- 4 years ago
- Wedding: October 2013
I have noticed a lot of threads lately that talk about “almost” abuse. I put “almost” in quotes because I think, sometimes, that people don’t qualify emotional, psychological, or verbal abuse as actual abuse. But it is.
I want to share my story with you. I do not want your sympathy. I want to educate women (and men) on the warning signs that I did not see. If ONE person reads this and finds the strength to leave a situation before it reaches the point that mine did, then I have achieved what I set out to accomplish. And now, my story:
September 12, 2004:
I am 17 and in my first semester of college. I start dating Justin, a guy I met at a mutual friend’s party. He’s funny, he’s smart, he’s awesome.
September 17, 2004:
I go with a friend to see her boyfriend at a different college. I meet one of her boyfriend’s friends. We’re drinking, we’re having a great time. I cheat on Justin. I feel terrible. I never do it again. Justin does not know.
September 2004-September 2005:
Justin and I have a decent relationship. He’s affectionate at home. He yells sometimes. We fight. He doesn’t like me to go out without him. He tells me that I look good, but that I used to look better. I feel terrible. He punches walls when he’s angry. He “almost” hit me once, but I ducked out of the way. He puts a hole in the cabinet.
September 2, 2005:
Justin and I break up. We’ll still be friends.
September 28, 2005:
The “friend” who was with me the night I cheated on Justin decides to tell him the whole story. He calls me. He wants to meet on campus. I go. Justin yells at me. He screams at me. He calls me a whore. He says, “No amount of pain, be it physical or emotional, will EVER amount to what you’ve put me through.” He makes me call my mother and tell her what I did. I’m sorry.
September 30, 2005:
I decide to go out with my friend Mariah. I have been a hermit for 3 days. Justin has told all of his friends and fraternity brothers what a whore I am. They are writing things on my facebook wall. They are making comments when I pass them on campus. I want to shake it all off. Mariah and I go out. Justin is there.
He sees me. He throws a drink on me.
One of his friends hugs me. I say something to him about the drink. Justin reaches out and grabs me by the throat. He squeezes. I swing at him to get his hand off of me. Justin swings. I miss. Justin does not.
I fall backward into a crowd of people. No one helps me up. Everyone stares. No one says anything.
Mariah and I leave. I am sitting on the curb doubled over in pain while Mariah goes to get the car. Justin comes out of the bar and is standing behind me on the sidewalk screaming at me calling me a slut and a whore. Telling me I deserved what he did to me.
October 1, 2005:
We call police and EMS. They both treat me like I am nothing but a drunk college girl who got in a screaming match. They think this because I am constantly throwing up. I think I am dying. It is 6am.
I wake up my roommate because I am throwing up. I tell her I think I am dying. She says I’m drunk and I’ll be fine in the morning. I tell her that Justin hit me. She insists I call my parents. They are in town for Parents’ Weekend. I call them to take me to the hospital.
I arrive at the emergency room a little after 6 am. I answer questions. I am poked, prodded, violated, and questioned some more. They think I have an ovarian cyst that has ruptured. they want to do an ultrasound. They find more than a ruptured cyst.
I have a hole in my small intestine. It is 2 centimeters long. I am taken back for emergency surgery. It is 9 am.
I am in the hospital for 6 days. I lose 20 pounds. I look like this:
I am not allowed to eat. They want to ensure they repaired all of the damage. I have an IV for nutrients. I have a tube hanging out of my side. I can only lay on my back because my stomach looks like this:
October 7, 2005:
I get to go home from the hospital. My mom has to help me shower. I cannot wash my own hair. I cannot eat certain foods. I am afraid to go on campus. Justin’s friends have started rumors that I am an alcoholic and due to my excessive drinking, the alcohol has eaten a hole into my stomach and that’s why I had surgery. They’re still calling me a whore. Justin’s fraternity sends me flowers.
I am afraid to be on campus. One of my classes meets at the same time as one of Justin’s classes, and they are right next door to each other. I drop out for the rest of the semester.
August 8, 2006:
We finally get to court. After several hours, Justin pleads guilty to domestic battery. It is a misdemeanor. He is sentenced to six months at the “day report center”. It is like outpatient jail. He has to go to jail for 8 hours a day for anger management and other classes. He gets a slap on the wrist. I almost died.
I have learned a lot about myself. I am strong. I am resilient. I am tough. I can handle a lot more than I ever thought I could. Is it fair that he barely got punished? No. Do I feel like I truly got justice? No. Justin got a slap on the wrist. I get to look at this every day for the rest of my life:
But I’ll be ok. I’m not a victim anymore. I’m a survivor.