Survivor Stories

I am a 21 year old woman

I am a 21 year old woman who like many woman my age, have dreams of the future. I have been very skittish to share with people my story, but as I get older I want to share with people because even though I was not able to save myself from what happened, maybe, just maybe my story can help someone else.

Everyday has been a battle for me since I was little, I have been through a lot growing up and only being 21 years old I feel a head of my years but still like I have a lot left to discover. I had no choice but to grow up faster then I wanted to. I am more and more aware everyday that everyone has their stories and everyone has their battles.

Mine started at a very young age. My mother had remarried when I was 6, he was the only father I ever knew when I was little, my biological father had not been around since him and my mother split when I was still a newborn. My step-father seemed to be everything we were missing in our lives, I’m not sure what had changed him or if he was always like this and I was just to young to notice.

But one night while at my grandmothers I remember her getting a phone call from the police that something had happened to my mother and we need to get to the house as soon as possible. Upon arriving all I remember is flashing lights with cops and an ambulance in front of our house. Walking in a police officer took me and carried me upstairs to try and avoid what had happened. There was blood everywhere, I didn’t know if she was alive or dead, I could hear my grandmother screaming and crying downstairs. The officer reassured me my mother was alive but had been badly beaten by my step-father. They could not find my step-father, he had ran off before the police could get there, but was armed with a gun and on the loose. They had taken my mother to the hospital where later me and my grandmother went.

He had eventually came back to the house and turned himself in with the gun. He was arrested and thrown in jail. Only days later after coming home from the hospital my mother decided not to press charges and wanted him to come back home. She had asked me if it was ok, I told her “No.”

He came home anyways, not to long after is when my childhood would have forever been changed. He had abused me mentally, physically, and sexually, starting around the age of 8. It had become almost routine for him and for me it became normal. If I ran from him he only ran faster, if I said no the it would only go on for longer. I remember being numb of feelings, scared to death of what he might do to me or my mother if I had told her or anyone else. He threatened that I would never see my mother again if I told. So I was silenced.

My battle I thought had ended when he died in September 1998, when I was 10 years old. It wasn’t until a year later that I finally told my mother what had happened. I don’t think she ever forgave herself for letting him come back home. But it was reported to the police and I was finally able to speak about it to someone.

It is still something I struggle with to this day, the nightmares that haunt me occasionally, the diaries I kept as a little girl are almost unbearable to read at times, but the thought that my story might help someone is what makes me hope for a better future. I have had a hard time over the years getting my voice out there, speaking about it has not always been the easiest so I had become accustomed to writing, something that I have written recently that means a lot to me and is also something I have never shared with anyone until now. It is something that is best described in my own words what my life has been like.

If you or someone you know needs help, call the Groundwork 24-Hour Domestic Violence Hotline at (815) 729-1228.