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Personal Stories of Domestic Abuse

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It is often easy to forget when you find yourself in certain situations in life that you are not alone, that people have made it through, and that you can too. Four women recount their experience with domestic abuse.

At the Hands of A Gun

I saw the gun my husband was holding as he stood in the door way of our kitchen. After years of being intimidated to stay in the abusive relationship, I thought to myself "not this time, gun or no gun". I defiantly turned my back to him and his AK-47, and walked toward the backdoor that was in the kitchen. Something in my head asked "where is the phone?" I looked up and saw the cordless phone in it's cradle on the kitchen wall. It was a millisecond later that I smelled gunpowder and heard a pop. I caught myself on the kitchen table with my right hand while my left hand was holding my side actually trying to realize that I had been shot. 

I sat down, I didn't know what to do. It didn't hurt, I could breath, but I could tell that something wasn't right. My husband come over to me and I looked up at him and said "you shot me. Call 911." He was putting another bullet in the gun. I got up and reached for the phone. I dialed 91 but before I dialed the other 1 he took the phone away from me. He repeatedly said "oh no you don't" I didn't wait to find out what was next I turned to go to the bedroom to use that phone. As I started walking my legs felt weak, this unfathomable burn started in my chest and rib cage. When I got to the living room I couldn't go any further. I couldn't breath. I couldn't scream because I couldn't get any air. I couldn't move because it would burn and hurt worse so I fell to the floor. 

I begged and pleaded for him to call 911. I apologized for whatever it was I did wrong. He said to me "oh no you are gonna die now". I crawled to the front door, reached up and opened it. I was laying half way in the house with my head on the front porch. I tried to scream for help, but it only came out as a whisper. Then I felt open the door away from my legs. He drug me back inside. 

He called 911. WHAT A HERO.

I spent 8 days in ICU and 9 days on the regular floor of a hospital. I had horrible HORRIBLE nightmares in the hospital. I woke one night hitting my arms against the hospital bed railings and screaming. I woke before the nurses got there. I had had a dream that I was hitting the insides of my coffin. Since then, it is just same old nightmares. Some nights are better than others.

I see these shirts and bumper stickers on cars that say "NO FEAR". I laugh to myself, and wonder, do these people really know what fear is? At the same time I envy them for the ignorance. That used to be me.

Abuse with Children

My name is Linda and I started having a bad life at 18. I met what I thought was a wonderful man. He was one of my bosses from work. He was so kind to me at fist. We would spend lovely times together just having fun. I seemed important to him; at least I thought I was. 

After we were dating for about 2.5 months I found out I was pregnant and I wanted no more children. I already had a son and I was too young for him but another would have been havoc. So I told Joe that I wanted to terminate the pregnancy and that is when it all started. 

He kept me home and fired me from my job. For the 1st time he hit me right across the face because I said I was leaving him. He dragged me into the dept. store and said we are going shopping so stop crying like a baby. He acted like it was nothing and I knew it was wrong but I did as I was told. I was 18 and he was 31. I thought an older man would be better for me but I was wrong! 

The hitting became beatings almost every day. Even though I was pregnant, he did not care. He said, "If you were a good girl I wouldn't have to discipline you so much." I hated hearing that. Be a good girl- that was screwed up ya' know? 

I had my daughter and I thought it would help us but it didn't. It just meant that I was stuck with him. The black eyes and busted lips and bruised body was all I knew and he was taking my heart too. I was no longer living near my parents and I was forbidden to have friends or should I say a life? 

Two years later I became pregnant and I was not at all happy with that. But of course I had to stay pregnant. It cooled him down a little and he always said he was sorry. I hated my life and I wanted it to end but I had children whom I loved and I couldn't leave them. That is what keeps me alive. I tried to get help from my dad but he said THAT I MADE MY BED NOW - lay in it!! That hurt so much because I thought daddies were there to help when you needed them most. 

My father was angry with me because I had children and he said it was my fault I put myself in that type of position. My mom couldn't even help me she could barely take care of herself. So as my pregnancy progressed he was a little nicer to me- we had twins now. That was the worse news to me. I kept thinking how am I going to leave with 4 kids. 

I paid for a tubal ligation so I couldn't have any more children with him. I started saving a dollar here and a dollar there so I could escape my hell with my children. I remember one day that I told him I hated him with every bone in my body. He hit me so hard I went flying at least 10 feet across the bed and onto the floor. Blood dripping from my mouth, I just smiled and said, "Are you done?" I was so tired of him hitting me and controlling me as a person that I had had enough! 

