collett, abuse,shelters,marcia, Testimonials
My Life
Mary K.
I’m taking back my life. After 24 years of marriage. Telling myself that he did not mean what he said, that he just did not understand me correctly, that through me, he could heal the wounds of his childhood. That I needed to stay married because I would not be like my parent and become a divorcee that I needed to stay because of the children. That my children needed not just a mother but also a father in the same household together. So that they would grow up without the loss I felt as a child
.
I told myself a lot of lies and in the journey of my life. I lost myself and maybe even my children.


I am now a 34 year old man; my first memory of abuse was at 3 years old when my father hit me up some garden steps while I was holding a glass pop bottle resulting in a split lip, bleeding nose and severe cuts to my hand from the broken bottle.

It escalated from there with him using implements to hit me with and against including rings a steel shotgun barrel cleaning rod and threatening me with the loaded shotgun, a cut-throat razor which he would hold against my neck and threaten to kill me, the cooker, the wall and pretty much anything else that came to hand at the time as well as throwing me around, kicking and punching me, dragging me up and down stairs by my hair etc.
There was also the mental abuse with him always telling me he hated me and I was a mistake and lots of other things besides.

He started again with the same as before but then she would join in but hers was more psychological than physical and also when no-one else was around became sexual which I would rather not go into detail about as I am still very uncomfortable discussing it with anyone!
This continued until I was nearly 16 at which point I would continually hit my head against the wall trying to knock myself out at night because I just wanted to die.
I soon after decided to live with my mother as I had started to realize that my father had lied about her to me and I had started to visit her without him knowing
I was afraid what would happen if he knew!.


Nicole M.
I was once hit my ex whom i was in love with. had never been in love before, he was the only 1 (until now) yea i admit, he was a little older than me so with that being said, we both wanted different things as he had his life to have and experience the things i wanted. We grew apart from each other till i went up to him asked where we were going with this as it was hard to even ask for a cuddle, he would just say.. Nah, I’m comfy here.

He was a bit tired when I wanted to talk so he told me to go away but the persistent me didn’t want to go until I had the answers i needed as he seemed to be always tired when I brought it up. he seemed to always treat me like shit then suck me back in. because I hadn't left, he pushed me off the bed then got out of bed himself to grab me by the arm and drag me, i grabbed on to the door frame, he then whacked my head into the floor then onto the wall.


No more do we accept abuse in any form
No longer do we keep our voice silent

Our voices and words are a light of hope for those
women and men that are afraid and in the dark.

When someone reaches out and asks for HELP, we help them the best we can as we ourselves once reached out...

William Collett
The Battered Wife
Remembering once of many times,
When life was but a tragic rhyme.
Love, you see is very strong,
But must one excuse what another does wrong?
The enraged man blamed his wife.
She apologized for all his strife.
The wrath of hell was in his eyes,
And her very soul was terrorized.
She begged for mercy, "Please dear God!"
Her echoed plea in every sob.
And then, in a quiet special clam,
She spoke aloud the "twenty third Psalm."
Around her neck his hands firmly clasped,
Loosened quite quickly,
She heard him gasp.
What had he done in a fit of rage,
Like a crazed angry lion released from his cage.
He backed away, for a moment in awe.
Someone lying limp is all that he saw.
As she begin to move she jarred his space.
It was then he noticed her battered face.
This hideous creature his battered wife,
The beauty of his dreams, the love of his life.
He fell to his knees, as if to soothe,
Saying all the while, "Wha'd ya make me do?"
She lay there in a painful daze,
Trying to remember, but still in a haze.
What was it, this time, that set him off?
Something she said or maybe she coughed.
What did it matter it was over for now.
She couldn't get away, she didn't know how.
She hadn't the strength to fight anymore,
And it would start all over if she tried for the door.
Maybe tomorrow everything will go right,
Or maybe she would "Rest in Peace" that night.

by Barbara Ann McDougal

How terrible is this.....
IN JUST ONE DAY IN THE UNITED STATES
In the United States on September 15, 2010, three women were murdered by their intimate partners, 36 babies were born to mothers living in domestic violence shelters and 391 survivors started new jobs. Three men committed suicide – one after murdering his wife, another after a failed attempt to kill his girlfriend, and the third after holding his partner hostage and a standoff with the police. With astonishing numbers such as these, a person can’t help but wonder— how many domestic violence services are used per day in the United States?

A survey recently released by the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV) reveals telling information about the status of domestic violence services in the U.S. NNEDV conducts this study once a year to provide the public with a snapshot of what family violence programs across the U.S. see in their shelters on one particular day. From those programs that participated, the survey shows how many calls local hotlines received, what services programs were able to offer and any needs that went unmet due to a lack of resources.

The study revealed that on September 15, 2010, 91 percent of identified domestic violence programs in the U.S. participated in the 2010 National Census of Domestic Violence Services. During the 24-hour period, domestic violence victim advocates served more than 70,000 adults and children and answered more than 20,000 emergency hotline calls. During the same 24 hours, more than 9,000 requests for services went unmet, largely due to lack of funding.

Though the economy does not cause domestic violence, factors associated with economic uncertainties can increase the severity and frequency of abuse. At the same time, options for survivors to escape can be more limited. More than 80 percent of local domestic violence programs reported an increased demand for their services while nearly the same number reported decreases in funding.
The full results of the National Domestic Violence Counts 2010 are available online at www.nnedv.org/census.

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My Story

I haven't told my story yet, to anyone other than family. I've read the stories of other women who went thru abuse, and I was inspired by their strength. Maybe, telling mine wil help someone else. The hardest part of my story is that my abuser was a friend before he abused me. I never saw it coming. We were friends for 6 years before we started dating. He was extremely adept at hiding his true nature from me. I saw him as someone I could depend on, someone I respected, and was proud to call a friend.

After I fell in love with him, it felt like coming home. I thought, 'This is it." I had finally found the right guy. Boy, was I wrong. At first, he was sweet and charming. He did get jealous of the males in my life but I've never had a boyfriend who wasn't jealous on some level. I didn't even realize it, but he was slowly gaining more and more control over me. Who I could talk to or visit with. What I wore, how I did my hair or make-up. It wasn't long before he controlled my whole life. And all the time, I made excuses about it. I told myself, when you're in a relationship, compromise is a part of it. I still couldn't see what he was doing to me.



Tina F.
Every day is a struggle just to deal, but every day is mine now.
That's a start!
Tina
Audrey Michelle
Surviving Insanity
Audrey Michelle Spoken Word Artist

I once tried to kill myself. I wasn`t successful in my attempt, though I don`t think I cared either way at that point. I had reached rock bottom and ambivalence is the only emotion that survives there.

It is said that only the good die young and I have never been good enough for anything. Thoughts of dying were constant within my abused mind. They occupied my bed, attended every meal and followed my every movement. I was buried alive and the air that I breathed lasted way too long.

In the moment that could have been my last, I didn`t know the difference between right and wrong. I was crazy. I wasn`t the "hearing voices" kind of crazy though. There was only one voice I ever heard and it was not self-created. I could close my eyes and shield his face but there was no way to vanquish his belittlement. His words were dehumanizing and the pain they inflicted was willful.

Through the years of torture his beliefs became my own. Once he gained full control of my mind he manipulated reality, distorted my perceptions and forced my behaviors.

If I had died, it wouldn`t have been by suicide.

The attempt was involuntary, a reflex. His abuse was like a hammer that never stopped striking, in the instance of my near death experience, he just happened to hit the right tendon.Somehow I was able to escape his manipulation while maintaining my life. It took all that I had and years of recovery, but I am now as close to sane as I`ve ever been.
In retrospect, I realize I was accountable for the attempt on my life. I was brainwashed however nothing and no one can dominate a mind that does not surrender control.

I no longer desire to die and there is something to be said for
surviving insanity;
Lunacy makes for really good poetry.

I have been busy answering e-mails and posts. So for all of you that donated a big thank you!

Many times friends and family cannot believe why there are staying in the relationship, just walk out. There is more to it - The general response why they stay in an abusive relationship is, "Because I love him" or "Because I love her." Is love enough to overcome the effects of abuse?

…I’m not skipping us guys as women can also abuse men; it’s just that nine out of ten of the times it is women abused. The numbers are off as men tend not to report abuse. Keep in mind the numbers that are out there tend to be the physically abused and do not always include the mentally, emotionally, financially and sexually abused. It is all ABUSE no matter what gender or sexual preference.

Many of us found it difficult to see what was happening as we were in the middle of the insanity. Our family and friends may clearly see what is going on…
Abuse is also in many cases kept quiet for fear or the reaction of friends and family, some of us tended to be silent and feel isolated from ourselves and others.

I have been asked to call the police for others, and I ask the same question each time. Is he or she ready to leave  the situation or to file a police report? The police know this is a sad situation as they can do nothing except maybe write a ticket for disorderly conduct or excessive noise. They hear the same things I do - but I love (him/her), said would not ever do it again, etc, etc. bla, bla, bla,... Sorry for being so sarcastic, it is just after reading more than 100,000 stories from members the stories all have a common thread.  The abuser says he/she will never do it again.....

The Facts that I do know are -
*It will happen again
*It will get worse
*It will get worse
*It will get worse
*You will DIE, physically or spiritually

From Von -
Someone Prayed for you: I was behind you today in your car, we were at the stoplight I saw him swing his hand over and I saw your head go down.

I said a prayer for you:  I was waiting in line at the grocery store today I saw the familiar bruises on your arm. The ones that are left when someone grabs you.  I saw your tired eyes and I smiled at you, and then I said a prayer for you.

Lord give her strength to be strong, to realize she has done nothing wrong. Send angels to her side God help her see she doesn’t have to hide, Let her know there is a way.

Yes I prayed for you today, another day, another time those tear-stained eyes were mine.  The bruises dark upon my skin she opened up the door again, and as I went back to his side.  I heard her softly pray and cry Lord give her strength to be strong.  To realize she has done nothing wrong.

Send angels to her side God help her see she doesn’t have to hide.  Let her see there is a way Lord I pray for her today.  I saw your shaking hands as we sat in church today.  The circles under your eyes I knew you had not slept last night and he had called you all kinds of names, Things that you are not.

I prayed for you today

Deborah M.
I consider myself an educated woman, and yet....I was in an abusive relationship for eight years, Emotional, mental, physical, spiritual and financial. He walked right out of our home two weeks before Christmas. He left me to pick up the pieces of the lives he destroyed, including our traumatized and terrified animals.

He currently walks freely around our town, partying it up, drinking and spending money freely. He has not offered cent maintenance toward the wife he deserted, and to add insult to injury, he talks to any and everyone who will listen to how he was victimized, bullied and abused. It is complete and utter rubbish. I feel so sorry for the next woman who falls prey to the predator. He's charming, fun and gentle. That is until he has what he wants....Then the true monster emerges.....Moody, sullen, volatile and beyond any nightmare I could imagine.

He has been in four previous relationships, and I was stupid enough to believe him when he said he had just had 'bad luck' in relationships, with ALL four women. He labeled them psychotic, alcoholic, promiscuous, and 'in love with their ex-husbands/boyfriends, etc....I actually believed him...

I have now been labeled the in exactly the same way he discusses his previous relationships. This man is a danger to all women out there, and he has been getting away with abusive behavior for years. Here's hoping women get together and start insisting on protection from men who all too frequently use the very law that is supposed to protect women from men like this. Unless violence against women and children is dealt with in a serious light by the law of the land, and men are held accountable for their deeds, I see no hope for women like me. I pray that organizations such as yours will help determine the future of victims for the better...

I am a surivor- no longer a victim!
Destiny G.
I give thanks to my daughter for saving my life from a man that tried to kill me. Thanks to both my kids for trying to help me see the light.

I had to sneak off to a domestic violence meeting but was the best thing for me. Saw the pattern-the vicious violent circle written on the wall at a meeting and it was like I finally saw the light. I knew that was my life and I knew I wanted out.

I took a stand for myself; I got a restraining order against him, divorced him and put him in jail 5 times.
I met a wonderful man not long after that and I covered my trail and moved away. I have been married for 12 yrs. now and no sign of the crazy man.

It wasn't easy but I did it and I am proud to say I Did IT--I SURVIVED. I finally can breathe and live again.
You can do it too!

Married in October of 1976.  One month period before emotional and psychological abuse started which continued until December 1996 when I moved out.
Physical abuse didn’t begin until 1984 when we were separated.  That was sporadic for many years, but was a constant threat (to me or to one of my 2 sons). The sexual abuse began sporadically in the mid- to late-80’s.  And eventually required me to have a hysterectomy.  The fiscal abuse began in 1977, and only got worse with the years.
Reports to my immediate family only brought forth the “I needed to be a better wife” until 1995; when the pending news of my plans to divorce him were announced. 
The psychological abuse continues to this day whenever we are in close proximity to do with our sons’ lives – fortunately few and far between these days; he walks up to me and pokes me with a finger and asks “Are you alright?” as if I’m showing some signs of abnormality or that he actually is worried about me.  It still makes me cringe to even think about it.
If I had never watched any of the early Oprah shows I’m not sure I would have known that I wasn’t crazy.  The silence still pervades abuse; there’s the guilt for allowing it to happen, the SHAME, the ignorance of people around you.

My 2 sons’ lives have been irretrievably affected by the abuse the elder one suffered, and the abuse the younger one witnessed as part of his everyday life.

