And Still I Fight

by Brittany
(Pennsauken, NJ)

My story began 9 years ago.

At 21 I met my soon to be boyfriend. He was older and at the time helpful and everything I thought to be normal. With him being older than me, I thought his controlling ways were him knowing more and teaching me. Slowly I learned my voice was gone and didn't matter. No matter what opinion I had, he believed it to be stupid.

Things started to become overwhelming to me as far as being isolated from others and constantly talked down to. The name calling was the worst. It was as if I couldn't think or say anything right. I lived like this for years. While there wasn't any physical abuse, the fear was unbearable. Many times I thought he was right, and I was crazy as he said. I didn't fight back or argue my point at all. I would just let him win. I learned to do everything his way from cooking to eating to what I wore.

I lived this way for years, thinking I could live this way to keep a two parent home for my children. There came a point where it became too much, and I couldn't take being everything for him anymore. I remember asking for time to myself, meaning not calling him on every break at work; to just have a few minutes of peace. This caused him to kick me out and give me two weeks to get my own place. Within in those 2 weeks, I found a place for me and my children and moved from our home.

During the time I was on my own, I began to soul search to learn myself again. I read self help books and worked on affirmations and began a road of self love for me. This made him angry. He thought I had other men in my life and would check my home for them constantly. During the time apart I dealt with a lot of harassment, nothing physical just late night visits, horrible voicemails and stalking.

He pled for another chance, but I stood firm in my "no" and often told him he needed help. Through it all, I promised if he ever went to counseling, I'd give our family a try. There came a time when he finally went for help with his emotions. During this, he worked on his self and got in touch with some of the reasons why he treated me the way he did. In learning this he would always ask how I dealt with him being so mean and tormenting me. I believed it was love and the sake of our children. He changed a lot during this time. We did a lot of family things. It seemed he changed. Suddenly, my opinion counted and was actually valued.

He often asked if we could live together again. I always said "no, we needed more time to rebuild." Things seemed to be so different others even noticed the change friends and family. He played more, laughed more, etc. We talked things out and shared feelings. I was often skeptical and uneasy of the change but often gave the benefit of doubt. After lots of talking and convincing, I allowed him to move back in. It seemed he went back to his old ways instantly.

We battled over 3 weeks about power and control. I stood my ground and made my voice heard. On a normal day, 21 days after he moved back in my home, we had a small fight on that day that changed my life forever. He tried to kill me for what was very much a minute. He said it was a jealous rage that over came him. We argued and as he was leaving I said sassily "deuces." He came back in with a distant look on his face. I felt an overwhelming amount of fear. However he was very nonchalant and told me not to act scared. He didn't like that and never hit me.

I went into our kitchen and turned around to see him holding knives. I asked what was he doing and he just told me to be quiet. I said our children are right there, please don't do this. Not knowing what was happening I was very afraid. My phone rang. He said don't answer it. I accidentally answered it trying to to turn the ringer off. That's when he began stabbing me. There was a struggle. I tried to run. Next thing I know he's repeatedly stabbing me, whispering in my ear this was all my fault. He said I could have loved him more. My children were standing in front of me screaming and shouting please stop we need our mommy. He continued telling me I was going to die and he would go to jail. We would both lose our lives that day. I felt helpless and tried screaming but nothing came out. Somehow, I used all the energy I could and screamed stop your killing me. He then slit my throat and stopped.

He took our children upstairs. While he did this I was able to get myself up sliding my body on a wall. I went outside to my neighbor's where I fell just a few steps from her door. I remember going in and out of it. Telling myself stay awake, don't give up, your children need you. I wouldn't stop fighting. I laid there. I could only think of my children. It felt like eternity before someone came. Next thing I know there were police and ambulance and screams and sobbing. I was unresponsive and couldn't talk. I only was thinking about where were my children and how they needed help.

I remember the ambulance ride and worrying if I were going to die. As awful as this story may sound, I'm still here. I was stabbed about 70 times all through my body. My heart punctured three times. I went through many surgeries at Cooper hospital.

This just goes to show even if there are no signs of physical abuse it can still turn deadly. Never underestimate domestic violence.

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