Here were so many times where I said to myself “this doesn’t happen to girls like me” not realizing that abuse isn’t selective. It doesn’t discriminate. I was so in love with him, that the first time he put his hands around my neck, I convinced myself it was just one of his ways of showing how much he cared.

He slowly isolated me from friends and family, or who knows, maybe I isolated myself out of shame. I remember the time he pressed my head into the couch as I tried to fight before I realized playing dead was my only way to stop it. I sat up with blood dripping out of my mouth. I remember when he put his hands around my neck and told me that he would kill me. I remember him dragging me outside by my hair, in my underwear, and locking me outside in the snow for an hour. I remember the first time I called the police, then parking on the street and him pointing a handgun at me from the hallway telling me that “I better say what I need to say to make them leave.” I remember him slamming my head on the middle console of the car, and sitting up to see blood all over the diamond earrings he had bought me a few weeks earlier to apologize for the last “mistake.”

I told myself so many times that I would leave, but I couldn’t, financially I was trapped. I saved money quietly and finally found a place. When I told him I was leaving, he lost it. That was the last time he put his hands on me. I remember the police removing him and watching them walk out of the house with two loaded shotguns that they said were “sitting in the closet with rounds in the chambers.”

Having to testify in court was harder than I thought, I’ll never forget the cold, dark stare he gave me when I was granted a protection order. I still live with fear, if I’m out and see someone who looks like him, I freeze. I’m scared he will find me once the expiration date passes, I’m scared that he’s still mad. I won’t live in fear forever, he took everything from me but he won’t take away my ability to feel love and happiness.

To those who want to leave, and can’t, I promise you that the first night you sleep in a place that you know he can’t get to, will be the best nights rest you’ve ever had. So, leave, leave and don’t look back and know that you can one day be yourself again.

M. Mccummisky

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