He started hitting me some more and I didn't back down. He finally walked away. The days went by and I would get hit because I didn't vacuum first then dust. The house was not clean enough or there was a fork in the sink I would get slapped again. He made excuses to hit me. So I bided my time till I could leave. 

A few years later I was going to be gone within a few months then I found out I was pregnant again. I was floored because I paid to be fixed. Well I was that 1% that could get pregnant. So I stayed until my last child was 1 and a 1/2 and I packed my things and left. 

I left the children behind because I couldn't care for 5 children. I took the oldest child with me because he was mine and not his. I became a stripper to care for my son and we did fine and I thought I would finally be free of violence. I loved my new life of no more long sleeved shirts or pants to cover the bruises. 

Then I met James and he swore he would never hit me and he didn't for 1 1/2 years. Then one day I was out riding my bike and I pulled into the front yard and he was yelling and all of a sudden I fell down. He had hit me in the face so hard I had lost my balance. I still do not know why he hit me that day he never told me. 

I stayed with him for a few more months hoping it was a mistake and it would never happen again. But I was wrong again. I let him move in with me in hopes of a good relationship. It did not last long. 

One night I went out with my friends like I always did on Fridays and when I got home he yelled and screamed at me for being out while he was working. I basically told him he needed to leave because it was not working out then he hit me across the face a couple of times. I got up and ran for the phone to call for help. He pulled it out of the wall. He kept saying why are you making me do this to you? He grabbed my hair and was dragging me into the bedroom and I knew what that meant from experience I began to scream for help. 

My son heard me and I hollered to him to get the neighbors and he did. He saved my life. James was arrested and given 1.5 years and no contact. I moved after that. We were over and I was over with men at least I thought I was. 

Then one day my friend introduced me to a handsome sweet intelligent man and I fell for him hard. I was tired of being put down and bruised but my girlfriend assured me that he was good. She lied! He was worse than the other two put together. It was pure hell and I didn't realize what pain really was till I was with Jeff. He hit me every day even if he woke up in a good mood. I hated life and everyone in it. I thought that this is how my life was meant to be so I stayed for 6.5 years till I couldn't take it no more.

He would call my job all of the time and make me bring home a register receipt to prove what time I left. He held a gun to my head and said, If you want to die, let's do it." He would hit me in the face all of the time. Everyone at my job knew he was mean but no one would help me. Finally after he broke my windshield for the 3rd time I left and moved 20 minutes away and transferred to another store. He found me once again. 

He called us all hours of the night yelling nasty things to myself and my roommate. He threatened her a lot and finally after 6 months of calls I finally agreed to see him in hopes of it being the last time. I was hoping that he had realized that after 6.5 years of hate he would finally end it and be civil. I wanted him to go on with his life so I could without him. I wanted to stop looking over my shoulder and my dreams would stop keeping me up at night. I wanted sleep again. I wanted to smile again. I wanted to be ME again. 

He invited me to his birthday party so I figured I would be safe. I was so tired from working 18 hours straight but I made it to the party and there was other people there so I was ok with it. He was drinking and taking Librium pills the next door neighbor got him. I should have known to leave but I didn't. 

I fell asleep on the couch and I awakened to him standing over me just looking at me in a confused look. I asked him what he was doing and he grabbed my throat and said, "you think you can just walk away from me. No you can't." I froze for a moment because I had this strange feeling rush over me and I can't completely describe it but it was scary. I knew then if I didn't get away from him I would die! I knew it and I didn't know how but I was terrified beyond belief. I pushed him off and ran for the door. He got up and chased me and it started a fight because I was determined to win this one. He grabbed my hair and pulled and yanked it hurt so bad that I could barely stand the pain. I wrapped my arms around the railing of the outside steps and held on for life. My arms began to bleed from scraping the wood rail back and forth but I held on. 

He finally got me loose and I fell to the top step with my face down hoping to pass out. I knew I had to stay alive and that meant staying awake. He grabbed my head and began pounding it into the top step. It hurt and all I could do was cry and fight back. I saw blood dripping onto the step and I knew I had to be bleeding from my face now. It was a mess all over the steps. He yanked me up and I dropped to the steps again and he kept telling me to get up and get inside and I kept yelling for help. No one listened. He grabbed my hair and dragged me inside and I grabbed the doorway in hopes of tiring him out because I was tired. I dug my nails into the wood frame around the door making my fingers bleed and nails breaking from the pressure I could no longer hold on. I was now inside and he picked me up and threw me up against the wall calmly talking to me saying that we were soul mates and we had to be together. He said that our lives, especially his, was not going to be wasted by me. I owed him and I say I owed him nothing! We fought some more hitting each other profusely not taking a breath. I pushed him away and he fell over the end table he looked up and then unscrewed the table and came at me again and caught me right across the nose. I felt dizzy and out of it. 

