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Survivor Story: My Abuser Drove Drunk with Me in the Car – and I Was Hospitalized

Survivor Sister Rachel H breaks her silence about domestic violence

Written by: BTSADV Survivor

I was with my boyfriend for 18 months. He started off sweet and caring, but one night we both got drunk and got into a fight; he started punching me in the face and pinned me to a wall. He’d always call me names and put me down, and he would sometimes pinch me and bite me.

In July, we were driving to his mom’s house. He drove drunk and went around a turn going 80 mph. We spun out, hit an SUV, and almost went down an embankment. I ended up biting my tongue when the airbag deployed. I also had abdominal bleeding, and I went to the hospital. His mom lived 3 hours away. He was arrested and ended up trying to hitchhike to get back to me, but I got my mom to get me. I could barely move because I had bad whiplash.

He called me all mad because when he got there, I wasn’t there; he told me I was an idiot. Then the next day, he messaged me to apologize, saying he would quit drinking and stop calling me names. So I went back to the apartment. It was okay for a little while, but he started drinking again.

He would get jealous of anyone I talked to and accused me of cheating; even if I was at work, I got accused. I couldn’t even use the bathroom with the door closed, or he would throw a fit. He made me shower when he showered and wouldn’t let me any other time. Eventually, I tried to leave, and he wouldn’t let me. He would block the door and throw the phone so that I couldn’t call anyone. He threatened to kill me if I ever tried to leave him.

Recently I found out I was pregnant, and I got the courage to leave. He ended up getting arrested, and now I’m trying to build myself back up. He tried to call me from jail saying he doesn’t feel whole without me and that he missed me and loved me and couldn’t understand why I left. He still denies ever hitting me and claims he never meant to hurt me. But I know better now. He still tries to contact me

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Break the Cycle

Survivor Sister Rachel H breaks her silence about domestic violence

I’m 22 years old. I was in a relationship with this man since November 2010 and left October 2013. In the coarse of our relationship the first thing he did was jerk me off the couch by my hair and it progressed worst over time.

One day we got into a argument, I don’t even remember what about, but he choked me until I lost consciousness. I woke to him checking my pulse.

Another incident, we were having a party and he beat me in front of everyone. When people tried to intervene he kicked everyone out. I used to have snake bites piercings in my lips; one day he grabbed my mouth so hard that piercing knocked out my front cap. The only thing I felt I had left – my smile – he ruined.

He was very controlling. I received my dream job working as a bartender on Beale St in Memphis. I remember working a bourbon tasting with Jesse James from Jackyl. When I got home that night he was so furious he broke my nose punching me in the face. I had a gun pointed to my head. There has been countless times where I thought I would die.

Finally over this last summer he was in jail, I ran into the man that was my childhood love. When my ex got out and found out, he saw me at the store, jumped in my truck and said he wanted to talk. He took my phone, read my text and saw that I thought I was pregnant. He then punched me in my stomach and bashed my head against my truck, door and that was the last of him I’m so happy now that my life is perfect.

My ex got arrested on felony burglary charges so I won’t be hearing from him and me and my boyfriend just got a place together and I finally know what real love is.

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Staff Spotlight: Misty’s Story

We Are BTSADV

I was raised by a single mom who did the best she could, but she started my battles with emotional, mental, and verbal abuse, as well as neglect, abandonment, and body dysmorphia. Her words were harsh, manipulative, and cold (and still are).

I was raised most of my childhood by my grandmother who was my saving grace and my rock! When I was with my mother, I never knew what I was going to get.  Either the “broken, alcoholic, anorexic, looking for love in all the wrong places,” “nothing is ever good enough” or the “you are the apple of my eye, here is all the affection you are craving” mom. I learned from her that you need a man to be happy, and sex is the way to get it, so physical touch was one of the ways I craved “love”. My body was the way to get it, so I learned to stay thin by ANY MEANS. The words bubble butt still ring in my ears.

I was molested at 13 by a neighbor, something that I have NEVER shared. I thought at the time it was ok because I was so starved for “love”.  

