Survivor Story: She Fought for Custody After Learning Her Son Had Been Sexually Abused by His Grandfather

Submitted by: *Adelina, Survivor

Abusers often take advantage of those who have low self-esteem and difficult home lives by love-bombing them and making them feel like they finally have a safe space. It is not uncommon for the victim to leave one bad situation at home, only to find themselves trapped in another that is as bad as or worse than the one they left behind.

Adelina moved in with her boyfriend after finishing high school, leaving behind a home with a father that struggled with alcoholism and a mother who was always working. Once she was there, she soon discovered that her boyfriend and his family became controlling and aggressive and used her infant son as a way to control her life. Find out what happened when Adelina reached out to her mom for help and where she and her son are now.

When Adelina was in junior high, she was introduced to the boy who would later abuse her through high school friends. He was five years older than she was, and she was quickly taken in by the things he would say to her. The living situation at home was hard for Adelina, as her father was an alcoholic, and she barely saw her mother because she worked two jobs.

Soon, Adelina got pregnant. She was able to finish school and moved in with her boyfriend and his family afterward. Once she was away from her family, he became controlling and aggressive. Adelina was not allowed to work or go to college. He would also dictate to her what she could wear and where she went.

The first time Adelina tried to leave, her boyfriend’s family told her she could not go unless she agreed to leave her son there.

By the time her son was six months old, she had attempted to leave him. He and his family would break her phone and refused to allow her to leave. They told Adelina that if she wanted to leave, she would have to get in her car and leave without her son.

She confided in her mom, who was three hours away from where Adelina was living at the time. She told her mom that she had made a bad decision moving in with her boyfriend and wanted to come back home. She supported Adelina emotionally and helped her find the courage to leave.

Eventually, she had an opportunity and found the strength to leave. Adelina had stayed home from church with her son because he was sick. Her boyfriend and his family left them at home and went to church. Adelina quickly packed what she could and left to drive the three hours back to her mom’s house. She will never forget that day. Leaving felt so liberating; she was safe but scared at the same time. As she drove, Adelina cried tears of joy the entire trip home to her mom.

Adelina finally found the safe space she needed with her mother, but she still endured years of court battles over custody of her son.

Once she got there, she had to start over, including buying all new clothes and a crib for her son. Adelina was relieved that she no longer lived like, as she described, a slave in captivity. He often tried to rationalize the abuse he perpetrated against her as love, but Adelina knew that it was really his jealousy and insecurities. The verbal, emotional, physical, and financial abuse caused her pain in many ways.

“I stood firm, continued my life as a single mom, and registered in classes at a local college. But my torment with him continued for many years because he was constantly taking me to court. During that time, he also used the parenting rights he had with our son to continue to try to control how I lived my life. I put a stop to it when my son disclosed to me that his grandfather was sexually abusing him, and it meant another three long years of battling his father in court for custody.

“God’s grace and salvation came through as I finally won custody of my son when he was ten years old. Now we are at a stage of continuous healing from all the damage and pain my ex has caused my son and me. I sincerely thank all the counselors and women’s domestic violence survivor support groups that gave me the tools and courage never to go back to that way of life.”

*Name has been changed to protect 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, chat with one of our helpline advocates at 855-287-1777, or send a private message through our Facebook page.


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