Click here if you or anyone you know is in a domestic violence relationship ⬇️
“From every wound there is a scar, and every scar tells a story. A story that says “I have survived” Turn your wounds into wisdom.”