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The First Time

An Inside Look at Domestic Violence

His hands around my throat, gasping, scratching, pushing at him but, I couldn't get away. I could hear my daughter crying. Too young to understand but, she knew he was hurting me. When did it get this bad, why did I keep allowing it to happen? I am smarter than this. It wasn't always like this. We use to be semi happy.  Two small children, a marriage, a life I thought would be mine. Was I ever good enough?

I caught him in so many lies the months before. He was sleeping with my best friend. So I left, I packed my two little girls up and went to my sister's, then later got an apartment. We were finally okay; years of threats and verbal and mental abuse seemed like a painful memory. My girls and I finally were not afraid of coming home. We were happy, we played, laughed loudly, and embraced a new chance. However, it would be short lived. The phone calls and texts never stopped. Where my abuser and cheating husband had been now stood a sad man. I felt sorry for him...

It had been a few months and he wore me down with the pleading and crying into the phone. I allowed him to visit the kids. It started out fine. He played with them, got them ready for bed, and put them to sleep. For the first time, I saw a dad that I had hoped he would be for so long. After the kids were in bed, I expected him to leave, but he sat back down at the bar. I turned from the sink to face him and asked if he would be going soon. He tried telling me he loved and missed me and how sorry he was, but I wasn't interested. I turned back around to finish the nights dishes and he moved in behind me. He ran his hands up my sides and I outwardly shuttered. That infuriated him. He asked over and over. "Why can't you just forgive me?" "What makes you so g****mn perfect?" I calmly asked him to leave before he scared the kids. "Not without my family," he said through gritted teeth, and he grabbed my hair at the base of my neck. He dragged me from the kitchen through the living room to the doorway. He kept saying that I was going to go home one way or another. I begged him to let me go, and told him no, I'd never go home with him. 

The struggle had made it to the ground and I was pinned beneath his repulsiveness and my own fear. I begged and pleaded, just leave, please just go. I could hear my toddlers calling for me from the other room, but he seemed to not notice. I heard the bedroom door open as my three-year-old entered the horrific scene. She was screaming and crying for mommy and all I wanted was to go to her and make it all stop, but I couldn't. The more I fought him the angrier he became until his hands were clasped around my throat. I reached for his hands and then his eyes. I scratched and kicked and pushed and tried everything I could to get him to let go but nothing worked. My three-year-old began approaching us, and that seemed to snap him back to reality. He jumped up and ran out the door; he never left the property. I managed to lock the door before I slid down the wall to the floor. I called 911 but was unable to speak. The operator could hear him, outside screaming at me. He could see me from a window. He began screaming that he if he was going to jail, I was too. I was slowly losing consciousness. The last thing that I remember is my daughter sitting beside my head and the sound of her sucking her pacifier and crying.

I am told that when the police arrived they found him bloody and disoriented, next to him a bloody rock that he had used to beat himself with. His plan may have been successful had the 911 operator not heard him and I had I not been unconscious. He was arrested and booked on domestic violence charges, where he was slapped on the wrist and released. That was the first time I left my now ex husband. It took four more years and another child before I was able to divorce him. The intimidation and abuse did not stop and the cops refused to help me. I did eventually go back "home" with him after this incident, because I was evicted from that apartment because of his constant disturbances. 

When people find out about a domestic violence situation, the first question is "why didn't you just leave?" It's not that simple. I tried and I was faced with a justice system that refused to help me, an abuser that did not care about laws, and a situation that made it seem so impossible. I am an intelligent woman, honors classes in high school, full ride scholarship to a state university, I excelled in many things. He made me feel so small and ignorant for so long that I believed him. This shouldn't have happened to me and for eight years I made excuses for him. Not anymore. Today I am a survivor, not a victim. If you or someone you know becomes a victim of domestic violence please reach out. There are resources but you have to know where to look. Below I have included a few. 

The Nation's Domestic Violence Hotline (US) 1-800-799-7233

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