My story

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      Heidi N Hunsaker

      I am so blessed to be apart of a group with so many individuals that have similar experiences and that we are all connected by our pasts.

      When I was 17 years old I met the father of my two children, we will call him Ian. I was in high school and he was a dark force that I was attracted to. Little did I know what was going to happen to me. We got to know each other and I would go to his house to go see him (over 30 minutes away). My parents warned me and warned me, but I still was sneaking around and getting rides from friends to see him.

      I soon found out that he had a drug addiction problem, and so did his friends. I didn’t let that phase me, even though I grew up in a very sheltered home. I remember that for his birthday, he had just come off of a methamphetamine high and slept all through that day. I brought him presents and stayed in the room with him, even though he was sleeping. Our relationship at this time had been going on for a year. There was no warning signs that were apparent to me. He then proposed to me, and we were two stupid young kids. I said yes, and we made plans awhile later.

      I had found out a few months later that I had a miscarriage with our first child. Two months later, I was pregnant again. This time, the fetus remained viable. I didn’t want to tell my parents while I was still living with them that I was pregnant and keeping the child. So I got Ian and I an apartment and I was the only one working. He explained that he couldn’t work because of his background and criminal record. I was working in public safety at 18 years of age.

      When he knew he had me trapped with the pregnancy, there was no way out for me. I remember him getting mad at the simplest things and blaming it on his mental illness that he claimed to have (schizophrenia and bipolar disorder). I ran into the bathroom to hide from him during his moments of rage and he would follow me in there, like a lion stalking his prey. I remember his fists flying through the bathroom door and my face coming close to those punches every time. There were so many holes in that door. I was terrified of him. When I was making us food and something wasn’t done properly, he would corner me near the refrigerator and strangle me. Still, no one knew, and those who did didn’t say anything.

      There was a day that he had told me, after I was listening to some dark music and expressed to him that I didn’t want to live anymore, that he took a large hunting knife with brass knuckles and pressed it into my side and then to my neck. He told me that since I didn’t want to live anymore, he would help with that. I screamed and tried to get away. Once I got to my phone to call 9-1-1, he threw it into the wall and broke my phone and damaged the wall. Immediately, he tried to make things right and pitied himself. I forgave him and cried. I remember thinking that no one has this bond that we do. No one will understand my crazy and his crazy and that this was true love.

      A few weeks later, he wanted me to move the bed while I was 6 months pregnant. I had difficulties breathing already from the pregnancy. I passed out. When I had passed out from not being able to breath, I remember coming back to myself and he had grabbed me by my hair in the back of me head. He started slamming my head into the bed frame over and over again. Then I had blacked out again.

      One week after that incident, we went to his parent’s house where we were supposed to have dinner. Something had happened inside my car that angered him (he was having hallucinations). He had pulled me out of the car and started punching me in the stomach over and over again and told me that he was going to kill our baby, make me watch myself bleed out and then he would kill me. I crumpled down to the ground and tried to protect my unborn baby and he was kicking me over and over again. Eventually, he stopped and I ran as fast as I could down the block in the night. I had no where to go, and eventually came back to the car. Then I drove myself home.

      He wanted to go to the next OBGYN appointment with me and when the doctor looked at me and said that the baby’s heartrate, I was so ecstatic. The doctor asked me how everything was going, but he knew by the bruises that something was wrong. He never reported it either. Ian just looked at me with the look that if I was to say anything, something was going to happen to me. I had just told him I ran into some tree branches. I didn’t know what else to say. The doctor diagnosed me with depression and never told me about it.

      While I was coming to the end of my pregnancy, the doctor put me on bedrest. I was asleep one morning, after working my last night shift and Ian had snuck into my wallet and took my debit card. He took the rest of the money I had in that account for drugs. It was a constant day in and day out drug fest in his room of the apartment. I was absolutely miserable. I thought that someone had stole money from my account after I got a notice from my bank via text about my account being overdrawn. They said that someone had used my card at an ATM in the town I lived. I told him that someone had stolen my money and I couldn’t get us any food and I was trying to dispute the transaction. He pretended like this had happened. A week later, he told me the truth that he stole my money and didn’t tell me because he knew I was going to be upset.