I think the only thing that gave us any reprieve in all those years was the fact that he was a military officer, and by the time the eldest was 16 had been away with deployments and training for 8 ½ years of his life at that point.  Their behavior in the days before he was due home was disruptive – their silent reaction.
In the year or so after the final separation, I wrote poetry to survive – to explore and express what I had felt, was feeling.  None of it is published.

Thank you
Lyn

My name is Barbara,
I am a 40 yr old woman and proud mother of 3 amazing children.
My story isn't one filled with broken bones, black eyes, or arrests. Which is probably why it took me so long to recognize the seriousness of the violence within my own home, at the hands of my very own husband... We met when we were both 15, started dating right before my 16th birthday...

Bill from Pennsylvania

I don't know if my story is worth telling, but I am a survivor of Childhood Sex Abuse and Adult Sexual Abuse when in the military.  I've been through a number of suicide attempts and am getting counseling through the VA in Erie, PA.

I am a father of two great young adult kids and a wonderful wife. 

My abuser is a uncle/cousin. 
Kristen - I was in a very abusive relationship.  He beat me and his own Mother.  He abducted me and beat me for hours with fists and steel toed boots.  He fractured my vertebrae, left me with permanent wounds physical, mental and emotional wounds.  He would try to throw me from moving vehicles.
Barb -
I was attacked by my husband in 2005.

We were at a party at his boss's house and had both been drinking.

He wanted me to drive and I refused. His boss called a cab and paid for it. We weren't a block out of the driveway before
I found myself on the floor of the cab and him beating on me.
My name is Amanda and this is my story….
My father was in the military so I spent the majority of my childhood moving from base to base throughout the United States and Germany.  The transitory lifestyle made it difficult to develop strong relationships with people or emotional attachments to places.  The bases where we stayed were designed to promote conformity and a strict adherence to military values. 
Personal privacy seemed to be a foreign concept.
My home life was characterized by a strong patriarchal authority, as well as the frequent absence of my father.  I eventually came to perceive these traits as normal.
When I was 15 years old, we moved from Germany to Cecil County.  I was having difficulty adjusting to U.S. civilian culture after spending my childhood living on or around military bases.  I struggled to connect with my non-military peers.  After graduation and a time of uncertainty and confusion, I met a guy who I thought would be my knight in shining armor (I will refer to him as MRP.)  He came through like a whirlwind, claiming he had never loved anyone like this before and he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me.  He said he wanted to get married and start a family as soon as possible.  The only problem was that he had recently enlisted in the military and was scheduled to move within a few months.  MRP insisted upon us getting married before he flew out to Germany.  We had only been dating for three months but I didn’t want to let him down by saying no.  I also felt a strong connection to life in the military, despite the frequent moves and threat of loss in times of war.  I agreed to his proposal and we married on July 7, 2005.  I became pregnant with our first child soon after.  I miscarried during my second trimester and was absolutely devastated by the loss.  I was neither physically nor emotionally prepared to try for another child but MRP said he didn’t care and tried to get me pregnant as soon as he could.  I gave birth to our son less than a year later.

  Within the first few months of our marriage, I realized that MRP was far from the knight in shining armor I believed him to be.  I experienced various forms of domestic violence throughout our relationship, including; threats and intimidation, physical abuse, destruction of property, isolation from friends and family, verbal abuse, coercion, and harassment.  His behavior was dangerous and unpredictable.  Over time I started to think I was the problem.  I consciously tried to change MY behavior so as not to upset him.  My relationship with MRP was so tumultuous I felt like I was on a roller coaster ride from hell.  His abusive behavior got worse when he came back from his deployment to Afghanistan.  MRP spent the bulk of his paychecks on video games and alcohol which left little to no money for food for me and my son.  The most severe physical assault occurred in June of 2007 while we were stationed in Germany.  One night we had a verbal altercation and I could feel the tension building.  I instinctively knew I had to remove myself from the situation as quickly as possible.  However this only made MRP angrier.  He grabbed me by the arm and threw me up against the wall and then began to choke me.  At some point the military police were called and MRP was arrested.  He spent one night in jail (which would later prove to be his only punishment for this horrendous crime.)  Due to concerns for our physical safety, the military police quickly arranged for my son and me to fly back to the United States.  This would be the last time the military advocated on my behalf.  I spent the past two years of my life fighting not only for full custody of my son, but for the military to hold MRP accountable for the acts of violence he committed.  The abuse I suffered at his hands would be a felony under civilian law but was subject to military procedure because it happened on base.  The charges I filed against him were substantiated, yet the case was never adjudicated by Court Martial (less than 7% of spouse abuse cases are.)
I contacted MRP’s commander, as well as several of the sergeants and lieutenants in his unit.  I even reached out to the Judge Advocate General and Inspector General to no avail.  I was repeatedly victimized by the system, and I no longer have that strong connection to military culture.

I am struggling to raise my son with absolutely no physical or emotional (and very little financial!) support from his father.  My heart breaks every time he cries out for his “daddy.”  The military has allowed MRP to move on with his life as if the abuse never occurred.

However my life and that of my son’s will forever be altered.
We have become casualties of this war.

I write this letter because I feel like it is my duty to speak out on behalf of myself,
my son, and all other victims of military-perpetrated domestic violence.

  It is time for a change!
He was sweet, charming, respectful and seemed to be so much more mature than most of the boys our age. He told me he loved me from very early on in our relationship which made me a little nervous at first. I didn't have much experience with dating and was pretty shy. I was always very insecure like most teenage girls tend to be. At this age I was feeling like somewhat of a child who longed to be grown up. I had protective parents who did their best to always have a watchful eye on me, while my friends had so much more freedom. I felt like I was treated like a baby compared to most of my friends and started to become a little rebellious.

  The attention that my boyfriend was showering me with made me feel beautiful, important, grown up. Things I never felt before in my life. Feelings that I craved. I started to feel more confident about my sexuality. I liked that he said he was attracted to me, that I was beautiful, that he wanted me. After all, at the age of 16 isn't that enough for a girl to start feeling like less of a child and more like a woman... Problem was, I was still very much a child, and we both were.

  When we started to have sex a few months later things started to change for us. For me, I become emotionally attached to him. For him, he became very jealous and overprotective. He made me wait for him at the end of every class because he HAD to walk me to my next class. Some friends were envious, some were annoyed. For me I just accepted it as his way of showing how much he cared. Soon he changed some classes just to be in mine. We were inseparable, attached at the hip. Most of the boys I was friends with stopped talking to me and coming by my house because he made them feel like they were no longer welcome in my life. I was now all his and he wouldn't share me with anyone. The truth is, at that time, I loved the way it made me feel. I felt special...

  Soon, he started to come between me and my girlfriends as well. He never wanted me to spend time with anyone else but him. One night I even remember him following me and my friend in her car when I went to babysit with her. He insisted on being together all the time. We had sex almost every day. He was becoming more and more possessive over me. Some of my friends stopped hanging out with me because they didn't want to deal with him anymore. I remember the first time I told him that I wanted some space he completely freaked out on me. He started crying and yelling and cursing at me. It was the first time he ever called me the 'C' word. Unfortunately it wasn't the last.

  I felt terrible that I made a boy cry. He said he loved me so much and couldn't live without me. I felt like a horrible person, after all he was the first boy who made me feel so special, so loved, so wanted. Who was i to hurt him like this? Who was I to make him cry? I was nothing special, he was. I needed him...this was the biggest turning point in my memory...I made him and his happiness more important than mine. From this point on I tried to never hurt him and in doing so I began to lose myself...

  I was pregnant 3 months after my 17th birthday. By this time I surrendered myself completely. I gave give complete power. We did what he wanted, we went where he wanted to go. Watched only movies he picked out. Listened mostly to his kind of music. He started to become more and more aggressive with me. I was his now, carrying his child and he made sure everyone knew it. We started arguing a lot. Most of it was if a boy talked to me in school, or if he thought I looked at another boy. I remember one day in school we were standing outside the girls locker room arguing and he put his right hand around my throat and shoved me. That rumor spread around school very quickly. I denied it when it made its way back to my sister who was only a grade above me.

  We were both under a lot of stress at this point worried about the pregnancy. We fought all the time. I remember sitting in my car in the parking lot of my bank just screaming at each other. I was so upset I started punching him. This he eventually told me, was my biggest mistake. He told me once I raised my hands to him it was all over. He hit me back. He bruised my arm. He was stronger than me, he was louder than me, and he was scarier than me. It was my fault. I made him do it. This set the pattern for our future...

  I will skip ahead now to the present day and reflect on major points that brought me here. After being married for 20 yrs...I finally left him 9 months ago. Filed for divorce and am doing my best to heal all 3 children and myself. I was spit on, shoved during my pregnancies, had my hair pulled and ripped from my head. I was kicked, I was choked and I was knocked to the ground. I was cursed at, humiliated in public, and blamed for all of it saying I provoked it, that I enjoy setting him off and knew how to push his buttons. I had bruises on my arms, legs, back, and head. But the biggest bruise I would eventually come to find out was on the inside. Not the bruise inside of me, the bruises inside of our children who witnessed it all. My children would be the ones to carry the biggest scars of all. He would never admit that he was abusive because "You never had a black eye or a broken bone in your life, get over it and cut your shit, you're a drama queen. Waahhh poor Barbara lives in her own fantasy world. Get the f*ck out of here” I was convinced he was right. That there was something wrong with me. I went out of my way to hide what was going on. I wanted people to think I was loved by him, that we had a perfect marriage. I was ashamed that I was capable of having my husband be able to say he hated me, I ruined his life.
The ONLY person who knew the truth was his mother. I told her almost everything. All I'd get was I'm sorry.

  He has been diagnosed with bi-polar disorder. This he feels is his excuse. He said he couldn't help himself. When my mother passed away 2 years ago, my whole world stopped making sense. I and the children couldn't survive without her. We were lost. I was left to take care of my own broken heart while my husband pulled further and further away from me. When I needed him most he turned his back on me and said it was just too much for him. After the first 6 months I started to change. I grew a little bit stronger every day. I begged my husband to spend time with me. Silly things like food shopping, talking a walk, or watching a movie in bed with me. He wanted no part of me. I grew a little bit stronger. I asked him to go for marriage counseling with me, he said never. I started watch Dr. Phil every day. He started to run a campaign called, End the silence on domestic violence. I watched it religiously. My husband made fun of me for it, said he was a homo, a quack. Thing was, the more I watched the more I related to it. I couldn't believe what I finally discovered... I wasn't crazy. The abuse was real and true. And the scariest thing of all, it was ALL UP TO ME TO STOP IT!!!!

  I and the kids have been living in a 1 bedroom apartment since December. He would not leave the house. After months of heartache, court dates, orders of protections, the judge finally told him he has to vacate the house and allow his children to sleep in their own beds.

For the first time in my life I feel whole and strong... I finally found me......

*there are many more horrific tales to this story unfortunately. So many things that went on throughout those 20 years and so much that continues to go on today. The 2 oldest won’t even speak to him and I try to encourage my 12 yr. old to have his own relationship with his dad. I am awaiting my next court date..
My grandfather divorced my grandmother and married her sister who had a number of children from previous marriage, making my mom's cousin now her step-brother (or something like that). It turns out that many family members (aunts, uncles, cousins) were molested by an Uncle (not the one who molested me, but one of his victims), including my mom.

She called me names when it happens.  It was only when she turned forty that I found out about the sexual abuse in her life at the hands of her uncle and mother.

I had joined the navy, hoping to prove my manhood, when I allowed a new shipmate to crash in my room.  We both had been drinking and had just dropped off my girlfriend. My roommates were gone so there were two extra racks for him to sle
ep. 
Next thing I know, I am being raped, it brought back memories of my youth.

Besides the suicide attempts, depression and PTSD, it has also been the cause of seizures in my life and when I turned 48, my life was turned upside down. But I say now that when I last attempted was the day I started living. I am coming to believe that it's not my fault, I can forgive myself and learn to forgive my Uncle and my shipmate (for whom I didn't even know his name).

I did serve as a Community Based Mental Retardation Sex Offender Case Manager in my county and worked across the Commonwealth with Academics, Law Enforcement, Caseworkers, Counselors, Probation Officers and the Courts and Prison Officials on how to handle MR Sex Offenders.
When he had friends over he would lock me up in his bedroom and wouldn't let me out.  He accused me of sleeping with everyman, my Dad, neighbors, Uncles, and friends.  He threatened to set my Mom's car on fire with her and my nephew in it.  I week later he followed thru but thank God they weren't hurt.  When I finally found the courage to get out...

I attained a restraining order but he walked right thru it and continued to stalk me, beat me, and the police always said they had to catch him in the act. Four days after my 18th BD I left home not knowing what I'd do but I needed to survive.

Five years ago I had Cancer, during that time my husband was cruel and abusive, often drunk and couldn’t find his way home when he did it was cold & nasty.  I was too sick to go, nor was anyone around to help me so I stayed.  Today when he doesn’t get his way he is still physical with me.  He finally said we are over but he won’t leave nor does he speak a word.  It is frightening but I know God has always been with me and will continue to be.  From all the abuse I have endured I don’t trust, have long bouts of depression and a multitude of health problems because of what these people have done.
If my story can save another innocent woman from a life of hell I will tell it over and over again!  The healing journey takes a lifetime but a road worth traveling.  God Bless your Good Works!!!
Sincerely,
Kristen
The cab was a van. When the cab driver tried to call for help on his radio, my husband ripped out the dash. He is (was) a big guy.
I was recovering from a total knee replacement which was damaged during the assault. I also suffered a broken nose with lacerations which required stitches and two surgeries to straighten. I had two surgeries also on my knee replacement. I also had a fractured elbow. The cab driver, instead of taking us home, drove around the police and fire dept till he got noticed and stopped by police. (Which was just a few blocks from where I lived).

