Survivor Story: She Survived an Assault That Required Reconstructive Surgery

Submitted by: *Patricia, Survivor

Children who grow up in homes with domestic violence are at increased risk of abuse and neglect. Additionally, the on-going trauma in the home extensively affects the children’s mental and physical health. Victims often report that leaving an abuser or seeking out safer living arrangements is heavily influenced by a need to protect their children.

Faced with a dangerous home environment for her children and living in fear that the school would learn about the abuse in the home, Patricia decided to have her children stay with family where they could be safe. A few years later, after emergency reconstructive surgery following a brutal assault, Patricia left. Find out where she is now.

Patricia was married for over 12 years and had four children with him. Her husband started beating her in the 3rd year of their relationship after she discovered that he had been cheating on her with a woman who, at the time, was her best friend. From 2010-2017, he beat Patricia so often that she is unable to state with certainty how much it happened.

In addition to breaking and throwing many of her phones out of a window, he would hit her with various objects, including a serrated spatula and a 2×4. He was also very controlling and required Patricia to ask permission for everything she did. If she did not, she faced certain physical assault for neglecting to do so.

The presence of others was not a deterrent for physical assaults, and many people who witnessed Patricia’s assaults did not intervene to help her.

Being around others did nothing to prevent him from assaulting Patricia. The assaults occurred in the privacy of their home, in front of their children, and even in public in front of other people. He did not care who was around or witnessed it, and no one ever stepped in to intervene on Patricia’s behalf. She feels sad when she looks back and remembers that over the years, many people could have intervened and tried to help, but they chose to do nothing.

When Patricia tried to leave her husband, which she attempted about three times, he would always find a way to make her life miserable. He would show up to her job and threaten her and show up at her house. He even broke into Patricia’s house to use her shower and do drugs. If she went out to the bar, he would show up, create a scene, and drag her out.

Patricia’s kids had witnessed these countless times. She also lived in fear that others would find out what was happening behind closed doors. By 2015, Patricia had decided to send her kids to stay with a family member. She knew that it was only a matter of time before they went to school and told the teachers what was happening at home.

After Patricia’s children moved in with other family members, the physical abuse continued to escalate and culminated in an attack that required emergency surgery.

She was also isolated from everyone by her husband. He threatened family members and even held guns to them until they left. As he would say, Patricia was his property. It was a vicious cycle with them; they fought, did drugs, and forgave each other, and that was the circle that was almost never-ending.

In 2017, Patricia survived a brutal attack. Her husband punched her in the face twice, breaking her orbital socket, cheekbone, and nose, fracturing her jaw, and crushing the temporal bone. Patricia went to the hospital about a week later because she was in much pain and could no longer open her mouth. She had to be transported to another hospital for emergency reconstructive surgery. Because the damage caused was so extensive, the left side of Patricia’s face is now metal plates held together by screws. She nearly lost her eye and has lost most of her hearing in the left ear.

“The court granted a one-year order of protection, and he served six months in jail. Currently, he is on probation for five years, and I do not think his punishment was nearly enough. It’s now 2020; I still suffer greatly from PTSD, and I attend therapy as well as domestic violence classes. I would like to start to speak out for survivors of domestic violence, so I’m starting by sharing my story here.”

*Name changed to protect the identity of the survivor.

**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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