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Survivor Story: Breaking My Silence for the First Time

BreakTheSilenceDV

BreakTheSilenceDV

Written by: BTSADV Survivor

My story happened in the summer of 1974 when I was 14 years old. This is the first time ever telling my story. Maybe it is time it is told — perhaps it will help someone else.

I was 14 when I first met him. He told me he was 16, but I later found out that he was only 15. He was my first boyfriend but not my first love. I did not love him; at 14 I was not sure what love was. I just felt flattered that a boy liked me.

At first, he was kind, friendly, and fun to be with but that all changed after we had been dating for about two weeks. He started pressuring me to have sex with him using the familiar lines, “If you love me, you would” and “We are going to get married when you are 18, so why wait?” Marriage was the furthest thing from my mind. And on top of that, what guarantee would there be that we would even still be together when I turned 18? This was my first relationship, and he expected sex?

When I refused his demands, his behavior toward me changed. He would become verbally abusive, call me names, and insult me at times in front of people – especially my friends. That led to emotional and mental abuse. The physical abuse would happen without warning. He would also hold me down and tell me in graphic detail what he had done with other girls. The more I refused to have sex with him, the worse he got. But I never gave in to his demands. He was at his worst when he got high from smoking weed.

Two incidents stand out more than the others. The first one I recall is that I was wearing nail polish and he did not want me to wear it. He kept punching me on my leg until I took it all off. I wore clear polish after that.

The second incident happened when a friend and I were hanging out with him, and he kept asking me where I wanted to go. I kept telling him that I wanted to see another friend of mine, but he did not like her. Every time I said her name, he would slap me hard across the face. I knew if we went to his house, he would be pressuring me to have sex with him, so I told him that I wanted to go to the bowling alley.

When he went to the bathroom, I hurried out the door and ran to my friend’s house two blocks away from the bowling alley. He was right behind me, but I managed to make it to her house safely. He stood there cussing and throwing rocks at me. I did not understand why he was like that. Was I such a terrible girlfriend? Was I doing something wrong?

The relationship did not last long, only four months. When I came home with bruises on me, I told my parents that I had fallen. I broke up with him during those four months, but he would tell me he was sorry so I would give him another chance. Nothing changed. If another boy showed interest in me, he would get possessive.

It took me a year to finally date again, but I thought all guys were the same. After two weeks, I would break up with them because I figured the same thing would happen, too. It took years for me to realize that it wasn’t me that was messed up; it was him! He did not know how to be a boyfriend or how to treat someone.

Now when I look back, I can see the red flags. He was selfish and immature, and he treated his parents poorly and cursed at them all the time. He hated my mother because I postponed a date until the next day. My mom was sick, and my dad worked evenings, so I did not want to leave her alone in case she needed anything. One time, he punched my younger brother because he wanted to hang out with me.

It is sad when we don’t see the red flags in a relationship until it is too late. I wish I had. Maybe I would have made better choices in my life. As for the friend we used to have the most fights over, he became the best of friends with her after he and I broke up.

This is the first time I have told anyone this; not even my family knows. Maybe I was ashamed of what happened and figured that it was my fault. I did not know who to turn to or talk to at the time, and I wish now that I had told my parents. Eventually, I got married. He, too, became abusive, but that is another story.

**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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