It took officer's three attempts to pull him off me as he was beating my face into the tracks of the van door.

Needless to say, I divorced him while he sat in jail waiting for trail as he pleaded not guilty. I felt like I was on trial when I was on the witness stand. The jury found him guilty and he was sentenced to 6 1/2 years in prison for two measure 11 assaults.

He gets out 3/12/2012. His boss has offered him his job back when he gets out. He was repairing appliances in private homes. I live in, Oregon. If in any way my story can help someone I would be happy .
Sincerely,
Barb
When I was married to my ex, things started off great, then one night I went down to get a soda out of a machine at the gas station. When I came back, I backed up the pickup into the parking spot and I spun out, getting off the gravel, down near the fence. My ex came out yelling at me telling me to get behind the pickup and he would back up the pickup and I could get the fence unstuck from the bumper. I tried this and the first time it didn't work. The second time, I lowered myself to get more traction, not realizing at the time that my head was stuck between the tree and the bumper of the truck. My ex stopped the pickup and got out to see what was happening. All he could do is yell at me asking why I didn't scream. I had dents on both sides of my head. Thank God he did because if he would have came back any further, I wouldn't be here today. My ex alienated me from friends and family. He had me convinced that he was the only one I could trust.

After going back to him the last time, I got a job at Kmart and after working one day, my cousin, who had been seeing what was going on, helped me pack my things and get into a safe house. Thank God for my cousin because I am the type of person who thinks it is all me. I got my divorce Feb. 2010.

I moved to Oregon City, remarried and am very happy.

If I can help just one person by reading my story (I didn't port everything I have been through) it is more than worth it.
PLEASE, if you are in an abusive relationship, GET OUT!  It doesn't get better, it only gets worse.
Dena

It did not start as physical abuse. But, something much more subtle and dangerous. It was a word here and there telling me I wasn’t good enough, pretty enough, sexy enough. That I was cold, stupid, and ugly. I made him mad. I made him call me names like Cunt, Bitch, and Whore. If I did not make him mad he would not call me names, or spit on me.

I remember him calling me at work and screaming at me over the phone, because I had forgotten to write down a check in the checkbook. I remember him telling me, “ If he did not get it at home, there were many women he worked with who would.” There are other memories that I do not let myself think about.

After 7 years of marriage he had his first affair, She was the one who told him that she would give him love, that I must not love him. We separated, I watched him drive away while he decided if he wanted to stay with me. I called my sister up and she came and we packed up all of the possessions from 7 years of marriage. I moved out for two months, went to counseling and then he asked me to come home. He did not need counseling it was my problems that caused our problems. That made him do and say all these horrible things. I believed him. I who wanted to be loved so desperately.

There were the good years. We had a son and then 5 years later a daughter. When she was 11 months old, He started to hit me. I did not call the police. I did not fight back. I cried and told him I was sorry that I made him angry. I lied to myself again and said  it must have been me. I just need to try harder.

For the next 11 years I tried, and tried and tried. I let him take my power, my dignity, and my respect. Not just my respect but also the respect of my children. The last two years of my marriage I would drive to work and rock in my drivers seat and chant just 6 more years, my daughter will be old enough in six more years. Then I can leave.

Then the day he put his hand around my neck and shook my like a rag doll. I realized that he could have killed me. I knew that six more years was not an option. That was in August of 2004. It took me till Easter Sunday of 2005 to walk out. I left my home, my children, my life and started on my new journey.

In January of 2006 the divorce was final. My daughter is still with her father and oldest, my son lives with me. He has started where his Dad left off. I’m called a bad parent, a whore Mom. That I need to apologize to his Father for leaving the family. My journey is now to heal my children and undo the poison that they saw growing up. I know it will not be easy. I know that this next year is all I have till my son becomes a man. That I have six months, to one year to teach, and show him that all people deserve respect. I may not reach my child, the damage of not leaving his father the first moment I was called a name may be too ingrained in my son. And that I may have to let him find his own path through his own years of abuse. But I have to try for his sake.

As for my daughter she is blossoming and each time I see her I cherish each moment. I am establishing with her a new identity. That I am worth loving and worth
respecting. I ask from her, respect for me and for herself. She is only thirteen.

I will reach my goal to teach my children a different way of life and loving. This is my new life and journey. In many ways it will be painful. But in the long run it will have been worth it. Half of my life is over, lived in the shadow of a monster call Domestic Violence. The shadow is gone, the monster has been slain and I will live in the sunlight and live each day to it’s fullest. Not just for me, but for my children.

Mary K.

The first time he hurt me, we were fighting. He ran across the room, put his hand on my throat and lifted me up, banging my head against the wall. Afterwards, I told him to leave. He wouldn't, instead telling me how sorry he was, but at the same time blaming me for his actions. His violence escalated after that. The first bad beating he gave me went on for hours. He punched me so hard several times that I passed out each time. He kicked me in the stomach, repeatedly punching my head. I don't remember much of that night.

Afterwards, he again apologized, but still blamed me for what he did. I brought it out of him. I made him so angry. And I began to believe him. He wouldn't let me go to the hospital for fear the doctors wouldn't believe any lie I told them about how I was injured. From that night until I was finally free of him, I lived in fear. By then I thought it was too late to get away. He'd told me if I ever left him, he'd kill my family if he couldn't find me. I believed him. He would scream at me, calling me such horrible names, degraded me constantly. He would choke me until I passed out, then do it again. He'd punch my head, which always made me black out.

It took less and less effort for him to make me pass out. I was always on edge. Afraid of doing something wrong, causing him to hit me or yell at me. I spent hours each day shaking, so scared that someone would ask me if I was okay. Any time someone paid me any type of attention, it would translate for him that I was having an affair. Even tho he never left me alone with anyone. I wasn't allowed to use the phone or a computer. If I did talk to what family he allowed me to, the phone was always on speaker, and he always held his knife in his han
d.
God forbid I said the wrong thing...

All the stress I was under made me sick. I lost so much weight I was about 90 lbs. From what I felt, the thoughts in my head, I thought I was going crazy. I couldn't remember things right, I was always confused, I felt lost. And I knew it was only a matter of time before one of his punches would kill me. I didn't know it then but I had a concussion. And his repeated beating of my head was making it worse and worse. My blood pressure was so high I was very close to having a stroke. And my fear, the 'crazy' feeling I had, was PTSD.

He was arrested on an unrelated charge at the beginning of the year. I took this chance to get away. I went to live with my mom who took me to the hospital. That's where I found out what he did to me. My concussion, the high blood pressure. I had a broken rib which had healed. I have scars on my legs from him burning me. I'm missing teeth that he knocked out, so I never smile. I'm so scared of him finding me that I can barely leave my apt. And any time a man looks at me I panic. The only person I can relax around is my mom. I can't go anywhere if she's not with me. I see a therapist now, and I'm trying really hard to not become agoraphobic.

I'm only 5 months out of my abusive relationship. I've got a long way to go yet. I have days where I feel okay, I have days when I want to give up. But, I know I'm not a victim any more, though I have days where I still feel like one. The important part, is that he didn't succeed in his attempts to kill me. I got away. He hasn't spent a day in jail for what he did to me, and he probably never will. He is a smart abuser. By the time I did report what he did, my latest bruises were gone. Since he wouldn't let me see a doctor, there's no medical record of my injuries. And no one ever called the cops when he beat me so there aren't any domestic violence complaints. And since there was never anyone around when he beat me, there are no witnesses to his abuse. The cops are powerless to charge him at this point. But, that isn't important to me. I only want to be healthy again, tho I will have symptoms from the concussion and PTSD for a long time.

I am still here.
I am alive.
I am safe where I am.
He didn't succeed.
I survived.
I am a survivor, and one day I will be a stronger woman for it.
My choices are mine now.


i was crying as being scared, hurt, and confused. i then wanted to hurt him back by saying i was going to tell the police about the diesel he kept stealing, so he went outside to hide it. He grabbed this huge diesel tank he had stolen and attached it to his 4wd so i jumped in and looked the doors so he couldn't take off with it.

So he grabbed a hammer and whacked the car window with it, i screamed and hoped in the driver’s seat. He broke the window then put his arm through to unlock it, he pulled me out with his hand around my throat then slammed me to the ground. i couldn’t move or breath for a few seconds. He’s standing over me saying, get up or ill hurt u again. With that few breaths i just got back i said i can’t move so he held out his hand. i then took off down the street and called the cops.

i waited till the police got to the house before i walked back. When i got there he had left, to finish hiding the diesel. The police saw dirt and a bit of blood on my uniform top. i had to wait in the police station for hours until my mum came and got me. She was in Christchurch and i was in Ashburton at the time. The police said i had to leave my job and leave Ashburton, said i wasn’t save their and that he could of killed me.

He must have had a bad record. i enjoyed my job at countdown. i blamed myself for what happened for awhile, i said to myself, if only i had let him sleep then none of this would of happened.

But, no more. i am now in love again, 2ed time ever. I’ve loved but not in love until now, i can love again and not get hurt and i love him to bits.

We will never hit me for he is no coward. i know what happened to me isn't as bad as most people but i still wanted to tell me story. i haven't told my story in a while and it feels good. i will never let it happen to me again. I’ve tried to be stronger about it.

So, GARRY W., you have no chance against me now!!!!!!

Please Help and donate today
Shortly after moving,  I started to get angry at what had happened to me and the fact I thought it to be normal, so I started drinking heavily as well as smoking, experimenting with drugs and self-harming and when one night I did not come home until the next day my mother decided she couldn’t cope with me and told me I had to move out on my own.

Married to my first wife at age 19, had a son and a daughter during this time and she would continually insult and degrade me verbally as well as being punched in the mouth on several occasions, and having objects thrown at me including at one point a meat cleaver!
I would also have to put up with her getting drunk all the time and doing all sorts of drugs as well as getting arrested for shoplifting and also her sleeping around with anyone that took her fancy and flaunting it to me and taunting me.

I put up with this for my children’s sake as I mistakenly thought that if it was just directed at me they would be ok, I in the meantime became quite ill without realizing and only when I looked at pictures of myself afterwards how thin I had become (my bones were protruding under my skin!) and I had also become totally withdrawn and spent most of my time in a kind of daze not really knowing what was going on around me until I got a wakeup call from the social services who informed me that where I had been informed by my wife that my daughter had an eating disorder in actuality she had been starving her and she had gone right back down to her birth weight at 3 months old!

When I found out about this I immediately told her to leave and she did as willingly as she had no interest in being a parent or having any sort of responsibility.
That was the end of that relationship physically but she would still try to disrupt our lives in any way possible afterwards for the next 7 or 8 years.
This one I had really thought she was the one I would grow old with etc and everything was absolutely great for the first couple of years during which my third child was born, I was over the moon at this because all I had ever wanted was to have a happy family and it all seemed to be happening for me!
This however nearly killed me and I found it incredibly hard to handle the whole situation as I just felt completely helpless to do anything, what I hadn’t thought about however was the change that was taking place in my wife who had started to become very cold and distant from me and after things had started to calm down after my daughter started to recover she began to get very possessive and jealous over her as I had formed an incredibly strong bond with her that we still have now and think we always will, my daughter would spend nearly all her time with me cuddling up with her TV programs or playing together but in the meantime my wife started shutting me out and doing online courses etc.

Our relationship started to suffer badly from then as she started forming a new circle of "friends" and going out more then she started drinking more and staying out later, I found out later on about the indescressions that happened during the last months but leading up to this she would play mind games with me and try to play her friends off against me and one another, I started  to become more depressed and withdrawn because according to her everything was in my imagination and I began to believe it so when she started spending time around her ex-partner and I became suspicious she told me I was being paranoid and that "there was a reason they called it an ex" so being that I was already on a high dosage of anti-depressants I had believed her and started thinking that it was paranoia only to have her start to berate and belittle me in front of her two sons and have whispered conversations in front of me then start laughing at me. When I would ask what they were talking about I would be told it was none of my business.

There was a lot more that happened but I will be here all night if I try to give you all the details, suffice it to say that it ended up with me becoming an emotional wreck and trying to kill myself.

My wife got me removed from the house and my daughter by saying she was concerned I may become violent even though this is something I have never been and even the thought to me is abhorrent because I already know what it is like to be on the receiving end!
I am now beginning to rebuild my life with a lot of help from various organizations and psychotherapy and other types of counseling etc is helping me to rebuild my self-esteem but I still have to rely on medication and I do still occasionally cut myself to relieve the hurt and frustration that builds up sometimes but I am starting to enjoy my life again now with my older daughter who is now 14 but I don’t think my trust in people will ever fully recover.
Well that’s it in a nutshell, I hope this helps someone and thanks for reading.

Kind regards Vince.

Julie Parsons
I was one of those women who needed protecting, but in my day no one would get involved. Police would say sorry it’s a domestic. They could only step in if I was put into hospital by him. WRONG. We need to be protected. Why do men think they have the right to beat us up? THEY DON'T. If I hit someone I would be arrested, so why do they get away with it?

