My Story-or how Domestic Violence changed my life

I never thought that writing my story would be so difficult. I am comfortable speaking about my experiences with domestic violence, however, actually putting those times down on paper was a little more daunting than I expected.

Looking back at those frightful times I can only thank my higher power that my children and I escaped. I met my abuser when my oldest child was 3 months old. For the first time in my life I was alone and totally broke. I was searching for someone to help me get out of the deep hole that I was in. It was almost as if he could smell my desperation and he took total and complete control.

He was handsome and loving until he was not. We were together for almost 5 months before he hit me for the first time. Without even realizing it, he was mentally breaking me down so when that first slap occurred, I was not able to react the way I would have 6 months prior. The reason for the slap, as in most cases was small and insignificant. In a healthy relationship we would have had a discussion or perhaps a small disagreement. I threatened to leave, but I didn’t. I believe that because I stayed he felt that he had permission to do anything he wanted and he believed that he was in control. He did. He had complete and total control.

At this point, he shared some information with me that I had suspected all along but was never 100% sure of. This so called entrepreneur was a drug dealer, and now that he had told me, he forced me to be his driver. I was now an accomplice. I was pregnant with his son and was still caring for my other infant son. All day and all night he forced me to drive him around so he could sell drugs, the whole time with my young child in the back seat of the car. If I ever refused he would beat me. I would get hit at least once a week. He would hit me in private, he would degrade me in public, and he even beat me in front of his friends who sat there and watched. He would hit me with his hands and he even pistol whipped me, all while I was pregnant.

One night, he beat me so hard I lost the hearing in my left ear for about two weeks, all while my 1 year old son was in my arms. The argument was over Juicy Juice. That was when it clicked. That was when I finally realized that I was not the problem. It was at that point that I realized something crucial. If I stay with this man, three things were going to happen. 1- My boys would learn this terrible behavior and become abusers themselves, 2- They would get hurt trying to protect me, or 3- They would start to hate me for staying with this monster. I could not live with any of these options. As I was plotting my getaway, we got arrested. The drugs caught up with us. This happened on April 9, 2009, 5 days before my second child was born. My abuser had a $200,000 bail and I was released so that I could give birth to my second child.

I was free. He was in jail and I was able to start fresh. But as in most domestic violent relationships, I believed his pleas that he was a changed man. I even had my father put a mortgage on his home to bail my abuser out of jail. It only took 3 weeks for the abuse to start all over again. After my abuser had an argument with my father, he beat me for 2 days straight. We were in Staten Island, and I ran out of my van at a gas station and begged the attendant to call the police. I was black and blue. The attendant turned away and not one person in the entire gas station did a thing. They all looked away and sent me back to the man that was beating me.

When we got back to the house he locked me inside. I tried to jump out the window and run to the van but he got there first. He kicked me on the ground and dragged me by the hair back into the apartment. Six of my neighbors called the police. Finally. The police came and after 15 minutes my abuser let them in. He was arrested but even then, I was afraid to file a restraining order. After having a long conversation with a friend, I went back to the police station and filed a restraining order. As I was speaking to the judge, my abuser was once again bailing out of jail.

While I was in the hospital giving birth, DYFS came and turned my life upside down. Because of the drugs and guns the police found in my home, they called DYFS. My social worker was not trained in the area of domestic violence. For the next year and a half I was blamed for not protecting my children. I was blamed for not “just leaving” my abuser. In court, I was repeatedly called a drug dealer by the DYFS attorney. This incompetent woman had one saving grace. She gave me one good piece of advice. She gave me the phone number to a place called 180 Turning Lives Around. It took me about two weeks to call. I didn’t need this place. I was fine. My abuser was in jail, both his bails were revoked, I was safe. But I called because I wanted DYFS out of my life; I figured this was the fastest way to do it.

The first meeting was scary. Here I was surrounded by other women who I thought could not possibly be anything like me. I was a convicted felon thanks to my abuser and I was fighting to keep my children. How could they even begin to understand what I was going through? As they told their stories, and shared their experience’s, with me I was amazed. Were we all with the same man? Although we were all different ages and from different places, our stories were all the same. We were abused. We were victims. We wanted to become survivors.

Instead of dreading these weekly meetings, I started to look forward to them. I started to see these women as my friends, and as my family. They understood. They held my hand when I was scared, gave me a shoulder to cry on when I was sad, and picked me up when I fell down. I had no money to pay the weekly fees and I was never charged a dime. I was a faithful attendant to two different support groups and a few one on one counseling sessions for over two years.

