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  • Writer's pictureI'm a Survivor

A Whirlwind of Emotion by Portia R

I met my husband at the tender age of 18. Meeting him was like being hit by a tornado of emotion. The feelings whirled through me. I felt overcome and knew I just had to have him. Little did I know what I was bargaining for.

At first when we got together we were great. I felt like I was on cloud nine and that nothing could ever interfere with our bliss. We were married two years later. I found the process of getting married scary, and that's probably the first red flag I ignored. My gut knew something wasn't right but he was all I knew.

Soon after we were married the fairytale turned to a nightmare. I'll never forget the first time Nathan hit me. I felt paralysed by fear. I didn't even know that one could be so scared that you cannot even react. Thereon he looked at me differently. It's as if I wasn't his wife but his property. He started to control who I was to see and what I was to do. Every day things became a problem, with violence often being his answer.

Things became a lot worse once he started selling drugs. He sold anything you could think of and forced me to sell them too. I always wondered what kind of person would sell drugs. I now realise it might not always be a choice. It certainly wasn't for me.

The first time I left him was in 2015. He had dragged me through Walmart, thrown me in the car and nearly beat me to death on the car ride home. Two months later he got in touch and said he was sober. He promised to stay sober, work on our relationship and to make everything right. I still loved him and it felt so good that he promised all those things I had longed to hear.

Our bliss didn't last. I fell pregnant with my son and this triggered him. He was using again and when I was 2 months pregnant he held me in a bathroom beating me the entire time. He used the tub and sink to hit my head against and choked me with the shower curtain. The next day I couldn't move. I couldn't believe this was happening again. He begged me to stay and said he didn't remember doing any of these things. I stayed.

Things escalated. I ended up in a pregnancy shelter while he lived on the street doing drugs. Every day he'd rape me under the pretence that I was his wife and had to. I now know that this isn't true.

He continued to beat me throughout pregnancy. Anyone who dared come in to my life he'd intimidate. If they didn't leave he'd force me to cut them out of my life threatening their safety. Finally he ended up in jail and we could breathe a sigh a relief. My son was born and I had hope things may change for the better. I managed to get us an apartment and was focused on building a new life for Elijah and I.

He was released from prison when my son was 3 months old. He promised to have seen the light and changed his ways. I thought that prison may have taught him a life lesson and I wanted my son to have a father in his life. For the first week it was perfect. We were together and things were good.

Then he got right back to it. He started doing drugs again and things were much worse.

He would slap me if I said the wrong thing or made the wrong food. He would punish me if didn’t make it exactly how he wanted. Every second of my life was spent living in fear of angering him. I was a shadow of myself.

In addition to the abuse he started bringing his drug business in to our home. Addicts would turn up at all hours of the day. I'd argue with him about this as I didn't want these people around my son. He'd respond with his fists instead of reason. Right before my son's first birthday he slammed in to me so badly that my leg was shattered. I now have six screws in my knee, two in my ankle and a rod down my leg. That was the final straw. After this I knew I had to get away or he'd kill me.

Before I could leave he kidnapped my son while I was sleeping. I was terrified that he would hurt him. It took me seven hours of pleading to get him back - the longest seven hours of my life. When he returned him to me, he did so via a person I didn't know. God only knows what this person could have done to him.

After this incident it became clear to me that we were both in great danger. I called the domestic violence hotline and got a bus ticket to Houston Texas. I managed to secure a place in a shelter. I was there for a month before he tried to find me. While he was trying to find us he was wearing an ankle monitor and the shelter needed to hide us. I don't know whether he was caught or just gave up as I haven't seen him since.

My son and I are safe now. It's taken a while to share my story as I was just filled with anger until recently. But now something within me needs to tell it. Not just for myself or my son - it's to help others escape. Hopefully my story will stop someone from making the same mistakes I did. Please take it from me - he will never change.

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