• Stronger Than Silence

Annie's Story

Annie, 26, New England, mom of 1, professional recording artist and blogger.

Can you describe who your abuser was and how the abuse began?

[Annie’s abuser was her ex-husband and father to her son.] The abuse began when I met him when I was 18 and he was in the military.

Can you share more about your story, as much as you are comfortable?

[Annie shares one example of the abuse she survived:] I couldn’t breathe.. I was stuck in a dark room with no way out, his body suffocated mine.. holding me down on the bed so I couldn’t leave. My face was swollen from crying so hard.. I slightly felt relieved knowing the abuse was over for the moment. His body just laying on mine telling me “you do this to me.. you bring it out of me” then kissing me over and over again saying “I forgive you..” I remember staring into the darkness at the black ceiling patiently waiting for him to fall asleep so I could sneak out... I couldn’t see a thing but I could feel his heavy body laying on mine and the wet bed sheets from my tears and all I could think about was 1) how am I going to out run him if he wakes up and 2) how I was going to explain to my friends why another one of our bathroom metal towel racks was split in half.. from my body being thrown up against it.. why I was covered in bruises again and why there was a hole in our bedroom door because I thought I was going to die, as he was trying to break in. “I’m bleeding.. but it’s ok, I know he didn’t mean it! I’ll sleep it off.. he loves me so much, he’s just scared he’s going to lose me”....

The news of what happened in Colorado back in 2018 still weighs very heavy on my heart. A man killed his pregnant wife and two toddler daughters. What hurts... is that everything I've read... no one "knew". Her social media boasts pictures of a happy family - their friends and family "had no idea" there were problems. He is a "great guy... a great Husband and Father" - how could he have done this!? It's because he did it when no one was looking.

I’m not writing this for attention, I have LIVED this. When I left, everybody was so surprised. They asked why I wouldn’t stay any longer, you can’t just give up on a marriage?! My facebook posts looked “perfect.” I looked happy, and we looked like the picture-perfect family but behind closed doors... I was miserable and I was walking on egg shells, not knowing if today was going to be my last day. After the news broke of us divorcing, he portrayed me as “crazy” and made me look like I was the abusive one because I’d threaten to leave him or turn him in to the police after he’d put his hands on me. He wanted to mask the TRUTH and even his family would try to cover for him.

Why did I finally get the courage to leave? Because my son’s and my safety is worth it.

The man you love.... Does he call you a bitch? A cunt? A whore? That's not love. Did he hold you up against the wall by your neck and tell you if you didn’t stop crying and yelling for help that he’s going to drag you outside and smash your skull off the pavement? That’s not love. Did he push you off the bed while you were 8 months pregnant? because he was mad you were talking to one of your best friends from back home and didn’t think you were giving him enough attention? That’s not love. Did he sprain your wrist? while he was holding you down on the bed? and you had to wear a brace for months because you couldn’t move it? That’s not love. Has he called you a fatass after you just gave BIRTH to his child, told you you are not a REAL mom because you had a c-section and took the easy way out? and said “good luck leaving, nobody would ever want you... look at you” THATS NOT LOVE. Has he shoved you so hard that you flew back, landed on the glass coffee table then reached for your cell phone and he took it and hid it along with your car keys so you couldn’t call the cops or leave him while he sat there crying apologizing for what he had just done? HES NOT SORRY AND THATS NOT LOVE.

Has he chased you down and tackled you when you tried to run away from him? and then dragged you back to the house by your hair? That’s not love. Has he told you nobody would ever love you but him? but you are not worthy of his love? That’s not love. Has he punched holes in your wall? In your bedroom door? tore up your clothes? broken your phone, computer or other possessions? When all you were trying to do was call someone for help or get away from him, but he wasn’t done arguing yet? so he broke things to scare you into staying with him. That's not love. Has he purposely slammed your arm in the door so hard that you ended up with a nasty bruise and you were too embarrassed to tell anyone what really happened? That’s not love. Has he punched you so hard in the arm then called you a pussy for crying? because That’s not love. Has he locked himself in his car while it was running and shut the garage door? threatening to kill himself if you left him? because he wanted you to feel like YOU were the abuser? and guilt you into staying with him? That’s not love. Have you went to bed at night, locked your bedroom door and still refused to sleep with your back facing the door in case somehow he broke in and you wouldn’t have enough time to react? That's not love.

Did he make you lie to his higher ups and have you say that the abuse never happened? even after you got the courage to speak up and put a restraining order on him? because he didn’t want to get into trouble for beating his wife? That’s not love. And thank you to those Airman who kept the restraining order on because they knew I wasn’t lying about the abuse and I was just trying to protect him. Would he gaslight you and make you feel crazy for talking about him abusing you? then he says it never happened? That’s not love. Does he beat you down emotionally and physically? and tell you on a daily basis how you’re a shitty mom and don’t deserve your child. That’s not love. Does he do this behind closed doors... when no one else is around? Does everyone he knows... friends and family... love him because they have no idea who he truly is when no one is looking? Does he tell you that you’re the reason why he hits you? and it’s YOUR FAULT that he’s the way that he is. He doesn't love you. Does he buy you flowers and expensive jewelry after he hits you, not because he loves you. That’s not love.

How did you feel during the time of the abuse, and what happened or changed to help you get out of the situation?

I felt worthless, broken, unlovable and my strength was gone. I forgot who I was. I started making steps by telling myself “I’m going to be ok” It wasn’t a fast process. It took me many many times of leaving and coming back to finally leave for good. I wanted to give my son a better life and I did it for him as well as myself because I needed the old me back.

My friends and family were the ones who supported me but honestly other victims of domestic violence were the ones who really helped me escape. Around the time I got divorced I became apart of a few private domestic violence awareness support groups on Facebook and that’s where I heard a lot of stories from other survivors and by hearing their stories helped me to never give up hope and to keep moving forward. Those survivors and my son was the reason why I left.

What is life like now that you have gotten out of the abusive situation? How has it become better?

I still have to co-parent with my abuser but I am much happier now that I am not with him anymore. My boundaries keep me safe and I have built a beautiful life for my son and I now that I’ve climbed out of that dark hole my abuser kept me in. I chased after my dreams and got signed to a record label a little over a year ago, I bought my dream car and I also shared my story and helped other victims and survivors heal. This chapter of my life is the best one yet.

What else would you like to say to any women reading your story who are currently experiencing domestic abuse?

If you have ever cried yourself to sleep. If you've ever prayed for God to change his heart. If you've ever prayed for strength to leave. Leave. Now. Leave before you are the one on the news. Leave before your family is questioning what/how/why it happened. Because "they didn't know" He is strong... but you are stronger. There are GOOD men out there. Men who won't even raise their voice, let alone their hand. Find him. You'll then know love.

You are not alone and you will get through this. There is always a light at the end of the tunnel.

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