Two and a half years ago I became involved with a man who abused me physically, as well as emotionally. I become pregnant early on in this relationship and not long after that the battering started.
His first arrest was four months after we started going out. This was only the first of many incidents I would experience over the next two years. When our baby was born, he was in jail because he broke a restraining order to stay away from me. I took him back many times before I realized that he was not going to change.
After the last violent attack I suffered, I was taken to the hospital. Well, this time I did learn a lesson. I knew I had to start thinking about my family. He was arrested and charged with assault. I went to trial to testify on my behalf. He pleaded “self-defense,” based on two scratches on his shoulder from my struggle to free myself from his rage.
After two continuances, my abuser’s public defender managed to make all the prior arrests for assault not admissable in court. I was not allowed to explain the cycle of abuse.
It starts with emotional abuse to gain control, then to the physical abuse to relieve rage and then it’s the honeymoon stage to manipulate. The cycle then starts over.
It was my word against his, of course, and he was found not guilty.
By the justice system not allowing the patterns of abusive relationships, abusers won’t be held accountable for their behavior. Without consequences and accountability, we all suffer.
I stood up to my abuser and didn’t win in court, but I still encourage all other women to stand up for themselves and break this cycle.
I would advise any woman in an abusive relationship to learn from other people’s stories, to realize that when you do go back, you go back to more abuse and the cycle begins again.
Only you can break the cycle. Abusers will continue to abuse until they find the help they need and not use us as their victims.
The hand I hold now is not the hand of fear! Real love doesn’t have to hurt. There is no excuse for abuse. Don’t allow it in your family.
MEMO: Your Turn is a feature of the Wednesday and Saturday Opinion page. To submit a column for consideration, call Rebecca Nappi/459-5496, or Doug Floyd/459-5466.
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