I remember saying to myself if there is a God, please help me. I will never doubt Your existence again. I never believed in God until that night. Jeff kept hitting me and made me walk the house with him. Finally I had him convinced that we would marry tomorrow. He stopped. He brought me into the kitchen to wipe my face off because he said I was a mess. He told me to go shower and change into some of his pajamas and we would watch our favorite movie. I agreed. I rushed upstairs and got into the shower and cried so hard it hurt. I looked down at the water and it was red all red. That's all I could see and I cried even more. My face hurt so much that I couldn't bring myself to look at it. I got out of the shower and dried off quickly and ran down stairs. He laid on the couch babbling about how I made him do that to me. He made me make a promise to be good and to marry him. I was to obey him forever and we would never be apart again.

I waited for him to fall asleep. It was midnight so that meant we had been fighting for 1 hour. I was so tired and dizzy but all I could think of was getting out. I waited for him to snore so I would know he was asleep. I went to the back door and unlocked the first lock 2 more to go. I waited a little while longer and opened another then another then I ran out the door as quickly as I could run. I ran down the steps and didn't look back. My feet were bleeding from running down the rocky driveway. All I could think was getting help. 

I ran across the street to a neighbor's house it was 3:30 in the morning. I tapped on his window and begged for him to let me in. He opened the door and let me in we called the police and it was now over for me and him. I thank the Davidson county police of Tennessee for all their help. I get to live again. I am now 36 years older and am finally happy. I forgot what it was like to breathe on my own again. I haven't seen Jeff in 3 years and I keep track of him. He is still in jail and I have found someone who is the best thing in my life besides my children. 3 times is a charm - no the 4th is!!!! 

I Am A Survivor

In the summer of 1996, I met a guy and we knew each other for about three weeks, and then he moved in with my son and I. And he was good to my son and I, he bought me cards and flowers every day and this went on for three months. One day I went to the grocery store and I had been gone about an hour and when I got home Eddie was furious with me. Eddie slammed me down on the couch, causing me to hit my head on the piano.

Eddie told me that when I go to the store I only had ten minutes to do the shopping and get home. When I would go visit my mom and dad I could only stay for ten minutes. I couldn't go have coffee with them in the mornings like I always had done. When I was gone longer than ten minutes Eddie would start pushing me around and he would grab my upper arm and drag me to the bedroom, that's where he always would start beating on me. Eddie would bruise my arm every time he grabbed me like that.

I had this bowling activity one night a week and it would take two and a half hours to bowl and I had to get home right after I was done. Well one night I was a half hour late getting home because I went over to see my mom and dad and when I got home Eddie grabbed me by the arm once again and off to the bedroom, he threw me down on the bed and held me there and then he started head butting me. This happened several times. Eddie always told me I'd better not ever hurt him. I bent over backwards for him so he wouldn't beat me up. But it was never good enough for him. Eddie was never happy unless he was beating me up. As time went on things got worse. When I would go to work Eddie would call my place of work several times during the day to check up on me. Eddie told me I wasn't to talk to any of my co-workers. On day Eddie come to pick me up from work and I was talking to my manager, and it was a guy. When we got home he started knocking me around again. Every time he got done with me he would always say he was sorry and he would never do this again. Eddie always begged me for another chance and I would. When Eddie would go to work and I had the day off I had to sit by the phone, I couldn't go visit my parents, because he called every five minutes to see if I was there, and if I wasn't he would leave work to come check on me. Eddie would make up stories just so he would have a reason to beat me up or call me names when he got home. Eddie called me one day and asked me what a blue truck was doing in my drive way and I no idea what he was talking about so when I told him there was not a truck in my drive way he would start beating up on me. Eddie always called me a liar, a slut and a bitch. Eddie always told me he had someone watching my every move, and when I would come home and he had told me some of the places I had been that day I really thought someone was watching me, and then I really began to get scared. Eddie always accused me of cheating on him and when I denied it he would slap me around again. One morning I got up to go to work, Eddie got and started a fight with me, and when I left for work about ten minutes later he called and said he cut his hand and had to go to the hospital, I asked him how he cut his hand and he wouldn't tell me. I told him I couldn't get off to take him to the hospital then he hung up on me. About fifteen minutes later here comes into my place of work demanding I take him to the hospital so I gave him the keys to the truck so he could take him self. When I got home from work I found out how he cut his hand, he the mirror in the bathroom and broke it.

