I married my high school sweetheart. After we married, some family members of a "friend" of his told him that "she has too much freedom. You need to train her to obey you". I was never wild, never cheated, worked and came home. It started with little things- comments about my weight, or how I wasn't wearing makeup, etc. It evolved to hitting me, rape, humiliation, and cheating on me with "friends".

He started having an affair right after we married, and when I confronted him he raped me in HER bathroom. 3 months later, she broke off the affair, he came home and raped me again and when he orgasimed called me by HER name. He flaunted flirting with other girls, and I kicked him out. After 3 months, we got back together. The honeymoon period lasted until after I had our first daughter.

He'd come home and get crazy, to the point I grabbed our baby and hid under her crib. He got us evicted, he lost my car to an auction because he was taking my checks and using them to buy stuff he wanted instead of paying for my car repairs. He'd get mad at beat me throughout my abdomen so no one could see the bruises. After 5 years, I got pregnant with our second daughter. He wanted me to get an abortion and I refused.

He had nothing to do with my pregnancy until the doctor forced him to. After her birth, he started beating me again. That Easter, I found him cheating with a "friend" online. He pushed me into a corner of the living room, beat me throughout my abdomen, pushed me face first to the floor, stood on my back and pulled my right arm directly up behind me. If my older daughter hadn't opened her bedroom door, he would have broken my shoulder. The last time he beat me, I woke up to him slamming our baby's playpen into the floor when she started crying.

She had interrupted another online affair. I got up to stop him, and he beat me throughout my abdomen so badly that I was black. The only thing that kept him from killing me was my fat layer. I got out, and drove my car through a wooded area at 3aam, no lights on...and somehow managed to not kill myself. That was a turning point. I came home from work the next day at lunch, and he had left an open pm that he was planning to have sex with another friend of mine....but she cockblocked him by having her daughter there.

That night, I split up and hid our daughters, and went home to confront him, and kick him out. He tried hitting me with a lit cigarette, I tripped him out the front door. He punched his way through the front door's glass panels, and cut his hand. I took him to the ER, dropped him off, locked the doors and left. I went to his parents, showed them the last beating from the night before, and told them I was divorcing him after 15 years together. I pulled all of the money from our account and closed it. I filed for divorce, and after the judge saw how he treated our daughters and I granted it.

Since then, there have been 6 protective orders, he tried to get a friend to take him to my house to kill me (friend refused and cut ties)....he finally gave up. I was NOT going to let my daughters grow up thinking that was how love and marriage were supposed to be. Why did I stay do long? I was brought up you "lay in the bed you make".... What I came to realize is they never said you can change the sheets, get a new mattress, or a whole new "bed", period!! I now advocate to young women about how abuse is not love, and that they are allowed to love themselves, too.

N. Ford