Debbie, 54, mom of 3 and grandma of 3, Florida.
Can you describe who your abuser was and how the abuse began?
My ex-husband, who is my children's father. The abuse began when we were dating but I was too young at 18 to realize it and see the red flags! Verbal abuse first that lead into mental & physical abuse over time.
Please share more of your story, as much as you are comfortable.
My ex-husband wanted to do what he wanted - not have a family, but he didn't tell me that until I asked him to choose between alcohol, drugs, and women. I went through so much and it really felt like hell. I wanted to die but I couldn't, I had to take care of my children! They didn't choose this life so every day I tried to hide the abuse behind closed doors, the fights, bloody and broken nose, bruises, and I was even hit while I was pregnant. Every day I asked Jesus why, why me and to please help me. I was threatened every day. I wasn't allowed to have friends or go anywhere, it was so hurtful and sad. I lost myself, I lost my Debbie, my inner being, my heart, my sweet personality.... He broke me! And nobody would help except my Mom but she was in a different state. The local police were part of his family. The abuse (verbal, mental and physical) got worse and worse! I was living in some type of hell and just couldn't believe this was my life!!
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?
One day I was at the local grocery store with my children. We walked up there with 2 kids in the stroller - he wouldn't let me take the extra car anywhere. Control, he always had to control. So of course I had on my sunglasses and a woman that I liked came up to me, gave my kids a lollipop and pulled me to the side.... She gave me a hug and whispered Debbie I know what's going on and when the day comes and you have finally had enough I will help you!! Now mind you I tried to leave before but he always found me and made me come back or he would kill us! This was the first awakening that a well respected woman reached out to me and also knew what was happening...wowwww thank you Jesus someone cares.
So this is a different situation since his family were part of the local police and they did nothing to him!! His mother was a local pastor so they didn't want their reputation destroyed by me telling what was going on. So I had to take measures into my own hands and I did! I got a job while my kids were in school. I got an emergency HUD apartment in town and got government assistance after a friend helped me get started on my own. I got a gun and learned how to protect myself in case he decided to assault me again (yes he tried). It took us 3 years to get divorced and the judge gave me everything. My ex-husband didn't comply but that's OK. I did it - I raised my beautiful children on my own with no help from him. The hardest part was forgiving him - I did forgive him but it was a valuable lesson learning experience.
What is life like now that you have gotten out of the abusive situation? How has it become better?
I thank God every day for these hardships and struggles because it made me the strong Mom and woman that I am today. My children are grown into amazing individuals and living their lives to the fullest. Today I always try to help others that's my passion!
What else would you like to say to any women reading your story who are currently experiencing domestic abuse?
You are strong and you can make it! There is always help, just ask.