I remember meeting my child’s father, he showed signs of abuse from day one but I never noticed. He showed up outside my house demanding that I come hangout. Without thinking about it, I ran along and got in the car and explained to him I couldn't go out at the moment, they drove the car away anyways. That same night we were drinking at his brother’s house, he then kicked everyone out and made me stay there with him. I remember him not allowing me to leave the room as he ripped my pants off and did things I did not give him permission to do. I was scared, but under the influence so I blamed myself. I remember him taking my phone and messaging my friends telling them to ‘fuck off’ and ‘leave his girl alone’. I was not his girl, and those were my friends. We only knew each other a short weekend before he told me to go back a bag and that we were leaving to a different town. He sat outside my house so I did what he asked without questions. It didn’t take long before I felt like a prisoner in that town, I wasn’t allowed to leave without permission, I was to not use my phone unless it was showing on the top and I was to wear the clothes he asked me to wear. I remember one night, I so badly wanted to be home he left with his friends and told me if I were to leave that house he would hurt me. I waited a short few minutes after they left and I began to walk slowly making sure I wouldn’t run into them, but I did. And he caught me. I was black and blur after. I never tried to leave that house again. Eventually, we made our way back to our original town. I went home for a couple hours as my roommates were asking me to remove my stuff from their home, which meant I was now going to live with my boyfriend. I remember losing my friends one by one, I wasn’t allowed to go out with my girls and I most definitely was not allowed to communicate with any boys. I had noticed myself being distance towards my family and it not being because that’s what I wanted, but because he had made that happen. There were nights he had hit me then begged me to stay, but there were also nights where he had beaten me and pushed me out the door. There was a night full of drinking where I remember he grabbed my phone and read a message from a boy he had asked me not to talk to. He hit me and he pushed me, he held me by my neck against the wall, I screamed for a while then gave up hope before he finally let me go. I ran and hid by a dumpster knowing he would be coming to find me shortly. I could tell you about all the days he turned me black and blue, the days he stripped me of my clothes and told me what he wanted, I could tell you all the times he torn me down and made me feel useless, instead I’ll tell you about the last time I let this happen. It was a summer night, he had tried to have sex with my after I kept saying no, so of course he stormed away and left with his friends. I had a worrisome feeling that something was not right. A friend had picked me up from the motel we were living in and took me to buy a pregnancy test. I thought being afraid of my abuser was one thing. But finding out I was pregnant with his child was even scarier. Little did I know this was my blessing all along? The last time he threw me against the walk and smashed my phone before I could call the police I was 4 weeks pregnant. The last time I ever let a man hit me I was 4 weeks pregnant. I was carrying a life inside of me and he was my saving grace. God knew what I needed before I did. I have loved myself ever since.

N. Evans