#DomesticViolenceAwareness, Child abuse, Domestic Violence, gas lighting, healing, Hope, Sexual abuse, Uncategorized

Domestic Violence Awareness Month: Jessica’s Story

A small piece of my story:

As a child I grew up in a home full of abuse. My dad was physically, emotionally and sexually abusive to my mom. I remember waking up to the sound of their fighting and sneaking out of my room to watch, to make sure he didn’t kill her. He also threatened to kill my mom, brother, and me. The most fear I had ever experienced was when my mom finally left him. I keep my eyes open, looking over my shoulder every time I was outside, wondering when he was going to shoot me. I was six years old.
As an adult, I repeated the cycle in my own home. My ex-husband started with psychological abuse, slowing killing my spirit, and taking any self-worth I had left away. He used my past to hold my hostage. The words turned physical for the first time when I was pregnant with my daughter. As I held my 20-month son, he put his hands around my neck and as he squeezed, he told us he was going to kill me and cut up my body and dump it in the river, saying, “No one would even notice you were missing.” Still holding my son, he pushed us to the ground and would not let us leave. He tried to get my son out of my arms, but my son would not let go of me as he screamed. This happened because he found out I was planning on leaving him. After this event, I felt that if I tried to leave again, we would have been killed.
He said no one else would ever love me, and I was lucky he did. He took control of the finances, even though I earned the money, and made sure I did not have access to the things that I needed. He opened up credit cards in my name and maxed them out, so not only did I not have access to my money, I also did not have credit. He created a situation where I had to depend on him, and reminded me that I was nothing without him. As my self-esteem made its way to the surface, he would find ways to push it away. I had no real support system, and did not dare tell people what was happening. I was scared what else would happen if I told anyone.
Through all of the abuse, I never called the police, not until he did. He called the police one afternoon and told them to arrest me for being a “whore.” When he did that, the police saw how dangerous he was. It was then that I knew they would believe me, and help me. The next time he put his hands on me, I called the police. He was arrested, and I was granted a protection order. He did violate that, and bullied me into dropping the order, telling me it was just a piece of paper and it wouldn’t protect me. I did what he told me, and suffered his abuse, control and manipulation even while the divorce proceeded on.
We did not break free from his abuse fully until my youngest daughter disclosed to me that he had been sexually abusing her. Learning this made me fear for our lives. I was convinced he would kill me for trying to protect my daughter. We now have a protection order keeping him away from us, and allowing us to heal the years of abuse.
I am happy to say I am happily married to a sweet, gentle man. Who, after six years together, has never called me a name other than Jessica. I know I am worth love and safety. I am teaching my children what love looks like, and what a healthy relationship is. I will do everything in my power to make the cycle of domestic violence end with me. I wrote a detailed, honest account of the abuse I survived in my memoir, The Monster That Ate My Mommy, to try to help others see that they are not alone. The link to my book is: http://a.co/72mQ7KJ

Photo Courtesy of: Jourdan Buck Photography

#DomesticViolenceAwareness

#DomesticViolenceAwareness, Child abuse, Domestic Violence, gas lighting, healing, Hope, Love, Uncategorized

