Domestic Abuse: The Last Beating That Opened My Eyes

This is not a fun topic. Did you know that 1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence during her lifetime? It’s time to break the cycle.


If you are in danger call 911, your local hotline, or the U.S. National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 and TTY 1-800-78

by Jenna Anne | guest writer for The Snap Mom

Talking about domestic violence is almost taboo. However, it is happening everywhere, to every economic status and social class, to people who have high self confidence and those who have no self esteem. People in your everyday life are being abused and you may not know. Many of these victims do not even realize it is happening to them. I know I didn’t when it was happening to me. I am not an expert on the topic, but, if I can help even one women with my story, then it was all worth it.

I grew up in a privileged home. I was a private school girl who hung out at the country club on the weekends. I never thought anything like this could or would happen to me. My relationship from the outside looked like a fairy tale. He wanted to be with me all the time. We were young and he arranged for our work schedules to match exactly, including lunch breaks. All of my friends were envious, and wanted to find a guy like him. But in reality it wasn’t a fairy tale. I can look back and say that now. He had rules for me: I was not allowed to hug someone of the opposite gender, I could only wear one piece bathing suits, I had to go to the gym 3 times per week, I was not allowed to run or skip. There were more rules but these are some of the silly ones that come to mind. At the time, I never thought anything weird about these rules. I was young, dumb and in college. It all seemed normal.

Christmas Eve was the first time he snapped. I found myself slammed up against the window of his car, held there for what felt like an eternity. He drove me home and it was never spoken of again. I thought maybe he had a few too many drinks in him and that’s why he snapped. But on New Year’s Eve he lost his cool again, this time with his hands around my neck, screaming only inches from my face. He tore me down, telling me that I was a “stupid slut.” I had broken one of his rules that night. We went to a party and I hugged one of my friends that I had not seen in a while as we greeted one another. The next day I told him I was finished with him and that I could not handle being treated like this. I said  I refused to follow what he called “the rules” any longer. He begged me to stay, telling me that everything would be fine and he would never act like that again. He said we could change some of “the rules” and try to make things better. Briefly things seemed better; he relaxed some of the silly rules. But it actually just got worse. Every time I would make plans with my friends he would guilt me into canceling them to spend time with him. He involved himself so much with my family that they never suspected anything. He enrolled us in all of our college classes together so we could be together at all times. The list of the isolation goes on and on… I lost all of my friends. For slightly over a year he would push me, hit me, grab me, etc. randomly here or there. This would always be followed by a gift and tons of apologies.

One year later, February 2, he had surgery on a tongue tie. I had to go to work and he got very upset with me for not tending to him. He had a boy-like charm that day. He was really good at making someone feel like they were really needed and important. I called out from work and stayed with him to care for him. One of my friends called me, and he flipped out. He was so angry that his face turned bright red. He ran at me, grabbed me by the bun on top of my head and slammed my face into the floor. I think I blacked out, because the next thing I remember was lying on the bed with my pants off. He was standing over me naked. I struggled to get away, but there was nothing I could do. Every time I fought back he would restrain me harder and harder. He punched me as hard as he could in the stomach and knocked the wind out of me. I could not move. I was paralyzed in fear. I tried to scream but I couldn’t. I just kept saying “Why are you doing this to me?” I finally mustered up enough strength to wiggle away. I fought back as hard as I could and ran away. I ran to the door; as he was trying to run and pull his pants up at the same time, I finally broke free. I grabbed my shorts from the floor and kept running. He chased me outside toward my car. He tripped on the hose in his yard. That hose saved my life. I got into my car and locked the door. Trying to catch my breath, I realized my car had just unlocked and he was running toward me. He had my spare key. I threw my car into drive and started to go. I think I ran over 2 mailboxes getting out of his neighborhood. I couldn’t see very well. I made it 4 streets over to a friend’s house and started to bang on the door. She came out to get me and told me I needed a doctor immediately. My nose was broken (the bridge had completely shattered), my eyes were swollen shut, and 2 ribs were broken.

He, of course, kept calling to apologize… the worst part is I loved him so much that I actually blamed myself for receiving that phone call. Some weird place inside of me thought I deserved what had happened to me. The damage he had done to me was so bad that everyone in my life stepped in to keep us apart. He continued to do things to me beyond the day of “the big fight.” He broke into my car, would stay in his car (just far enough as to not violate the restraining order) outside my apartment with his brights on my front door, he stole my cat from my back patio, and to top it all off followed me to a new city when I moved away.

Domestic Violence is a cycle:

Incident

•Any type of abuse occurs (physical/sexual/emotional)

Tension Building

•Abuser starts to get angry

•Abuse may begin

•There is a breakdown of communication

•Victim feels the need to keep the abuser calm

•Tension becomes too much

•Victim feels like they are ‘walking on egg shells’

Making-Up

•Abuser may apologize for abuse

•Abuser may promise it will never happen again

•Abuser may blame the victim for causing the abuse

•Abuser may deny abuse took place or say it was not as bad as the victim claims

Calm

•Abuser acts like the abuse never happened

•Physical abuse may not be taking place

•Promises made during ‘making-up’ may be met

•Victim may hope that the abuse is over

•Abuser may give gifts to victim

Signs you might be being abused

1. Are you afraid of your significant other?

2. Do you avoid saying or doing things because you are afraid you will anger your significant other?

3. Are you forced or guilted into sex?

4. Do you feel like you can never do anything right for your significant other?

5. Do you wonder if you are the crazy one?

6. Does your significant other yell at you or humiliate you?

7. Are you blamed for the abusive behavior?

8. Does your significant other control what you say, do, where you go or how you act?

9. Is your significant other overly possessive or jealous?

10. Does your significant other keep you from seeing your friends and family?

11. Do you have limited access to money, internet, phones or the car?

12. Do you feel like your significant other is constantly checking up on you?

13. Does your significant other destroy your belongings?

14. Do you feel as though you’re property or a possession?

15. Do you think to yourself that everyone must be treated this way?

There is help out there. You are worth something, you are someone special and you will make it through this.

I lost a little piece of myself that day. I walked into that room a very different person than I walked out. That moment forever changed my life. I look in the mirror and don’t see me anymore; it’s more than the nose on my face that was created by a plastic surgeon. He took a piece of me with him. Whether I gave it to him or he stole it, I will never know.

While I will never be the same, I know that I am strong and I survived.