JD O DubhGhall
As one who has witnessed domestic violence in his youth and has prevented it lately as well as offered women’s self-defense courses, I want to say that bullies who hurt women should receive no protective custody rights, they should learn what it feels like to be bullied by real men who look down upon such controlling and ungentlemanly acts. A true gentleman does not seek violence to control those who are weaker than them and a true gentleman is strong enough inside to know when to walk away.
I also must say that those who are accused of beating women should be tried fairly as some women are dishonest creeps who will use pity as revenge. True justice must always be sought.... now if a woman is a trained assassin, literally a lethal weapon and she is attacking me with a gun or sword or something, that is another story ;p 1 luv

Tamera Briggs Parker
As a survivor of DV it's not an option to not sign.... Just had my 15 or 16 reconstructive surgery a few days ago. I never thought I'd still be having surgeries 7 1/2 yrs later. But the BIG thing here is I am alive to spread the word... and so many poor women don't have that option b/c they are DEAD. So I believe we survivors and other supporters have to do it for them... I try to go into schools as well b/c kids live what they learn... and they need to know DV is NOT ok.

Pamela Bloodworth
As a victim and survivor of domestic violence it is sad to say that so many people still turn a blind eye to this. It's not just your average Joe that turns his head, it is the politicians and the law enforcement agencies also. The abusers are committing crimes and getting away with it. They should be in jail with all the other criminals.

Jane Mansfield
Hi Bill, My Story Not Sure Where To Begin I Am A Survivor and I Am Stronger Than I Dreamed
I Ever Could Be! I was Married For 7 Years To A Retired Golden Glove Boxer He Worked In Boston Mass doing Security For Bad Parts Of Boston When I Met Him I Was A Small Town Girl Had 2 Children And Going Through A Divorce He turned Into A real Sick Man , He Became A Major Drug Dealer I Was Locked In A Room With A Man Outside My Door To Bring Me To The Bathroom And Back , He Would beat me so bad the more I screamed the Harder He Hit The Local Police Could Not Stop The drug Dealing's Fire arms, and tobacco raided the house 3 times he went to jail for 6 months I found Out I was pregnant With my youngest son Chris He Was Released and I Remember On Thanks Giving I Was Hungry My Baby needed Food Instead I Got A Broken Nose and The Good Old Saying As He Carried Me Up To bed Why Did You Make Me Do That ? Feeling guilty he today is still messed up but our Son Chris Is an Awesome Kid. Bill I Have So Much To Share to give Woman Hope It Goes On and on!! The Last One Beat me And Got A Restraining order on Me Because I Was Disturbing The New Room Mates He Was High On Drugs I Was In The Bath And He Ran In jumped Behind Me picked me up between the Legs And Threw Me Out In day Light People Watching As I screamed For Help Not One Helped I Got away He is In Jail Now Not For abuse On me Because I could Not Hurt Him ( I Loved Him ) How Stupid Was I . Well I Have More Police records and restraining orders and hospital records dating back to 1988 I am Now 46 and Starting Over. I Need To Help Some How Find A Way To Help Raise Money For shelters I was Being Raped and Beaten by Gun Point In front Of 4 Men Who tried to Stop this animal the swat team came I was Hiding under Dirty Laundry In a Part Of The house came Out side and The Police Ordered Me to The Ground I Just Sat There Frozen I have Been Scared Many Time's In my Life But No Man I Am Embarrassed To Even Say What Happened but I need To ,I Wet My Pants This Man Was so Bad . I Believe He Is Also In Jail Today Because (GOD SEE"S ALL!)And he knows my heart is a loving and caring one. I tried To Seceded Once Taken My life No Way out No one Cared and No home to go to. So many Stories and scars left behind They Are Healing, my Life Today Is A Thousand Times Better I was Homeless for a long time no room in the shelters in mass and new Hampshire I Lived In my Van And Had Was Forced To Make A Choice The streets and cold or go Back To My Abuser No One should Ever Feel That Way And So Alone. My Name Is Jane Mansfield I Am Not Ashamed any More I Am More Amazed And God Has Work For Me I Am Not Sure What But This Is Where My Passion lives . I Am In A healthy Relationship today A Year and Half I am Happy Inside for The first Time In my life He Is My Protector Not Someone I need Protecting from.
There is So Much More, But I Hope It is Ok to Ask Why Are You So Passionate about this Problem I am Grateful! It affected my children my mother, ext. . . I Have My Voice back if anyone needs me I would ‘Be honored to help save a Life.’ Thank You Bill
GOD BLESSES!


Destiny Gill
I am a survivor- no longer a victim. I give thanks to my daughter for saving my life from a man that tried to kill me. Thanks to both my kids for trying to help me see the light. I had to sneak off to a domestic violence meeting but was the best thing for me. I saw the pattern-the vicious violent circle written on the wall at a meeting and it was like I finally saw the light. I knew that was my life and I knew I wanted out. I took a stand for myself, I got a restraining order against him, divorced him and put him in jail 5 times. I met a wonderful man not long after that and i covered my trail and moved away. I have been married for 12 yrs. now and no sign of the crazy man. It wasn't easy but i did it and I am proud to say I DiD IT--I SURVIVED. I finally can breathe and live again. You can do it too. I disagree with Vanessa Raroa--We are not weak, those men are weak which is why they have to dominate their women. Rise up-be strong-be a survivor!
Deborah McIntyre
I consider myself an educated woman, and yet....I was in an abusive relationship for eight years, Emotional, mental, physical, spiritual and financial. He walked right of our home two weeks before Christmas. He left me to pick up the pieces of the lives he destroyed, including our traumatized and terrified animals. He currently walks freely around our town, partying it up, drinking and spending money freely. He has not offered a cent maintenance toward the wife he deserted, and to add insult to injury, he talks to any and everyone who will listen to how HE was victimized, bullied and abused. It is complete and utter rubbish. I feel so sorry for the next woman who falls prey to the predator. He's charming, fun and gentle. That is until he has what he wants....Then the true monster emerges.....Moody, sullen, volatile and beyond any nightmare I could imagine. He has been in four previous relationships, and I was stupid enough to believe him when he said he had just had 'bad luck' in relationships, with ALL four women. He labeled them psychotic, alcoholic, promiscuous, and 'in love with their ex-husbands/boyfriends, etc....I actually believed him..
I have now been labeled the in exactly the same way he discusses his previous relationships. This man is a danger to all women out there, and he has been getting away with abusive behavior for years. Here's hoping women get together and start insisting on protection from men who all too frequently use the very law that is supposed to protect women from men like this. Unless violence against women and children is dealt with in a serious light by the law of the land, and men are held accountable for their deeds, I see no hope for women like me. I pray that organizations such as yours will help determine the future of victims for the better...

Nicole Mulligan
I was once hit my ex whom i was in love with. had never been in love before, he was the only 1 (until now) yea i admit, he was a little older than me so with that being said, we both wanted different things as he had his life to have and experience the things i wanted. we grew apart from each other till i went up to him asked where we were going with this as it was hard to even ask for a cuddle, he would just say.. Nah, I’m comfy here. He was a bit tired when I wanted to talk so he told me to go away but the persistent me didn’t want to go until I had the answers i needed as he seemed to be always tired when I brought it up. he seemed to always treat me like shit then suck me back in. because I hadn't left, he pushed me off the bed then got out of bed himself to grab me by the arm and drag me, i grabbed on to the door frame, he then whacked my head into the floor then onto the wall. i was crying as being scared, hurt, and confused. i then wanted to hurt him back by saying i was going to tell the police about the diesel he kept stealing, so he went outside to hide it. He grabbed this huge diesel tank he had stolen and attached it to his 4wd so i jumped in and looked the doors so he couldn't take off with it. So he grabbed a hammer and whacked the car window with it, i screamed and hoped in the driver’s seat. He broke the window then put his arm through to unlock it, he pulled me out with his hand around my throat then slammed me to the ground. i couldn’t move or breath for a few seconds. He’s standing over me saying, get up or ill hurt u again. With that few breaths i just got back i said i can’t move so he held out his hand. i then took off down the street and called the cops. i waited till the police got to the house before i walked back. When i got there he had left, to finish hiding the diesel. The police saw dirt and a bit of blood on my uniform top. i had to wait in the police station for hours until my mum came and got me. She was in Christchurch and i was in Ashburton at the time. The police said i had to leave my job and leave Ashburton, said i wasn’t save their and that he could of killed me. He must have had a bad record. i enjoyed my job at countdown. i blamed myself for what happened for a while, i said to myself, if only i had let him sleep then none of this would of happened. But, no more. i am now in love again, 2ed time ever. I’ve loved but not in love until now, i can love again and not get hurt and i love him to bits. We will never hit me for he is no coward. i know what happened to me isn't as bad as most people but i still wanted to tell me story. i haven't told my story in a while and it feels good. i will never let it happen to me again. I’ve tried to be stronger about it. So, GARRY WALKER, you have no chance against me now!!!!!!

Mary Ellen Gainer
I am happy to see all these sites about Domestic Violence!! My violence started approximately 2002, and by 2005, I was in ICU for 8 days my family wondering if i would live after major Craniotomy I had both a Chronic and Acute Subdural Hematoma, that filled all 4 quadrients of the left side of my brain. It squashed my brain down to the top of my left ear, and down to my left eyebrow and all the way to the back of my head the same. It had been in my head 2 months, after I was beaten. My life is no longer the same, I cannot let this go! The justice system failed me horribly, by not notifying me of his plea hearing through the mail as required by law. I never had my day in court. All that know I suffered a major head trauma , have either used it against me for their on personal gain, or simply to use it to hurt me more. Post-traumatic stress disorder plays a major role in my life. This has destroyed my life! I am still searching for help or group counseling. I was beaten over many years, the abuse seems never to end. Family members don't fully understand and cast you out! I am alive, but I am not happy.

Vanessa
Hello Bill, I want to write about my story of my abuse that started at age 6, by an uncle that wasn't an uncle yet, then as I grew up as a teenager, thinking this all would end it didn't. I was again abused as a woman, raped and beaten by a husband of 12 years. As I thought I was free, I was raped more times when I was divorced, by men just trying to survive and take care of two daughters. Then the care of my son, I was raped as he grew up. I don't think many persons know all this, except counselors, Psychiatrists, clergy men and women. Friends online and not many face to face know all this about me. I am glad to have joined the cause and attended college to learn to write. Write as I always have in journals, diaries, paper and now in essays, computer, blogs, journals etc. I write from my heart and my soul. I hope to help others avoid what I seem to see called red flags. I am born with Psychic abilities, but the man that ended up being my uncle caused me to drift away from my life plan and abilities. Then at age 6 I was constantly abused in my path. I didn't know how to defend and care for myself. In a way Jesus the angels, spirits and deceased have helped me along this rocky journey... God bless I will write it all. Love, Light and Happiness.

Lt Richard B Lilly, USNR-Ret
I have had this opinion for all my life. Those who are weak in spirit and mind prey upon those they think they can control whether it is a spouse, child or an animal. All I can say here is that Jerry was a lucky man to have had you. He was so rich and didn't even realize it. He had a loving wife and two son's. I'd give any amount of money for that!!! He threw it all away because of his inner hatred and insecurity. God Bless you. I'd be honored to have what he had.


Thanks to you, Bill-healingwings, I have come to a place where can be all of who I am, my life was changed by things that happened years ago, yet as we all know...it stays with us, I was blessed to be able to walk on, because I poured what I needed into others’ lives...I've lost many a friend, precious souls I met in a clinic, they could not take the "outside world"..nobody here has the platform you created for many in the USA. So , for the first time; thoughts and my life on paper...can live out here... A special word to all who accept even me...whose been hiding for years. But through their stories I know the feelings and emotions, the path of coping and healing..
.Thank you all. Blessings Bill,
love & hugs
Karen
From:South Africa

Jackie
I lived in several abusive relationships. Now , I have a daughter with 3 daughters of her own living in one. She was not born when I was in the bad relationships. Her dad and I have a very good relationship. He is far from being abusive. We have been together for over 30 years. I don't know what to do . She is almost 30. Her husband abuses drugs, he abuses her, he cheats on her, lies to her, fights with her in front of the kids, does not provide, leaves for days or weeks and then he threatens to hurt himself if she doesnt take him back. Or he blames her for it all. We have taken her in with us and he attacks us. We have paid all her bills for months only to find out he has sneaked back in. Now we are doing nothing but I am scared for her. I like your web site. I was able to walk away from the abuse I suffered and I almost died , I just don't understand why she is not able to do so when we are here to catch her. why ?

