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.
Lorna’s Story, Part III: “It was going to happen again.”
I sat in the driver’s seat of the car and cried. I was picking up my partner from his three week, off-shore temp job. I should have felt happy to see him—that’s how love is supposed to work. You are supposed to miss loved ones when they’re gone, but I knew that with his presence, things would only get worse.
And it did get worse. My partner told me many times that I was going to die and that he would kill me. When he was angry he would choke me until I passed out. He wouldn’t take me to the hospital. He’d just wait until I was breathing again and give me water. Then he’d lock the doors to the house so I couldn’t leave and take away my phone. By taking my phone he kept me isolated, it prevented me from reaching out when I felt most threatened and vulnerable.
Maybe it’s not surprising then that it was a simple message on my phone that prompted his most brutal violence.
Lots of people play games on their cellular devices: Candy Crush, Domino!, Spades. I’d been playing a game where you get a random opponent. You don’t know who your opponent is, but you can leave each other messages such as, “Oh! You got me!” It’s set up so that you can leave the game and come back to it whenever you want to play. My partner took my phone and looked through it – he found I’d received such a message from the other player, a simple “Lol” response that my partner determined was flirtation. He came rushing up the stairs to the bedroom. Screaming, he demanded that I tell him who it was from. When I told him I didn’t know who it was, he became enraged.
My partner then swung a monkey wrench at me, and I ducked. It struck me at the bottom of my chin. I ran to the back of the room, far against the wall, and he jumped on top of me. He held my hair so I couldn’t move. He stripped me of my clothes, called me names, and told me I was going to die. I believed he might kill me. My kids heard us fighting, came into the room, and yelled at him to, “Get off Mommy.” He quieted for a moment and led the children downstairs, but I knew he’d come back to the bedroom. He wasn’t done with me.
I opened the bedroom window and jumped out, naked. (To be continued…)
A word from Kelly Coyne, Vice-President of Domestic Violence Shelters at Safe Horizon:
“A frequent mechanism of domestic violence is isolation; an abuser will work to cut off a person from their family, friends, and other connections. This is frequently achieved through subtle comments, or through questions about the appropriateness of the victim’s relationships. In policing connections and behavior, abusers may employ tactics. For example, a cell phone is a common device abusers use to monitor their victims. Lorna’s partner examined her cellular activity. Sometimes, a GPS system will be used to follow someone, or a victim will be pressured to check in frequently, about where they are or what they’re doing. Survivors of domestic violence often explain to us at Safe Horizon how monitoring, over time, can build up and become a new type of normal.“