||My story begins during my 17th summer. I had just graduated high school, living at home still with my parents, wondering what the big world was like, and what new and exciting adventures I would find waiting for me as I began my journey through this life.
I met a boy, one hot West Texas summer evening. He was sitting on a tailgate, strumming a guitar and singing for those who'd gathered about. I knew who he was, second hand, through some mutual friends. He had six older brothers and sisters, all very well liked in our community, an upstanding hardworking set of folks, and he himself was seen as the one of his clan who would make it out of our small town and on to greatness. When I looked into his dark brown eyes that night, I knew no danger, no sign of what lurked beneath that placid, sweetly singing surface. I saw a boy, who played guitar, that I was attracted to.
After he played, we talked, and decided we enjoyed one another's company. During the few months during our first days of dating, I began to see little things. He loved to drink. ALOT. He occasionally dabbled in drugs, but not enough to concern me at that time. He would go into rages when angry or upset about things, but it was never directed towards me. All through that time, I watched, never listening to those little warning bells that seem to instinctively start going off before you actually see the real danger. It's another one of those, "If I had known then what I know now." situations.
About three months into our time together, the first incident occured. He was not physically violent with me, but he threatened me rather sternly. Another young fellow had taken a liking to me while we were out visiting with a group of friends, and was talking to me a little more than D liked. He ran up, punched the poor guy in the nose, and drug me back to his car. I was so shocked and upset I didn't know what to think. I remember crying, and being upset, and his stern warning, "You're my girl. No one can have you again, ever." By the next day I had shrugged it off as being a beer fueled machismo display.
The first physical violence was a slap, hard across the face. I was waitressing at the time. D had come to pick me up from work, and I was still on the clock, taking care of customers. Once I was off the clock and out the door, he threw me up against his car and slapped me hard across the face, yelling at me to not be so damn friendly to the male customers. But he immediately broke down and began crying, apologizing and begging my forgiveness.
So began the nightmare I endured for 7 long years. The violence escalated by degrees over the course of that time. So many things, so much pain. The fear, the feeling I was unworthy, that I must have brought it upon myself, wanting to get away from him, but unable to make it so. My folks had no idea. They just knew their daughter had become more and more distant, and could not understand why .My friends knew something was wrong with me, but were powerless to help me because I would not speak up. I was ashamed, embarrassed and afraid as I had never been afraid in my life. Any time I would try to leave him, the beatings or the rape would come, he would threaten my family and friends, and my silence was bought once again. During this time, many doors opened for him with his guitar playing. But because of the state he and I were in at the time, and his drinking and drug abuse, those same doors that were open would be slammed shut as soon as his true nature became apparent to those around us.
He beat me, but always on areas of my body that when I wore my jeans and shirt, no one would see. He cracked my ribs, kicked me in the stomach while I was pregnant with our son, grabbed me, pinched me, raped me, stomped along my spine ( I have degenerative spinal disc disease now, and I believe his abuse was a contributor to it)kicked me from my legs all the way up my body.....the bruises, the marks, the rapes, the pain were just all unbearable. He pulled knives on me. He threatened me with guns. He threatened everything and everyone I loved and held dear in my life. He would rape me to establish his all important dominance over me. Writing this now is painful, but if it helps one person...it is worth it being told.
The last time I endured his wrath is etched in my mind so clearly. Our son had been born, thankfully with no ill effects to him. I was still recovering from my c-section, and had not returned to work yet. D had gone with a friend To work in his newly opened mechanic shop. I had gone to the mailbox to see if our food stamps had come in so I could get our son his formula. Back then, food stamps were paper, and if you knew the right people, you could trade them for cash for other things. Of course he knew someone. When I opened that mailbox, I knew exactly what had happened. He'd beat me to them, he'd taken them and had gotten money, and had bought himself booze and drugs. Something welled up in me right there on the spot. He had used and abused me, but damn it!! I was not going to allow this to happen to our child. I marched right over to my mom's house, handed her my son and told her I had to take care of something, and if I didn't come back, I loved her, and would she please take care of my son for me. Of course she was frightened, but she agreed. I asked her for some pen and paper, and I wrote a letter, explaining what had happened, where I ws going, and asking that mom be granted custody of our son. I sealed it up, told mom to open it if I didn't return, and took off for the garage.
I got there, my heart in my throat, but I calmly asked him what had happened to our food stamps. He stood there just grinning at me, and told me what I knew to be true. He had taken them that very morning, and had cashed them, bought cigarrettes, booze and drugs, and what the hell did I care? I told him he was a son of a bitch, our son needed formula and diapers, didn't it matter to him our son and his welfare. He went off ( I hadn't seen that wrench in his hand), and he swung at me, luckily he didn't connect, but I ran as fast as my legs could carry me, jumped in my car and tried to start it. He broke out my driver's side window before I got it started, and I threw it in reverse. I barely escaped him that time. I shudder to think what would have happened if that wrench had connected with my temple. God was watching over me that day, and continued to watch over me as I sped back down the road to my mom's house. My dad & brother was there, gun in hand, and Dad had called the sherriff to let him know what was happening.
I immediately started divorce proceedings against him. Restraining orders were in place. He begged and pleaded for me to please take him back, etc. I seriously considered it at one point. I had a son with him, and I had been brought up believing you stay married no matter what (I laugh at my naivete now). I went o a band session with him, and that was where I ran into a 17 year old claiming to be pregnant by him. I was 24 by this time. It was true...he admitted it...he had lied and told her he wasn't married, that he loved her, had gotten her hooked on coke like he was......I just sat there, hearing all this, shaking my head, but I held that poor girl's hand the whole time, hugging her and telling her how sorry I was. He walked away, and she and I continued to talk for a while.
She ended up getting an abortion, and kicking the coke. She put her life back in order, and continued with her life. D could have been a very successful musician. His talent blew famous musicians away, but he threw it all away. He now has no contact with our son or me. He is a burned out shell of what he once was, and could have been.
My life has continued on as well. I began dating my current hubby a couple of years after this mess. He is a good man....and he stuck with me, trying desperately to convince me for nearly 13 years he was the right man to be my husband. I fought it and him for that whole time, but he finally broke through those defenses and is now a wonderful husband and father to our daughter, and a successful computer science engineer. I am living a suburban life as a housewife and mother, just like I always wanted, all those years ago.
It's been a long journey from those painful days, but I came out the other side relatively intact. I still to this day have moments of waking in a cold sweat, thinking D is standing over my bed, ready to inflict more harm on me. Then I fully wake up and I see my sweet darling husband, and I realize it was just a nightmare.
Me telling my story here will hopefull show others you can come out the other side, you can survive. There is help, there is hope. You do not deserve the treatment of abuse from a spouse or significant other. Real men do not rape, hit or threaten their beloved. They love, protect and nurture their beloved. Seek help. Trust those who so desperately want to help you. You are strong, you are worthy, you are loveable, you deserve every good and right thing in this life. Believe it!!