Survivor Story: I Prayed Every Night for Help
Written by: Olivia, Survivor
I had just turned 18 and was in my first summer out of high school and my second semester of college. I was a criminal justice major. I had waited to be that age for such a long time and was so excited.
I had been dating this guy casually for about a month. We got into an argument one afternoon, and he broke up with me. I remember being devastated and calling my cousin to cheer me up. She invited me to a party her boyfriend was having because she wanted to set me up with one of his friends.
I can remember the first time I saw him like it was yesterday. He was tall, dark, and handsome. You know I melted instantly. The fact that he was 16 years older than me just didn’t matter. He was too perfect.
We quickly became inseparable. Then within a month, I was out of my parent’s house for the first time living with him. The first six months were amazing. I had my own place for the first time. It was like having my own little family. Then he started to change, accusing me of cheating, isolating me, and verbally abusing me. Soon, I had a curfew and he started to destroy my belongings.
It escalated fast. Before long, he was abusing my two cats and threatening my life. The man I fell in love with was gone. January 16th, 2013 was the first time he physically assaulted me. I remember being in shock and knowing it was wrong but, then again, I made all the classic mistakes. I blamed it on stress, I blamed myself, and I believed him when he said he never do it again.
We quickly got into the cycle of abuse: the honeymoon phase, the build-up, and release of tension. Then before long, he was hitting me at least twice a week. The first time he strangled me was my breaking point. I should include that around this time my family had heard from about his past through word-of-mouth and being in a small town. He has a history full of prior abuse and prison time he served for abusing his own four-month-old son I didn’t even know existed.
I never told my family about the physical abuse, but they put the pieces together. My sisters knew that I wanted out, so about a month of planning my escape began. I prayed every night for God’s help. I was terrified and knew that I couldn’t do it on my own or without help law enforcement. Then on May 9th, 2013, my prayers were answered, and someone heard my screams. They called the cops, and he was arrested.
I was left with many emotional and physical scars. I’m missing part of my thigh muscle; I have a fractured jaw and also suffer from PTSD. For a long time, I numbed my pain and didn’t seek help or talk about my emotions. Here I am about four years later, and I’m a college graduate. I have an amazing family and friends, and I’m engaged to a man who adores me.
Through my journey, I’ve found a strength I never knew before. I appreciate the good things in life. I take things slow. I’ve rediscovered and rebuilt a new me that I’m so proud of. I hope my story can shine some light on someone maybe still in a dark place. I hope at least one person can take away strength and hope from my journey from victim to Survivor.
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