At 8 or 9 my great uncle went into a rage against my great grandmother (Granny) and threw rocks through EVERY window in the house, while we were there. We had to hide in the phone closet, the only room without windows. It was terrifying! I don’t know that I have ever let go of that trauma.

When I was 15, I was homeless as my mom was staying in a hotel and didn’t have time or money for a place for us to live. So for 3 months, I bounced from friend to friend until I moved back in with my grandmother.  

At 16 I had a high school friend (loose term) try to rape me, but I got away. At almost 17 years old, I started my first relationship which was on the surface great for many years, until it wasn’t. He exhibited the same verbal, mental, financial, and emotional abuse that I knew from my mom. I remember one afternoon him coming to me and saying “You need to lose weight. You are getting fat!” I was 5’9”, 145 pounds, and a size 7 (NOT FAT AT ALL). Yet, I listened, lost 20 pounds, and went down to a size 5 at 125 pounds. I looked sickly!

One night towards the end of the relationship, we got into an argument, and he pushed me up against the wall. He held my neck and choked me. I moved out shortly after, and we tried to fix the issues, but they couldn’t be fixed. After I left, I found out he was seeing someone else and that she was pregnant. This was only days after I had given up our child because he said it was the best thing for US. I learned from him that once again I was not enough. I didn’t deserve to be happy or to have a good relationship.  

In between, I lived with my dad who I met when I was 19 years old. When my mom told him I was his, he didn’t believe her as I had red hair, and the man she was dating at the time had the same hair color. There was a day after my emotional breakdown over losing my relationship and my child that my dad felt I needed discipline for my behavior even though I was 23 at the time. He gave me an enema which was one more humiliating event from my “loved ones” to show me I’m not good enough. My feelings are not ok, and I just need to get over them. 

I was single for a few years and prayed every night to find a good husband and have a family as really that is what I always wanted! In 1998, I met my now ex-husband. I had every red flag there could have been, but I ignored them all. He was one of the biggest narcissists I had ever met. Our relationship started as a fairytale. He swept me off my feet and gave me all the things that I still craved from childhood. We were inseparable after our third date, and I moved in with him after about 1 month of being together. I gave up my home and my stuff and moved into his house (which he hung over my head all the time). He started being controlling, then mentally, financially, and verbally abusive soon after. Our money was his money to do with as he pleased. He cheated on me every chance he got. I was never good enough, needed to lose weight, and told me that he cheated because I had gained weight. He also said that I needed to be more supportive of him, look past the B.S. with his ex-wives and family, and be seen and not heard when he okayed it.

While I was pregnant with our son, I was in a bad car accident and had to have one of his ex-wives come get me because he was too busy and wouldn’t answer my call.  When I got home and called the doctor to see if I needed to make an appointment, he heard me ask “is he okay?” He then said, “It better NOT be a f*cking boy!”   We went through a rollercoaster before and after my son was born. At Easter time, we were towing a van in the backyard, and he got mad because I didn’t do something right.  He took the tow chain and beat the side of the van with it while his two boys, 4 and 7, and I were in the back. When my son was about 10 months old, he came home and went out to his garage. After about 4 hours, I went out to ask him if he was coming in to eat. He responded with “NO. I f*cking can’t stand you. I don’t love you, and I wouldn’t care if you got hit by a car. I wouldn’t shed a tear! I want a divorce.” I started the process to move out while I was unemployed and had no money. It took about a month to move out with my son and start fresh. I filed for divorce and moved out of state.

Once in a new state, I started a job that fell into my norm for abusive relationships. My boss/owner was emotionally, mentally, and financially abusive. I worked for him for 7 years without a raise, being treated as if I was never doing enough and never good enough. “If you want to make more, do more, and sell more!” When I was in an auto accident that could have ended my life, I called him as if he was “family,” and he was too busy. Now, where have I heard that before?!

Verbal, mental, emotional, and financial abuse, as well as neglect and abandonment, started for me as a very young child, and I let a lot of it continue as I didn’t recognize it for a very long time. I always said, “if a man hit me, I would leave!” I just didn’t consider the other types of abuse as abuse.  It has taken me 5 years to get the confidence, inspiration, and love of self to see that I am worth it! I am enough! I am beautiful and deserve amazing things!   

