There are some graphic details in this guest post. Please use discretion when reading.
I will tell you my story, but I choose to change a few things for the privacy of my daughter.
I call myself Oma. I have a girl and a boy. I had them both when I was a teen and never married either one of their fathers because when they both found out about the pregnancies they ran and I wasn’t able to find out where they went.
When my girl was 4 and my boy was 6 I moved in with my boyfriend. At first I thought his attention and jealousy were just because he loved me so much. Soon he began to make all the decisions, control my money, even took the role of parent to my kids. I thought maybe that was good since they’d never had a dad.
My boyfriend insisted on sex several times a day. He was a bit rough at first, but I knew that some people like that, so I tolerated it, although I did not prefer it. As time went on, he eventually became very violent in the bedroom and forced me to do things against my will. In the bedroom he made me call him daddy and if I would not, me would beat me until I gave in.
Slowly over time my boyfriend had been breaking ties from everyone including my family and friends. I wasn’t allowed to speak with anyone without his approval. I had no money, nothing, without him. He told me I’d be on the streets if it weren’t for him and I believed it. I was afraid to leave because I had nowhere to take my kids, at least that is what I had come to believe.
Slowly and systematically my boyfriend had altered my thinking and beliefs until I was totally dependant on him.
I soon discovered that he was watching really terrible porn that involved rape and worse. I asked him to please stop watching it and he said I was such a bad lover and so ugly that he had to watch it to become aroused. I believed it, but it still hurt to know he watched it.
I tried to stay away from him and become invisible. I went to bed early to try to avoid sexual contact. Eventually it seemed to work and his sexual assaults lessened. Instead of several times a day, they happened once or twice a week. I told myself that was manageable.
Eventually he took to sleeping on the couch and stopped sleeping in our bed with me. It was a relief, although he still came in to assault me a few times a week.
We were together for 12 years, and were considered common law spouses, when I came home unexpectedly early from shopping because I’d forgotten my list. I found my boyfriend in my daughter’s room. He was raping her. I took up her lamp and started hitting him with it. I was screaming but I don’t know what I said. He fought me and beat me badly. My daughter was afraid to do anything and I kept telling her to leave and call the police. He kept telling her if she did, he would kill me. She stayed, but I know it was because she was afraid of what he would do.
I thought he was going to kill me that day. When he was done with the beating I crawled to the bathroom to clean up the blood. My daughter tried to help me, but he wouldn’t let her. He told us both that if I would have taken care of his needs he wouldn’t have had to use my girl. Later, when he was in the basement watching his TV, I went to my daughter and told her we needed to get out. My son wasn’t home from his job and I didn’t want to go without him. I asked her if that was the first time my boyfriend had touched her. She said he had been doing it for many years.
The anguish when I heard that is unexplainable. So many questions raced through my head like where was I when it happened? How had he hidden it? Why hadn’t she told me? But I knew why, really, because it was the same reason I had never told when he did it to me: fear.
We left the next day with nothing but what we were wearing. I walked into the police station and told the officer at the front what had happened. They helped us.
Eventually he was arrested. He went to jail.
I live with guilt I cannot bear. Everyday. I feel I somehow should have known and stopped it from happening to her. Although she says she does not blame me, I have always believed that she really must blame me on some level. How could she not?
There have been times since I left when I’ve thought it would be better for my girl to send her to live with my sister so that she would not have to look at me or remember.
I have seriously thought of ending my life, but I think I’m supposed to stay here and suffer for what happened. My bad choices since I was a young girl led my daughter to this place. I don’t ever see a way to heal from this, but I hope my girl can. She sees a therapist and she says it helps.
I want people to know what domestic violence is and what it can do to a person and their kids. It devastates lives. It’s so much more than broken bones and bruises. It guts you to the core and leaves you standing as a shell of the person you were.