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#WhyILeft: I Survived Domestic Violence And My Son Gave Me The Strength To Leave

In the wake of the Ray Rice domestic abuse news, brave men and women have come forward on Twitter to share their stories. They created the hashtags #WhyIStayed and #WhyILeft.

Their heartfelt, poignant and powerful stories contain hope in a hashtag. Below is the story of a female survivor whose near-death abusive relationship was the driving force that pushed her to leave an abusive marriage. She bravely — and beautifully — shared it with Elite Daily.


They say you repeat what you know and that was certainly true for me. I grew up in a violent home and I desperately wanted someone to love me, someone to care about me, someone to protect me. And when I was 19, I thought I met that man.

At first it was like a fairytale – everything was included, even the handsome prince. Lots of girls noticed him, but he was only interested in me. He told me I was beautiful and showered me with attention, but just as fast as it came, suddenly, it all stopped.

I didn't understand what went wrong, but he outlined the problems in our relationship. I was spending too much time working and going to school and not enough time with him, he told me through tears. So I quit college that week. Then I quit my part-time job.

From that point on, it was a matter of what didn't suit him and how I would prove my love. I allowed him to control what I wore, how I would conduct myself and with whom I would associate. Violations would be met swiftly at first with threatened breakups and accusations that I was pushing him into the arms of other women.

The arguments were loud and threatening, but later, when he decided that I had caused him to go too far, he'd hold me in his arms and sob, “I don't want us to fight, but if you didn't [fill in the blank].” He made it seem like it was my fault. He made it sound like I deserved these consequences.

But at this point, the pain only came with words.

The pushing and shoving began after we married. I would walk around almost as silent as a Trappist Monk so as not to raise his ire, but you could feel the tension in the home begin to rise. He had no problem letting me know how stupid I was or how much prettier some strange woman was than me.

And he wouldn't stop there. He would pick an argument, which eventually led to pushing and shoving or banging me against the wall. He'd then storm out of the house to be with his friends or another woman, leaving me all alone.

When he'd come back, the “Honeymoon Phase” was in full force. He'd return with flowers, tender words and promises to change. Love is blind and it left me wondering why we had ever fought over such “petty” things. It was during one of these honeymoon periods I got pregnant with our son.

At first, he was excited about the pregnancy — but in quick order that changed. I came home from work one day to find another woman in my house and the next thing I knew, I was thrown to the floor and kicked over and over. My crime? It was yelling at her.

Afterward, I was hardly able to move and I almost miscarried. He wouldn't take me to the hospital and instead, threw our phone over the balcony. I left a few days later when I felt well enough to get around and headed to my Grandma's house.

He arrived later to let me know he would take my baby from me if I didn't come home. Days later, through tears, he told me he'd kill himself if I didn't come back. He begged for a chance to be the husband and father he knew he could be.

But like everything else, that didn't last long. When I went home, I was not allowed access to the phone yet he would talk to his girlfriend, insulting me while on the phone with her, degrading the woman who carried his child.

If I complained, he'd get in my face and tell me that I was “crazy,” he'd tell me that there was “no girlfriend”. He'd say I was “stupid to think anyone else would want me”. And then reminded me that I was “lucky” to have him.

My son was born prematurely and had to remain in the hospital following his birth. My ex-husband used this to his advantage: He told me he'd use my son's prematurity to get custody of him in court.

That, coupled with my postpartum blues, a baby that almost died during birth and the verbal abuse I took day in and day out, made me think about killing myself. I felt like a failure.

The night he almost killed me, we were putting our bed frame together. The phone rang and since I'd been allowed phone privileges again, I reached for the phone. It was his girlfriend. I said, “Please stop calling here,” and I began to cry as I slammed the phone down.

He demanded to know who was on the phone and I snapped, “Your girlfriend that doesn't exist.” That was it. All bets were off.

He pushed me into the wall and my head bounced back toward him. The fact that my head bounced back angered him, so he pushed me down again.

He stood over me, kicking me, sometimes in the head but more often than not, he connected with my stomach, still tender from the stitches following my C-section.

I tried to crawl away, but he kept kicking and yelling at me. Somehow, I got up and I made a dash for the door. He came after me, aiming a slat from the metal bed frame we were putting together at my head. I tripped – by some miracle – and it missed, connecting instead with the wall just above me.

I still have a photo – years later — of that hole in the wall with my head next to it. I wanted to remember how close I had come.

I screamed, “Please don't kill me.” I was bruised and bleeding and I prayed that he would just make his last blow – the final blow — quick. Instead, he stepped over me. He walked out screaming at me, “Why can't you f*cking see what you do to me? Why do you have to push me like you do?”

He took off before the police got there. Back then, cops would not make an arrest unless they saw the abuse happening. The next day, I got a friend to help me grab as much as I could and I took off.

I took photos and filed charges. I thought I would never look back, but it was only a matter of time before he found me.

I had a week of respite before he called, begging me to come back. I refused to speak to him. A week had taught me that I couldn't live like this. I couldn't put a baby through this. And I didn't want to.

So, I got the courage from deep down inside – a new maternal courage, a gift, I assume, from my son — and began taking the baby steps towards my future. I worked two jobs and got an education degree. Every step I took was a step away from him, a step away from what could have been — a step away from what might have been.

I learned that I was stronger than I ever knew, but I wouldn't have been able to do it without my faith, family and friends who stood by me and encouraged me.

I cried as I wrote certain parts of this story, remembering the girl I once was: the girl who held little worth in her abilities. Despite all that happened, I will always believe it was the strength of living through this experience – and being a survivor – that has made me into the strong woman I am today.


Editor’s Note: If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic abusive, please do not hesitate to get the help and safety you need. The following organizations offer support — emotional and legal: The National Domestic Violence HotlineHelpGuideSafeHorizon and the Center Against Domestic Violence.

You are not alone and most importantly, you do not deserve this.

Photo Courtesy: We Heart It

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Jessica Fritz

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