Domestic Violence Awareness Month: Jen’s Story

“When I was 17, I met him online and he asked me out over and over. I finally agreed to go, but I knew the first day he wasn’t for me. I found out he had schizophrenia & was no longer medicated. That night he insisted he would pick me up the next day. Half of me was worried I was judging and being mean, thinking “no thanks” and the other half was kinda worried what could happen if I said no. From that day he wanted to be with me every day. Within 2 wks he had already started yelling and blaming me for stupid things, but his roommate would stand up for me…but soon, I’d be on my own. We moved in to our own place 2 months after meeting. That’s when things really fell apart. He would get angry and throw scissors and knives at me, scream and swear, call me names, threaten me, and turn the whole apartment upside down. I was never allowed to go with my friends, he’d even get mad if I talked to my mom too much. One night I woke up to him standing over me in bed with a gun pointed at my face. He thought I was cheating and he was going to make it so nobody could have me. I was terrified & I was stuck there. My brother died tragically and my boyfriend was so mean to me because men he didn’t know would hug me, that my older brother had to tell him to leave the funeral home and not come back. Shortly after that, my family showed up and moved me out. I went back, he was mentally ill and threatening to kill himself…I just knew I could help him! After all, his family wouldn’t. His dad was a decent person, he was well off, but lived 4hrs away and had nothing much to do with us, and his mom was a drug addicted prostitute who only made life harder on everyone. Finally one day, I had enough and we broke up. He moved to his mothers. THEN… I found out I was pregnant. I decided to do the right thing and tell him…surely a baby would fix them all!!! Boy was I wrong!! At 19yrs old, living on half my heart, fighting to have my baby despite the doctors saying I would die and now having to put up with mother and son making every day hard. Him always screaming, even kicking the back of my chair and sending me flying. My son came in the world, we almost lost him as an infant..and I could see, I was on my own. I mostly let my boyfriend sleep in the daytime so my son and I would be ok. When he was awake he was always mad at us..or someone…or something. At one point my son was a baby, and my Ex was mad that my sister in laws family had more money then us and he lost it. He held me and my son at gun point. He wouldn’t let me out of the house and he wouldn’t even let me make a bottle for my son. He progressively got more out of control. The last straw was when he got mad at me, I don’t even know why and decided himself we were done. I thought I hit the jackpot…until he told me that I wasn’t moving on. In fact, I was going to die…and I could chose how. He could pour gas on me and set me on fire or he could hang me with a noose. I knew my son needed me, I knew I had to survive. I quickly started telling him how much I loved him and wanted him, it was my only option if I wanted to live through the night. It worked. The next day he left for work & I knew I had to take my chances if I wanted to live to see the next day, and I called my parents. They came and got us and we never looked back.

I swore I would never be treated badly again… I moved on, a couple years later I met the man of my dreams. He treated me and my son like royalty. I quickly was pregnant, just like he wanted but I had a lot of complications. I was hospitalized for 10weeks until my daughter was born. He took a leave from work and stayed by my side, for the entire time, hours away from our families. He would cry because he missed my son. He was perfect…until we took my daughter home and got engaged. Then the real him came out. He was so mean to me, but I convinced myself I could deal with it, I wanted a family for my kids and he was only mean to me…he wasn’t as bad as my ex so it would be ok. Until Good Friday, 2011. My dad was dying in the hospital…it was 5 weeks until our wedding, and my friends decided they wanted to get together at my house and see how was I was…little did I know, my world was about to crash. They showed up and asked me to sit. They called my son to the room and they told me that he had came to them while I was with my dad. He had bruises and had reported that my fiancé was hitting him…he had even punched him in the face! He was 8 years old!! He had thrown my 1yr old daughter at a wall…. she was his own blood!! The list would go on and my heart would shatter more. I called the police and he was arrested. My children haven’t seen him since, I will protect them with everything I have. I will never understand how two men who were so very different but both swore to love me, could be so abusive…how they could hurt me and my children. That’s not love. We didn’t deserve that. Thankfully, now our life is great. We have moved past that. My son is 16 and has spent the last 8yrs or so attending rallies and events to end domestic violence. He tells his story, he has no reason to be ashamed. My daughter has grown to know the man of my dreams as her Dad. I’m completely in love with a man who will drop everything for me, OUR kids, & my mother…he’s always there. I thought I wasn’t worthy of this type of love, but I know now that I am, it’s just too bad they didn’t know it. They are missing out on some extraordinary kids, and that’s their fault, not mine.”

Thank you, Jen, for sharing your story. I am so glad you found true happiness, and you and your children are safe and loved.

You are brave.

You are strong.

You are important.

