Hi. My name is Vanessa, and I am a survivor of domestic abuse. Here’s the reason I’m writing this—my abuser was over 1,000 miles away from me. (and I am also writing this to help anyone else who’s suffering through the same torture. Nobody is ever alone in this, no matter who you are, what you are).
I met my abuser on a group Skype call initiated by one friend of mine. At the time, he was dating another member of the ring. Still, he shot flirtatious comments in my direction, and from that moment, I was hooked. He was cute, charming, and witty (or so I believed). We began officially talking out of the group a few days later when I confronted him about breaking up with my significant other at the time (because I knew if I was more interested in him, I shouldn’t be with another person). He was very kind and offered me advice along with his phone number so our conversations could be that much more personal.
A day or two into friendship, he told me he took an interest in me. Keep in mind, he was not single. I somehow didn’t mind, and I was oblivious to the fact that he was already proven to be unfaithful. Fast forward to when we first started dating. It seemed like a beautiful relationship. We would Skype all night, talking about everything and anything and then falling asleep over the phone. It was dreamy, up until he began pushing me away. He would create false accusations or reasonings to try and break up with me, but I was already so entranced that I constantly pulled him back in. Early on into our relationship, he even threatened to kill himself if I did not reply and attend to his needs. He gave me a suicide scare by ignoring me for hours after such texts.
I was starting to dislike certain aspects of my relationship. Even then, though, I was falling in love with him. I couldn’t just get back up. As our Skype calls grew more persistent, happening both day and night no matter my schedule, I began to see his family, and he began to see mine—through our phones. Even at first sight, his cousin already took a distaste for me. I tried to be as kind as possible. I tried not to care about her insults when my relationship mattered a lot to me. I should mention he never stood up for me. Not once.
Our relationship was constantly rocky to the point where we broke up and got back together for days on end one week. Then he finally told me it was over. This, of course, was after he put me in a Skype call with strangers and told them to yell at me about my misbehavior and how disgusting I was. It not only hurt to get yelled at by both my boyfriend and his friends but the fact that when I tried to hang up, he’d spam me endlessly with calls and texts and threats until I rejoined. One of the aggressors contacted me the next night, telling me they wanted to apologize for their actions, and requested I call them. At first, I said no because I knew my abuser would get mad, but I called them. We ended up engaging in a consensual R-rated conversation because I was upset at my abuser, and I wanted a moment to drown out his voice from my head. Mind you, he and I broke up. But that’s not what he claimed. This turned into chaotic conflict over my actions and the accusation that I was a scummy cheater. Things in the relationship only got worse from then on.
I remember being in a group call formed by some of my older friends who decided to hate me. This included my abuser, who I was dating again. They called to tell me about how disgusting I was, how my skin was absolutely horrid (I had very severe eczema that I had always been insecure about), and how ugly I was in general. My abuser sat in the call and laughed as I muted myself, crying. I texted him frantically to tell him to stand up for me. But, instead, he said to me if I wanted a defense, it would have to be myself.
There was never a day where we weren’t Facetime. Not a moment went by without him telling me I had to be on the phone or else he’d leave me. Through showers, dinner trips outside, or even during school time. I also had to sleep on Facetime with him, and if I fell asleep before him, he’d get upset. If I fell asleep without my face/body show, he’d get upset. It got so bad that I couldn’t go out with friends, and I couldn’t even go out with family for fear of being yelled at and gaslighted. I never went a day without thinking these things were my fault. I was constantly being told that I had no place to act in such a way, that I was a scumbag and needed to change. The calls towards the end of our relationship included verbal abuse and even evidence of him cheating on me, as in hickeys and people in the ring touching on him when he had no problem with it.
I had no say in friendships. Everything I did was under his power. My replies, my pictures, my comment section.. even my passwords belonged to him. He hacked into my Instagram and Snapchat, stealing photos from my Memories and shutting down my Instagram while pretending it was someone else.
He visited me in late 2017. The visit had been planned for about a month, and I was unable to contain my excitement. The night before he came, he threatened me with the idea of him not seeing me if I continued to misbehave. In utter terror, I said everything in my vocabulary that I knew would mend the situation. Eventually, after guilt-trip galore, he decided to see me. Meeting him felt so relieving. I had fallen in love with a boy through a phone screen, and I couldn’t believe he was there in front of me. Things were good, or at least I thought so back then. We didn’t fight as much, but we still did. He did not kiss me until almost the last day. He did not hold my hand. He let me hold him to sleep, and that was all. I tried buying him gifts. We got matching bracelets.. but something was still off. He left, and things derailed all over again.
