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Katie Nixon Survivor Sister Story

 

I chose this picture for a few reasons to share along with my story. My smile isn’t fake. I was happy in this moment. We were on a mini-vacay with my daughter and his daughter while I was pregnant with our son. One big, blended happy family. Except we weren’t always happy. Who is though, right? Not long before this beach trip though, he had dragged me down a dirt road by my hair when I got out of his truck to avoid going home with him because he was so angry, and I knew a fight would happen as soon as we got there. I don’t even remember what he was mad about at this point. What I do remember is him jerking me around, wrestling me to the ground, dragging me by hair, and finally ripping my shirt completely off of me (while wearing no bra) when I tried to get out of the truck again. This all happened just a year and a half ago in 2019.

He and I had been together since late 2016. He was charming. He made me feel special when I hadn’t felt special in so long. He spoiled me. He needed me. He needed me to help him work through his demons. He needed me to love him despite his issues.

The emotional abuse was always there, I guess. He was very possessive and controlling. He would throw and break things when he was mad. Punch walls. We had been together for just over a year when I was 6 weeks pregnant. He started a fight over something that he thought was a lie and was me cheating on him. I was always cheating on him. He kicked down our Christmas tree that was still up. He smashed ornaments. Special ornaments. He broke my kitchen table and three of the four chairs. He took my drawers out of my dresser and broke them one by one. He punched walls. I picked up his PS3 and dropped it hoping it would wake him up, and he would see how ridiculous he was acting. Instead, he picked up my tv and slammed it on the ground and stomped on it. Then he stomped on his PS3 even though it wasn’t broken. He wouldn’t let me leave the room. He kept grabbing me in a bear hug and squeezing. He pinned me down on the bed yelling at me. I kept screaming hoping a neighbor would hear and come over or call the police. Well someone called the police. The police came in and looked around. They saw I had been crying and my face was red. They saw that he had a knick on his hip and was bleeding a little. We both went to jail that night. Luckily, they didn’t call DHR and let my sister in law come get my daughter. While they didn’t call DHR, my ex mother in law did when she saw it in the paper. I found out at my 8 week prenatal appointment that I was miscarrying.

Three months later, he cheated on me with his daughter’s mother. I left for a week. He came and picked me back up from my sister’s, and I was pregnant again within a month. The first two/three months were great. He doted on me. It went downhill fast after that. He worked out of town a lot. So if I wasn’t talking to him every second of the day, I was cheating on him.

Our son was born in April of 2019. He stayed home for two weeks with us and left for one week to go to work before he quit and came home. After being home for one week, he put a gun to my head while I was holding our newborn baby. The very next week, he raped me while I was again holding our newborn baby. This time, both of our daughters and one of our nephews were sitting just two rooms away in the living room. I begged and cried and fought trying to get him off of me. I didn’t scream this time. I didn’t want to go to jail again. I didn’t want to scare the kids. He took my phone when he was done and walked out to sit with the kids. He came back in about 15 minutes later and asked me if I wanted some grits and told me he loved me. Once he was sitting down again in the living room, I started looking for an old phone we had. I found it and connected it to our WiFi and messaged my sister. I told her not to message back because he had my phone. I told her what happened and that I was going to call the police once his mom came and picked up the kids that afternoon.

My sister didn’t wait though. She called the sheriff’s department and told them what happened and that he had a gun in the house. They sent out at least five officers and an investigator came, too. They came in the house and took him outside. They asked me what I wanted to do, and I almost told them I didn’t want to do anything. But I had him arrested and pressed charges. My sister and my dad were up there within two hours to get me and my kids.

This was in May of 2019. It’s not October of 2020, and I have stayed away. I haven’t even considered going back. I haven’t let him manipulate me anymore. He would have killed me if I had stayed or if I had left and gone back. I want to live. My kids want me to live. My family and friends want me to live. I have so much more than just one man to live for.

It’s not easy by any means. It’s dangerous. I still live in fear that he will snap and hunt me down like he promised to do so many times if I left. I finally realized though that if I stayed he WAS going to kill me. If I left, he MIGHT, and I would rather die trying to do better for myself and my babies if it even came down to that.

 

Katie Nixon Survivor Sister Story

Meaghan Keane Survivor Sister Story

Survivor Sister Meaghan Keane breaks her silence about domestic violence

 

I was 19 years old when I met my abuser, Well keep names out of it for the sake of the memories in my mind.

She was the best person I ever met. Being in a new state and only knowing one person, I thought it was the greatest idea for me to move out with her. What I didn’t know was that the next 8 years of my life would be a complete whirlwind of mental, physical and emotional abuse. Little did I know, she was fresh out of rehab, with a record of assault and I still thought I could fix her.

It started with words, I became a “stupid b*tch” because I didn’t wash the dishes in the order she liked. I was belittled because we shared intimate moments and they turned into hurtful words because I was washing my body before I washed my hair.

