Submitted by: Misty Spooner, General Manager
*Content may be upsetting to some. Please read with caution.
Domestic Violence used to be a topic that no one wanted to talk about or face. Thankfully, over the years it is now getting the attention it deserves.
My story began when I started dating a guy whom I had previously dated in high school in October of 2004. Prior to dating him, I had lost my first husband to suicide and I was not emotionally stable or ready to be in another relationship, especially the kind I was about to find myself in. This was the perfect state for me to be in for him to control me. He would be so kind and loving and then turn around and be controlling. Most people can’t understand why someone stays with a person who abuses them, but the reason is that they do not treat you bad the entire time. They show you just enough of the good to keep you hooked. You think the bad side they show you is not really them and there must be a reason in their past to make them that way and you think you can help them.
My then-boyfriend cut off communication between me, my family, and my friends. He wouldn’t allow me to work during the two years we were together, which was not at all normal for me because I started working at 15 years old and was moved to management at 19. We lived in a very small city that was isolated from anyone. When he went to work, he made sure I had no gas in my vehicle so that I couldn’t go anywhere. He forced me to return ground beef at the grocery store to get the money back to go buy him alcohol. And he verbally abused me in front of our children who were 5 and 7 years old.
The first time I had him arrested, I was pregnant with my third child. He held a sheet down around my neck until I had trouble breathing, then he knocked me into the coffee table causing me to break it while trying to get up. Of course he was crying and he was sorry and it wasn’t long before I allowed him back at home. He blamed it on his bad childhood and said he didn’t know how to accept someone loving him as much as I did.
After a few more similar incidents, I along with my son, who was about 8 months old, and my older children were able to leave him. We came to the city where I live now because my mom lived here. Within three weeks, I allowed him back into our lives except we moved into a place in the city. Thanksgiving Day 2006, which was just three months after I allowed him back, I was 2-3 months pregnant with our fourth child. The only details I have of that day and the next day are what I have been told and what the police report stated.
I had a concussion and no memory of the events after us arguing. According to my oldest daughter’s testimony, who was eight at the time and the police report, he slammed me into the corner of the kitchen table and I fell to the floor unconscious. He then started strangling me. My daughter begged him to stop and he stood up and leaned against the counter drinking his beer. My six-year-old was in the next room holding on to my son who was almost one. When I became conscious, I gathered my children and went walking down the street to a neighbor’s house and called my Aunt. Somehow, I ended up back at my townhouse because according to what I have been told, the police knocked on the door and began to arrest my husband. I was asking them why they were arresting him and asking why my arm and neck were hurting and bruised. My mother told me that when I was at the hospital, I kept asking why everyone was saying I was pregnant because I couldn’t remember that I was pregnant. I don’t remember any of this. I only remember waking up at my mom’s with my wedding rings missing and a notebook next to me that told me everything that happened because I kept asking every 30 minutes. If any of you are familiar with the movie 50 First Dates with Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore, that’s how it was for me every 30 minutes for most of the day then it slowly went to a few hours.
Now, I remember everything before and after the attack, but still no memory of the events in-between. That was the last time I left him. I filed for divorce and pressed charges. He only served seven weekends in jail due to the way laws were written in 2006. This is the very short version of what I have been through. There are still some days when my current husband raises his voice at the dogs or someone slams a door, that my heart skips a beat.
I go to therapy regularly. I don’t look at myself as a victim, I look at myself as a survivor because there are so many out there who do not survive. I share my story quite often through several organizations because I want anyone going through a situation like mine or who has gone through it, to know that there is life after domestic abuse. It’s not easy, but you can be happy. I have been with my current husband almost 11 years and he has been wonderful despite the fact that some days it’s not easy to be married to me because some days are just harder than others. If you know someone who is in an abusive relationship, there is a way out, and they can be happy!