      After I had given birth to our first child, he was arrested the night that we went home. I knew at this point this was my time to get out safely. He had told me previously over and over again that if I left him he was going to kill me and the baby. I found out that he had been arrested for drug charges at about 3 AM that morning. I was so enraged that I broke all of his things in his drug “party” room. It was snowing that morning, and my mom who was with me at the time, told me to just calm down and that we would take care of everything in the morning. She didn’t know everything that was actually happening, so I told her no. We have to do this right now.

      We left that following morning, and he had gotten out of jail early. He saw us leaving at a McDonald’s parking lot and started banging on my mom’s car window. I got out of the car, even after my mom begged me not to. I confronted Ian and he was putting his hands up in a motion to strangle me. I told him to go ahead, do it in front of all these people. He stopped and cried to me that I shouldn’t leave.

      I still left and had left for 3 months for my maternity leave. I then moved in with my dad after I left my mom’s house (parents were divorced and living in two different cities). When I had moved into my dad’s house, Ian would come back to the house in the middle of the night and would bang on the doors and windows demanding to speak to me. He had to travel 30 minutes there, without a license to drive. It was a constant back and forth. It was at this time, I had a relationship with another man, we will call Keith.

      My relationship with Keith would go on and off and never stayed steady. I still tried to do the right thing and let Ian see our son on weekends, and I thought Keith was such an amazing man. He took on the responsibility of a father to my son, while Ian never provided anything to our son. He never once bought diapers, clothing or toys. I had to force the visitations by scheduling them. Keith would come by just to see him and to see me. I started to slowly break more ties with Ian, but he knew he still had some control over me.

      At this point, I was making more steps to being in a more serious relationship with Keith. He came over often. I remember that when I rarely saw Ian, that Keith began to be a little more controlling in my life, but I didn’t pick up the signals. I still hadn’t educated myself on domestic violence. One day, when it was just my son and I in my parents house, Keith raped me in front of my infant son. He grabbed him away from me during a conversation and I asked him to stop. He put him in his crib and said this would only take a minute. I tried to get my son from the crib and told Keith I didn’t want to do this.

      Keith grabbed me by my clothes and wrists and threw me onto the bed. I told him to stop over and over again as he tore my clothes off of me. I kept saying “no, no, no”. I was afraid someone was going to hear what was happening and see me in a complete state of undress. But I kept telling him to stop. He took his clothes off and began raping me and said “I know you like that”. When he stopped, I was just crying. He reassured me that I liked what he had done, and I told him I didn’t and I wanted him gone.

      I distanced myself from him, then he followed me into working at the same place that I did. He would stalk me and call me constantly on restricted. I received over 180 phone calls in the span of 30 minutes when I wouldn’t respond to him. As months went by, I had reconciled my relationship with Ian again thinking that it wasn’t as bad as what I remembered. He wouldn’t rape me like Keith did.

      I made amends by visiting Ian with our son. Ian said he was going to go get us lunch and it took him about an hour and half to get us lunch. When he came back, I thought something was off. I took a drink of what I thought was my drink, and it tasted like marijuana. I waited until our son had fallen asleep, and I confronted Ian about the marijuana. He told me he did go off with his friends before he brought us lunch. I told him in that moment that he had to decide whether he wanted his family or drugs. He became enraged once more. He picked me up by my throat and pushed me into a pantry door. I remember the bruises he left on my neck, and I remember covering them up with my hair and makeup when I went back home.

      After he had strangled me one last time, he tried to hang himself in the backyard. I had no phone to call for help.

