Trigger Warning: discussion of domestic violence and relationship abuse, aggressive language
“I am a victim of domestic violence.” That one sentence took me months to admit and finally accept. I was living in denial and could not make myself believe that the relationship that I had been in for over a year had been an abusive one. I was in love with someone who wanted to control every aspect of my life, from whom I was friends with to what I did with my weekends to what I discussed with my parents. I felt like I was trapped in a world that was made up of just him and me. I want to share my story to let women on campus who may not think that they are victims of domestic violence to know that they are not alone. You are not alone.
In the beginning, nothing was out of the ordinary. I believed that we were soul mates and that he was “the one.” He would surprise me on the weekends and take me to the beach. Then we would end the day at my favorite ice cream shop and stay in to watch a movie. We would go on hikes together to Mt. Baldy and we would reward ourselves with a burger in the Village. My friends thought that he was the sweetest boyfriend and saw how much he loved me. However, this period of bliss soon transitioned into an endless cycle of verbal and physical abuse.
He would verbally attack me when I did something that he did not like. If I wanted to hang out with my friends he would yell at me and call me a “sl*t who wanted to get f****d.” If I dressed a certain way he told me that I was “asking for it.” And if that failed to convince me to change he would say that I looked “fat.” He manipulated me into doing whatever he wanted me to do. He controlled when I hung out with my friends, what I would do with them and even whom I hung out with. If I was away from him and did not answer within a certain period of time, he would blame me and my friends. He would make sure that the next time I saw him, he told me that I was sneaking around with guys and thought that my friends were “manipulating me out of a relationship with a great boyfriend.” After all of his name calling, if I started crying, he would say that I was either “bipolar” or should be checked into a mental hospital. Soon I would learn how to keep my emotions to myself and avoid talking about anything to my friends and family.
The verbal abuse eventually turned into the occasional shove or a push. He would casually drink six or seven days per week anyway, but when he was with his friends he would drink to get drunk. His personality would switch to an exaggerated version of himself. He would push me down while simultaneously verbally attacking me. But after I fell to the ground, he would say that I had tripped over him or myself. I would try to tell him that he pushed me, but then he would call me “crazy,” and he would tell me he was going to tell everyone that I “needed help.” Sometimes I would try to get away from him by closing the door behind me, but he would push through and smash my fingers with the door. One time he got so drunk that I physically ran away from him. He called out my name from behind and said that he could always outrun me. And before all of this happened, he punched his hand through a wall; he said that this was my fault because I made him mad for “no reason.” It was the first time I mentioned to him that I thought he had a drinking problem.
He tore me down from the inside out. I thought that I deserved it because of how many times he would call me “crazy” and “delusional.” He wanted to control me. I was always scared that I was going to do something he did not think I was supposed to be doing because it would cause him to drink and get angry and aggressive. I should have left at the first sign of that type of aggression towards me.
I ended the relationship with him when he grabbed my forearms and pushed me so hard to the ground that the wind was knocked out of me. After I left him, I spent more time making myself happy and I focused on my healthy and positive relationships. Before I was with him, I never thought that I would be in an abusive relationship — that it wouldn’t happen to me — so I never thought of my relationship with him as abusive. But it was, and it can happen to anyone.
I want everyone to know that no one deserves to be called any name and no one deserves to be physically pushed around. As much as your abuser wants you to feel that it is your fault, I want you to know that it is not. It was not my fault, and it is not any victim’s fault. Know where to draw the line and remind yourself that you deserve to be treated better.
If you or anyone you know is or has been the victim of relationship violence, see the following resources for help. All resources below speak Spanish and are Queer and Trans* friendly.
House of Ruth (Claremont) (Women & Children only)
houseofruthinc.org / 877-988-5559 (24 hr hotline) / shelter available
safehousealliance.org / 303-444-2424 (24 hr hotline)
Pomona College Advocates for Survivors of Sexual Assault
pomonacollegeadvocates.wordpress.com / 909-607-1778 (warmline)
LA Gay and Lesbian Center
lagaycenter.org / 323-860-5806
More resources and information: 5csurvivorsupport.wordpress.com