How they knew
My husband of three years had been getting more and more verbally abusive, and I knew it wasn’t a healthy relationship -- but we had a new baby and for the sake of our little family I didn’t want to leave. I kept hoping it would get better, and I believed him when he promised to change. One day he pushed me into a wall in front of the baby. As always, he said he was sorry and that he’d change and I wanted to believe he really meant it this time. It wasn’t until he choked me (I thought he was going to kill me!) that I knew I had to get free of him. Luckily, I was able to stay with my sister until I could save some money to get my own place. I was embarrassed to tell her how bad things had gotten, but she was more understanding than I could have imagined. I now have my own place and don’t know how I could have waited so long to make this decision. It wasn’t easy at first, but things are so much better now.
I came to NEWS three times before I finally knew it was the last time, and I was ready to be done with him for good. Each time I got to the point where I couldn’t take any more I’d leave for a time -- but then I’d miss him and I’d start to minimize how bad it really was, and he was always so good to me after an episode (I learned that this is actually called “the honeymoon phase” of the cycle of violence). Now it all seems so clear, but when I was in the middle of it I just couldn’t see it. My job didn’t pay enough for childcare, and my abuser wasn’t helping financially. I’d start to think that it was better to be beaten up every once in a while than to have no money to eat. My NEWS case managers helped me find ways to get financial support, and the support groups were great. It was good to have other women who were going through the same thing to help me stay strong. It was a lot like breaking free from an addiction, but I’ve been away from him now for two years and life is pretty good. I have my own place and now I have my self back. Looking back I can’t believe I was willing to give that up. It is the most important thing I own!
The neighbors called the police and I was embarrassed and mad! They arrested my boyfriend because there was a mark on my arm from where he had grabbed me and also he had pulled out a chunk of my hair. I didn’t want them to take him away. I was scared to death of being on my own, and if he was mean before, he was really going to be mean now. I talked to the NEWS counselor and she was so nice. She didn’t sound like she was judging me or telling me what to do. She understood my feelings and mostly listened. When she asked me how long it had been going on, I realized it had been way too long. While he was away, I had time to really think about the life I was living. I thought, “is this how I want to spend the rest of my life?” I got some good counseling and lots of support and eventually realized that those neighbors probably saved my life. My restraining order is still in place and though sometimes I’m still afraid he’ll try to hurt me, I feel much safer now than I did when he was living in the same house.