It all started at a Halloween party, that’s where I met him. He was introduced to me by a mutual friend. I still remember the first words he said to me," if you have a boyfriend I’m sorry I don’t mean any disrespect but I just thought you should know you're the most beautiful girl at this party." He asked me out on a date, I was so excited that was the first "official" date anybody had ever asked me on. I agreed.

He showed up at my house dressed nice and a handful of flowers, I should have known then it was too good to be true. The first time he put his hands on me was my birthday, we had fought the whole way home and he said he was leaving me when we got back, at the time he was in between vehicles so he told me to take him to his sitters once we got home. I refused to take him I told him, “if you want to leave me fine but I’m not taking you anywhere you want to leave walk." His response, if you don’t take me to my sisters I'll bust every G*d damn window out of your car." I sat in my living room and watched him go outside I didn’t take his threat seriously a moment later I heard a banging noise and ran outside he was kicking a dent in my car. I hit him, after I hit him he picked me up by my throat and threw me on top of my car and was choking me and almost as soon as it happened he let go.

He apologized over and over for it and I forgave him believing that it was my fault had I not hit him first he would have never touched me. He didn’t hit me again until after he got out of prison. During our relationship he spent 20 days in prison and around 25 in the county jail and I stayed by his side enough though nobody understood why. When he got out he was completely different I blamed it on the mentality he had to have to survive jail, but once again I was making excuses for him I spent most of our relationship making excuses for him. Almost every day I was abused whether it be physically or mentally. I got him a job where I worked, he held it for two weeks.

He got fired because he didn’t show up one day and on that day he was too busy beating me to make it to work on time and he refused to go after the fight was over because he was afraid I would call the cops once he left. That’s what are relationship became we shared a phone and a vehicle both of which were originally mine so he could have complete control over me. There were days he would wrap an extension cord around my neck until I promised him I wouldn’t leave him. My house was destroyed because if he wasn’t hitting me he was throwing things, breaking things. The day I had finally had enough was the day he told me I couldn't go see my mom during my Christmas break from nursing school.

He said I wasn’t allowed to take my car because he wouldn’t have a way of going if I did. He said, “didn’t you just go see that whore anyways." That’s right he called my mother a whore a woman he had only met twice. I said that’s my mother you’re talking about. Then he said, I don’t care I hope you both die. If you go see her ill burn your house down. My mother was two months post double lung transplant when he said these things to me. I could handle him hitting me and I could handle him calling me fat or lazy( keep in mind I’m the only one working and I’m going to nursing school) or a whore or whatever else he could throw at me but talking about my mother was where I drew the line. So I lied and told him I was going to my grandparents to borrow money but instead I went to his sisters whose husband was a police officer and they knew what he was doing and his sister had previously tried to get me to leave him.

We called the police from there but because he hadn’t actually hit me they couldn’t make him leave my house without an eviction notice since I had allowed him to live there they could go ask him to leave but they couldn’t make him. They did let me fill out an incident report to try to get a protection order the next day because if the judge would sign the protection order I wouldn’t have to pay for an eviction notice. I left his sisters and went to my best friend’s house. He called her when I got there, he had kept my phone when I left because he thought I was cheating, she didn’t answer. I ended up telling my parents what was going on and they made me go stay at my grandmothers. He had already called there looking for me. I found out later he basically called or texted everyone in my phone book looking for me. That next morning I got up and went to talk to someone about getting the protection order the man I talked to was very nice. He didn’t make me feel like the victim that I was, and he didn’t stop at just the protection order he signed a warrant for the arrest of my abuser apparently him stating that he would burn my house down was illegal. He was arrested from my house before I made it back home. He was arrested for domestic violence 3rd harassment.

Going through this was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done I grew up thinking people who put up with that were silly and weak. I always thought how you could stay with someone who treated you that way. And in the blink of an eye I was in that situation. I’ve been asked many times why I stayed and honestly I’d like to say I don’t know but the truth is I was afraid to be alone at first I stayed because I had hope that my love would change home that maybe if I loved a little harder I could fix him and once that hope went away I stayed because I was scared. I thought if I left it would only get worse. I realized the person I was trying to save was the same person pushing me under. Now that I’m free I feel so much stronger. I’m not afraid anymore and I’m beginning to fall in love with myself again. He didn’t break me like I thought he would leaving him was not the end of the world. I wasn’t even sad when it was over I was relieved and it was the best choice I made the entire relationship. Nobody deserves to be abused or mistreated no matter what. It’s never the victims fault no matter how much they make it seem like it is. And if you can find the strength to let go and stand on your own two feet I promise you’ll never look back again. I know it seems impossible but you can break free as much as you think you need him you don't.

R. Emerline