180 helped me to express myself through art projects. They made sure my kids had gifts that I could not afford to give them myself during the holidays and for birthdays. They helped me to give me back me. I don’t know where I would be without this organization. With my head held high I can truly say, I AM A SURVIVOR, and 180 was my life boat the entire way through those tough years.

abbbzBorn and raised in NJ I am the youngest of three kids, I have three wonderful children that keep me going everyday. I have been through many trials and tribulations and am excited to share everything I have learned in my short years on earth.

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27 comments

  1. I’m sorry for what you went through but thrilled that you escaped. It sounds like 180 is truly a Godsend. I wish there were more places like it for people.

    1. I agree, it was one of those places I wish I never had to go to but am so glad it was there…When I win the powerball (another post I wrote) I want to create more centers around the world like that…..
      thanks for reading!

      1. It truly is a bittersweet place to go. I’m really glad it was there for you though! What a wonderful goal you have and I hope you win!

  2. Reblogged this on The left side and commented:

    Thank you so so much for allowing me to share my story on your ASS-MAZING blog (hee hee). Together we are stronger and we will change the world!

  3. You know, I detest reading things like this. I detest them, because they remind me of how horrible what I went through really was, even though I tend to downplay everything. I watered it down for guestblog here, I water it down on my blog. When I look at most of the things I endured, it is abnormal and horrific …. but almost like it was that *for someone else* and not me. Was it really my life for four years? Was I really trapped with this monster? Some days I have to struggle to remind myself it was true, and other days, I have plenty of the emotions to slap me in the face and let me know how true it all really was.

    I have to say, if I was in your position, pregnant and with a very young child, had he pressured me to be his chaffeur, I hate to say, I probably would have given in only to protect them both. I could have been you.

    Probably reading this at work is not the smartest idea, but I couldn’t stop myself. You and I have been through so many things and have seen so much that the other has seen that if we ever met in person, we could have an entire conversation about it without speaking any words. And end up bawling our eyes out in the process. The very idea that anyone had to endure what I did makes me physically ill. Being trapped in the middle of that life with dealers and addicts and snitches and all that mess…. and being cut off, and no one helping you when you are being PHYSICALLY HARMED IN PUBLIC and *ask* no…. *PLEAD* for someone to help you….

    I would personally like to thank the ATF for helping him do whatever he needed to do to find contacts for a weapon he needed bullets to use. I had not yet seen the gun, but I guarentee you, I would have felt that slam upside my head before too long. Putting me in danger so you can make arrests and get your media coverage! And to the police he was working with, I hope you are happy with yourselves that you *KNEW* he was stealing my money to get high and putting me in danger letting people that weren’t supposed to be around me because of a restraining order come into my home so you can make your blessed arrests. I hope you are happy that I was repeatedly violated, harmed, threatened, stolen from and so many countless other things, because you were so desperate to get your promotions and press that you were willing to throw me to the wolves and watch me be ripped open over and over. You are all the same as he. The only difference is you come in a prettier package, but a lie is still a lie.

    I am sorry you had to see this kind of life. I am sorry that the system at the beginning wasn’t willing to take your entire situation into consideration. There are things people can be forced to do under extreme duress they would never do any other time in their lives, and because you most likely could have been killed at some point fo refusing AND you had children to protect, you acted the ONLY way you could have. I hope that is one thing you don’t carry guilt around for. I am so overjoyed for you that you got away from him, and probably know given the situation just how deep that goes when I tell you. I am sorry things were so chaotic and unfair when you did get away, but I admire and respect the courage and bravery you have demonstrated not only in leaving that monster but what you were willing to endure to protect your children.

    For anyone to ask you why you didn’t just leave….. Ugh! You know this alone is hard enough when there are no drugs involved, but for people to ask us, when we had such deviant monsters so steeped in the streets that they would be willing to do all they did and offer us up as a sacrifice after it all?!

    You have some strength in the marrow your bones, sister. Keep moving forward and show others there is hope. We *all* need the encouragement no matter how long we have been free.