#DomesticViolenceAwareness

#DomesticViolenceAwareness, #TeamKimandJessica, Depression, Hope, Uncategorized

Domestic Violence Awareness Month: Kim’s Story

We met when I was 14 I was alone and shy, he was kind and soon I was in love. He spent the first few weeks testing, then he slowly started doing mean things to make me sad, once I was so sad I didn’t see what was happening he stared explaining because of my weight other people would not find me attractive, and how I could never live on my own because I wasn’t smart enough to handle money. By the time I was 21 I would wake up with him on me. I told him I did not like that. He keep doing it. I started staying up all night so I could wrap myself up in the blankets to protect myself. He still tells me it was not rape. If I missed up anything he would yell at me and ask me how could I be so stupid. One day I made friends who started to ask what I thought and I realized I had thoughts. I got away and I could feel the pain lift of from me. Almost 10 years later I am still doing well without him and I am loved.

Photo Courtesy of: Jourdan Buck Photography

Thank you, Kim, for sharing your story. Kim is my sister, and was on The Dr. Phil show with me last year. As with many survivors, this is just a small piece of the domestic violence that has touched Kim’s life. Often, we repeat what was see at home, and do not know there is another way. Sometimes it takes years to notice that there is something a little different in our homes than in other homes. Sometimes the people we have in our lives also have the same kind of home we live in, and no one notices.

I heard from one survivor that it was reading books, and later watching television that helped her understand what a safe, loving home should look like. It was then that she noticed the differences, and then that she understood she did not deserve to live the life she had been living.

Sharing our stories helps us expose the secrets that happen behind our closed doors. It helps other people see that the life they are living might not be the life that they have to live anymore. It helps them understand they are not alone, and there is hope for brighter, safer days.

We don’t share our secrets to get pity, or sympathy, or to make the abuser look like a monster (they can do that all on their own). We share to spread awareness. We share to bring solidarity. We share to bring hope. We share to light up the darkness.

Keep on sharing. You are not alone. I hear you. We hear you.

#DomesticViolenceAwareness

#DomesticViolenceAwareness, Domestic Violence, Hope, Uncategorized

Domestic Violence Awareness Month: Anita’s Story

My story started at the age of 17 when I moved in with now ex-husband , then boyfriend. He was twenty three at the time. At first his comments didn’t seem like abuse, but over time he made me feel like I wasn’t good enough to do anything. He always told me if I gained too much weight he’d leave me. He would say things like he could take my son away from me and I’d never see him again. I was scared to even let him take our son to the park. He gave me such a hard time to want to spend time with my family that I just stop trying to do so. He isolated me from my family. Going to church wasn’t acceptable to him, he would accuse me of sleeping with the pastor, and because I wouldn’t respond to him sexually, in his mind I was sleeping around. When I met his friends and they liked me for the person I am, he’d accuse me of sleeping with them, he’d even accuse me of sleeping with his family members. He was an alcoholic and extremely mean when he drank. He called me all kinds of names, and was just made to feel like I was worthless, I didn’t get even a “happy birthday” from him and he’d do the same on mother’s day, just act like I didn’t exist until he was ready to berate me with insults. I would try to get away from him and go to my mother’s house but he would come over and harass her until I left. I remember when I was hanging Christmas lights outside and fell off the chair, I yelled and couldn’t move, my neighbor heard me through her window and called the ambulance. He never came outside until someone went in the house to get him, when he did come outside he just stood there and looked at me like I was stupid. He never came to the hospital to make sure I was okay. I had hit rock bottom emotionally and told him I wanted to kill myself. He looked at me and told me I was too stupid to kill myself, I thought, “I’ll show him,” and swallowed a hand full of pills and downed them with a beer. I called my mom to say goodbye, she rushed over and took me to the hospital where I spent a week in the psychiatric ward. I can recall a day when we were arguing and something inside me told me to leave. I grabbed my son ,who was around three or four at the time, and ran out the door. I jumped in the car , I didn’t even take time to strap my son in. As I was backing the car up he jumped in the driver’s side window to try to stop me. I thought to myself ” fine then we all go,” I slammed my foot on the gas and drove over the curb into the courtyard where we lived. He looked up just in time to let go and as I just missed a tree. When I came back that evening he had taken an aluminum bat to the entire apartment, he broke the bat while beating everything we owned. I truly believe God told me to leave, his voice saved my life that night. I stayed with him for ten years because I believed I could not take care of myself and my son without him. The last two years of us being together is when we got married, he had convinced me he loved me and wanted to spend his life with me. Even though he had emotionally and verbally abused me, I thought he really did love me, so I married him. One year later I came home early to find him packing his clothes. He was trying to sneaking out to leave me. He moved right in with another woman. It took me two years to realize him leaving me was the best thing he had have ever done for me, I later thanked him for it. My next two marriages were to men who abused me in different ways, one was neglect and the other just simply lied to me , wouldn’t work and stole from me constantly. I honestly didn’t know my worth until recently when I finally left my now husband. It was then I realize I am worth a whole lot more than what I have been accepting. I started my catering business, I’m a vendor in two different stores and I am getting ready to launch an online shop. I’m expensive: emotionally, spiritually and financially, any man who wishes to be in my life from now on, has to match all of my efforts, and treat me like the queen I am. 

