• Stronger Than Silence

Ashleigh's Story

Ashleigh, 28, mother of 3, Maine.

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

He is the father of my children. I was 19 when I met him and we were both in a dark place.

Please share more of your story, as much as you are comfortable.

His use of made the abuse worse (I did not use drugs). We got pregnant and moved states away and he got clean and we were better for a couple years - better in a sense where it wasn’t physical but mental. We didn’t live in an apartment without holes on the wall from him. I was called a moron and an idiot at least 10 time a day on a good day. A rotten bitch and a cunt on a bad one. He’s punched walls next to my head, threw things at me.

Even then, he put his hands on me twice in 3 years. One time on my birthday, I woke him up because he had fallen asleep on the toilet and he grabbed me by the neck and I kneed him to get away and he punched me in the face in front of our kids. I’ll never forget the blood from my face going over my baby as I held him. He got diagnosed with progressive MS, which I was able to be told from a doctor once then we moved back home for help. It took a year and a half of hiding, lying, stealing - money went missing so many times - for me to realize he was hooked on drugs again. This is when the abuse was so bad. I was hit with bottles, thrown, choked. He would throw everything in the kitchen and make me clean it up. Eventually the cops were called.

Please share more about how you felt during the time of the abuse and what happened or changed to help you start taking steps to get out of the situation?

Even after the cops were called, I couldn’t let go. He was all I knew and so was the chaos felt normal. He was arrested for aggravated assault. He put a knife to my throat two weeks prior and that night I lost it on him because I was sick of it. I provoked him until he punched me three times in the face, threw me and choked me twice once until I couldn’t breathe to “teach me what choking was.” I bailed him out for 5 grand. Within a week. he had broken our big bay window from throwing things at me, broke our stove and cornered me into the bathroom and tried to beat me with a board with nails out of it. I fell into the tub, smashing my face and he choked me. I tried to take the kids and leave, but he wouldn’t put our son down. He made me let him come with us and we went out to eat - it was hell. My jaw hurt for 3 weeks after he got arrested and it was 3 days before Christmas.

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

The space away from him has lead to realization of the hell I lived through. I have PTSD from it and am forever changed. I’m still scared of him and his manipulative ways and I left 2 years ago. But I am also brighter, calmer and more peaceful.

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

Reach out and use resources to help you leave. It isn’t easy but staying isn’t easy either.

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