Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with truth, bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8)
Like many I ignored the warning signs. That first blow could have been my last blow. I should have left him once he started to tell me what to do. The abuse only got worse.
The first time he hit me we were sitting in his mother’s living room. He had his eyes closed while we watched TV. I changed the channel because he dozed off. Once he realized I wasn’t watching what he wanted to watch he slapped me. I felt wind from his hand of steel flying across my face as if the window was open, then I felt the heat as if I was just burned by an iron. My face tingled for a long while after that.
The tears rolled down my face as he yelled, “who told you to change my channel?” It was then I curled over in the fetal position too scared to fight back.
His mother, upset from the sound of what she heard asked, “What was that?”
I looked at him in fear of what would happen if I told the truth. He told her, “I smacked her.”
“You better not ever put your hands on her again!” I thought his mother put some fear in him, but I was wrong. So wrong.
When I got pregnant a few months later at seventeen I called Mr. Fine to tell him the news. He did not deny the baby, but he was angry. He simply said, “What did I tell you about having kids?” He had told me if I had the baby “we would both end up in a pine box.” I was under 18 and needed a parent to have an abortion. I was too scared to tell my mother but he had the perfect plan. “Use my sister’s school ID and my mother will take you.” He didn’t even pay for the surgery.
When his mother picked me up, she asked if I was nervous. I knew when he got off if I was still pregnant there was going to be trouble so I acted as if everything was alright even when we walked up the steps and the inside made me cringe. It didn’t smell bad but I kept thinking how easily the receptionist was smiling and laughing like murder wasn’t going on in the next room. I signed in and almost put my real name. I had to hurry and scratch it before she realized I wasn’t the light-skinned girl on the school ID. I thought the picture would save me; I had to be four shades darker than she was. It didn’t, she responded flatly, “We will be with you in 20 minutes.” I went to sit next to his mother.
She rubbed my back and told me I would be fine and didn’t have anything to worry about. “The young lady he dated right before you went through the same procedure.” He lied!
In an argument with my sister two months later, she blurted out what I had done. My mother showed NO emotion, she went to her room as we followed order. Of course with my two year old baby on my hip I continued to date him. Even though he did not start hitting me right away, the verbal abuse still continued. I would call two of my good friends and tell them “if anything happened to me, he did it.”
On one occasion he answered the phone at my mother’s house. Whoever the guy was on the phone asked for me, he threw the phone and said “it’s for you.”
“Who is it?”
I looked at the caller ID but did not recognize the number. His red face showed obvious signs that he was upset. He jumped in his car and sped off to retrieve a gun from his mother’s house. She asked where he was going and he told her he was going to kill me. She wrestled him to the ground and called 9-1-1. He spent a few days on the psychiatric ward at a local hospital giving him time to strengthen his belief that I was cheating.
When he came home he said that things would change and like most of you I wanted to believe him. Nothing changed, it got worse. Most of our arguments would start because I didn’t get back in time or arrive when he thought I should. He knew how many miles I worked from the house and how long it should take me to get home. On some nights I took a retreat at a friend’s apartment, the only place he did not know about.
After high school I started classes at the Community College. He was so controlling he dropped me off and picked me up. I could only get to ten minutes before class started and he was always there when I got out. He made sure I had no social life: when I was free he made plans for us to spend time together, or for me to drive him to make his drug sales. I would sit around with a room full of guys and they passed blunts like hotcakes. If the other men brought a woman that day I would sit and talk to her about the latest fashion. I didn’t really have time to study I had to be free when he needed me to go.
Things started to go downhill with his drug usage and the putdowns became stronger. I worked for a bank at the time and we had an office Holiday Party. As I was getting ready he shot down everything I tried to wear. He was high and drunk. “Your smile is ugly because of your chipped tooth.” That stung. “No one will ever want someone like you.”
I told him I didn’t want him to go with me because he was “on another level.”
“If I don’t go you’re not going.” He took the keys and hid them from me which forced me to need him to drive. On the ride there we swerved in and out of traffic missing two cars by inches. I was thankful we made it over the dark back roads covered with ice with him being intoxicated.
I was embarrassed. He yelled at me the whole night, I hoped they would find out that the man who bought me roses and jewelry was psycho-path control freak.
My boyfriend constantly reminded me that he had guns and no desire to go back to jail. He told me one time he would kill both of us if I tried to leave. That’s when I realized I wasn’t safe, he knew where I worked, where my family lived and where my friends lived. No matter where I went he was able to show up and scare me out of the office with his threats of harm if I didn’t follow his directions. I tried to protect the people around me so I did what I was told.
One night we went out for a night on the town, this was his way of saying I’m sorry for what I did or what I’m about to do. We returned home only to find someone broke into our apartment. They stole the scale the dope was cooked on and two hand guns. I feared for my safety, it was no longer just about him, all his friends knew I was his woman.