From:Oklahoma


I thank God for this website! In the year or so since I joined I have watched it grow, made some real friends who understand where I came from. But most importantly I know I am no longer a victim now or ever again!!! A special thanks to Bill whom I consider a real man as well as a real friend. Having Bill as a mediator of this site was important to me because I watched everything he posted and just waited for him to slip, but guess what...he never did, thus helping me to trust a man again.
No longer a victim,
Kim Swango


God must have a plan for me. I open my inbox tonight to find this e-mail waiting for me. Maybe this is a sign from him. I just left an abusive six year relationship with someone. And now I am trying to figure out how to start all over again. This man is mean in all forms. Maybe this is his way of telling me that I need some help and had no place to really turn.
Pamela Bensinger

From:Paducah Ky


John b
thank you and God Bless!!
From:Ramona

Mark Sevier
Seventy years ago my Grandpa taught me a life-lesson that has stayed with me ever since. "There's only one way to fight a woman," he said, "and that's with your hat. You put it on your head -- and go." He didn't say to keep going or to come back, but he always came back.
From:Honey Island, Texas


Chris Franklin
Never give up hope and keep winning, one day and one step at a time.
From:Brisbane, QLD, Australia

Aida
Thank you for taking them time to listen and help. Keep up the good work

From:Indiana

Tonya
Bill! YOU have done a wonderful Job on the SITE... YOU should be very PROUD!!!! it is very Informative...! Thanks for what you are doing to make ABUSE known that it HAS TO STOP! Admiring you from afar, Tonya
From:Native Texan Living in Southern Ontario Canada


Bill from Pennsylvania
I don't know if my story is worth telling, but I am a survivor of Childhood Sex Abuse and Adult Sexual Abuse when in the military.  I've been through a number of suicide attempts and am getting counseling through the VA in Erie, PA.
I am a father of two great young adult kids and a wonderful wife. 
My abuser is a uncle/cousin.  My grandfather divorced my grandmother and married her sister who had a number of children from previous marriage, making my mom's cousin now her step-brother (or something like that). It turns out that many family members (aunts, uncles, cousins) were molested by an Uncle (not the one who molested me, but one of his victims), including my mom.  She called me names when it happens.  It was only when she turned forty that I found out about the sexual abuse in her life at the hands of her uncle and mother.
I had joined the navy, hoping to prove my manhood, when I allowed a new shipmate to crash in my room.  We both had been drinking and had just dropped off my girlfriend. My roommates were gone so there were two extra racks for him to sleep.  Next thing I know, I am being raped, it brought back memories of my youth.
Besides the suicide attempts, depression and PTSD, it has also been the cause of seizures in my life and when I turned 48, my life was turned upside down. But I say now that when I last attempted was the day I started living. I am coming to believe that it's not my fault, I can forgive myself and learn to forgive my Uncle and my shipmate (for whom I didn't even know his name.
I did serve as a Community Based Mental Retardation Sex Offender Case Manager in my county and worked across the Commonwealth with Academics, Law Enforcement, Caseworkers, Counselors, Probation Officers and the Courts and Prison Officials on how to handle MR Sex Offenders.


I was in a very abusive relationship.  He beat me and his own Mother.  He abducted me and beat me for hours with fists and steel toed boots.  He fractured my vertebrae, left me with permanent wounds physical, mental and emotional wounds.  He would try to throw me from moving vehicles.  When he had friends over he would lock me up in his bedroom and wouldn't let me out.  He accused me of sleeping with everyman, my Dad, neighbors, Uncles, and friends.  He threatened to set my Mom's car on fire with her and my nephew in it.  I week later he followed thru but thank God they weren't hurt.  When I finally found the courage to get out, I attained a restraining order but he walked right thru it and continued to stalk me, beat me, and the police always said they had to catch him in the act.  4 days after my 18th BD I left home not knowing what I'd do but I needed to survive.
Five years ago I had Cancer, during that time my husband was cruel and abusive, often drunk and couldn’t find his way home when he did it was cold & nasty.  I was too sick to go, nor was anyone around to help me so I stayed.  Today when he doesn’t get his way he is still physical with me.  He finally said we are over but he won’t leave nor does he speak a word.  It is frightening but I know God has always been with me and will continue to be.  From all the abuse I have endured I don’t trust, have long bouts of depression and a multitude of health problems because of what these people have done.  If my story can save another innocent woman from a life of hell I will tell it over and over again!  The healing journey takes a lifetime but a road worth traveling.  God Bless your Good Works!!!
Sincerely,
Kristen

I was attacked by my husband in 2005. We were at a party at his boss's house and had both been drinking. He wanted me to drive and I refused. His boss called a cab and paid for it. We weren't a block out of the driveway before I found myself on the floor of the cab and him beating on me. The cab was a van. When the cab driver tried to call for help on his radio, my husband ripped out the dash. He is (was) a big guy. I was recovering from a total knee replacement which was damaged during the assault. I also suffered a broken nose with lacerations which required stitches and two surgeries to straighten. I had two surgeries also on my knee replacement. I also had a fractured elbow. The cab driver, instead of taking us home, drove around the police and fire dept. till he got noticed and stopped by police. (Which was just a few blocks from where I lived). It took officer's three attempts to pull him off me as he was beating my face into the tracks of the van door. Needless to say, I divorced him while he sat in jail waiting for trail as he pleaded not guilty. I felt like I was on trial when I was on the witness stand. The jury found him guilty and he was sentenced to 6 1/2 years in prison for two measure 11 assaults. He gets out 3/12/2012. His boss has offered him his job back when he gets out. He was repairing appliances in private homes. I live in, Oregon. If in any way my story can help someone I would be happy .
Sincerely,
Barb

My name is Amanda and this is my story….
My father was in the military so I spent the majority of my childhood moving from base to base throughout the United States and Germany.  The transitory lifestyle made it difficult to develop strong relationships with people or emotional attachments to places.  The bases where we stayed were designed to promote conformity and a strict adherence to military values.  Personal privacy seemed to be a foreign concept.  My home life was characterized by a strong patriarchal authority, as well as the frequent absence of my father.  I eventually came to perceive these traits as normal.  When I was 15 years old, we moved from Germany to Cecil County.  I was having difficulty adjusting to U.S. civilian culture after spending my childhood living on or around military bases.  I struggled to connect with my non-military peers.  After graduation and a time of uncertainty and confusion, I met a guy who I thought would be my knight in shining armor (I will refer to him as MRP.)  He came through like a whirlwind, claiming he had never loved anyone like this before and he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me.  He said he wanted to get married and start a family as soon as possible.  The only problem was that he had recently enlisted in the military and was scheduled to move within a few months.  MRP insisted upon us getting married before he flew out to Germany.  We had only been dating for three months but I didn’t want to let him down by saying no.  I also felt a strong connection to life in the military, despite the frequent moves and threat of loss in times of war.  I agreed to his proposal and we married on July 7, 2005.  I became pregnant with our first child soon after.  I miscarried during my second trimester and was absolutely devastated by the loss.  I was neither physically nor emotionally prepared to try for another child but MRP said he didn’t care and tried to get me pregnant as soon as he could.  I gave birth to our son less than a year later.

  Within the first few months of our marriage, I realized that MRP was far from the knight in shining armor I believed him to be.  I experienced various forms of domestic violence throughout our relationship, including; threats and intimidation, physical abuse, destruction of property, isolation from friends and family, verbal abuse, coercion, and harassment.  His behavior was dangerous and unpredictable.  Over time I started to think I was the problem.  I consciously tried to change MY behavior so as not to upset him.  My relationship with MRP was so tumultuous I felt like I was on a roller coaster ride from hell.  His abusive behavior got worse when he came back from his deployment to Afghanistan.  MRP spent the bulk of his paychecks on video games and alcohol which left little to no money for food for me and my son.  The most severe physical assault occurred in June of 2007 while we were stationed in Germany.  One night we had a verbal altercation and I could feel the tension building.  I instinctively knew I had to remove myself from the situation as quickly as possible.  However this only made MRP angrier.  He grabbed me by the arm and threw me up against the wall and then began to choke me.  At some point the military police were called and MRP was arrested.  He spent one night in jail (which would later prove to be his only punishment for this horrendous crime.)  Due to concerns for our physical safety, the military police quickly arranged for my son and me to fly back to the United States.  This would be the last time the military advocated on my behalf.  I spent the past two years of my life fighting not only for full custody of my son, but for the military to hold MRP accountable for the acts of violence he committed.  The abuse I suffered at his hands would be a felony under civilian law but was subject to military procedure because it happened on base.  The charges I filed against him were substantiated, yet the case was never adjudicated by Court Martial (less than 7% of spouse abuse cases are.)  I contacted MRP’s commander, as well as several of the sergeants and lieutenants in his unit.  I even reached out to the Judge Advocate General and Inspector General to no avail.  I was repeatedly victimized by the system, and I no longer have that strong connection to military culture.  I am struggling to raise my son with absolutely no physical or emotional (and very little financial!) support from his father.  My heart breaks every time he cries out for his “daddy.”  The military has allowed MRP to move on with his life as if the abuse never occurred.  However my life and that of my son’s will forever be altered.  We have become casualties of this war.  I write this letter because I feel like it is my duty to speak out on behalf of myself, my son, and all other victims of military-perpetrated domestic violence.  It is time for a change!

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  My name is Barbara, I am a 40 yr old woman and proud mother of 3 amazing children.
My story isn't one filled with broken bones, black eyes, or arrests. Which is probably why it took me so long to recognize the seriousness of the violence within my own home, at the hands of my very own husband...

  We met when we were both 15, started dating right before my 16th birthday. He was sweet, charming, respectful and seemed to be so much more mature than most of the boys our age. He told me he loved me from very early on in our relationship which made me a little nervous at first. I didn't have much experience with dating and was pretty shy. I was always very insecure like most teenage girls tend to be. At this age I was feeling like somewhat of a child who longed to be grown up. I had protective parents who did their best to always have a watchful eye on me, while my friends had so much more freedom. I felt like I was treated like a baby compared to most of my friends and started to become a little rebellious.

  The attention that my boyfriend was showering me with made me feel beautiful, important, grown up. Things I never felt before in my life. Feelings that I craved. I started to feel more confident about my sexuality. I liked that he said he was attracted to me, that I was beautiful, that he wanted me. After all, at the age of 16 isn't that enough for a girl to start feeling like less of a child and more like a woman... Problem was, I was still very much a child, and we both were.

  When we started to have sex a few months later things started to change for us. For me, I become emotionally attached to him. For him, he became very jealous and overprotective. He made me wait for him at the end of every class because he HAD to walk me to my next class. Some friends were envious, some were annoyed. For me I just accepted it as his way of showing how much he cared. Soon he changed some classes just to be in mine. We were inseparable, attached at the hip. Most of the boys I was friends with stopped talking to me and coming by my house because he made them feel like they were no longer welcome in my life. I was now all his and he wouldn't share me with anyone. The truth is, at that time, I loved the way it made me feel. I felt special...

  Soon, he started to come between me and my girlfriends as well. He never wanted me to spend time with anyone else but him. One night I even remember him following me and my friend in her car when I went to babysit with her. He insisted on being together all the time. We had sex almost every day. He was becoming more and more possessive over me. Some of my friends stopped hanging out with me because they didn't want to deal with him anymore. I remember the first time I told him that I wanted some space he completely freaked out on me. He started crying and yelling and cursing at me. It was the first time he ever called me the 'C' word. Unfortunately it wasn't the last.

  I felt terrible that I made a boy cry. He said he loved me so much and couldn't live without me. I felt like a horrible person, after all he was the first boy who made me feel so special, so loved, so wanted. Who was i to hurt him like this? Who was I to make him cry? I was nothing special, he was. I needed him...this was the biggest turning point in my memory...I made him and his happiness more important than mine. From this point on I tried to never hurt him and in doing so I began to lose myself...

  I was pregnant 3 months after my 17th birthday. By this time I surrendered myself completely. I gave give complete power. We did what he wanted, we went where he wanted to go. Watched only movies he picked out. Listened mostly to his kind of music. He started to become more and more aggressive with me. I was his now, carrying his child and he made sure everyone knew it. We started arguing a lot. Most of it was if a boy talked to me in school, or if he thought I looked at another boy. I remember one day in school we were standing outside the girls locker room arguing and he put his right hand around my throat and shoved me. That rumor spread around school very quickly. I denied it when it made its way back to my sister who was only a grade above me.

  We were both under a lot of stress at this point worried about the pregnancy. We fought all the time. I remember sitting in my car in the parking lot of my bank just screaming at each other. I was so upset I started punching him. This he eventually told me, was my biggest mistake. He told me once I raised my hands to him it was all over. He hit me back. He bruised my arm. He was stronger than me, he was louder than me, and he was scarier than me. It was my fault. I made him do it. This set the pattern for our future...

  I will skip ahead now to the present day and reflect on major points that brought me here. After being married for 20 yrs...I finally left him 9 months ago. Filed for divorce and am doing my best to heal all 3 children and myself. I was spit on, shoved during my pregnancies, had my hair pulled and ripped from my head. I was kicked, I was choked and I was knocked to the ground. I was cursed at, humiliated in public, and blamed for all of it saying I provoked it, that I enjoy setting him off and knew how to push his buttons. I had bruises on my arms, legs, back, and head. But the biggest bruise I would eventually come to find out was on the inside. Not the bruise inside of me, the bruises inside of our children who witnessed it all. My children would be the ones to carry the biggest scars of all. He would never admit that he was abusive because "You never had a black eye or a broken bone in your life, get over it and cut your shit, you're a drama queen. Waahhh poor Barbara lives in her own fantasy world. Get the f*ck out of here” I was convinced he was right. That there was something wrong with me. I went out of my way to hide what was going on. I wanted people to think I was loved by him, that we had a perfect marriage. I was ashamed that I was capable of having my husband be able to say he hated me, I ruined his life.
The ONLY person who knew the truth was his mother. I told her almost everything. All I'd get was I'm sorry.