One day she got so drunk while we were out for lunch, she took drugs, and as I was driving us home, her screaming at me while I drove, decided she was going to grab the wheel, causing us to nearly crash into a cranberry bog filled with water. I never spoke out or told anyone what happened, the mental and emotional abuse continued for years, the next time shed lay hands on me was when a golf club hit my knee cap. Went to the hospital alone, stitches alone, and I lied about how it happened too. I started using drugs with her to numb the pain of the words she threw at me.

I disappeared from family for 2 years, not intentionally but every time they asked me how i was doing i had to lie, I always found it in me to tell them “I was fine” So many years of abuse and mistreatment one day, after we were just co-exsisting together, she brought over people who were trying to hurt me, threatened me and made me scared for my own life. It wasn’t the first time as she threatened she wanted to strangle me in my sleep many times, but it was the last time i let her run me and my mind. I moved out.

The freedom I had after I left was exactly what I thought I needed, but i was damaged in ways I never even thought of. I became a shell within myself and didnt know self love. I went to the gym and became who i thought was a better me.

2 1/2 yeard after I left her, covid-19 had struck and every single emotion, feeling, situation and all of the abuse came to the front of my brain and i was faced with the worst feelings ever. The panic, the anxiety and the memories of my past all came back to me when I had noone with me in my 900sqft apartment but my own thoughts.

I broke down, I decided enough was enough, i tried to end my life twice when her words struck me like a knife, she always told me she’d watch, if I decided to end my life. I decided I wouldn’t let that feeling take over me again.I sought help and got a diagnosis that really shook me up, How was this possible? why me? but it made sense, anxious mind, panic mode. Do i fight this, or take off like a plane in flight?

Anxiety, panic disorder, complex PTSD. This is just a shell of who I’ve become, I always feel like my mind is at war, but the medications make me go numb. Chemical imbalances in my brain, the medications I take are to help me feel sane.

This is my story. Every day is a new day and I know I’m not alone.

 

Meaghan Keane Survivor Sister Story

What Is Domestic Violence?

what is domestic violence

What comes to mind when you hear the words “domestic violence”? Many people visualize images of women with black eyes and bloody noses with a boyfriend/husband as the perpetrator. However, this stereotype is not always a reality. Domestic violence can occur in any type of relationship regardless of age, sexual orientation, or economic status. Even the strongest of women and men can fall victim, and even the seemingly “friendly” person, of any gender, can be a perpetrator. October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and it’s the perfect time to bring awareness to the many different situations and types of domestic abuse. 

What is Domestic Violence?

According to thehotline.org, domestic violence (DV) is a “pattern of behaviors used by one partner to maintain power and control over another partner in an intimate relationship.” DV, often referred to as intimate partner violence (IPV) or relationship/dating violence, comes in many different forms, including:

  • Physical–the use or threat of physical force with the intent to cause harm. This can include shoving, strangling, grabbing, or throwing objects at the victim.
  • Emotional/Verbal–using words, or lack of words, to purposely cause harm to the partner. This includes things like name-calling, humiliation, the “silent treatment,” and gaslighting.
  • Sexual–any kind of unwanted sexual behavior. An example would be performing sexual intercourse with the partner without consent. 
  • Other control tactics–anything else that the perpetrator does to manipulate and control their partner. This can be anything from withholding money from the victim or having complete
  • control over how the money is spent to withholding sleep from the victim.

Who Are the Victims of DV?

There is no “victim profile” for domestic violence; anyone can be a victim. This is why it is extremely important to understand the warning signs that you or someone you know may be falling victim to this type of abuse. Here are some warning signs that The Guide tells you to watch for in abusive relationships: 

What is domestic violence in your own relationship?

Do you…

  • Often feel afraid of your partner?
  • Feel your partner gets angry easily and avoid topics that cause them anger?
  • Believe that you may be crazy or deserve to be mistreated?
  • Feel like you can never please your partner?

Does your partner….

  • Humiliate, put you down, or yell at you?
  • Ignore you or make you feel worthless/less than?
  • Blame you for their outbursts and temper?
  • Physically harm you or threaten to?
  • Threaten to hurt themselves if you leave?
  • Destroy, control, or withhold your money or belongings?
  • Exhibit jealousy or keep you from seeing family/friends?
  • Force or use threats to convince you to have sex?

What is domestic violence in others’ relationships?

Does the potential victim:

  • Seem afraid or anxious around their partner, constantly trying to please them?
  • Check-in with their partner more than would seem normal?
  • Discuss their partner’s jealousy, temper, or controlling behaviors?
  • Receive harassing phone calls or text messages from their partner?
  • Have frequent injuries with no specific cause?
  • Often miss events or work at the last minute?
  • Wear clothes that may cover bruises or marks?
  • Often only do things with their partner?
  • Have low self-esteem, depression, or major personality changes?

Answering yes to some or many of these questions may indicate that you or the person you know is in an abusive relationship. 

Effects of Domestic Violence

The World Health Organization (WHO) published a report highlighting the many dangerous effects of DV throughout the world. In a physically abusive relationship, of course, there are the more obvious effects, such as bruises, lacerations, and fractures. However, many victims of abuse, physical or not, carry the less visible scars of the relationship for the rest of their life. This includes physical symptoms, such as chronic illness and stress-related diseases like IBS. In fact, a history of abuse is a risk factor for many physical diseases and illnesses. 

