This story has verbal, physical, and sexual abuse triggers.
I met my abuser when I was 14. At first there wasn’t physical abuse, it was emotional. He would embarrass me or make feel inferior in front of other people. It went from verbal to physical real fast. When I was seven months pregnant, he beat me until I was on the floor, curled in a ball.
While I was in the hospital having my child, he cashed my mom’s cheque and bought drugs to sell. We were behind on rent, and the landlord took everything I owned out of the home and put it on the curb.
"He made me believe he was the only person who would ever love me"
Finally, I made up my mind: I wasn’t going back. He managed to track me down. He showed up at my doorway, and just like that, it was on again. Mentally I was broken. He made me believe he was the only person who would ever love me.
When I was seven months pregnant with my sixth child, he pulled a gun on me. I saw a big flash of light and my jaw swayed. I saw my shirt. It was red. The doctors told me that the only reason that the shot didn’t kill me was because he had the wrong calibre bullet in the gun.
"The police threatened to lock me up if I did not tell them who shot me"
While I was sat on my doorstep, bleeding from a bullet hole in my jaw, the police came and threatened to lock me up if I did not tell them who shot me. I gave the name of my abuser, but later recanted my statement because I was scared and told the prosecutor that I shot myself. They dropped all the charges against him, but he ended up going to jail for three years because of a probation violation from a previous offense.
I’ve had six surgeries, and I am still living with the physical effects of the shooting as well as the trauma. I’ve been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. I shake in crowds, I’m always looking for an exit. I can’t read a book anymore because I can’t retain information, my mind is constantly scrambling. My kids suffer.
"It’s important for women in that situation to hear from someone who understands"
Despite everything that’s happened I am determined to raise awareness about domestic violence. I posted a video on Facebook - I was crying but I wanted to tell people what I’d been through. I didn’t realize how many people had watched it, but doors started opening. I do a lot of public speaking and have even been asked to work on a play about my story.
It’s important for women in that situation to hear from someone who understands. A lot of people might say, “You’re so stupid, you should have stayed gone.” They don’t understand the hold an abuser has on his victim.
Story reposted from https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2019/10/gun-violence-report/