Survivor Story: Her Abuser Threatened to Cause Her to Miscarry Twins
Submitted by Catherine*, Survivor
Abusers often take advantage of any circumstances their partner might have that make it easier for them to control and intimidate them. Those with medical conditions, mental health disorders, or disabilities, and those who become pregnant are at increased risk of harm when their abuser withholds their medications or required devices and equipment as a tool of punishment. Further, the abuser may exploit these conditions as a means to force the victim to be compliant with their demands or otherwise manipulate them.
Survivor Catherine relies on rescue inhalers for her asthma. While she was with her abuser, she also suffered brutal assaults throughout two pregnancies. She shares with us some of the abuse she suffered, the dangers she faced during her pregnancies, and what she wants those who are being abused to know.
By the time Catherine was about to turn 16, she had already been in a relationship with her boyfriend, who was over the age of 21, for two years. She fell pregnant after being with him for a month and a half.
Catherine was pregnant when the physical abuse began.
The abuse started when Catherine was 25 weeks pregnant with their first baby. Her abuser got mad because she caught him talking to another girl, and things had been said that she did not like. When she threw his phone, he came into the room asking what the noise was, turned on the phone, and discovered that she had looked through it.
Once Catherine took a few deep breaths and calmed down, she confronted him about what she found on his phone. He grabbed her by the wrists and pushed her down hard on the bed. As he choked and slapped her, he told Catherine never to do that again. She cried in fear.
After the first instance of physical violence, the arguments continued. The severity of each attack would increase each time, and he choked Catherine hard enough that she nearly blacked out. He apologized, saying he could have seriously hurt her and their baby boy. She forgave him each time and convinced herself that he had been experiencing stress but would never do it again.
During Catherine’s second pregnancy, her abuser repeatedly threatened to cause her to miscarry their twins.
A few years ago, Catherine learned that she was pregnant with their second child when their firstborn son was about five months old. With the second pregnancy came another escalation of physical violence. He hit her, causing her to have a black eye, and, on more than one occasion, choked her violently enough that he triggered Catherine’s asthma.
To make sure that she would not leave, Catherine’s abuser regularly intimidated and threatened her that he would kill her if she did not stay with him. The physical abuse she endured became so severe that he would beat her on her head, arms, back, and legs. When she was covered with bruises from his assaults, he made Catherine wear his shirts to hide the injuries. He hit her back so hard at times that she needed to have her inhalers on her in case he triggered another asthma attack. Any time she tried to leave, he would say he would kill her, adding, “If I cannot have you, nobody can.”
After each incident, he threatened Catherine not to “run her mouth” or tell anyone that he was hurting her. During her second pregnancy, he often hit her in the stomach as he informed her that he did not care where he hit her or how it would affect the twins she was carrying. While Catherine was still pregnant, he dragged her to the hallway and pulled her up by her hair, threw her across the hall onto her stomach, and dragged her back into their room. He said he hoped that Catherine and their unborn twins would die and even held a knife to her abdomen, saying he would kill them.
Catherine recalled how it became routine to beg him for her life. He started holding a knife to her throat and threatened to cut her throat open several times. Afterward, he would always remind her that if she told, he would make her disappear.
The one time she managed to over-powered him, he tried to stab one of the veins in her arm. Other times, he told Catherine that he could kill her and call the cops. All he needed to do was make it look as though she became angry, smashed her phone, and left without taking any of her clothes or personal belongings. He would even go so far as to involve their roommate by having them state they argued.
Although the abuse continued to escalate, Catherine did the best she could to make her abuser happy.
Eventually, he tried to blame Catherine for his behavior and for his joining online dating sites and told her that she was no longer the girl he fell in love with two years ago. He wanted her to be submissive and listen to him the way she used to. When they first met, he was so sweet to her. Catherine did not know that she was submitting to him; she just thought she was doing what couples should do – listen and communicate. She even tried to work it out and change to be what he wanted.
Despite her efforts to make it work, the abuse continued to get worse. He started taking Catherine’s money and would not let her eat until he was hungry. When she asked, he would tell her to ask her family. They would just give her money, and she would be stuck. He also threatened her to get the rent money together, that she might not make it until morning, or he would leave her.
“Whenever someone else made him mad, I paid the price. I became him his punching bag and walked on eggshells. When it escalated, if I said the wrong thing or voiced my opinion about something I didn’t like or think was right, he would get angry. He would back me into a corner, balling his fists, and get red-faced with rage. My instinct was to protect the twins and my head.
“Then he would apologize after abusing me, saying he’s just been irritated or someone made him mad. I would think if he can do this to my stomach now, how would he treat the twins when they are born?
“No one deserves to be emotionally, physically, and verbally abused like I was – or at all. I’m asking anyone who is still with their abuser to please get out and get help. Take your voice back. It will not get better; it just gets worse until you either leave or end up being killed.”
*Survivor name changed to protect their identity.
**If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, there is help. You can visit the Break the Silence website at www.breakthesilencedv.org, chat with one of our helpline advocates at 855-287-1777, or send a private message through our Facebook page.
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