While it is easy to view the physical effects of DV as the most serious because they are more visible and concrete, the mental effects of trauma can be just as detrimental. The WHO reported that anxiety, phobias, depression, thoughts of suicide, and attempted suicide were significantly higher in victims of DV. 

Unfortunately, death is also an effect of DV. WHO found that 40-70% of female homicide victims are killed by their intimate partner. Additionally, victims are more likely to commit suicide or contract HIV/AIDS.

What Can You Do To Help? 

By reading this article, you are already taking the first step towards preventing and responding to DV–you are becoming more aware and educated on the issue. The more knowledgeable you are about the warning signs and effects of DV, the more likely you will be able to notice these red flags in your own or others’ relationships. 

If you suspect a friend may be in an abusive relationship, it is important to have a conversation with them at a time and in a place where they can feel calm and safe. Let victims know they are supported, believed, and worthy of being treated well and receiving help. It may be beneficial to help the victim create a safety plan for when violence occurs; this can include things like a safe place to retreat to, code words for family/friends, and a stash of cash and important documents. Contacting a local domestic violence shelter can be a helpful first step. As much as you may want to help, it is important that you do not overstep, it is ultimately up to the victim when they are ready to leave their abuser. However, if the victim is in immediate danger, or the situation involves children, call the police. 

If you believe you are in an abusive relationship, first of all, know that it is not your fault. No one deserves abuse or to feel unsafe in a relationship. Secondly, don’t be afraid to talk to a safe loved one about your situation–they will likely be able to offer support, without judgment. You can also talk to your doctor, a social worker, the police, or a domestic abuse shelter in your area for help. Another option for support and information is The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).

Photo by: Sydney Sims Unsplash

Nina Palazzo Survivor Sister Story

 

Part of me has held back from telling my story from shame. Some from fear because “it could be worse” (quotes from the abuser ). But I realized that I was lucky to find strength to get out when I did. It would have gotten worse. And no matter what: any abuse, in any form, is not okay.
When I first met him, a man a few years older than me (I was early 20s) and seemingly experienced in life, everything was amazing. A group of us, all friends, actually moved into a place together. We had fun parties, everyone got along well, and I fell in love. We didn’t fight much. I mean sure he told me to stop crying after a pet passed away, but he apologized because he never had an emotional relationship. Not his fault right? Within a year, since we lived together, we should get a joint account. We are partners, so why not? We shared credit card too. Which also meant I would need to let him know about purchases I wanted to make. So he could keep track of finances (but never question the ones he made).
Still, things were okay. Then we moved out. Alone. Everything started to get worse.

I remember being yelled at and humiliated on the street so badly, a stranger driving pulled over to ask if I needed help. I kept walking or it would have made it worse.

I remember meeting the new neighbours for the first time when he turned to me and said I should hang around her so I can learn to make myself actually pretty. Then that night, when they invited us out, being slammed against the wall and forbidden to leave until I took off the makeup because I looked too provocative.

I remember my dogs tail knocking over his mug. Then a sharp pain in my temple, as the remote he threw hit me squarely there.
I remember him slamming a door on my hand because he was mad at something. So I apologized.
I remember trying to confront him about this, and being told this was not abuse. I was ignorant and caused problems. If I wanted to see abuse he would beat me with a cane the way his dad did to them.
All my friends where his, so I had no one to talk to. I couldn’t talk to my parents because I’d have to tell him what was said. I was only allowed to go out with the neighbours because he thought they were his friend and not mine.
When I tried to leave, I was told that I’d have nothing. Threats of an accident on the balcony. Or He would freeze the account and take the dogs. I felt trapped, scared, and depressed.

The only way I could relieve this feeling would be in the shower, alone, where I would cut into my legs. I often thought about ending it all, but those dogs. They kept me going. I was depressed. Suicidal.

One day I decided I needed to get help.
But my ex had to come with me to the doctors, so I lied about why I felt bad. The doctor gave me pills to help, and only allowed me to leave because my ex said he would watch over me. He also took the pills. I was allowed to take the medication, until I actually started to feel happy again. One day I had the courage to stand up to him, to end it. That’s when he almost broke my finger. Sprained so bad, I couldn’t bend it for weeks.
But I ended it.
So he used up the credit cards, cleared out the apartment, took the dogs, and reminded me he still had keys.
The neighbours (who are now my best friends) convinced me to go to the police. So I did. The first officer said to fill out the form but really don’t expect much. Hearsay. I was shaking. Panicking. I had no money. Couldn’t afford rent and he could come back at anytime. Another officer came to me and talked to me. He spent time to listen. He promised to do all he could to help, and drove me home.

The next day my ex was arrested. I had to leave my job (we worked together because he wanted to keep an eye on me), had to leave the apartment I couldn’t afford, but I was free.

I lived the next few years in a bedbug filled apartment eating a hot dog a day for lunch, and pasta without sauce for dinner. But I was free.

I struggled for years, but in the end I came out stronger and braver than ever. It was hard but I am here.

 

Nina Palazzo Survivor Sister Story

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