I know I’m not the only person to get into marriage when they didn’t want to. Many victims of domestic abuse are coerced into marriage or have to marry their abusers or risk further injury or illness. That’s what happened to me. I was with my ex-husband for 10 long years.
The majority of it I spent suffering every kind of abuse you can think of. Financial abuse (he wouldn’t let me work so I was dependent on him), sexual abuse (forcing me to engage in sexual relations even when I didn’t want to), emotional abuse (the name-calling and psychological torture)… you name it, I’ve been through it.
But, once I had my daughter, I knew I had to put my foot down. She was only four weeks old when he came at me while I was holding her. I was able to shield her from the blows, but not without a concussion. That night, as he went to get drunk, I finally found some peace. Looking at my little girl I knew I needed to do something to take back control of my life.
I wasn’t afraid anymore, but I also had to be smart about it. I started sneaking a couple of dollars here and there so that he wouldn’t notice. I hid it in one of the baby’s bottles since I knew he was never going to pick up a bottle to feed her. Once I had $2,000 saved, I grabbed the bare minimum necessities for myself and my daughter, and I bought a hotel for a month a couple of towns over.
In my state, you don’t need to be separated before filing for divorce. While I hid in my hotel with my little girl, I started to reach out to domestic violence resources for help. They were able to help me file for divorce, get a restraining order, and after showing the judge all of the proof of the abuse I had, I was granted a divorce. He didn’t do himself any favors in court when he screamed that I would always be his.
I got so much satisfaction when I told him he just needed to let me go.
The restraining order is in place indefinitely; we are officially divorced, and after three years, I was able to buy a home for myself and my daughter. Leaving my abuser was the best thing I ever did, so far. Who knows what the future holds for me now, but the possibilities are endless.