Eddie also always told me If I hurt him he was going to take my truck and drive off of Dead Horse Point, National Park. Eddie told me I would have his mother to answer too, as to why he drove off of Dead Horse Point. Eddie told me it was my fault for him beating me up. As time went on I was getting really scared for my life and by this time I was really so far in that I was afraid to kick him out. I talked to my sister and she told me if I was to kick him out to call the cops for back up, and I told her that he would never hurt me, that was not the truth because he had been hurting me all along.

I couldn't go to my family about what was happening because he told me he would go after them if I ever told them what was happening. So to save them I had to keep quiet.

Eddie cut me off from my family and my friends and I didn't know why at first, then I figured it out, Eddie was afraid I was going to talk about what was really happening to me, this was a threat to him. Eddie was afraid I was going to find out about his past and get rid of him. Well I did find out about his past after he nearly killed me. I was out side talking to my neighbor and I had been out there for about thirty minutes and Eddie came out and told me

I had a phone call and I told him I didn't hear the phone ring and he made up some story as to why I didn't hear the phone, so I went in to answer the phone and I get in the house and there was no one on the phone, he told me they hung up. Eddie used this type of stuff to get me away from anyone I might confide in. One day Eddie called me at work several times and I didn't want to talk to him. My managers told him I was busy and I couldn't talk, well he got mad and walked down to my place of work and when I saw him coming I told my boss I didn't want to talk to him and my boss sent me to the office. Eddie stormed in and demanding my boss to come get me. When my boss told him no, Eddie stormed back to the office, and my boss followed him and told him to leave but he wouldn't. Eddie got in my boss's face and threatened him. Eddie wanted the keys to the truck and I wouldn't give them to him and he got madder and madder so I gave him the keys so he would leave and leave me alone.

On October 31, 1996, I was dressing my son up to take him out trick or treating and Eddie kept asking me how long are you going to be gone and I told him I didn't know. Eddie told me not to get in a car with my mom, he kept telling me she would have me put away so I couldn't be with him and I told him no she wouldn't, but he said it so many times he had himself believing it. My mom and I took my son out and we were gone about and hour and a half. So when we got home here comes Eddie out from no where he was really really angry and demanding to know where I was, he saw me getting out of my mom's car. I told him we had taken my son around to some homes. My son had just gone into the bowling alley before all of this started taking place. Eddie had hit the hood on my truck he had been calling my parent's house the whole time we were gone. Eddie said let's go home now. My mom had asked me if I was going to be all right and I said yes I will be all right and I will call you in a little bit. Eddie hated it when I would talk to my parents he was really nervous about me telling what was really going on in my house. Eddie would never talk about his past then I was really scared of what kind of person he really was. Eddie would go through my mail, I had no idea what he was looking for. Eddie is a real possessive and jealous person and very very controlling.

In November of 1996 my dad bought a bus ticket for Eddie and bused him down to Texas to get him out of my life, because my mom and dad knew he was really going to hurt me and I was blind to it. Eddie called and said he bought a bus ticket to Colorado and asked me if I would pick him up and bring him back and I did, little did I know what was going to happen. I thought some time away he would change but it didn't the beatings started again.

