My life has been riddled with various abuses. Luckily for me, my parents did not abuse me. Seemingly everyone else has. I used to be a very strong, independent person-not taking any crap from anyone. A high honor student, National Honor Society member, captain of the cheerleading squad with many honors, I was not a likely candidate for abuse. It all started the summer of my junior year in high school. I met this guy, and we started going out. It was a very odd relationship-and I was never really comfortable with it. About a month or so into this relationship, he raped me. Needless to say, I broke up with him. Although I was rid of him, this was just the beginning of a string of bad relationships. My junior year, I met a guy in my homeroom. Very quiet, a hockey player, and also very wealthy. Our relationship started out very good, as they usually do. My parents didn’t like him from the start(they knew his parents), and this proved to be a real pain in the relationship. It almost didn’t seem normal for a then outgoing person to be with such a reserved young man. But love blossomed. Little by little the abuse started, especially as we became comfortable with each other. I began to talk about college, and since I was offered scholarships, I wanted to cheer. Then began the limitations. I was not to cheer, I was not to talk about old boyfriends, I was not allowed to go out after games. Pretty soon, I found myself doing the same things. It just became natural to limit each other. I was not into drugs or alcohol, and I told him this at the beginning of our relationship. Well, he began to drink. Not a lot, but enough. He would push me around, but the majority of the abuse was centered in the mental/emotional catergories. He shot me down everytime I did something good. I was always in the papers, and he wasn’t. This created resentment. Then the abuse became worse. It was to the point whereanytime I talked to or saw him, I was hysterical. Finally it ended, and I started seeing someone else. Someone who I thought would be what I needed. I knew what kind of a person he was from the beginning. When my ex threw me against a locker and called me a whore, my new boyfriend threatened to rip off his sisters legs and shove him down his mother’s throat. I was happy that someone was finally standing up for me, so I didn’t mind. He was labeled a fighter and had lost count of the number of times he had fought. We were the ultimate “West Side Story.” He was a bad boy from a bad neighborhood, and I was the little, rich, good girl, from the good side. I was always labeled a snob because I was from a middle to upper class neighborhood. At first he put me on a pedestal, and because I didn’t trust guys in general, this helped me. I told him of my past experiences, and he immediately jumped to my defense. Anytime I had a problem, he took care of it for me. The nights we would go out with our friends, he would stop by at all hours of the morning just to tell me that he loved me. He bought me jewelry, just basically treated me as I hadn’t been treated before. After a few months, the proverbial “honeymoon period,” I started to see the real him. He was mean-would beat someone up just for looking at him. Then the abuse started. It began with name-calling: slut, whore, bitch and cunt were his favorites. He downed everything I did. See, he didn’t graduate high school(dropped out in the ninth grade), didn’t have a job, was an alcoholic, always got arrested, and anything else you can think of. I found out he had been lying to me, and I got mad. He never could admit when he did something wrong. He just wouldn’t talk-like a child would do. One day, we were outside (it was summer) and he was drinking(a daily thing). I had gotten used to the drinking, and things were O.K. I was playing around when I grabbed my tennis shoes and began tapping him on the back. Before I could brace myself, he had turned and slapped me. The force of the blow knocked me down and I began to cry-I had never been hit before. All he said was,”There, bitch.” I jumped up, grabbed his beer, and threw it down the street. He then grabbed me, and threw me into the side of his house. By this time his parents called the police, and he was later arrested for…getting smart with the cop. I though that this was an isolated incident-I knew nothing of domestic violence-so I went back. Time passed,with beatings in between. It came to the point where I couldn’t do anything or he was on me. That summer I got kicked out of my house, so I went to stay with him. For a while things were O.K., then one day he lost it again. I was pregnant, and he knew this, so he was nice to me for a while. He really was, this child meant everything to him. He wouldn’t let me even smell beer, and anyone who was treatening to me was demolished. It started to be good again. Well at a party,he and a friend got into an argument, which led to a fistfight. I was at my morning sickness stage which for me was all-day sickness, so I was sitting on the couch playing Sega. This fight happened so fast, I couldn’t move, and they landed on me. The person he was fighting kicked me in the stomach, and two days later I lost my baby. After all of that again it cooled. Not for long. About a monthe later, we were at one of his daily drinking parties, and he got mad.(I can’t remember the reason.) Well, I was looking at Him… Slap! Me:”What was that for?” Him:”F*** you, bitch.” Me:(standing up) “No-f*** you, I’m sick of this!” He then grabbed my face and hit me again. On our walk home, he got mad again and threw me into bushes, scratching my arms and face. He also threw two videos down the street which were rented in my name. They both broke, and both were valued at $85.00 a piece. Guess who paid? Having no place to go, I stayed. I could relay fifty more stories but I’m only going to tell one more. This was the biggie. We were on a regular “date” to a bar, so I could watch him get drunk, and we were actually getting along. I had never been on a real date with him, so I took what I could get. We didn’t go anywhere but the bar or the beer distributer, and after a year, I was used to it. Well, he got his buzz on, but I didn’t drink. I learned that if I didn’t drink I could control the situation more, which meant that I didn’t get beat. Sometimes. At least if he did start on a rampage, I would have the presence of mind to get out. We first argued about who would drive home. He insisted that he was O.K. when I knew he wasn’t. Eventually, I drove home. When we got there, I changed into my nightclothes(it was 2 a.m.), and began to make the bed. I asked him for help, and he slapped me six times in a row. Then to finish me off-I was punched. Punched in my left eye. Then he left to go to a friends house. They all supported him no matter what he did. They would threaten me when I wanted to go to the police and press charges. As one stated,”What he does is wrong, but I will support him no matter what. If you press charges, I will find you.” This has been my life for the last two years. Everyone may have their own opinion on this subject, which they have every right to have. I am not looking for pity, I am looking for awareness. Any and every race, class, ethnic group, and sex has abusers and abusees (as I call them).Abuse is something that is picked, it does not happen accidentally. My reasons for staying are beyond even my comprehension at this point, although I know that they are there. My hope is that someone will read this, identify with it, and realize that they aren’t alone. Their confusion and fears are shared by someone that is still involed in the cycle of violence. No matter what people say, you do not deserve to be beat. If you stay, as I have, it is your choice alone, and you have your reasons. I understand. You aren’t ready to leave. Or maybe you can’t leave, whatever the reason, it is yours alone, and I support you. The fact that you stay is not an invitation for violent behavior, as some people think. I pray for you, whoever you are. I am only 19, and am an abuse survivor. Instead of blaming the abusees, let’s blame the abusers. Don’t blame us for staying, blame them for abusing. Then and only then will changes start to occur. When people take responsibility for their own actions, we will move forward.
Thank you for listening.
29 Oct 1996