I was married at 16 and had a daughter at 17. My husband starting abusing right away. Every day for little things, like getting out of work late, or looking out the window, or looking in a man’s direction.

The beatings got worse. He broke my fingers by stomping on them with his work boots because I hung the phone up as he was walking into the room. He thought I was hiding something. I was afraid to leave him but I finally got the courage to do so. Easter Sunday he asked if our daughter could spend it with him and his family. I agreed and took her over to his mom’s house. She was asleep when I arrived. He asked me to come to his room to lay her down.

As I laid her down he locked the door. He asked me to come back. I told him no. That I was afraid of him. He opened a drawer and pulled out a gun. He put 1 bullet in it. He put it to my head and pulled the trigger. Nothing. Then he put it to my daughter's head and pulled the trigger. Still nothing. He put it to his head and pulled the trigger. He shot himself inches from my face. His eyes rolled and he fell to the ground.

I fell to my knees and lifted his head. Blood and pieces of small bone were everywhere. I looked at my daughter and she had blood spat on her face. His brother came in and starting hitting me. Yelling at me then threw me out if the house. He wouldn't give me my daughter. I was at the door and I saw her running down the hall toward the door. I called to her and she came. I grabbed her and ran. I ended up on the porch to someone's back yard.

I could hearing someone screaming blood curdling screams. Only to realize it was me screaming. I jumped up carrying my daughter knocking on doors. No one is home. It's Easter Sunday. Finally I saw a man loading his truck. I ran to him. He looked at me blood on my face, clothes, and hands. My daughter too. I told him my husband had shot himself I needed his phone.

I was instructed by 911 to flag down a police car as they were looking for me because the brother had a gun and was looking for me. So I did. They took my daughter to my grandfather’s house. Then me to the police station. Detectives talked to me, they did a gun powder test to see if it fired a gun and did a polygraph. They said they were doing all if this because I was the only one in the room with him.

While sitting there the detective handed me some pants and a t shirt. Only then did I realize that I had peed my pants. They then drove me to the hospital to see him. He was already gone. Not a day goes by that I don't relive that day. It's like he's still abusing me after his death. It's hard to explain. I haven't talked about that day for many years.

I was, 18 when it happened. He was 20. My daughter was a 1 1/2. So much has happened since then. Self-cutting, drugs, living in the streets by choice, I was on a path of self-destruction. Trying to kill myself. Pushing anyone away that got too close. One day I woke up in as dumpster.

It was News Years day 2004. I could hear the fireworks. I jumped out and started walking towards the drug house. I heard someone yell "Run Maria, run!" I took off running only to find out it was my voice telling me to run. I ended up in an alley. I fell to my knees and starting talking to GOD. I told him "Please GOD if I'm supposed to be here give me a reason to live. If not then just take me now." I got up got to as payphone and called my mom. She started crying and told me to please come home. That she would help me with the demons I had in my head.

I went home. 1 year later I had a son. He saved my life. He's 11 now. The abuse is never forgotten. But I don't torture myself over it anymore. I did that for so many years. In the end......I'm a survivor.

M. Davila