      I left with our son, and reconciled with the only other person, Keith, for who knows what reason. Keith and I had gotten into a house together and I thought nothing else would happen to me. Keith began growing more distant and was having relationships with other women and I went back to Ian one day for our son to visit him on Christmas day. I ended up conceiving Ian and my second child that day.

      I came back home to Keith and thought about what a terrible person I was, but justified it by all of his relations I found out he was having. I found out I was pregnant two weeks later. Keith and I then decided it was best if we were married. I told Ian I was getting married and I was pregnant. Ian said he didn’t want anything to do with me or the baby. His rights were later severed and that was the last I had heard from Ian.

      Keith and I then had a very tumultuous relationship. After we got married, he too began being very controlling and would leave for long periods of time. I thought that I should have nullified our marriage after 6 months of it. I was going to work crying nearly every day. He decided he was going into the military. 2 weeks before he left, my daughter was born. When he came back from the military, he wanted to be a police officer. He had an affair on me while in his police academy and I had only found out a year later when he had deployed with the military.

      The women he had an affair with had a husband. The husband had contacted me to tell me about the affair. I confronted Keith over the phone on Halloween night. He denied and denied for 45 minutes straight and finally gave into telling me that it was just a “blow job”. Even though he had changed his statement later that they did have sex and it was often. When he came back from deployment, I didn’t want to have anything to do with him.

      He was changing jobs sooner than I could turn around and I couldn’t handle the inconsistency. I had found myself and I was building myself up to be a better person. He came home and became violent with me and verbally abusive to the children. I tried leaving and he would pin me into corners and keep me in the rooms. One night I told him he needed to leave and he packed his bag and pretended to leave. He wouldn’t so I told him that I would, so I went to get my keys and he chased after me and told me if I leave the kids won’t be around when I come back.

      I called my sister, because I didn’t know who else to call. She talked to him and to me and explained to him how crazy he was being. He stayed that night, and was not allowed in my room ever again. We then decided to have an open relationship. I met someone new and went on vacation with him. When I came back, Keith told me that he wished I would have died in a car accident on my way back. It was soon Christmas again, and Christmas Eve we went to Keith’s father’s home. On the car ride back, Keith wanted to reconcile, because I was going to file for divorce the next week. He asked me how we can make things work again and I told him that there wasn’t anyway to make things work with us. He pointed a .22 rifle at my head and told me he wished he could shoot me in the f**king head. I stayed completely silent and didn’t know what else to do.

      I stayed strong for the kids just for the holidays and a couple months later I had moved out. We are still in a custody battle where my daughter has come back with various injuries and allegations against Keith saying that he has abused her. I have called DCS twice and they come back with an unsubstantiated verdict every time. Even with my daughter coming back with two black eyes. Neither of the children want to be at this house, where he now has another girlfriend that has also been abusive to her own children.

      Bizarre occurrences, but I am still fighting for my babies. I miss them every weekend they go to see him. I am terrified for them.

      Pray for me that I can get through this custody battle and that my kids can get the best attention and care they deserve. I know I made a lot of mistakes too.

    • #13801 Reply

      I lived with an abusive man for 12 1/2 years. At first he was extremely charming and helped me overcome some difficulties in my life. Slowly he began to control me. Three years into the relationship, he hit me for the first time. I thought it was a fluke. But that continued and increased over time. I was too much in love at first and later too brainwashed to get out, though I left five times and always came back.
      Eventually, after he hit our daughter and she died, I was also arrested, but the charges against me were dropped. I needed mental support and went into a wonderful hospital where I got round-the-clock support in both groups and individual therapies. The hospital did not charge me because I couldn’t afford it. They were wonderful. I stayed there through the trial against my abuser where I had to testify; and I continued to get support. My abuser got sentenced to 8 and a third to 25 years.
      After that I got myself an apartment, a job, and started a new life during which I volunteered at support groups for domestic violence survivors.
      I am now married to a wonderful and non-abusive man and am very happy.

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