Rhia's Domestic Violence Story
Rhia tells this domestic violence story not for sympathy but to point out that you never know what the one thing in your life is going to be that changes you and everything you believe. This is the way Rhia's life changed:
There are many things that can change the direction of someone's life, graduating, getting married, having a child, losing a parent, getting divorced and so many more things. I have done all those things. I got married at the age of 18 years to a man I hssad known for 3 weeks. I started having babies right away and had three sons in four years. My husband was not a very good husband or father but I was young and did not want to raise my sons alone so I stayed. In fact I stayed for 15 years before I just could not work to hold onto a broken marriage. After I separated from my husband I met a man I did not know that he was going to be the single biggest thing to happen to me in my life time.
We met at a dance and almost immediately we became inseparable. He was cute and funny and seemed to not be able to get enough of me. After 15 years of a man who did not seem to like me much this was a refreshing situation. He called and dropped by with flowers and was just so charming. He even seemed to get along with my sons who at that time were early teens and hard to get along with. I knew he had just gotten out of prison, but as he always said he had learned his lesson. I was on probation myself at this time and we should have not been together, but that just heightened the attraction. I should have seen the warning signs right then and there but I did not.
He moved in rather quickly, I just love to do things fast, and things seemed so blissful. He made coffee in the morning and cleaned up after himself and just could not get enough of the togetherness, I had been craving. The abuse did not start out physical it started with: I was lucky to have him, he could do so much better than me, the house needed to be cleaner, the boys needed to be quieter, and I needed to be home with him when he was, that my friends were not really my friends, and on and on.
The first sign of the physical abuse started not with hitting but pushing and grabbing. First came the apologies "I am so sorry I did not mean to grab you so hard but if you had only listened or did something right the first time we would have not had to go through that fight." As time went on the abuse got worse and happened at a faster pace. He started punching and kicking and burning and cutting. I was hiding all this from people who loved me, so I had no one to turn to. I could not even go to the law, as he was fond of pointing out. He was on parole and I was on probation if we had gotten caught together I risked going to jail myself. So, as the problem grew so did my fear that one of my boys were going to hurt him and end up in trouble themselves.
The final straw and the single most thing that changed my course with him was the day we had gone over to the neighbor's house for a bar-b-que and he thought I was flirting with the husband. The fight was on when we got home. There was nothing I could say or do to end this thing. I sent my sons to the store to see if I could defuse the situation, I did not want them to see anymore then they had to. He got angrier and angrier and went for his gun. It was not the first time that a weapon had been brought in but this time I was really scared. I was right to be scared, he placed the gun in my mouth because I was lying to him and I deserved to die for that and shooting through my lying mouth made sense to him. I remember being very calm and thinking about a lot of things, was I right with God, yes, would the boys be ok, no, but in the end the only thing I could pray for was that my boys not be the ones to find me. His uncle showed up and talked him out of shooting me and I ran. I got my children and ran as far as I could.
I tell this domestic violence story not for sympathy but to point out that you never know what the one thing in your life is going to be that changes you and everything you believe. If someone had told me I would let myself be hurt in this manner I would have laughed. I did find out that I am stronger than I thought. I also found out my children were not as blind as I thought. The biggest thing I found out was that even someone who was smart could get into a situation like this. I just want anyone who is going through this to know you can get out and be safe. That is why I tell my story I am no longer ashamed and if one person can find a way out because they have heard my story then it is worth all the pain to relive it. So, if you or someone you love is going through this just know you are not alone and you are stronger then you think. Today could be your changing day.
In This Section:
Domestic Violence Stories
Maya Angelou - best known for "I know why the Caged Bird Sings" is a wonderful woman and an inspiration. Her books and poems are like sweet melodies that flow through your head. She writes words of wisdom and truth and gives hope, encouragement and strength to all women everywhere. If you need to fill up your spiritual and emotional well, read this book:
To order in the US: And Still I Rise
To order in the UK: And Still I Rise
Hear the voices of other women who have lived through and escaped from domestic abuse. This collection of personal survival stories help us understand the struggles, the pain and ultimately, the courage of victims who are determined to be survivors.
To order in the US: Surviving Domestic Violence: Voices of Women Who Broke Free
To order in the UK: Surviving Domestic Violence: Voices of Women Who Broke Free
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Living with the Dominator by Pat Craven is the book to accompany the Freedom Programme in the UK. This book should be compulsory in schools - the information is so clear and so obvious and such an eye-opener! After studying domestic violence issues for years, this is the one book which finally enabled me to click it all into place and answer all my whys. Just read it:
To order in the US: Living With the Dominator (Kindle version only - and well worth buying a Kindle just to get this book!)
To order in the UK: Living with the Dominator: A Book About the Freedom Programme: 1
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