I met my abuser in March 2010.
He love-bombed me.
I thought he was perfect.
I ignored red flags including his previous domestic violence charge.
That girl was crazy, he said.
By May, I was pregnant.
My life became a living nightmare.
He became physically, emotionally, and financially abusive.
It was as if a switch had flipped.
I felt trapped.
He strangled me.
Every time I called the police, he would flip and become remorseful, crying, begging me not to press charges. He promised it wouldn’t happen again.
Until it did.
It was always MY fault.
I thought he would change after our baby was born.
I was wrong.
One year after I met him, in March 2011, he strangled me unconscious while I held my 8 week-old baby.
When I came to, he was playing video games.
I scooped up my baby and crawled to the phone to call 911.
As the cops handcuffed him, he pulled out a ring and proposed to me.
I tried to leave.
I got a restraining order.
I was illegally evicted from my home because my landlord was annoyed I had called 911.
I got emergency housing.
He found me.
In part, because of the customized car he had pressured me to buy for us.
He broke in.
He raped me.
I reported it.
NOTHING happened to him.
Without my agreement, he was offered a plea deal.
He took it.
The original charge was felony, first-degree aggravated domestic assault.
He pled guilty to misdemeanor assault and was sentenced to community service and 5 years probation.
He made countless fake Facebook accounts to contact me.
He drove by my new house.
He knew my address because I was forced to put it on court paperwork when I filed for custody of my son.
After 8 violations of my restraining order, he went to jail.
I thought I was safe.
I was wrong.
He had a bail bondsman call me daily, begging me to pay his bail.
He told me he would commit suicide if I didn’t get him out of jail.
I paid his bail and I took him back.
I thought I would be safe.
I was wrong.
For a few months, he love-bombed me again.
I wanted so badly to believe he had changed.
He convinced me to drop the restraining order.
He proposed again, this time I said yes.
Then the abuse started again.
The name-calling, gaslighting, blame, constant jealousy, and accusations.
He quit his job.
He strangled me again while our son was sleeping.
I kicked him out. For one week, he followed me every waking moment switching between tearful begging, threatening suicide, and profanity and abuse-filled tirades.
I got him out of my house.
He filed in court for SOLE custody of my son.
For months he, his mother, and his lawyer terrorized me.
I found a lawyer who would take my case for what little money I had, and she told me he would win.
Because I worked too much.
He was intentionally unemployed.
I was forced to agree to shared custody.
I would have to co-parent with MY ABUSER.
Ironically, I lost my job because I missed too much time going to lawyer meetings and court hearings.
He continued to stalk, harass, and terrorize me. For YEARS.
He broke into my house on 2 more occasions.
He made constant threats, denied me information about my child, and haunted my every move as I tried to rebuild my life.
Less than 2 years after the assault, in December 2012, I received a call from his probation officer.
Due to a clerical error, he had been let off probation over 3 years early.
There was no way to undo this error.
He took my son for visitation regularly early on. Always holding it over my head.
Then I met my husband.
My ex’s visitation began to dwindle. But should I ever suggest we change our court order, I would have hell to pay.
Because he was a “good dad” and refused to be replaced.
Six years later, he was facing jail time for not paying child support, so he fled the state.
I finally felt safe enough to file for sole custody of my son.
I learned that my son was emotionally abused and physically neglected during his time with his biological father.
He witnessed violence between adults in his biological father’s home.
I felt I had failed to protect my son, but the courts tied my hands.
In the past two years, my husband and I have been put through the wringer in the court system.
We are out fifteen thousand dollars
But our son is safe.
A decade later, even now that his rights have been terminated, I am not free.
I am not safe.
My abuser’s mother petitioned for and was granted grandparent visits with my son.
She helped her son abuse and terrorize us.
But we still have to see her.
Please hear my story and understand THIS IS WHY WOMEN DON’T JUST LEAVE.
I am lucky to have escaped with my life.
I am lucky to have been able to keep most of the abuse away from my son.
I am lucky to have my husband and financial resources now.
I am lucky.
Many women are not.
Domestic Violence Resources:
- Vermont-based domestic violence resources
- Vermont Network 1-802-223-1302
- National Domestic Violence Hotline, 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or TTY 1-800-787-3224
- National domestic violence resources by state