Survivor Story: You Are Not Defined By Your Past

Submitted by: *Gloria, Survivor

Being severely abused as a child can leave survivors with damage that impacts them for life. When one or both parents or guardians work in law enforcement, it can leave them feeling like they have nowhere to turn.

Survivor Gloria shares her story and reveals what caused her to reach out to her estranged father in an attempt to get help for the abuse she suffered at the hands of her mother and her mother’s girlfriend. Find out how Gloria took back her power, where she is now, and the message she has for others who have also survived being abused as children.  

Gloria’s mother and her girlfriend Jenn* were both police officers. Together they raised Gloria and her twin brother. When she was ten years old, the physical abuse began when she was beaten with a cord. By the time Gloria was 16, the verbal and physical assaults and death threats would last for hours at a time. 

Despite knowing that the abuse she suffered was wrong, Gloria told no one and did her best to hide the injuries.

She always knew it was wrong, but Gloria loved her mother and knew she would be in trouble if anyone found out. Because her mother was an officer, she had no trust that the police would protect her or save her from the abuse. No one in Gloria’s family knew. She learned to cover the scars and cuts with heavy clothing and covered bruises with makeup.

One day, Jenn came home from work to find that the family’s dog had eaten a paper towel. Naturally, she was upset and went on a three-hour verbally abusive tirade. She called Gloria a whore and told her that she deserved to be raped and die. Gloria remembers that all she wanted to do was go to her room to do her homework, but she was not allowed. Her mother came home while Jenn was still screaming and shouting and immediately joined her in the verbal abuse. They did not want her to go to school the next day, and that night, Gloria overheard them plotting to beat her to death.

The next morning Gloria decided that she was tired of fearing for her life. Her father had long been absent from her and her brother’s life, but she still searched for his number and planned to call him later that night. And she did.

Gloria feared for her life so much that it caused her to reach out to her estranged father for help.

When Gloria’s father answered the phone, she opened up to someone who had become a stranger to her and her brother. “Hi, this is your daughter. I know you haven’t seen me in years. Before you say anything, I think you should know that mom has been abusing us for six years. I think she is going to kill me.”

The conversation went from there. She revealed the years of abuse to a man neither she nor her brother knew, practically begging for a way out. He agreed to drive to her home state and confront their mother while she and her brother were not at home.

Later that night, Gloria knew what to expect when she arrived home. Her mom came home and was quiet. She ate the dinner Gloria had made in silence, never saying a word. She told her to take her clothes off and wait in her room to be beaten. Gloria did as she was told.

Gloria declined to reveal much detail about the five hours of torturous assault that she endured that night, choosing instead to focus on the moment where she says she finally felt free. For the first time in her life, she ran from her mother, attempting to run out the door and go to the nearest police station despite still being naked. Her mother stopped her and lashed Gloria with a cord all over her body. As she lay on the ground bleeding and praying for her life, she gave up on her mother. 

After ending a brutal five-hour assault, Gloria had reached her breaking point.

Gloria stood up and grabbed the cord away from her, telling her that she was going to jail, that she was sorry to say that she was leaving her and was done. Her mother looked surprised and was taken aback by Gloria’s declaration, and Gloria felt free.

At that moment, she knew her mother could have killed her, and Gloria revealed that she would have been okay with it because she was able to finally stand up for herself. She chose to love herself more than she loved her mother. She chose herself.

The next day, child protective services came to the house and asked Gloria to show them her wounds. She knew that it was far from over, but she also knew that she would never have to fight for her life like that ever again.

“As of today, I have been out of her house for a year and have been in foster care. I was lucky enough to have an amazing aunt who was willing to become a foster care parent to take my brother and I in. I have been looking for something to encourage other kids like me who feel like there is nothing out there for them.

“Abuse is not the end. Your past does not define you. You can never be left in the darkness if you never turn your light off. I’ve always said that to people who ask me how I remain so hopeful. I know that you are worried that this bad thing in your life may never end.

“People say that all good things must come to an end, but I am here to tell you that all bad things end, too. That’s another one of those things that I say. But it’s true – all things end. The darkness ends where the light begins. Just keep trying. Keep fighting. There is a light if you just keep looking.

“In case you don’t know where your light is, I’ll tell you. Your light is inside you.”

*All names have been 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.

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