Survivor Story: Her Voice Was Heard in Court

Submitted by: Melissa, Survivor

Leaving an abuser is terrifying and dangerous enough as it is. Having to face our abusers in court not only increases the risk of retaliation against the victim disclosing the abuse, it can also retraumatize them in the process.

There is no guarantee that justice will be served, and for many survivors, the risks often outweigh the benefits. Survivor Melissa shares with us her motivations for holding her abuser accountable and how it felt for her to get justice as a survivor of domestic violence.

A few months ago, Melissa had to stand up in court and tell her story. That day, justice was served in the court of law. The man whom she says she “foolishly loved with every single piece” of her being was found guilty of nearly taking her life and stripping her son of his mother and happiness in life.

During the 18 months preceding her appearance in court, Melissa had been battered and bruised mentally, physically, and financially by the man she thought was going to marry and share her life with. She now knows that she was not the first partner he had abused, and she wants to protect as many people as she can. This time, Melissa survived, but the next woman might not.

Melissa wants everyone to know that we should never be fooled by how a relationship appears on the surface. There are two sides to every story. Her experience in court has validated her story, making her feel heard. She does not feel that she needs to share images of her many injuries publicly, because they were shown in court and contributed to a verdict in her favor.

Her bruises have healed, and now she can move forward and work on healing her heart and mind, so her little boy can have the life that he deserves. He will never again have to witness his mom being brutally assaulted or have his life threatened by his father. Because of the abuse, social services have taken his parenting rights away.

It took Melissa much hard thinking and many assaults to finally get to point where she was ready to leave and call the police to do something about the abuse she was enduring. After the last ever assault, Melissa knew that she did not want her to grow up without her.

“We finally made it out, and there’s no going back. One in four men and women go through the same thing every day. I didn’t know the warning signs, but now that I do, I will never let a man or his family treat my son or me like this again. The truth is out now. I have broken my silence, and I hope others will do the same. If you or anyone you know is experiencing abuse, please speak out. We did it!”

**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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