Recently, my sister was able to get herself out of a pretty bad abusive (physically and mentally) relationship. Sadly, this was not her first one.
I had a long chat with her over the phone and asked some pretty tough questions.
Domestic violence can happen to anyone, from any walk of life.
1. What is your definition of domestic violence?
Intimidation and control by physical confrontation, mental anguish, emotional manipulation.
2. Would you say you have been the victim of DV?
Yes, in 2 relationships.
3. Roughly, how many times were you hit?
Physically, I’ve been pushed, held down, bit, and punched. I am not a woman who has suffered daily physical abuse
at the hands of a continuously violent partner.
4. Tell me about the first time you were hit?
The first experience with physical violence in a relationship was being pushed against a stack of
tires taller then myself, and having the breath knocked out of me.
5. What made you stay?
I felt bound by my circumstances. I thought I had nowhere to go. Not wanting to be a burden to other people. Wanting to
find a solution by myself.
6. What made you leave?
When you lose respect for someone, and start to gain some for yourself, it’s much easier to leave. In regards to the relationship
where I conceived my child, I didn’t leave until the lease was up. I ended up moving to a different state. The relationship continued
for months until I realize that even parenthood wouldn’t change things. I left for the well being of my child.
7. Did you ever want to leave but just did not know how?
Yes. Sometimes you find yourself (or think you are) bound by circumstances. The first abusive relationship I was involved in, I was in
my early twenties, and didn’t have the know-how on what to do. My vehicle wasn’t reliable, my finances weren’t adequate, and I didn’t
want to burden my friends or family with my mistake. When I did eventually leave, I was stalked by this person. I had to leave a lot of
my belongings behind, including my vehicle, which wasn’t running at the time. Almost a year later I was able to recover my things, although
the person tried to tell me that legally I couldn’t do that. I ended up contacting his boss, threatening legal action myself, and the matter
was resolved quickly.
The second relationship, I was older and a little wiser. This time, I was on a lease, and I feared legal action if I moved out. I also didn’t
want to leave my beloved pets behind. I’ve read that a lot of people stay in abusive relationships because they don’t have anywhere to go that
will accept pets. A big part of why I didn’t leave this relationship was my pride. My twenties have proven to be a huge learning experience for
me. After spending many years on friend’s couches, I didn’t want to leave my apartment. I loved my job and I loved having my own apartment. When
I became pregnant, I suffered from hyperemesis gravidarum, which is severe ‘morning’ sickness. For a solid 4 months I was sick and terribly weak.
Although my relationship was heinous and in shambles, I didn’t have the energy to move until my lease was up.
8. Tell me about the worse incident?
The worst incident occurred when I was in my first trimester of pregnancy and very ill with diagnosed severe morning
sickness. When he came home to our shared apartment, after having some drinks and hanging out with some
of his family, he asked me why I was nice to other people, but not to him. An argument ensued, it started
to escalate, and I went to the bedroom to get away and cool off. He followed, struggled to keep me from
closing the door, and eventually kicked it open. Then, the physical fight started. He came at me, I tried to
defend myself, but he was very strong, and I was pretty weak from being so sick. I was fighting him off, but
he pushed me down several times, and bit my finger really hard. The fight moved from the bedroom to the living
room, where there was screaming and threats. As I was trying to call the police, he accosted me again, and
wrestled my phone away from me. He went to the sliding glass door of our balcony, and threw my phone into the
night. I ended up locking him on the balcony, and went to look for my phone, but I couldn’t find it. When I
re-entered the apartment, he kicked through the glass door, and came after me again. This whole ordeal seemed to
go on for over 30 minutes. When the police arrived, we were back in the bedroom, he was on top of me, and I was
screaming for him to get off and leave me alone. All this time I was screaming for help, and begging someone to
call the police.
9. Was verbal abuse involved, how?
Verbal abuse was involved in both of the abusive relationships I was in, but particularly in the one with the fight
I just described. There was mainly accusations, like I was doing this or that, and criticisms about my life, work,
past, etc. The verbal, emotional, and mental abuse all went hand in hand.
10. Advice you would give to others in your situation?
Someone will show you their true colors sooner rather then later, so at the first sign that something is off, you’re
better off to just get out.
11. How were your kids affected?
Luckily there was no physical harm done to my son, which was a concern because the attack happened early in my pregnancy. I’d say that my
son is affected in one way because his father and I will never be together, but I definitely do not look at that as
a bad thing. Children can adapt to what they know, and if a civilized co-parenting relationship is what he grows up
with, then I don’t think he’ll feel lacking in any way.
12. What did you learn most from being a DV victim?
That I’m stronger then I ever thought I could be. That I’m really smart, and really kind, and that I’ll do anything to
keep my child safe. I learned to listen to my gut instinct, and I learned how devastating the cycle of toxicity can
be, and how it can affect every aspect of a person.