  He has been diagnosed with bi-polar disorder. This he feels is his excuse. He said he couldn't help himself. When my mother passed away 2 years ago, my whole world stopped making sense. I and the children couldn't survive without her. We were lost. I was left to take care of my own broken heart while my husband pulled further and further away from me. When I needed him most he turned his back on me and said it was just too much for him. After the first 6 months I started to change. I grew a little bit stronger every day. I begged my husband to spend time with me. Silly things like food shopping, talking a walk, or watching a movie in bed with me. He wanted no part of me. I grew a little bit stronger. I asked him to go for marriage counseling with me, he said never. I started watch Dr. Phil every day. He started to run a campaign called, End the silence on domestic violence. I watched it religiously. My husband made fun of me for it, said he was a homo, a quack. Thing was, the more I watched the more I related to it. I couldn't believe what I finally discovered... I wasn't crazy. The abuse was real and true. And the scariest thing of all, it was ALL UP TO ME TO STOP IT!!!!

  I and the kids have been living in a 1 bedroom apartment since December. He would not leave the house. After months of heartache, court dates, orders of protections, the judge finally told him he has to vacate the house and allow his children to sleep in their own beds. Foe the first time in my life I feel whole and strong... I finally found me......

*there are many more horrific tales to this story unfortunately. So many things that went on throughout those 20 years and so much that continues to go on today. The 2 oldest won’t even speak to him and I try to encourage my 12 yr. old to have his own relationship with his dad. I am awaiting my next court date....

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Bill from Pennsylvania

I don't know if my story is worth telling, but I am a survivor of Childhood Sex Abuse and Adult Sexual Abuse when in the military.  I've been through a number of suicide attempts and am getting counseling through the VA in Erie, PA.

I am a father of two great young adult kids and a wonderful wife. 

My abuser is a uncle/cousin.  My grandfather divorced my grandmother and married her sister who had a number of children from previous marriage, making my mom's cousin now her step-brother (or something like that). It turns out that many family members (aunts, uncles, cousins) were molested by an Uncle (not the one who molested me, but one of his victims), including my mom.  She called me names when it happens.  It was only when she turned forty that I found out about the sexual abuse in her life at the hands of her uncle and mother.

I had joined the navy, hoping to prove my manhood, when I allowed a new shipmate to crash in my room.  We both had been drinking and had just dropped off my girlfriend. My roommates were gone so there were two extra racks for him to sleep.  Next thing I know, I am being raped, it brought back memories of my youth.

Besides the suicide attempts, depression and PTSD, it has also been the cause of seizures in my life and when I turned 48, my life was turned upside down. But I say now that when I last attempted was the day I started living. I am coming to believe that it's not my fault, I can forgive myself and learn to forgive my Uncle and my shipmate (for whom I didn't even know his name.

I did serve as a Community Based Mental Retardation Sex Offender Case Manager in my county and worked across the Commonwealth with Academics, Law Enforcement, Caseworkers, Counselors, Probation Officers and the Courts and Prison Officials on how to handle MR Sex Offenders.



He was the cutest guy at school. When we were talking, he was incredibly sweet and understanding. I was still a virgin. In my fantasy, he was supposed to be my first lover. I was 17 when we first had sex. And that's when bad things started to happen. He wouldn't even kiss me. But I felt so grateful he accepted to have sex with me, I wouldn't complain. The truth is I felt I was not enough for him.
He first penetrated my vagina. It wasn't hurting. But then he asked me to try anal sex.
And of course I agreed. It hurt a lot. I told him it was hurting, but he wouldn't stop. He told me I'd have to stand.
I felt so scared because it was too fast. He was all sweet and suddenly he acted like that.
I still remember the weight of his chest over my back not allowing me to stand up, and the feeling of suffocation while my nose was pressed on the pillow.All I wanted was him to come soon, so the pain would end. But the worse is that, after that,
I didn't want to see I had been abused. I kept on seeing him and being hurt, humiliated and sexually abused.


The first time he hit me I was holding our baby daughter, I was 18 years old. I don't remember the next time or the next or the one after that. I remember the near drowning, the broken bones, black eyes and cigarette burns. Each time I vowed to leave and each time he begged me to stay, said he would change. He would cry and I began to think it was my fault. Maybe I did something to make him do it. We had 3 children together. More reason for me to stay, to make it work. More reason for him to beat me. He left me in the end. He went to prison for shooting his friend. It could have been me. He had held that same gun to my head earlier in the day. I met and married a lovely man 2 years later and we also had 3 children together.
I thank God every day for the life I have.

Sharon M.
England

I thought I was in a healthy relationship for the first three years that we were together.Then all of a sudden things started changing.
We would go out with friends and all seemed to be fine until we got home. He would wait until I got my night clothes on & then start accusing me of wanting to sleep with one or more of our friends.
I told him that I had no desire to sleep with any of our friends, besides they all have partners.
He said he didn't believe me & started slapping me.
As time went on the abuse got worse.......went from slapping to throwing me into a wall, punching me, throwing things at me, threatening to stab me.

In 1990 I was diagnosed with breast cancer & was going through chemotherapy.I was losing my hair & the chemo made me very sick & very weak.
One night he came home & started in on me & was pulling more of my hair out.He threatened to get a hammer & smash my skull in. I was finally at my last straw with all of the abuse.
I thought, "It's bad enough that you beat me up for something you fantasized about, but now you're beating me up, pulling my hair out, when it's already falling out from the chemo & threatening to kill me by smashing my skull with a hammer?"
As soon as he opened up the basement door to get the hammer out of the tool box, I fled out the front door & screamed as loud as I could.
The police said I had some pretty good lungs because there were people from 8 blocks away calling & saying that it sounded like someone was being murdered.
He was arrested & went to jail for 5 days. He kept trying to call, but I wouldn't accept the calls.
On the 4th day, my sister & I were sitting in my dining room visiting when my sister said she saw him walking up the sidewalk.
I told her that he wasn't getting out until the next day & all of a sudden the back door opened.
He came through the kitchen & came to the dining room smiling (thinking I was going to forgive him again).
I just looked at him & told him that he was not allowed to stay.
He looked in the left-hand corner of my dining room & saw 2 boxes with all of his belongings & started begging me to give him another chance.
I told him I couldn't do this anymore. I'm worth more than being a punching bag for an insecure so-called man.
He begged me for 6 hrs., but I never gave in. I closed that chapter of my life forever & will never again allow that to happen to me.
Marlene S.
Milwaukee, WI

THE VOICE FROM BEHIND THE WALL
My story begins with a single act. The act was the disruption of a adoption. My adoption to be exact. Let me backtrack briefly to give you a clearer picture of my story. This in fact was the second upheaval in my life. From birth until I turned two I was in a foster home. At two I was adopted. Thus removing me from all the "family" I knew within my life. This union lasted eight and half years. During this relationship around the time I turned seven, my parents began having their own children. First there was Ann then Harry and finally George. At first I felt the usual sibiling rivalry. Why did they give Ann my old tricycle, I still wanted it? How come they were paying more attention to my sister than me? You get the picture. Eventually I got over my feelings of jealousy and I grew attached to my sister and brothers. I have great memories of laughing and playing with them on our swingset, rolling down the neighbor's hill, playing tag and hide and go seek.
   Then one day they packed up all of my belongings and me and dropped me off. I thought my family was leaving me in a jail. I mean it looked like a jail, bars on the windows,hideous decor, and insensitive caregivers. Here I was a ten and a half year old uprooted from my family again. I was paralyzed by fear,consumed with anger, and enveloped by loneliness. My family had said "We don't want you anymore." Just stop here for a moment, and think how would you feel if your family just said that to you? As if to add insult to injury, I was permitted visits with my family. Each time when they prepared to leave, I'd beg them to take me back home. These visits were horrendous for me, they did more harm than good. It was as if I was losing them anew each visit. The day of my last visit with them was the worst day of my life, for I knew that I would never again get to see my parents and sister and brothers. Not get to hold them, laugh with them, or talk to them ever again. I would spend what seemed like an eternity to me with the institution. Part of my stay was spent in the Main Residence.
The other part I was housed within a group home. I was struck by how little their caretakers really understood about what us kids were going through emotionally. I mean I used to see this one kid whenever he got upset sit on his bed on all fours and rock back and forth banging his head against the wall. Caretakers just let him do it. Noone stopped him, it had to hurt. Kids stole my stuff, nothing happened and my stuff wasn't returned. I learned to hid my most prized and sentimental things. The staff performed bed checks at night as if we were prisoners, delibrately shining their flashlights into kids faces was that necessary? Even at ten I didn't think so. One staff member capitalized on my particular need for validation and my need for attention, for someone to make me feel better. So this staff person a male said "If you behave, I'll give you a backrub at bedtime, but if you don't then no backrub." Hey I was ten and all I wanted was attention. So I behaved particularly well when he was working. A different staff person once took me and another girl off premises to his mother's home where we spent the night. Even then I knew that rules were being broken by the grownups in charge. But still it was a dose of the much craved attention that filled my head. The rest of the staff just kind of ignored you if you weren't the kind of kid that created crisis. Staff should have had better training on how to deal with the quiet withdrawn kids not just the wild dangerous ones.
 
The children myself included should have received better counseling, and more counseling than we got. Sessions I remember were short and impersonal. No one really asked me how I was feeling daily or tried to reach me emotionally at least not appropriately. The other kids living in the group home and main residence reached out more emotionally to me than the staff did. The other kids understood me better than the staff did. I felt that many of the staff had the attitude of they were just punching the clock, bidding their time, they needed a job this one paid good money, just keep the kids alive and unhurt for eight or so hours. Four long years I spent hoping,praying, and begging for their return to no avail. At the end of those four years, I was adopted again at almost 13 years old, by a couple named Dan and Delores. Delores and Dan felt that I would be relieved not to be in a group home anymore. They expected me to arrive and want to be showered with love and attention. I however, on the other hand arrived full of distrust and fear. The harder they tried to prove their support and love for me, the faster and harder I tried to build my wall of protection. Delores and Dan didn't know how I felt, and I was determined not to tell them. In spite of being adopted by Delores and Dan, I felt unworthy of their love and attention. What I mean to say is that I felt like why should this family want me when my OWN family threw me away like unwanted trash. I felt undeserving of their efforts to boost my self esteem and intentions of integrating me into their family. In my eyes no one should bother to try because I wasn't worth it. I was terrified to show emotions to allow "them" to know how close I was permitting myself to be to them. I felt if I did then they would figuratively pull the rug out from under me. Emotions to me were dangerous to show another person. They would give that person unspeakable power to hurt you. I didn't want to go through the pain of losing someone I loved again. So I set about building my wall of protection. My bricks were disruptive behavior,unacceptance of physical affection and delibrately alienating myself from the family unit. Delores and Dan couldn't understand what was wrong they felt that love,time and attention would "heal" me. It was agonizing for me, what I most wanted was to enjoy in fact relish or savor their love, time and attention. But I was immobilized by my fear. Delores and Dan were all any child could want for in parents; supportive, nuturing, encouraging,etc. My fear stemmed from the thought that once I settled in and grew close to them they would sense this and they too would get rid of me. I couldn't and wouldn't enable them to devestate me in that way. I felt like I wouldn't be able to survive being given up again. I felt insecure no matter what assurances they gave me. I felt as if I could trust noone. My wall of distrust and fear of establishing close and meaningful relationships not only affected my life at home with Delores and Dan and my fellow adopted sibilings, it also impacted my ability to make friends in school. So you can imagine how lonely I felt throughout my school years.
   My wall gave me a tortureous and fierce protection. However it also was extremely self defeating. Remember what I most wanted was to love and be loved and to feel safe. The wall I'd built prevented me from reaching my full potential and dreams. A prime example of this is that when I became an adult and left home, my wall followed me (traveled with me)as well as my issues of low self esteem, and escapism through budding alcoholism. I made inappropriate choices for mates. The people I chose to associate with were no the kind you want to bring home to your mother. I firmly believed that I wasn't good enough, pretty enough or smart enough to be involved with anyone better. When even these poor choices of relationships failed, I started drinking even more because I did not want to deal with the pain of my failure and the feelings associated with it. I just plain didn't want to feel anything at this point in my life. Relationships and jobs I held during this exhausting portion of my life were lived in an alcoholic haze. At one point I had three jobs and a finance', yet still no happiness. This particular relationship ended rather poorly and thus excerbated my feelings of inferiority. My finance' in whom I had invested four years of my life and shared a child with, just walked away from me. I couldn't function, believe I did try to soldier on. I couldn't believe the way in which he left. What was wrong with me? I felt that I had done everything right. I thought I was behaving as a model mate. I had as I already stated not one job, but three. I took care of all the bills, I was faithful too. Yet still he left. When he left he used deception in order to retrieve the engagement ring he gave me. He said "I want to get it professionally cleaned for your birthday." So stupid, trusting me gave it to him willingly. This was in fact two days prior to my birthday. He drove me to work as if nothing was amiss or wrong. He said he would see me when I got home that night. However that night when I returned home, it was to a dark apartment. An apartment stripped of all his belongings, with his key to the apartment stuffed under the mat by the door. No   note, no phone calls, nothing to explain his reasons for leaving. Needless to say that year I didn't celebrate my birthday. In fact I wished I wasn't even alive. The trauma of his betrayal of my trust, heaped upon my already bruised and battered psyche was more than I could handle. Following his departure I fell into a deep depression and heavily abused alcohol. I retreated behind my wall of protection. I was wounded to the core of my soul. I felt as if everyone, anyone I grew close to would eventually hurt me. Noone had my best interests in mind, they were only out for themselves. They would keep me around as long as I was useful or it benefitted them, then they would just dump me. Regardless of the pain it would cause me.
   A sterling instance of this occured when I became involve with my second child's father. I was so desperate to prove my loyalty and love to him , I went out and sold myself for him. I thought that if I did this then he would see how much I was dedicated to him and he would finally marry me like he kept talking about. Instead I'd later find out that while I was doing this to prove my dedication, he was being intimately involved with the numerous drug addicted women who camped out in our home's back bedroom. He had the audacity to be physically violent when I didn't perform to his expectations.
   What I needed most, I was afraid to ask for HELP!!! Even though I had Delores and Dan and a few friends pushing and dragging me in the right direction. It took me awhile before I reached my bottom. When I did however, I signed myself into treatment and got sober in January of 2000. Even within my early recovery, I held out hope that I could find happiness and create my own family unit. So I became involved with a man named William. William was a smooth and convicing man. To this day, I think that he preyed on me because of my aura of desperation and need of a man for my validation. This relationship created two adorable children. Unfortunately for me before the first one was even born, William relapsed. I didn't relapse, however I did remain with him in the hope that I could change him, make him love me. I didn't want to endure facing my failure yet again. However when my third child was about ten months old, Williams physical and verbal abuse was not only harming me, but also terrorizing my three year old second child. I  left because I didn't want her to grow up afraid all the time. By then life with William was like living with a volcano, you never knewwhat to expect or when to expect it. It was nerve wracking for me and I imagine doubly worse for her. She thought of him as her dad for she didn't remember her own one. By the grace of God, neither my third or fourth children remember their dad William. Instead they identify my then finance' of two years as their dad.
   It took from the time I was thirteen years old until I was twenty nine years old, before I felt safe enough to begin dismantling my wall of protection. To begin the process of creating a real bond with my adoptive family Delores,Dan and sibilings. I now have developed a healthy strong relationship with them all. It has been a long process but I have slowly and cautiously revealed the real me and my voice from behind the wall. 

