Submitted by: *Nancy, Survivor
As noted by the National Domestic Violence Hotline, the presence of firearms in homes where domestic violence occurs increases the risk of fatality by 500 percent. Guns are often used by abusers to threaten and intimidate their victims, and, unfortunately, also in domestic violence murder. Some prior victims of violent crimes later purchase firearms as a last resort to protect themselves from future threats.
After Nancy left an abusive boyfriend, he began to stalk her and tried to get her fired from her job. One day, he hid in her trunk with a firearm and waited for her to leave her house before ambushing her. Find out how Nancy fought back, what happened to her ex after the attack, and where she is now.
It was great at first, we laughed and enjoyed spending time together. After a while, things started to go wrong. We both started using drugs and drinking more than we had been. At times, he would lock me in the house so I could not get out. He never really hit me, but there were instances of physical abuse. He strangled me to the point I thought I was going to die. Occasionally, he threw things at me, headbutted my nose, and put cigarettes out on my face. He also punched holes in the wall.
Although it was scary, I decided to leave him. As expected, he was not happy when I left. He resorted to stalking me, repeatedly showing up at and calling my workplace, saying that I was still on drugs. I filed a petition for an order of protection, but that did not matter to him. He told me that he wanted me, or no one else could have me. Later, I met another man with whom I had a child, but I did not stay with him because he was also abusive.
Five years ago, on Easter Sunday, my previous boyfriend hid in the trunk of my car. Once I walked out of the house and got to the car, he jumped out and began firing at me with a gun. I ran back inside the house, trying to get away from him, and he kicked in the door. He came in and wanted to talk and saw that I had retrieved my gun to protect myself. When I tried to leave, he shot me, and I returned fire. He ran next door to a neighbor’s house and was later arrested. Currently, he is serving an 80-year sentence for attempted murder.
That experience changed my life forever. I have an anxiety disorder and PTSD, but I am thriving in life with my sassy four-year-old girl. Now I am active in my church and regularly volunteer at the local women’s shelter. With God’s help, I want to share my story and use my experiences to help others.
If anyone out there reading this is being abused, you are not alone. Talk to someone about what is happening to you. If you see even one red flag, get out. You can take back your life, and God can help you, too.
*Name changed to protect the survivor’s 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. For crisis services, you can contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233.
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