I always believed his side of things. I believed that ‘true love’ could conquer all, and that I could change him, make him a better person. When I got tired of name calling like ‘dumbass bitch’, I started fighting back by slapping him. This gave him an opportunity to haul off and beat the crap out of me until I was finally down on the floor, holding my arms behind my back, rendering me harmless. I remember blaming myself, thinking, ‘well if I hadn’t acted like a bitch or if I hadn’t slapped him for saying that, this would have never happened.’ The truth is that his moods would change suddenly and unexpectedly with no notice and without cause. He would go from a gentle giant to an extremely angry asshole and there was little or nothing I could do to keep him from acting out. Even when I would try to walk away and seek solace, he would follow me and try to pick a fight. The days just before a full moon were the worst. I thought to myself, “no wonder they call a crazy person a lunatic”. I kept the violence between Jason and me a secret from my friends and family. We married after two years of living together, and I took the oath in front of friends and family to love him until the day I die. During our marriage, he could never hold a job because of his anger issues. For Jason, it was always someone else’s fault. Moreover, his chronic lying and the verbal and physical abuse finally escalated until I couldn’t take any more.
Our beautiful little girl with blonde curls, Katy, had just turned two years old that week in January of ‘96. She was my saving grace. The day after her second birthday, the violence between Jason and I had escalated to the point that he was tearing up the house. When I threatened to call the police, he tore the phone from the wall and said he could press charges against me too and Katy would have to go into foster care. Believing this, I never called. He punched holes in walls when he was angry, tore sliding doors off the track and punched through locked doors when I tried to get away. This night, during his fit of rage, I was covering my head to protect myself (he often hit my head because you couldn’t see the bruising), and I looked over and saw Katy, crouched down in her diaper in the corner, also covering her head and crying. I instantly flashed back on my childhood and all that I had endured. I did not want that for my child. No man was worth dying for, and no man was worth having my child’s spirit broken. I finally stood up to him and said, “You touch me one more time and I will kill you.” He knew I meant business so he backed off and I was able to sleep with Katy that evening behind her locked bedroom door. The very next day, I met with an attorney in my office building to inquire about a divorce. He told me that the last client, who was living with an abuser, didn’t survive the relationship. I didn’t have any money, so I had to confess the violent relationship that evening to both my parents and ask for help with the $5,000 retainer fee.