On February 10, 1997 I got up and went to work, normal every day routine. When I got to work everything seem to be cool. To my knowledge there were no phone calls and I went on about my work. When I got home every thing seem ok there to. At 7:00 p.m. I got a call from my dad and he asked me to come over to his house because we had to talk and I told him I would be right there, I hung up the phone and Eddie asked me who that was and I said it was my dad and he asked me what he wanted and I said he wants to talk to me, and Eddie begged me not to go and I told I had to go talk to dad. Eddie told me I better be home in a half hour and I said ok. I got over to dad's house and dad told me Lori who was my general mngr. said Eddie called my place of work that day ten times. And Lori was going to have to let me go if I didn't take care of this situation, my job was on the line because of Eddie. Well I wasn't going to choose Eddie over my job so I told my dad I was going home to kick him out. Well I had been there for a half hour and the phone starting ringing off the hook, and I just about jumped out of my skin and my dad could tell I was nervous so when we got done talking I had gone over to the bowling alley to visit my friends because I knew what was going to happen when I got home. I told my sister I was going to kick him out and she said I better call the cops and I told her I would be all right. It was 8:20 p.m. and I went back over to the house to tell my dad that I was going home. Dad asked me if I wanted him to come over with me and I said no that I had to do this and he said ok. It is now 8:30 and I got home and when I crossed this street with a four way stop I look up the street to see if any cars were coming and I saw Eddie he started walking down to my parents house and when he turned and saw me on my way home he was here in less than five minutes. He asked me what we talked about and I told him and he said my boss was a fat lying bitch. Eddie then said to me what are you going to do about it, I told him I wanted him to move out. Eddie then grabbed my are like always and dragged me to the bedroom and threw me down on the bed, and then Eddie went to the kitchen and I heard the drawer open but I didn't know what he was doing and by this time I was really scared so I picked up the phone by my bed to call my dad and I just as I started to dial the number and Eddie came back into the bedroom and looked me in the eye and said (I quote) I told you to never hurt me and when I turned around he was standing there with a knife. When I tried to get away he swung the knife down-wards cutting me on my left chest and I turned my back to him and I felt the knife going in, after Eddie stabbed me he went out the back door and threw the knife over the fence and at this time I had a chance to call my dad and I was so hysterical I didn't get to tell him Eddie stabbed me, dad hung up and he and my sister were there in about five minutes. Eddie came back in and said let's call 911 and I told him to get the hell away from me and to never touch me again. Eddie went out the front door and I followed him out so I could see which direction he was going to run. I stepped out on the porch in a bloody white sweat shirt and my dad fought Eddie to the ground and the cops arrived at that time. Eddie used a 10 inch boning knife on me. The cops called for an ambulance and then I was transported to the hospital, I arrived there at 9:00 p.m. and they had to stitch up the wound on my back, and then they had to put a chest tube in, I was in ER for an hour and a half they had to take pictures of my wounds and doctor all of the wounds. The hospital staff told me they had to air lift to a hospital in Colorado. At 11:30 p.m. Air Life flew me to Colorado and I arrived at that hospital at 2:00 a. m. I was in there for a week. I was released on February 14, four days later.

Eddie was sentenced to no less than 1 year and no more than 15 years in prison, he served nine months and then he came up for parole, I wrote letter's to the Board of Pardons and I also appeared at the hearing. Eddie got two years. In the mean time Eddie messed up and he got another year. Eddie was released from prison on February 13, 2001. I asked the Board of Pardons to banned Eddie from the town I live in. I also requested electronic monitoring, and was paroled to Texas. I Still track his case, I know in my heart the more interest I take in keep on top of things the more support I get from the Board of Pardons and the Law.

Eddie is now back in prison, parole hearing was on July 30, 2003 Parole was denied and in 30 days Board of Pardons will have a decision on what they will do with him.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Abuse

I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder yesterday. Finally, I understand what has and is happening to me.

My ex-husband began hitting me before we were married. Instead of seeing it as a 'red flag,' I embraced the belief that it had happened only because of who I was and something I must have done.

I embraced this philosophy during 26 years of marriage. it was always 'my fault' and if I could 'change,' the emotional and physical abuse would end. Of course, it didn't.

In the meantime, I became increasingly fearful, anxious, and depressed. I became an alcoholic, which only increased the beatings. i became an 'expert' at lying about why I couldn't come to work, why I couldn't make social engagements, and at applying make-up to cover the bruises. After one particular beating, I told my ex-husband I thought I had a broken rib. He said, "You know where the hospital is, go there."

On the day my youngest son went away to school, there was an altercation, and my ex-husband and son pulled out of the driveway, while I lay unconscious on the garage floor. When I regained consciousness, my glasses were broken, I had two black eyes, a chipped tooth, and a split lip. I left that night.

Since that time, I have been in alcohol abuse rehabilitation, have been taking the anti-anxiety/anti-depressant drug Paxil, and attending weekly AA meetings.

For a time, all of that worked. I began a promising 'new life.' However, in the last few months, I have been experiencing increased depression, anxiety, and physical problems (gastrointestinal problems, insomnia, profuse perspiration.) I have also experienced nightmares in which my ex-husband was beating me, during one of which I actually screamed out loud.

I have been fortunate in that I sought medical attention as my symptoms persisted. I am fortunate that I have a doctor, and now a therapist, who had the insight to understand what was happening to me.

I will now be visiting the therapist weekly, and am scheduled to see a psychiatrist to discuss medication.