For this rant I am not going to be campy or funny. The issue at hand is entirely serious and therefore it seems inappropriate for there to be jokes of any kind. For the past two years or so I have opened up and let you, my gossipers, my fans into my life and shared many secrets with you, tried to solve blind items alongside of you but I have always kept a piece of myself back. Not out of shame or embarrassment but because when I revealed it I wanted there to be no doubts about why I was talking about it now. I am not selling a book or trying to get more hits; if I were there would be a picture of a half-naked male celebrity above this column. I am talking about this now so that I can help someone who is in a similar situation to me; so that people know that there is a way out of an abusive relationship.
Back in 2005, I began dating a guy. At first he thought the world of me, or it seemed as though he did. He treated me like royalty, made me feel like there was nothing I could do wrong. The fact that my best friend hated him didn’t faze me; I figured it was just jealousy. As time went on he began using my best friend against me, in little ways at first, mainly sexually.
As he began comparing me to my best friend, he started calling into question my weight. Up until a few years ago I was skinny as can be, then my metabolism slowed but my eating habits didn’t. I gained weight, and he took advantage of that. He would say things like “I like my men a little chubby” or “nice belly.” I was destroyed, I went into overdrive trying to lose weight and be the beautiful person that I felt I was, that I am on the inside. It never seemed to be enough for him, his taunts about my weight escalated.
After my self-esteem was completely destroyed, the hitting began. At first I didn’t think anything of it; I felt it was playful hitting. Again this intensified as time went on, the punches, hits etc., began to leave bruises and the noise attracted the attention of my roommates. No one believed my excuses that I ran into doors or fell down but no one said anything either.
Sex became a weapon with him. If I got out of line, or did something that he didn’t like he would withhold sex from me, telling me that he no longer loved me. There was one instance when I was talking to Mandy on the phone and he was upset that someone else had my attention. He held me down on the bed and sunk his teeth into my nipples after I hung up the phone.
At the height of this, he isolated me from my friends. All my life I had lived in Macomb County, Michigan and he insisted that we move to Detroit because it was closer to school for him. Never mind that it was far away from my job and I don’t drive, it was convenient for him. With shattered self-esteem and my friends backing away from me, I held onto the one person who I thought loved me more than anyone else ever could. Once in Detroit the beatings became more frequent and much more violent.
One night I was on the phone with a dear friend of mine, and had to plug my phone in. I tried to be as quiet as possible while in the apartment but he woke up, and was furious. I hung up the phone and apologized to him. He threw me on the bed and covered my face with a pillow to try and suffocate me. I fought back with everything that I had in me and got him off. I lay on the bed stunned, not being able to move, as he raced to the kitchen and grabbed a knife. He held it to my throat and warned me that he would kill me if I tried to move an inch.
Fear took over my body, so I lay on the futon perfectly still. When he unzipped his pants, I kicked him where it counts and used the time to get off the bed and grab my coat. Unfortunately it wasn’t enough time, and he got a hold of my arm and threw me back. When he placed himself between me and the door, he taunted me that there was “only one way out.” In the hall way to the door there was the door on one side and a window on the other. We were three stories up, which doesn’t sound like a lot but it was quite a ways up. He pushed me through the window; the only thing that kept me from going through it was that I used my body weight to stay in.
I started punching back, and eventually got passed him and into the night. I called my friend back in tears; he got to me in about 10 minutes in what was normally a 30 minute drive. He stayed with me the entire night and made sure that I was OK before he left me. I filed a police report but did nothing with it the first time. I thought hey things could change now that he sees I’m not a wimp that I will fight for myself.
Things did not change, in fact they went further and further. It ended in me getting a can of soup thrown at my head, leaving a large bump that is still there today, nearly 5 years later. After that incident I called the police and had him arrested. I owe the strength I found to do this to friends, who said to me, “You are not the person that I befriended, when he comes back give me a call.” It was a wakeup call for me, and when asked if I wanted to prosecute I said yes most definitely.
What I hope that you take away from this is not that domestic abuse victims are stupid or weak but rather the abusers manipulate them and kill their sense of self and their self-esteem. I was destroyed but I came back stronger than ever, now I know what to look for and what the signs of an abuser are. An abuser starts off a relationship leaving little signs, like how no one understands them or talking about how they were abused as a child. Not all victims become abusers, I know I didn’t but it is hard for people to get close to me now. I have a brick wall up around my heart that is virtually indestructible and no one can get in.
If you or someone you know is in the situation please get help. From somewhere anywhere, if you are a friend or relative of an abuse victim give them you’re unconditional love and support but also let them know that you will not see them become a different person. Tough love will get through to them I promise you it will.