Photo Courtesy of: Jourdan Buck Photography

Thank you, Anita, for sharing your story. I am grateful you listened to God’s voice and left that night. I am grateful you are safe, and know your worth. What a blessing it is to know royalty.

You are strong.

You are brave.

You are beautiful.

#DomesticViolenceAwareness

#DomesticViolenceAwareness, Domestic Violence, healing, Hope, Uncategorized

Domestic Violence Awareness Month: Emma’s Story

Every girl dreams about when she will get her first boyfriend, how it will be so romantic and beautiful and Prince Charming will sweep her off her feet. What she doesn’t think about is that maybe Prince Charming isn’t so charming after the first date. My first boyfriend was controlling and emotionally and psychologically abusive. He was quick to anger and blame me for things that were out of my control. He told me I wasn’t allowed to see my best friend because “she was a bad influence.” We had known each other since we were 5 and neither one of us had gotten into trouble, so I’m not sure what his definition of “bad” was. He was always checking up on me, making sure I was somewhere he approved of. If I didn’t answer my phone right away, he would continue calling and texting until I finally answered, and then would scream at me for not answering the first time.
If he was angry about something, it was always my fault. He got a speeding ticket once and made me pay it because he said I had made him mad and that’s why he was speeding. He would threaten to hurt himself and it would be my fault, I had made him do it because I made him so mad. I heard that I was a bitch so many times I started to believe it.
After 2 1/2 years, I walked away. There was one final incident that pushed me over the edge and I had enough. I had a cat at the time, and as silly as it sounds, my rationalization was if he could hurt me, he could hurt my cat and there was no way I was going to let that happen. I packed my cat in a carrier, clothes in a garbage bag and left. I am so glad I did, it made me a stronger person and made me see that I deserved so much better.

Photo Courtesy of: Jourdan Buck Photography

Thank you Emma, for sharing your story.

You are strong.

You are brave.

You are important.

#DomesticViolenceAwareness

#DomesticViolenceAwareness, Child abuse, Domestic Violence, healing, Hope, Sexual abuse, Uncategorized

Domestic Violence Awareness Month: Priscilla’s Story

A four-year-old girl tries to understand her parents’ abuse; especially her father’s manhandling. Throughout grammar school, her abuse grows more frightening. Meanwhile, the mother offers no secure support. As a sheltered teenager, anxiety grows while she tries to escape the hostile sexual advances by her father.
Coming of age at twenty-one, she provokes a bold move to distance herself from him. Consequently soon after the incident, he dies. Feeling guilty, ashamed and overwhelmed, she could not explain her withdrawal from life. It finally costs her a marriage of twenty-five years.
Following an announcement by her second husband, “She is a very strong woman,” strength of character moves her onward to a patient, caring therapist. Ten years of weekly therapy finally bring answers to many painful questions. However, the next family tragedy she encounters leaves her twisting in the wind.

