Letter to the Editor

My survivor story

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

* October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. CAASA (Centers Against Abuse and Sexual Assault) will be publishing four survivor stories during the month. This is the final story. This survivor would like to remain nameless.

Eleven years ago, I wouldn't have guessed that I'd be writing this story. I was a full time college student, had a beautiful little girl and a wonderful family. My daughter was about 10 months old when I met "him." He had a "boyish" charm and slowly won my heart. Shortly after we had committed to each other, he was deployed overseas for 15 months.

Throughout that time he managed to call me every day and talk for hours. I always took his calls because I was afraid that it would be the last, but it started to affect my work. Regardless, he insisted I answer. When I didn't, he would call his mom who then confronted me on why I wasn't taking his calls. This was my first sign.

We were so happy when he returned and we could finally have a "normal" relationship. Within two days of returning he had proposed. Over the next few months I started to see more of the controlling behaviors. He needed to know where I was at all times, he came to my new place of employment every night, and he even became enraged if I put make-up on. I worked until midnight and wasn't allowed to sleep when I got home. I was kept up most of the night and then had to take care of my daughter during the day. I was exhausted.

He would become angry over the littlest things or nothing at all. Throwing my belongings eventually lead to throwing punches and seemingly overnight I turned into "a battered woman." I watched as the light in my little girl's eyes dimmed day-by-day. I felt helpless. I was scared to stay but even more so to leave.

Finally on a September morning, my soul was shaken to the core when he held a steak knife in the air while I held my little girl in my arms and with seemingly dead eyes repeated the words: "You're Dead. You're Dead." In that moment I became more afraid to stay than to leave.

Fortunately, I was able to beg and plead my way out of that terrifying moment. I contacted CAASA and they helped me file a no-contact order, provided shelter for us and provided counseling for both my daughter and I. The road was long and scary, but today I can be proud of where I am and that my daughter got her childhood back.