Breaking Free from the Clutches of Domestic Violence

Domestic ViolenceAll marriages have their share of ups and downs. This is the thought that kept me going despite the fact that I knew very well that I was in a violent marriage. I got married at the age of twenty two and my husband was in the merchant navy. He was a good nine years older to me and I was absolutely smitten by his charm when I met him. We dated for about two months and then went on to get married. The first two years were good and then came along Molly, our first child. From then on it began to get rough.

Four years down the line and with two kids in the house I would hyper ventilate even when my husband called from the ship. His stay at home was marked by bruises all over my body and right from verbal badgering to physical abuse, I faced it all. I would constantly tell myself that the kids were well provided for and that soon he will calm down. I also tried to avoid any sort of conflict and would just pray for the months to pass before he would go back to sea.

But much against my hope, things just kept getting worse. I knew I had to get away but there was nothing I could do. I did not have a job and there was no way I was giving the kids up. My father had passed away when I was seven and my mom was my only pillar. While initially she would encourage me to stick on, in time she began to talk to me about options. My mother is a strong woman and one who raised three kids by herself. She would keep saying that if she could do it, so could I.

I was not too keen to see a lawyer and did not even know where I would be able to find one without making things too obvious. The shame and the guilt kept me from seeking out a women’s cell since I was just not sure I wanted anyone to find out about my situation. The fear that I will be a single mom and will have to look after the kids all by myself was overwhelming. It was this fear that made me join a few single mom forums and look up some sites for in single moms. And interestingly the way out of my problem also came from one of these sites.

While reading some single mom articles I happen to hit upon a link where a lot of information about domestic violence and victim assistance was detailed. I read through the section and detail and then went on to . It was here that I found the phone numbers where I could call about my problem. There is a domestic violence hotline where one can call 24/7 and not only do they look into matters of emergencies but also help victims of domestic violence with planning resources and safety etc.

I called the helpline and explained my situation to them. They offered me a host of services. Right from seeking therapy to looking at options for my safety and the well being of my kids to even helping me with lawyer options, they did it all. When my husband got back I told him that the abuse had to stop and if he would hit me again I would be forced to leave him. Not only did he hit me there and then but also said some nasty stuff about how I had nowhere to go. This is when I used the helpline number once again and within a matter of minutes we had the police at my house.

I will not deny the fact that the kids did see their fair share of fighting that evening. I filed immediately and my husband was told to stay away from me. The divorce took a few months to come through and my ex did not hang on to it for too long since he wanted to get back on the ship also. For about three to four months we went through turmoil but then it calmed down. Once the divorce came through and I got full custody, things began to fall into place. I was able to go through the day without worrying about small things that I did or said. The kids also felt much happier now that their mom was not crying through the day.

I do wonder how my life would have been if I had not called the helpline that day. I had not felt safe in years and with just a few simple guidelines they were able to assure me that I did have options. Every time my ex would keep telling me that I better not try and be too smart since I would be on the streets without him. It was the lady on the helpline that helped me see that I was not alone and that there were a lot of provisions in our country to help women like me.

Even after my divorce the National Domestic Violence services helped me to settle down and gain control of my life. Since my ex was a captain I was able to get good child support and alimony too. Financially safeguarded, I went on to take a job which allowed me to work while the kids were at school and also be there for them when they needed me.

No one deserves to be abused. As women we have to learn to fight for our rights and explore our options. Never make the mistake of presuming that you are staying in a rotten marriage for the sake of the kids, since it is these very kids who you will damage if you continue to expose them to abuse.

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  1. Amber McKibbin says

    Hi my name is Amber McKibbin. I am 25 years old and have been in a physical, mental and verbal abusive relationship for the past 7 years. My husband and I met when I was 18 years old and he was 40. Three months later I was pregnant with our first child a month after I turned 19. He was doing drugs and drinking really bad and I just told myself that that wasn’t the life I wanted for my child so I tried to leave and he called me apologizing and begging me to come back and I came back. A year later I gave birth to our second child just two months shy of being 21. Two years ago I left him and tried taking the children with me but he had his brother come take the children away from me before I left and threatened to throw me off the property if I didn’t leave (the property was his brothers). I had no choice but to leave. I had a friend of mine come get me and later we eventually started seeing each other. Two days after I left, he calls me and says that he got a lawyer and had gotten emergency temporary custody. I was floored. I didn’t know what else to do. I went to court but the judge would not let me have my children because the things my husband had told him that I had done. I went back to Texas without my children but not without fighting for them. I started working with my sister in a restaurant trying to come up with money for a lawyer. I paid $200 dollars to a lawyere but it still was not enough. Two weeks after I had left, I found out I was pregnant again with my third child. I was barely making it on my own trying to pay a lawyer until I had a mental breakdown and couldn’t eat nor sleep and I was a high risk pregnancy. So my only option was to come back or never see my children again and once again I came back. We got married last June but he would never let me file the marriage license. I am currently on food stamps and the children are on medicaid and wic. He has been physicaly abusive several times and I have talked to his sister and she told me that the next time that he hit me for me to call the cops and have him thrown in jail and that is exactly what I did. That was back in April. He has not touched me since but its only a matter of time that he does. Nothing has my name on it such as the vehicle I drive, the bank account nor the car insurance. The only things in my name are the utilities such as the electric bill, water bill and cable bill. He leaves me the debit card and tells me not to spend any money and keeps track of what I spend. If I spend at least over $10 dollars he calls me and threatens to shut the account down. I am currently trying to finish college. I went one year but tried to transfer and they have a hold on my financial aid because not all of my credits transferred. I am wanting to leave but I am scared that he will try to stop me or worse. He has abused me in front of our children and I know hes not afraid to do it again. He is a over the road truck driver and recently I had some friends over just having a good time. I didn’t tell him because I didn’t think he would care or get mad at me. Well, our children told him and he was extremely mad and threatened me. When he wasn’t looking I grabbed the car keys and stuck them in my bra and grabbed up the baby (I am the younger childs custodial parent and he has custody of the older two children) and packed some clothes and went to leave not realizing I had left my wallet with my drivers license and everything in it. So I pulled back in the driveway and parked the car and took the keys out and hid them in my bra again and went back inside to get my wallet. He went outside and got in the car and tried to drive off with it but he realized that I had the keys. I went back outside and he tried to catch me but I ran as fast as I could around the car and jumped in the drivers side and slammed the door shut and locked it. He jerked on the door handle and tried to bust out the window but I backed up with him holding on to the door handle. He finally let go and I took off down the road. I reached for my phone and realized he had taken it. It was one in the morning and I had no where else to go because my family lives hours away. So I turned around and came back but not because I want to be with him but for my other children. I really need some advice on what I should do. I have talked to my mother who lives in Tulsa and she has agreed to help me but she is going through a divorce right now and I hate to barge in on her. I want to leave but just don’t know on how to go about it and I don’t want to leave my older two children. Please help me!!!!!

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