Written by Denise Pender

For all the people who were told that they do not count, that they are zero.
There is no math without zero.

Josephine van Rijn
From: Amsterdam
My name is Carrie-Anne. In 2001, my ex husband almost beat me to death when I was 6 weeks pregnant. He imprisoned me for 3 days raping me and refusing medical treatment. On the third day, I left. Today, I have written two books and I donate the proceeds to our domestic violence shelters. I am also a deputy sheriff. I am NOT a victim but a SURVIVOR and I try to inspire other survivors. Our voices will educate and prevent domestic violence and child abuse. It is now our duty to speak out and change minds- one person at a time.

My name is Katie, I was with my ex-husband for over 33 years married for 24, during which I was emotionally, physically, and verbally abused. I never told anyone I thought it was my secret and i dealt with it alone I know better now there are places and people to help, I finally left in January of 2010, but in July 2010 he knew I wasn’t taking him back he lost control of me, He broke into my apartment at 3am and stabbed me 37 times while our 3 year old grandson lay sleeping next to me. He then left me for dead, But I wasn’t ready to die, I AM NOT A VICTIM I AM A SURVIVOR and I hope by sharing my story someone gets help before it gets to where i got, I am very lucky to be alive,. Domestic Violence is not a secret and there is help. STOP THE SILENCE speak out, get help, no one deserves to be physically, verbally, or mentally abused.

Leonor
I was nineteen and from day one was told lies by the man I met who was very sick from alcohol; I helped him and he wished after three weeks to marry me or else would not go to clinic to heal from alcoholism; I finally accepted against my better judgment and discovered horror; before long he hit me and I woke up in hospital I asked for my father's help to divorce he refused, black eyed in front of my mother and brother they said nothing, only my husband had the decency to leave and disappear but he always came back; he never hit me unless drunk and always asked forgiveness afterwards so the horror only stopped when I ran away for good leaving no address and led a happier life ever since;

Marilyn
I haven't read all of these, so this may be new or repetitive...? Sometimes there are no black eyes nor broken bones and so forth to show your abuse. There are men who pretend to be everything whenever anyone is around but they silently abuse you. Words...sticks and stones may break your bones but words can always hurt you. Name calling, belittling, cutting you down, saying you are stupid or worthless, telling you that you deserve nothing, can't spend money on clothes and so forth, on and on. I was married to an alcoholic who did all these things and more. Threats of drowning me in the pond, thankfully, I cannot remember it all anymore. I finally did divorce him and later he died when he no longer had anyone around to abuse. Guess that is what he was living to do. Never presume in that you see no physical bruises and so forth that nothing is happening. Some of us are silent as speaking out only gets harsher abuse. I escaped with my life and some material gain.

Dona
My story is of always seeing the "lighter" side of people cost me when I married a man with a bully elitist mentality and I blew his plan when we became pregnant the 1st year. Many harsh and abusive things happened with no pattern and 2 more sons and 5 houses later he was so in debt and needed an out. I accepted his abuse in real forgiveness, and then I accepted I was mentally ill. He split taking no interest in my welfare for 5 years and had more standing, more money, and I have the legal and medical proof, as I healed my truth threatened his "quicksand life" And my sons all alienated have been vicious, up and down and projecting, and abusive yet I hung in till a few days ago, when my eldest said he's" see me in hell" in response to my wanting to transfer Christmas gifts rather than mail them!! I know I must write my book and try for law against parental alienation and the misdiagnosis of mental disease, and the bottom feeders who abuse that person, and do much harm to our children

My name is Spc Gibson Shantel I was a victim of Domestic Violence. I survived and so can you. Please let’s make 2013 a year of strength and power to help un-silence abuse.


Other time, when I told him he was hurting me at intercourse, he asked me to stand the pain for him. I bled many times while having sex with him, for he used to penetrate me in a rough way, not waiting me to be excited. And he would come a few seconds after that, and that was all.
He used to say terrible things to me, like that he wouldn't give me oral sex because he didn't need to seduce me anymore or that I needed plastic surgery.   
He used to offer me to his friends, as if I was his doll. He was pretty manipulative.
He found out I was taking birth control pill and refused to use condons since then. But kept on terrorizing me about having an abortion in case I got pregnant.
Sometimes I think he wanted me to get pregnant so he'd have the satisfaction of me having all the pain and bleeding of an abortion.
Nowadays I know he's a  misogynist. He truly enjoys making women suffer. He used to say we're all like dolls on shelves.
It was really hard to escape him. A few months after I stoped seeing him, he started to call me. I was still hurt and told him lots of things.
He said he didn't owe me any apologise since he had used me because I had let him. So he had no responsability for his evil actions, the others are supposed to protect themselves from him. In his words, he had only had sex with me because I was available. 
I cried a lot, but it was good. For the first time he had showed his true self without lies or manipulation.
I never called him anymore, but he called me again about six months later. At first he invited me to go out. Then he explained he wanted to go to a group sex club with his boss. And he thought of me, such a gentleman, because unaccompanied men would pay more.
He was rude, but in fact I enjoyed, because that was my chance to prove him that he used to come after me. He kept on harassing me for several days, until I made it perfect clear I wasn't going because I had no wish to go. When that happened, he got pretty upset and insulted me. This time, I insulted him back. He never called me anymore. I'm really happy about it. Now I'm still healing from his sistematic abuse. It's still hard for me to be in a relationship with a man, but I will never give up to be happy.
If you meet a guy who acts like this, get away from him as soon as it's possible.

Thank you,
Patty
  I hope other women will be careful online
My name is Nina here is my story.
Last year I met a man online, and we began to correspond via online. I knew he lived several states away from me however that didn’t matter since I had no plans to go anywhere. 
When I received a dozen long-stemmed red roses on Valentine’s Day I was surprised and pleased and flattered. He sent me an e-mail telling me he loved me, and I sent one back telling him I felt the same way. I was in love with the person he purported to be online and on the phone, and boy, did we spend hours and hours on the phone!
 
He visited me in the Spring and stayed at a local motel since he was unable to stay at my place nor would I let him. It was strained a bit since he brought “blue pills” yet we were not intimate since this was our first face-to-face meeting. When I did agree to intimacy a few days later, I got my period. He also didn’t kiss me deeply or passionately; that’s one sign I missed and recognized in hindsight.   I visited him several weeks later, and we did attempt to be intimate yet nature had other plans. Our attempt was awkward yet he said, “We'll get there.” When I returned home I missed him so much I called him two days later and said why wait, why not let’s move in together and start our new lives earlier (we planned to marry at the end of the summer). We’re mid-life adults, and I was sure I’d met the man of my dreams.
 
To the amazement of friends and family I moved in with him mid-July, and for three weeks had a wonderful time although we still hadn’t been intimate. He still hadn’t kissed me deeply or passionately. In case he needed proof that he was single again he told me to check his personal files for a death certificate for his daughter’s mother, who he divorced after a few years. I found the files and saw that plus many other folders, and one got my attention. Inside was a Step 4 he wrote three years ago. I was curious yet I respectfully ignored it.
 
We married Friday, August 6, and almost immediately got into an argument. While I’m not sure what preceded this, I distinctly remember him telling me, “I don’t appreciate being yelled at every night.” I felt we weren’t getting along as well as we did when I visited, and a few times after we argued I’d sit in my car (parked outside in the driveway) and cry.
 
The next day I wrote him a gentle note, using an idea from a book I’d read, and told him about it during the day; after we got home from food shopping he said, “You wrote me a note?” and read it. He turned expressionless, and I sensed something was wrong so I offered to take him to dinner, a “date night,” the following day.

We picked a restaurant, and when I chose another based on cost (I had meager funds), he got angry. When I asked him what’s going on, he said he likes things simple, and I’m complicating them by changing my mind. I was driving and began to get teary.
At the restaurant we ordered our meals—he got impatient that I hadn’t chosen what to order—and had no conversation so when the meal came, I told him I’d like to talk with him later. He stopped mid-bite, fork in the air, looked at me over his glasses and yelled, “Do you mind if I finish my dinner first? You asked me to dinner, let me finish it!”
 
I quivered and felt my heart drop. Right then I knew I was in trouble yet I couldn’t believe he said that so I asked him again, quietly, and he repeated what he said, more loudly. I’d asked to taste his meal; he threw a piece at me, not like the times before when he’d gently put his fork, laden with food, into my mouth.
 
When the check came he threw it at me and stormed out to smoke a cigarette.
 
What I saw in the folder tugged at me, and one day when he was at work I looked at it again. In horror I read his words—he kicked and punched his daughter’s mother in the stomach when she was pregnant; he shoved and paddled another woman more recently.
 
The man was an abuser, and I spent the better part of August planning how to leave. He refused intimacy of any kind. When I told him we’re living more like roommates than like husband and wife he’d say, “Don’t start on me.”
 
More than one person was to suggest he might be HIV-positive (I learned his daughter’s mother died of AIDS) or gay. He yelled at me for little things and made plans that didn’t materialize. I think I was a trophy wife since he always reached for my hand in public, whether we were walking from the car to a store or into his AA meeting, yet he ignored me and my needs at home.
 
Once he blamed our lack of intimacy on the fact that I fall asleep by 9 p.m. I feel sad and depressed because I loved this man and changed everything about my life—I moved to his state, gave up my support systems and friends, and all that is familiar to me—to be with him, and he changed nothing about his life for me.
 
Only after I left did he admit this.
 
Months later he told me he missed me. It’s been nearly three months since I left him and re-established my life, much to the relief of friends and family—and me. My experience is like these lines from “The Shipping News”: You know, it takes a year, a full turn of the calendar, to get over losing somebody. That’s a true saying. And it helps if you’re in a different place.”
 
My advice to women who meet men online – BE CAREFUL!!   You don’t know who the other person is, and even if you met him in person, you still wouldn’t know all the facts unless you spend consistent time together.   I was taken in by someone and really believed he loved me.   Thank God I left when I did.


Members share their stories

The Back Door

***WARNING: Graphic subject matter***

We’re so adaptable, for years I felt like an “IT” and just accepted the situation for what it was. I was completely numb to the entire sexual experience.

Among the most embarrassing things about the abuse and control I endured…and the singular thing I never discussed with anyone until very recently…was the truth about the sexual aspects of our marriage. I’ve touched on this minimally before in the context of how narcissistic abusers look upon sex only as a means of self-satisfaction. However, spurred by the discussion we had in a private support group I belong to, we’re going to talk about it all today. I mean every bit of it. This was the one remaining area where, until yesterday, I thought I was the only one.


Dare to live the life you dream of, follow your bliss without apology or regret. Stumble, error, make a mess! Act on the desires of your heart, and honor your unique being.

Those who love you will support and encourage your choices without any agenda other than to see your light shine.

~Anna Lieb
MORE STORIES.........
Surviving Insanity

I once tried to kill myself.
I wasn't` successful in my attempt,though I don't think I cared either way at that point. I had reached rock bottom and ambivalence is the only emotion that survives there. It is said that only the good die young and I have never been good enough for anything.

Thoughts of dying were constant within my abused mind. They occupied my bed, attended every meal
and followed my every movement. I was buried alive and the air that I breathed lasted way too long.

