I was in a violent relationship for almost two years. Our relationship started out just like any normal one would. He was caring, sweet, and loving. I don’t know what happened. About four to five months into our relationship, the abuse started. I should had left then, but it wasn’t that easy.

After the first episode, he cried to me, told me it would never happen again, that he was sorry and, sadly, I believed him. I soon moved in with him. A few months down the road, the abuse got worse. I was 17 years old. I stopped going to school, turned down my dream college and every goal I had ever set for myself. I got pregnant at 18 years old, and I thought that was my key to stopping the abuse. I never imagined any man hitting a woman who was pregnant with their own child, but I was completely wrong. The abuse continued, not just physically, but mentally and emotionally, too. He called me the “N” word, the “C” Word, the “B” Word, etc. He made me feel like I was nothing.

I wanted out. I tried to get out. I left him many times, but he always said the right things to bring me back, and I regretted it every time.  There were times he would choke me to the point that I couldn’t breathe, and I would almost pass out. There were times I would be so embarrassed to go out in public, because I had two black eyes and bruises all over my body. He hit me like I was a grown man. I always asked myself when will enough be enough, but I had it in my head that I loved this man, and he loved me too, but he didn’t. He loved the fact that he could control me, manipulate me, and make me believe that he would change.

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June 6, 2018 was a morning that I’ll never forget. I woke up to him standing above me, drunk. He walked away, and I had seen that his uncle had passed away on Facebook, so I yelled into the next room to tell him. He didn’t hear me. I got up out of bed and approached him, letting him know about his uncle. He lost it. I saw that look in his eyes. I knew what I was in for, so I ran and locked myself in the bathroom. He kicked the door in, forcefully. As he kicked the door in the trim around the door came off as well. He picked the board up and hit me across the head with it. I just remember feeling dizzy and unable to breathe. I immediately shoved myself between the toilet and the wall trying to protect my face. He started hitting me in the head and any part of my body that he could reach. I remember trying to talk to him, trying to calm him down because I had no idea why his uncle dying was my fault, but everything was always my fault. At that point, I knew there was nothing I could say or do. I came to terms that I was going to die that night. I remember repeating in my head, “God, please take care of my baby boy.” I truly thought that was the end for, not only me, but my unborn child inside of me. He finally stopped and walked across the hall and sat on the edge of our bed and said, “if you’re going to leave, then leave.”

I looked around, and the floor was covered in blood, MY BLOOD. I got up and ran out the door to the neighbors. Standing in the dark across the road, I watched him leave the house, so I bolted to the house to find a spare phone that I had hidden away for emergencies. I found the phone and a charger and went back outside to our patio out back and charged it enough for it to turn on. I contacted my friend and told her that it was really bad this time and that I needed her, and then the phone died.

Then I heard him pull back up in the driveway, but I never saw him get out of the vehicle. About 30 minutes went by, and I was still sitting out back on the patio. I saw my friend pull up.  I was scared to approach her at first because I didn’t know where he was or if he’d come after me if I tried to leave. I started walking toward my friend’s car and that’s when it all hit me. I was hurt badly.  The adrenaline had worn off. I was limping, my body hurt, and I could feel the blood gushing out of my head. My friend got me in the car. She drove me to the hospital, and I was later life flighted to Morgantown. I couldn’t walk. I couldn’t move, but my baby and I were going to be ok. I ended up with 14 stitches. I had three in my head, two in my finger and nine in my leg.

Yes, I had finally gotten away, but it took being life flighted to Morgantown and almost losing my unborn child to get away from him. I should have left for, not only myself, but for my two boys that look up to me.

He was charged with Malicious Wounding and is facing 2-10 years in prison, for what he did to me that day. I hope he spends every last second of that time in that prison. Please, ladies and even men, don’t ever let anyone make you second guess your self-worth or ever manipulate you into thinking that hurt is love. I now have a man in my life who cares about my children and I, who knows what I went through and accepts me for who I am now. I live with PTSD, anxiety, and depression because of what he put me through for two years. Don’t let it take as long for you to leave as it did for me. I could have died, and I’m thankful I didn’t.

I am proud to say that I AM A SURVIVOR of domestic violence.