Words hurt, and have a HUGE impact! Don’t let them continue to keep you down. 

Volunteer Spotlight: Rick Dougherty

We Are BTSADV

Rick Dougherty just hit his one-year anniversary on the blog team at BTSADV.  He was named Volunteer of the Month twice, and received a President’s Bronze Volunteer Service Award in 2021.  Rick is embarking on his biggest project yet, as he prepares to walk all 620-miles of the Ireland Way in June and July.  In addition to the physical, mental, and spiritual purposes for this pilgrimage, he is also trying to raise money and awareness for BTSADV. 

Rick grew up in a home with an abusive father.  As an athlete, marathoner, and now hiker, Rick has made it a personal goal to show than men can be strong and traditionally masculine, without exhibiting the traits of toxic masculinity.  He has worked or does work for multiple professional sports teams; spent over a decade in sports radio; and has spent over a decade in rock radio.  Rick wants to prove that strong men treat women with respect.

(This picture is from a recent 20-mile hike in Fort Christmas, Florida.)

Volunteer Spotlight: Ashley Paschen

We Are BTSADV

I was in a physically, emotionally and financially abusive relationship for 8 years. The first time I left my husband was after he told me he was going to kill me – and the events leading up to that day made me know he meant it. I left the state the next night while he was at work, with only a few bags of clothing in my car. Slowly, over the next month, he convinced me he had changed, and I went back. It became obvious very quickly that change was just more lies and manipulation. His son came to live with us full time shortly after. Because of that, I stayed a few more years before finally making the heartbreaking decision to leave for good. I spent the next year as a single mom to my stepson, as my ex husband couldn’t get a stable job and home. Just 2 months ago, my ex-husband took his son back. While I’ve already begun healing from my abuse, I’m just now beginning the journey of healing from the loss of my son, and figuring out who I am again after losing the role of “mom.” 

Before my marriage, I had no idea the different kinds of domestic violence, or narcissistic abuse. I reached out for help one night when I was at my lowest of lows. But through a call for help, I was given the validation I needed and some suggestions for education on what I was going through. This opened the door to changing my life. I found BTSADV through facebook and here I am, 5 years after originally reaching out for help, volunteering and advocating for others.

Volunteer Spotlight: Odalis’ Story

We Are BTSADV

In May 2019, I experienced my worst fear which is possible death by asphyxia. Being asthmatic my whole life and knowing the feeling of not being able to catch my breath terrified me. On May 8th, 2019, my fear became a reality. My ex-boyfriend strangled me to the point where I passed out multiple times and truly believed I was going to die.  I always chose to deny signs and symptoms of abuse because I was just happy to have someone to love me. He yelled and pulled my hair because he loved me is what I thought. I always made excuses for him. I didn’t want to be alone. 

Domestic violence has been a generational curse in my family for as long as I can remember stemming from my great grandmother to my mother, was unspoken of, and no one ever took a stand. I joined Break the Silence of Domestic Violence 3 years later close to graduating nursing school because to this day I hear the words of the police officer that came to my home the day of the incident. This police officer looked me in the eye and told me with 100 percent seriousness and said, “You could have died today” and that is when the power of fight, the power of self-love, the power of determination, and breaking generational curses became by truest mission. I moved in one week and never looked back because I understood that I have the power to choose, and I am the voice of my voiceless 5 yr. old child. My child deserved a strong mom who would love herself and put us first. My healing has been eye-opening, hard, long and I have been able to incorporate a lot of self-accountable coping skills. I have been able to set boundaries and keep my great qualities of love, peace, advocacy & passion for mental health. I am four out of five semesters from finishing nursing school and my goal is to continue advocating for domestic violence, mental health, and breaking generational curses for survivors like myself to have the opportunities to become our best selves every day even on the hard days. My mission in volunteering is to reclaim my power while using positive coping skills and a listening ear to help other survivors reclaim their power as well.

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