In the moment that could have been my last, I didn't know the difference between right and wrong. I was crazy. I wasn't` the "hearing voices" kind of crazy though. There was only one voice I ever heard and it was not self-created. I could close my eyes and shield his face but there was no way to vanquish his belittlement. His words were dehumanizing and the pain they inflicted was willful. Through the years of torture his beliefs became my own. Once he gained full control of my mind he manipulated reality, distorted my perceptions and forced my behaviors.
If I had died, it wouldn't have been by suicide.

The attempt was involuntary, a reflex. His abuse was like a hammer that never stopped striking, in the instance of my near death experience, he just happened to hit the right tendo.n Somehow I was able to escape his manipulation while maintaining my life. It took all that I had and years of recovery, but I am now as close to sane as I've ever been.

In retrospect, I realize I was accountable for the attempt on my life. I was brainwashed however nothing and no one can dominate a mind that does not surrender control. I no longer desire to die and there is something to be said for surviving insanity; Lunacy makes for really good poetry.

Audrey Michelle
Spoken Word Artist
...having one of my sleepless nights so I decided to respond to your message.

I am 62 year old Mother of Joshua and Meghan. Megh and her husband have given me four amazing grandson aged 4 & 2 & the twins are 11 months. Thankfully, I broke the chain of violence in my family and my children were never exposed to having to attack their father to save their mother.

I grew up in the 50'and 60' and not only did we have to live in this war zone we better not tell anyone our family business either.
My step Dad died on May 8, 2012...he lived 5months after his diagnosis. I was his primary care giver. And it was my privilege to be with him to the end. He had been our Dad for over forty years and after my brother died he filed papers to adopt my sister and I legally and on July 15, 2011 we officially became his girls. I was 60 & Mare was 52. I think the Judge was just as excited as we were. He told us that because we are older we have to take care of Dad since he has taken care of us for forty years. We said that was exactly what we planned to do. The judge even came down off the bench and took pictures of us. We had no idea he was sick and how prophetic the judges words would come to be. 7 weeks later my Mother died. I was blessed to be with her also.

On Sept 3rd my beautiful Mother in law died also. Then in December I was diagnosed for the second time in ten years with Kidney Cancer. Most do not survive it once much less. I only have 3/4s of a kidney but I am cancer free.

When my Dad was close the end but still very alert and oriented I wrote him a long letter and thanked him for everything he did for us, my Mom and his grandkids. Then I told him a story only my Mom knew and we never mentioned it. I came home from a date about midnight. My brother and sister were on sleepovers and I had planned one also but my friend got sick at the movies so I just got my date to take me home. When I opened the door all I could hear was my Mom screaming and crying. They didn't know I was there. When I came in the room my mother was in a lazyboy chair and it was all the way back. My Real Dad was standing over her with a 22 rifle up in the air ready to bring the butt end down on her face again.

I leaped up and grabbed the end of the rifle and yanked it away from him. Then I turned it on him and told him I knew it was loaded and he knew I could shoot it because he taught me. I was so tired and scared of living like this and never knowing if would always be there in time to save her.

My finger was on the trigger and the gun was pointed at his head and for once hr. was terrified and I was glad. Then my little voice in my head said...he's not worth it...so I pulled It down took my finger off the trigger and told him to leave and he did with that gun at his back.
So I told my Dad how very close I came to killing my father and if I had I am sure I would have gotten a life sentence and never would have ever known what it was like to have a real family and home. Our father hit us too but mostly Mom and I never realized how living like that affected me as a person and my personal relationships.

I was raped at 12 by three teenagers and many date rapes followed. One was nearly a murder. But I never told anyone until I was thirty six ...I had buried it so deep. My life completely changed when I spent a year and a half in a group for Adult Children of Alcoholics, then followed that with intense rape counseling and I am now a strong, confident warrior!!!

I am a trained Domestic Violence and Rape Advocate as well as being trained as an advanced critical incident stress debriefer through the Fire Department where I worked as Paramedic. I have also volunteered with The Doe Network, North American Missing Persons Network and the Maryland Missing Persons Network. So many of those that are missing are the result of Domestic Violence...So I hope I can share my story and maybe help some of your members if that is all right.
Laurie Taylor Gilman

Lourie thank you for sharing with everyone. I do know that our paths have crossed for a reason..I chose to call it a God thing!
Love & Light to you little sister,
Bill :)
God is the only refuge.  There are people that suffer in silence, we need to bring more awareness and reach out to the hurting.  God has allowed me to walk thru fire and I've come out a lil scorched, smelling like char, and crispy on the edges, but I am not incinerated.  Instead, I will allow God to use that fire to ignite my inner strength and use my experiences to reach out to others! 

Some say its our fault for putting up with the abuse, going back, and not getting away.  However, abusers do not start by acting this way.  At the beginning most are very kind, caring and loving. They then manipulate you, and once you are "stuck" or they think they "have" you it begins.  It's a slow transition first isolating each and every friend/family member away from you.  They begin to control every aspect of your life.  In doing so they convince you they are doing these things out of love, they are protecting you.  Once you are financially dependent, have lost everyone, and trust no one they start by a smack that busts a lip. They cry, it wasn't intentional and they "never" hit a woman before.  Can't even believe they did it themselves.

You forgive.  Always with a nice present waiting. Then they are on their best behavior for a week maybe two. But a few days later the mean words start flowing, the confidence is shattered and things start going right back.  Names are called and you actually believe you are those things, they point out your worst flaws, the things you hate about your body and say how no one will ever want you.

It builds, a fight starts and then you end up with another busted lip, scratched, bruises.  He says he's not abusive bc a man of his size could really put a hurting on you if he wanted.  The lil love taps you got were nothing and you deserve it. 

If you want to leave, he'll cry, apologize, and buy you nice things to keep you.  Or he'll keep beating you down so you beg him not to leave you bc your so scared and alone.   The cycle continues until one day a line is crossed, something changes. 
Some women die, some finally wake up, or maybe the abuse turns to the children.  Some women live like this their whole lives. Some even watch their children get abused and still stay in silence.  Why? Because if you walk one day in her shoes you will see, you no longer exist without that person, they have controlled your every move, thought, and action for months, years.  You think you have no one, no option, and they DO love you.  That's what they say over n over it's bc they love you so much it makes them crazy.   They threaten you, if you do leave or if they throw you out they will take your kids, mess up your life, and destroy you.  See they threaten to leave as part of the control, so you will beg them to stay and put up with their actions.  Because when they do leave you, they leave you with no money, no car, no hope, this ensures that you will call and beg them to come back.

However, when you finally cross that line and decide not to call him back that's when he becomes the scariest. He will follow through with his threats.  He's losing control and this puts fear into him.  So he will try to take your kids, stalk you, and do anything in his power to hurt you.  This is when it's the hardest.  Although you finally have peace without him being around and can finally enjoy your kids, you are scared to death of what's coming.

You don't know what to expect next. You are alone, scared, and broke.  You have to jump through fifteen hoops to get any assistance and everyone acts as though you are the bad person.  At times, it seems like things will never look up, but that's when King Jesus steps in!  When you look to him things start happening.  You get approved for assistance.  The judge will grant your EPO. Things are looking up, but just when things start going smoother, you get the call your electric is shut off.  After running around all day trying to find help, you stop in the parking lot of a church n pray.  This is the same church that when you call Red Cross they refer you to.  So the gentleman you call at the church comes to you in the parking lot sensing your urgency and calls you back within the hour paying your debt in full.  God is awesome. Jesus paid our debt in full on the cross a long time ago and he continues to bless us daily if we turn to him!  So your power is back on and you feel a sense of relief.  That only lasts until you go to the fridge and you're out of milk, then diaper the baby and only have 3 diapers left, then you have to meet for visitation of the child and your gas light is on.  Your bank account is empty and so is everything else.  You start praying and posting stuff for sale.  Trying to think of anyway to generate income. You pray harder, and then you get a text message.  Your dad is depositing $200.00 into your bank account.  He didn't know your needs, but your Heavenly Father did.

  See this is what you live every day.  Struggling, fighting, working, stressing, and praying.... All while trying to keep a smile and a brave face for your wonderful babies.  If not for God, I wouldn't have been able to stay away.  I would've gone right back again.
My children were my driving force and their safety and the safety of the mother they love so much finally made me realize.  I'm so blessed that I got out alive, I'm broken, but not destroyed!  God is sooo good and he deserves all the glory!!!

Jatai Arnett

On sept. 15 1997 my sister was murdered by her abuser. I'm still as devastated as it was 15 yrs ago. She was shot because she was trying to leave him. Her name was Patty May Springer Haynes. She was murdered in Washington NC. God bless her memory. I hope that it will not be in vain.
My name is Barbara Stowe

In 2001, my ex husband almost beat me to death when I was 6 weeks pregnant. He imprisoned me for 3 days raping me and refusing medical treatment. On the third day, I left. Today, I have written two books and I donate the proceeds to our domestic violence shelters. I am also a deputy sheriff.
I am NOT a victim but a SURVIVOR and I try to inspire other survivors. Our voices will educate and prevent domestic violence and child abuse. It is now our duty to speak out and change minds- one person at a time.

My name is Carrie-Anne O'Driscoll

I was with my ex husband for over 33 years married for 24, during which i was emotionally, physically, and verbally abused.I never told anyone I thought it was my secret and i dealt with it alone I know better now there are places and people to help , I finally left in January of 2010, but in July 2010 he knew i wasnt taking him back he lost control of me, He broke into my apartment at 3am and stabbed me 37 times while our 3 yr old grandson lay sleeping next to me. He then left me for dead, But I wasnt ready to die, I AM NOT A VICTIM I AM A SURVIVOR and i hope by sharing my story someone gets help before it gets to where i got, I am very lucky to be alive,.
Domestic Violence is not a secret and there is help. STOP THE SILENCE speak out , get help, no one deserves to be physically, verbally, or mentally abused.

My name is Katie Stager

Also, I almost drowned at 3 because my parents were nowhere to be found when I sank to the bottom of the pool. They were off getting drunk with friends.  Next, would be when my dad would be hitting my brother with a belt or switch for punishment. My mom would walk by and ask why I wasn’t being punished. Surely, I had done something wrong lately. Next thing I knew I was being beat right alongside of my brother with no explanation as to why. I was 5 years old.  By age 7, my brother began molesting me and soon after raped me for the first time. My parents never paid enough attention to notice the change in me. That lasted until I was 12.  He physically beat me too. That didn’t end until I was 18 and I left home 2 months before I graduated high school.

I ran as far and as fast as I could when I got to college right into the first boy’s arms I found. He was sweet, caring, and from a broken home too. He never wanted a family to relive what he did and neither did I. We instantly bonded and never parted.  We fell in love.  We married 2 years, 9 months later.   After being married 15 months, we never argued and barely disagreed until one night he just hit me out of the blue while we were talking in bed. I was floored.  I left for a week the next morning only to return because I was convinced I had overreacted.  That was just the beginning. I stayed married to him for 16 years. I left him 3 more times and went back the same way, just knowing it was me. I had broken bones, cuts, bruises and scars on my soul that may never heal. He threatened me with his loaded rifle on more than one occasion.  What hurts most is when he left me in the hospital to give birth to our still born son alone and then again left me to make the difficult decisions when our premature son was fighting for his life after he suggested we put him up for adoption.  I’ve since found out he was having a long time affair. I don’t know how long exactly because I can’t believe a word that comes from his mouth.  I never pressed charges on my husband.  After finally separating from my husband, I found another abuser… I kicked him to the curb much earlier with help of the police and court.

I am now 38 and I struggle with PTSD and MDD every day, but it will not beat me. I’m a survivor.
It’s taken 15 years of therapy to finally break through and begin to heal, but I’m getting there.
I will win.
Lynn
I am going to give the story of the second time I survived domestic violence.
I met Tim in November of 1994 and he was a total sweetheart. Things started getting bad when his dog had puppies on my couch. I asked him several time to remove the couch from the house because it was starting to smell. He said if I wanted it out then I had to remove it myself. I did so and almost hit him the head with couch. He ended up chasing me down a dirt road for a half of a mile before he caught me. He left the bruises on my legs and arms so I could cover them. He apologized after I left and went to my grandparent's house.

The abuse progressively got worse and I would leave and go back after either receiving flowers or apologies.

In 1997 I found out I was pregnant and due in November that year. I went to a party with a friend and her husband brought me home. When Tim saw me with a guy he accused me of cheating and when I denied that I had.   He overpowered me and tied me to a trundle bed and then proceeded to lay 52 lashes across my back with a bull whip. He went to the kitchen with me still tied to the bed and got the salt and poured that into the open wounds. I was left there until my friend found me the next day and called emergency services. I spent 3 weeks in ICU and 2 in a room. I had to do 6 weeks of rehabilitation to learn to stand and move to my sides by turning.

I finally left and stayed gone in February of 1998 with a bruise on my shoulder. I still to this day cannot explain. I spent 72 hours in a shelter while my aunt created a false trail and then I went to stay with her. I have been out 15 years and divorced from the man since March of 1998. With everything he did the state of Texas gave me a restraining order in my divorce decree. The most time the man spent in jail only totals 210 days.

I got out, stayed out and now am happily married to the man of my dreams even though I still have problems to this day because of the abuse.

J. D.
Kristine shares her story on
I Surivived...
My earliest memories of abuse are being 3 years old listening to my parents argue and watching my dad play with his pistol threatening to kill himself for hours. The house would be quiet those days while he contemplated his demise. Then all of a sudden he would rush out into the house and start yelling at everyone, hitting everyone in his path.