• Stronger Than Silence

Jessica's Story

Jessica, Maine, experienced abuse from her ex-husband during a 15 year relationship.

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

It was my husband at the time (my now ex-husband). It began very slowly over the course of years starting out as mostly verbal abuse. We were together for 15 years and I only ever saw his anger once in a while until my daughter was born, when it got much worse.

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

We were high school sweethearts. I only ever saw him lose his temper a couple times before we got married. It honestly really started getting bad after my daughter was born. He would accuse me of cheating when I would leave the house for any period of time, to go to the grocery store, or dinner with a family member.

He was very verbally and emotionally abusive. He would call me a slut or trashy if I wore something he didn’t like, or did my hair a certain way. He would accuse me of cheating when I would talk to anyone at all, friends, coworkers, family members. He would go through my friends lists on social media and harass me about guys he saw if he didn’t recognize their name. He was furious with me when my brother and I went to dinner together one night because he hated “babysitting” his own kids. I came home and he would be so mad at me and complain about how awful the kids were behaving. He would grab me and threaten me and break things that were mine to “teach me a lesson.” If we were in the car together I would try not to fight with him because the few times we did have a disagreement in the car, he would swerve into oncoming traffic to “scare me.”

Towards the end of our relationship he began stalking me, and even installed a tracking app on my phone to see where I was at all times. I brought the kids to see him at work for his birthday and he got angry and threw food in my face. When I told him it was over he showed up at my house with a loaded handgun and threatened to take his own life. Once it was officially over, he immediately contacted all my family and friends to tell them I had cheated on him as his way of playing the victim.

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 so lost and defeated. He made me feel worthless. My family was very supportive. He always hated my mom, and honestly most of my family. So they were really helpful and agreed to help me with my kids if I moved home and left him.

My mom helped me by watching my kids for me while I worked at night. My parents would pick the kids up or drop them off at daycare for me if I needed them to. My mom would cook dinners for me and my kids and was all around a huge help to me. When I filed divorce paperwork, they gave me a phone number and I called and spoke with a local domestic abuse help center in my area called “Through these Doors” and they were so amazing and supportive.

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

Life feels so happy for me now. I am remarried to an incredible guy who treats me with so much respect and is so supportive of me. My kids are so happy and thriving. I am a stronger person. I have learned so much more about myself and have allowed myself to become who I really want to be.

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

Leave immediately. Don’t look back, don’t second guess yourself. Anyone that is willing to help you leave the situation, take the help. I was so hesitant because we had kids together but when I spoke with my mom about it, she became a huge driving force for me. Ask for help, a friend or close family member. If they’re able to help, go for it. Get out of that relationship because it’s not worth it. And as much as he says he loves you and can’t live without you, it’s all lies. Do not fall for the manipulation. You are STRONG! You can do it!!

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