I was 17 when I met him. I was still in high school and he was the cool, older college man. Everything was new and fun and when he told me that I should always wear my hair that way I thought that he liked it, not that he literally wanted me to always wear my hair like that. The abuse started slowly but crept in. I was stripped of everything that was me. I couldn’t eat onions because he had conviced me that I didn’t like them. I mean, how do you forget that you like a food? The abuse got more and more physical. He made everyhing my fault, like it was my fault for burning the supper that I got tossed against the wall. I was so panicked when he would hold me down on the bed with the covers on my face, I still feel like i’m suffocating if there are covers on my face. After being with him over a year, I finally broke free of his abuse. My wonderful sisters and parents came and never said “i told you so” The abuse didnt’ stop with me moving out. He did a lot of emotional damage. I had to find myself again. Make sure I was doing things because I enjoyed them, not becuase it was the way I was supposed to act when I was with him. It has been 5 years and I still have memories of some of the events that I had forgotten that come back to me. Then, I cry or break out in hives. I’m still surviving day after day. We are all survivors. Audre Lorde once said “Your silence will not protect you.” and she is correct. Now is the time to shatter the silence!

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