Sometimes I forget just how far I’ve come, and some of the horrible things that happened. For too long, violence was such a “normal” part of our lives, and now years later, it feels like it was a bad dream, like I cannot believe it really happened… but my hell lasted for years.
It started with name-calling: my husband telling me I was stupid, useless… it progressed into degrading names, and then physical abuse. The man I fell in love with was charming, tooÃ‰very convincing… he cried with meÃ‰and would always apologize and somehow turn the blame on me.
I never liked being pushed, slapped, choked or punched. I never liked to have loaded guns held to my head or inside my mouth. I never liked the constant threat of being killed if I ever left.
Imagine being thrown around a room, your head pounded on the floor, or being choked until you fall to the ground, or being dragged out of bed to have your face rubbed in dog feces. All these incidences were followed by him saying “I love you – I promise it will never happen again.”
A friend urged me to call WomenSafe. Slowly, the tears and promises didn’t matter anymore, and I made the call. With WomenSafe’s support, I called the police, and received a temporary protection order.
Women who leave or remove their abuser are at a 75% greater risk for being killed by their partner than if they just live with the abuse. I nearly became one of those statistics. I moved back into my home after the protection order was granted. I was there when the door blasted open and there he was: drunk and with a gun in his hand. With a look of anger, hate and rage …he began throwing me around, screaming he was going to kill me in one breath, and in the next that he was going to make me watch him commit suicide. The veins in his neck were protruding and he was sweating profusely. He threw me on the bed, pinned me down, and placed the gun to my head. I thought for sure this was the last time… this time I was going to die.
Quite unbelievably, I was saved by a girlfriend who stopped by to check on me. She startled my husband, who stood up, screaming at her. I fled the bedroom, and we sped away in her car.
To this day, I do not know how WomenSafe knew to call me. But they did. I was hysterical. I was so afraid that the police would not be able to protect me. I even had thoughts of going back! Several people at WomenSafe worked closely with me, encouraging me, supporting me when those feelings came. The shelter allowed the space, time and support to prioritize my needs. With their assistance, my son and I relocated, and I filed for divorce. When my husband stole my car, WomenSafe was there to provide me with transportation. The list goes on and on. The shelter taught me that I have the right to say “no” …somehow the abnormal just became normal. Violence is not normal and it is unacceptable!
There is much more I could say… I am so grateful for all the wonderful people at WomenSafe… they truly are lifesavers.