1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men will experience domestic violence in their lifetime. In honor of our #PutTheNailinIt campaign to end domestic violence, Safe Horizon is sharing a true story of one of our clients. Check back for for continued installments of one family’s survival story, and donate today!
* This story contains details of a violent act that may upset readers.
I like to help people. I was a medical assistant for ten years. I would assist the elderly with daily duties, like laundry, food, shopping, and taking their medication. I really enjoyed my job. I was good at my job. After a while, I was hired as a manager at a home health agency.
That’s when I really started to see a problem.
I was bringing money into the home—more money than my partner—and it would disappear. I felt like I didn’t have control over what I earned, because he insisted that as the man of the house, he should be in charge of our finances. When I asked him about the missing money, he would scream at me. I was afraid he would hurt me. After a while, I stopped asking because I already knew how he spent my earnings. When my partner wasn’t working, he was doing drugs.
We had always made plans for the future, for our children, but these plans would always fall flat. We had a house that needed repairs. I woke up one morning, and he said to me, “I’m going to go get parts to fix our roof.” Instead, he came back with drugs. He told me that those drugs would make us ten grand. I didn’t have to ask how. I knew.
I left. I took the kids and moved to a different city within the state. I told myself that our relationship was over. But he and his family hired a private investigator to find me and six months later, his family came with pastors, who told me my partner had changed. That’s how they got to me: my own mother was a pastor. They preyed upon my background and religious beliefs about marriage.
The kids and I moved back in with him, and we soon ended up buying a four bedroom house. The house was beautiful. I was working. Things were better. Then, his mom visited. She brought with her some type of pills – I don’t know what kind. She showed him the pills and said, “Baby, make Momma some money.” My partner was trying to leave that lifestyle, but his family reopened up those doors. I knew that if you sell pills, you would be willing to sell everything else, too.
And now we shared a home with nice things. (To be continued here)
A word from Kelly Coyne, Vice-President of Domestic Violence Shelters at Safe Horizon:
“Anyone can be a victim of domestic violence. Here, we learn that the survivor is a hard-working career woman. We hold assumptions that domestic violence only happens to a certain kind of person. People often think, it couldn’t happen to me. I’m too smart, or, I have too much money. But domestic violence doesn’t discriminate based on any kind of demographic.”
“Domestic violence can often start with small power and control actions that get more intense and escalate over time. Financial abuse is a very common example of a power and control dynamic. In this case, this woman felt she could not confront her partner regarding the disappearing earnings even though she was the primary breadwinner.“