I tried to leave once. “I’m tired of this roller coaster and I want out.” My talks of leaving left him to talk about marriage so I would stay.
“Where are you going? Everything in the apartment is mine. My mother gave us the furniture and my money paid for the 50 inch television. I was “hood rich,” living with nice things, a diamond ring, a fat herringbone necklace, designer bags and cute clothes. I got dressed in my room sometimes in the dark. I would fix my hair in the car, using the rear view mirror. I was going to the hairdresser and he would often remind me, “You didn’t have hair like that when we first got together and it still doesn’t take away from your chipped tooth.”
When he went to jail for selling drugs I finally was able to break free. I got my teeth fixed and people started telling me how nice my smile was. I smile daily even when I don’t feel like it, just because I realize they are contagious and makes you look better.
If I didn’t say what he wanted to hear we would always end up near the back pack where he kept a shot gun made by one of his customers. I knew he always said he wasn’t going back to jail. I then became a slave in my own house. After he would calm down as I lay in the fetal position scared of what would happen. I knew to do what he wanted before I ended up backed in the room with the back pack, which was on the top shelf, close enough to grab but far enough that if I tried to kick him in the groin.
After long nights in the street he would come home and tap me on my shoulder. I would squeeze my butt cheeks together tightly praying he would not try to get some. He would rub my shoulders, and try other sensual things even though I would push him away. Not sure of his temper I would reluctantly comply. He would force oral sex by putting his penis across my face while I was sleeping. I would turn away curling into the fetal position wondering when the pain would ever end and wanting to die. I felt violated on those nights. I never realized that my lack of consent meant he was raping me.
Since I wasn’t the best looking girl and my tooth was chipped I stayed with him thinking I would never get anyone this fine again. So I swallowed my pride and took the name calling and the put downs. When I looked in the mirror I hated the sight of myself, my hair was chewed up and wouldn’t grow. The only thing I had going for me was my body that all the guys drooled over. I had more sex offers than any other girl in school. I was beat down, broke busted and disgusted. I was anger, bitter and mad at the world. I looked to heaven to see if there was a God and if so when he was going to rescue me from the nightmare I was living.
The end came in the spring of 2000. I was nineteen years old and had just signed the closing paperwork on a house he thought I would be wise to purchase. My mother told me NOT to do it, but I thought he knew it all. I would often think about hurting him like he had hurt me but I never had the nerve to do it. He kept guns in the house so I had access to his weapons, I just didn’t know how to shoot them. On May 15, he found something to argue about before he went to pick his Aunt up from work. When he wanted to leave me at home he would always start an argument about something silly to “clear his mind.” This day his mind was full of a lot of thoughts and getting rid of me must have been at the top of the list.
I told him to put me and my daughter out of the car; he pulled over and did just that before driving home to get his red and black backpack with his gun in it. He stood in the drive-way pointed the gun at me and asked, ”Do you want me to spray your ass?”
I said no and took off running with my daughter on my side. Down the street two men who were outside working on a house asked if I wanted their help. I told them I didn’t want them to get hurt because of my foolishness. They never left, even when he pulled up, jumped out of the car and pointed the gun at me. I closed my eyes because I didn’t want to see what was going to happen. I asked that he not harm my daughter she was innocent and didn’t do anything to him. He got in the car and his tires started skidding from the speed. As I ran down the street all I could think was a bullet was going to come flying toward us.
The men asked if I was ok, and ran the opposite way. The police picked us up and asked where he went but I had no clue. He always said he wasn’t going back to jail, he said he would shoot at the police so they would kill him. They spotted his grey Cadillac with silver rims and let us out of the car. A lady driving past in a red car gave us a ride to my cousin’s house. I gave her some gas money and told her thank you a million times.
My cousin asked what was wrong and I told her “he is either dead or going to be dead.” She asked what I was talking about and before I could say another word my mother was on the phone looking for me, all the drama made breaking news on the local channels. He shot a lady cop in the neck, she was paralyzed and died two years later. They shot him eight times. That made my teenage years some of the most painful years of my life. I felt guilty, that a police officer who was doing her job got hurt.
After he was sober and had a chance to think. He did call to apologize to me. He told me he was never going to hurt me, he wanted to scare me. He was tired of me making threats to leave and didn’t know what it would be like without me. I did forgive him for his action and thankful I did being he is no longer here on earth. He died 10 years later from his injuries.
I want to encourage young ladies not to give so much so soon. If you ignore the warning signs and give away all of your information it will be hard to leave in the event he becomes violent at any stage in the relationship. Think about the one in four women who experience abuse from a spouse or boyfriend. If you have a friend in the situation I encourage you to be there for her just as my friend was for me. If you suspect a friend is being abused because you’ve noticed she can’t hang out, stops calling as much or just acts weird when he is around try not to cause a scene in front of him. If she opts not to talk about it still love on her in the best way.
Remember all women don’t get to walk away from domestic violence. Walk away before you’re carried away.