Photo Courtesy of: Jourdan Buck Photography

Priscilla has a lot more to her story, and it can be read in her memoir, The First Day of the Rest of My Life.

Thank you, Priscilla for being brave enough for sharing your story, and for wanting to be the voice for others in similar situations. You are brave. You are strong. You are powerful.

#DomesticViolenceAwareness

#DomesticViolenceAwareness, Domestic Violence, Hope, Uncategorized

Domestic Violence Awareness Month: Michele’s Story

“My name is Michele A Avery and I am 68 years young. Meandering through this world with a hitch in my giddyup. (Arthritic knees and other issues)

My story began as a child who was born to a woman who was told she would never have children again after my older brother was born. Much to my Mom’s dismay I came along 18 months after he did. 

Researching back through family information etc it sounds like my mom suffered from pretty serious post partum depression x2 and could have been when she became pregnant with me.

Part of the result of that was me being a child without a name for over a month while still in the hospital for medical reasons. 

Finally, mom had a visit from a priest who after praying over me, told her to name me Michele after Michael the archangel.

I’m very thankful for those initial prayers because I believe today they protected me throughout my life.

Most of which was saturated with feelings of never being good enough and not being worthy.  I was always dressed pretty and scrubbed clean but it was a different story inside our walls. Mom ruled with an iron fist and fought her own demons much of her life. 

I have two good memories of my life growing up , the rest are scattered with a dysfunctional upbringing. Support came from extended family and neighbors, however.

When I got older it was easier to escape the darkness and find escape in church groups or sports teams etc. 

one of the major negative results was looking for love in all the wrong places and dealing with the consequences of bad life choices. I found solace in drinking and using marijuana plus trying an occasional other drug. Never hardcore thankfully.

I lived through an attempted rape and a horrific one done by someone I knew who broke into my home after I broke up with him, I was asleep and he jumped on my back and pinned me. All 300 lbs of him. I don’t remember how I broke free but I ended up at a friends house who then stayed with me for some time. The perpetrator returned once to threaten my friend. 

After that he was gone, thankfully.

Following that, I think I only had one or two relationships and stopped any in 1997 after being emotionally assaulted and threatened by my then husband.  I was rescued to a safe house connected with Tri County CAP where my healing began. The folks  surrounding me at the safe house were part of a wonderful supportive Christian Community who showed me what unconditional love truly is. It was a love I had searched for all my life. They embraced me as part of the family of faith that I still practice today. These wonderful individuals simply showing me how to have a personal relationship with our savior. 

I will be forever grateful to them.

In a nut shell, my success is that I went from being homeless with my life in garbage bags to owning my own home , having a job I love and sharing my home with my miracle child and her family. It is possible to be FREE!!

My thoughts of wisdom to those reading is to seek out help NOW! Talk with your teachers in school, talk with your guidance counselors, call the local hotline , our 24 hr Crisis Hotline is 1-800-774-0544 that covers all towns in the Haverhill, Littleton, Lincoln area. For Adults, if you witness ANY questionable behavior of any child, etc PLEASE report it. YOU ARE SO WORTH living a life of freedom. 

These are just an outline of my story, reaching out to me I can share more. You can also read excerpts from the last ten years by connecting to my blog. https://jeshuaschild-sonkist. Connect with me at jeshuaschild@gmail.com

Thank you for taking the time.”

Photo courtesy of: Jourdan Buck Photography

Thank you, Michele for sharing your story. You are strong. You are brave. You are priceless.

#DomesticViolenceAwareness

Michele’s story can also be seen in The Caledonian-Record today.