    In love and support,
    Amy

    1. Thank you so much my love! I am also saddened as to how much we both have suffered and its sick that we had such similar experiences. At time to time I have seen the Detectives that arrested me-admitting to get at my abuser- and they ask me how “Tupac” is-that’s what they call my son (in reference to Tupak Shakur, the rapper that was born in prison). I have made complaints but even the Mayor (who is my abusers blood aunt) has done nothing, At this point I just stay as far away as possible.
      I believe that there are some good officers but in general my experience has been that they are more likely to ignore abuse if the abuser is going to help them in an investigation,
      I can imagine the THERAPEUTIC tears that we would have and I would love if you could maybe meet the people at the 180 that helped me-maybe you could share your story if you are comfortable.
      You are an inspiration to me and to all those around us! Keep your head up and high and remember-YOU ARE NOT ALONE!

      1. They have done nothing, and unless they can get some press and / or a promotion out of it, they probably never will. The fact that they bring a child into it shows just how callous, cruel, and nasty they are. If it ever comes to a point where things to do, say, or refuse to do put you and the children in danger, I want you to make as much noise about it as you can. They have no right to sacrifice any of you.

        As for meeting those at the 180 I would love to. Right now I am without a vehicle (since Kevin was bothering the garage it was impounded at because he got pulled over driving without a license, no insurance, bad muffler, and running a stop sign), I had it destroyed. Since I am also trying to troubleshoot this enormous debt and get a place of my own, I may have to wait a little. But if I can work things around to be in the area, I will definitely let you know! This girl is not above a bus. 🙂

        1. LMAO!!! You are a trip- I am car-less as well at this point…me and the bus have become very good friends!!!!!
          Time is on our side and sadly enough, DV does not seem to be going away. My car that I LOVED was repo-d a little after the arrest and I just let that one go-so believe me my love I totally understand where you are and whats going on over there,,,,
          the good thing about being at the bottom sometimes is that there is only one way to go-UP!!!

  4. It seems that we all did live with the same man sometimes…
    Bless you for fighting through! *hugs*

    1. thanks so much for reading. We must stand together so we can heal and change the world! No one deserves to live with asbuse!

  5. People who’ve never been there don’t understand how hard it is to leave. I’m glad you got help. Thanks for sharing your story.

    1. thanks for reading!

  6. I am truly sorry for the terrible journey that got you here but you are HERE, a mother, a survivor! You have found your voice and you have the power to help other women change their lives. Good for you.

    1. thank you so much for reading. It is unfortunate that anyone has to go through this type of journey but at least I am able to share my story and I hope that we can all learn and grow together!

  7. My stomach is in knots just reading your story. I found myself cringing as though I was dodging a bullet when I read what your life was once like. Thank you so much for having the courage to share your message of hope to so many others! I am a survivor or horrific emotional abuse, but also the survivor of a child who witnessed physical abuse — my father beat my mother. I cannot tell you how horrible that is from a young child’s perspective — to see their mom get kicked in the face, knocked down, thrown into walls, punched in the face. I’m so glad you found the strength to get away! And, look at you know! Helping and encouraging so many others!

    Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

    1. Thank you so much for your encouragement. I am so sorry that you had to witness that as a child, and if I didnt have kids (or was pregnant) I am not sure if I would have had the courage to leave!
      I thank YOU as well for reading and understand, for me when that happens my healing gets better and I get stronger!

  8. Thank you for sharing your story. it’s wonderful you had a place to finally turn to and get support. It really pisses me off so many people turn the other cheek when seeing a woman being abused. Shame on those people for not helping you. I hope that SOB never comes near you again. You seem to be a very strong young woman who’s scars are deep but healing will come.

    1. Thank you so much for reading. Thanks to some hard truths and 180 I found my strength again.
      I also hope he knows better than to come near me and my kids ever again-I am lucky for the time being that he is in State Prison but he will get out someday.
      Fortunately for me, I am sure he will land right back in the slammer and leave me alone forever. I just pray he does not harm any other women out there!

  9. I cried. I am glad you are free and that your children are free.

    1. ahhh thanks so much! Its amazing that a monster can make such a beautiful child (the younger boy).
      I am so sorry that I made you cry, and I very much appreciate you reading!!!

      1. I creid because your story touched my heart and I felt your pain………

  10. ppps…I love how the two boys have their arms around their little sister in such a protective type of manner….very sweet.

    1. THANKS! thats their baby-they are very protective of her and I LOVE it!

  11. So sorry you went through that horrible abuse, but so happy that you escaped. You are very brave and strong – well done for getting your life back. Thanks for sharing your story xx

    1. Thanks so much for reading! It was hell but my life is amazing now (ya know we have our days but overall).

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