December came. At this point, we were on and off, always fighting. He was constantly calling me stupid, calling me worthless or a whore for things I did not do. He blamed me for his own mistakes and lectured me on how he felt utterly neglected, saying I needed to improve or else he’d leave. I grew fearful of two significant ideas: his absence and his anger. I tried doing anything in my power to please him, but I always stood defeated. Then, a week or two before Christmas, I was raped by someone I thought was a friend. The first person I told was my abuser. In return, he went on a whole spiel about how I am a liar and how I was using this story to cover my infidelity. Finally, he threatened to send the information to my family if I upset him again. As you may be able to guess, my family found out. This turned into one of the scariest nights of my life (but that’s a different story).
Fighting was taken to new heights when he was calling me fat, an idiot/stupid, ugly, and so on, claiming they were all jokes. He laughed at my tears on Facetime calls and would ask if I was “done yet.” My fear of him grew bigger just as much as his power did. He found new people to love behind my back time and time again, but somehow I’d be the scummy one if I said anything. If I even paused our Facetime call, he would yell at me for being fishy and unfaithful. If I even LOOKED DOWN, he did the same. I basically learned how to keep my mouth shut and only know the word sorry. It was exhausting trying to pull him back every time he wanted out. It was exhausting to be yelled at, gaslighted, and limited to a bedroom every day of my life. He showed me disgusting videos that I could not bear to explain even if I wanted to. Constant tears, heartache, and even contemplation of suicide. I didn’t know a way out. I loved him, right? Things would get better, right? I want you to know that they don’t… These behaviors are proven to have a “honeymoon phase,” which means there will be good moments to make you think that peace will resurface. It will not.
We had a major break up in January where he actually stopped contacting me. For a while, at least. We did end up back together, and our first Facetime call after the split was when I started believing my friends and family. Nobody I knew liked him, and they all thought he was not in the right mind. I began to understand when he told me, “I was debating sending anthrax to your doorstep.” This was a step too far. but I laughed it off as I did with many of his other “jokes.”
The torture continued until around April the next year. He had ruined my birthday, my new year, and honestly.. my life. I tried to ward him off by ignoring him and acting as if I didn’t exist. Finally, I caught on to the abusive behavior, but I still had yet to realize just how bad it was.
After the break-up, I was accused of rape, being an overall bad person, and accused of ABUSE. by my abuser. There were random calls to torment me. Endless posts on social media, even after I continued to block every account of his. There were 100 more each time. Disgusting messages over social media. Constant live streams where he’d bring up my name negatively. I felt like I could not live like this. He threatened (again) to send me anthrax by saying, “Watch out for the mail.” I reported him to the police, and no case was made due to the fact that he had no proof of being able to attain said substance. It made sense, but I felt like the world crashed in on me all over again. All I really wanted from the report was to see him get kicked down as he did to me. Every month, I dealt with new messages, letters from his friends telling me he missed me or changed. I could not handle it. In February of 2019, I attempted suicide.
After a very lengthy stay in both the mental hospital’s inpatient and outpatient program, I began attempting to accept my trauma. I started my journey on facing it instead of pushing it away. I’ve grown tremendously since 2019. I had more hospital stays afterward, but it was only for my benefit. Somedays still feel hard. I do sometimes still feel his energy, and the fear comes back. But I am recovering, and I know my trauma will not stand in my way of living one day.
Remember: it is not going to get happier. They do not change. When he says he will never hit you again, he means he won’t hit you until he gets mad again. When he says he will never, ever hurt you again, he doesn’t mean it. They don’t mean it. It does not improve. Save yourself before it is too late, and save anyone else who has told you about their abuse. Do not sit around and wait for your friend’s relationship to relax. It will get to the point where you lose her.
Speak up about domestic abuse and spousal/partner abuse in general.
But as I said before, my name is Vanessa, and I survived emotional, verbal, and digital abuse. So I know whoever is facing these things currently can survive, too.
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