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Elizabeth Stahl

Survivor Sister Rachel H breaks her silence about domestic violence

My once warm and inviting home, has now become a house that I keep stocked with tools of survival. One might argue that anything is a weapon if you hold it right, but I like to be very literal in these situations. There’s a baseball bat by my bedroom door along with chain locks on the inside of my bedroom door. a Taser in my handbag, and one in my car. a small knife in between my mattress and box spring. Pepper spray everywhere. And my newest weapon in my night stand, a 9 millimeter semi automatic pistol. Violence is never the answer … unless the question is an unbalanced man who has finally come to collect on his threat to kill you.

I’ve never been against firearms. Most people I know own them. They enjoy shooting them for sport and collecting different models and such. That’s cool. But imagine getting in your car and driving yourself to the store. All the while knowing you are on your way to purchase a weapon solely for the purpose to kill or be killed… that’s how I felt the day I chose to arm myself. This wasn’t a sport to me, this was or could be the difference between life or death.

When does this become the outcome? Where did it go wrong and how did it last this long to go this far? Everyone has fears. My mom is afraid of snakes and my dad is afraid of the failing economy. My fear hits a little different. I fear for my life everyday, every minute. I depend on the mercy of a 30 year old schizophrenic who is obsessively possessive of me. Cliche but to him no one can have me. He will end my life and take his own.

This man that I loved so deeply is now my hell and worst nightmare. He’s done the unimaginable to me. Things I’d never think could happen to me. But they did. Ohhhhh they did. Have you ever been so scared that death all of a sudden didn’t seem so bad. Because waking up everyday knowing if you say or do the wrong thing you will pay massively for it. Never knowing if it will be getting choked out till blood vessels pop in your eyeballs. Or having your private photos released on the World Wide Web. And 9 out of 10 times it didn’t matter if I did anything at all. Because as long as he made that thought up in his head I was bound to pay for it.

I’ve begged and pleaded to just let me be.
I won’t deny that seeing someone get what is coming to them can be very satisfying. But that was never what I wanted—at every step of the way, I offered him an out. I never wanted revenge for what I’d been through. I dumped him. I changed my number. I begged. He didn’t stop. He only got worse. The once only verbal abuse quickly turned into financial, sexual, and physical abuse. I’ve been through things that even now I have to stop and make sure I’m remembering right. But it happened. All disturbing parts. There’s parts of me that wishes I didn’t remember. I suppose it makes me stronger and smarter now but that fear stays very much alive as well.
My ex chose to back me into a corner, so I eventually started to fight my way out of it, as his world crumbled around him. Job—gone. Car—gone. Relationship—gone. Respect—gone. Family—gone.

The more he lost tho the more he wanted from me. He was losing everything that he had and was so he made it his mission to destroy mine too. In the end He allowed me to destroy all of him. I don’t know how but I always got back up. He hated that And he came back for revenge everytime.

It’s been a month. I still worry he will kill me. Every time I shower I am convinced I will wipe the fog from the mirror and he will be there behind me in the reflection.Every noise is the sound of him prying off a window screen. Every peaceful silence is just the moment before the banging at the door starts. My camera goes off and instead of the 99% chance that a squirrel passed by I am struck frozen with fear by that 1% chance it’s him.

The sick mind games that he would play on me will likely scar me forever. Someone saying they are watching your house, when someone follows you everytime you leave. It’s mental fuckery.


It would be great if I never had to be afraid, and maybe someday I won’t. A piece of paper doesn’t keep you safe, but fighting back, getting out of a dangerous situation, and refusing to let someone treat you like shit most certainly makes it better. Being in an abusive relationship will leave its mark—but I welcome any scar that I can point to as a testament of my will to survive.
I felt like utter shit after that relationship. I blamed myself for ever saying yes. I blamed myself for staying, and for every little thing he ever did to me. I’m a smart woman and I fell captive to his ways. I spent several years chasing the light at the end of the tunnel, only to find that that light wasn’t that but the burning flames of his hell he built around me. He wasn’t a sad case that needed my love to save him. Love doesn’t hurt.

I’ve learned to let your support system support you. Don’t block out the ones who love you because you need them. I learned this the hard way. For 3 years I lied. I stayed away. I hid from society but worst of all my own family. I took this abuse alone for so long. I was waiting to approach everyone with the problem… until I also had a solution to offer along with it. Well the solution never came. I held this hell alone for so long until I couldn’t hold it no more. When you start to not only fear being killed but fear being the one to take your own life to escape, it’s terrifying. The weight crashed down on me. It drug me down like a concrete block tied to my ankle in the middle of the lake. I needed air I needed someone to listen and not blame me. So I finally spilled my guts. And the relief of that is probably the reason I’m alive today. I was never a suicidal person. But. Sadness is a real thing. It’s so powerful.

Everyday, I woke up thinking this can’t be life. ” I had those thoughts because I was trapped. I was a prisoner with no chains or locks. He completely took over by means of destruction… and the scariest part is… It’s not even over yet… I will live this as my reality for the rest of my life. But I promise you I will never stop getting back up.

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Survivor Sister Rachel H breaks her silence about domestic violence

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