How much longer can I take the abuse? He says he loves me but then, he gets into a rage for no reason and beats me. My body is hurting right now. I don’t know how much more of this I can take. Is it my fault for marrying a non-Christian man? Was I foolish to believe the apostle Paul when he said, “For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband”?
I’ve prayed and prayed for my husband to change but he seems to be getting worse and now I’m fearing for my life. What should I do? Pack up and leave when he’s at work? Where could I go? I don’t have any relatives here. I can’t go to any of my friends because that’s where he’ll come looking for me. And I don’t want to put them in a difficult situation.
I’m pregnant and am afraid that if I stay, he will beat me so badly that I lose the baby. I’ve been pregnant five times and lost the baby each time. It would be my fault if it happened again. I must protect this life growing inside me but, I lack the courage to leave him. I don’t know how to survive without him. I been a prisoner in this marriage for so long that like someone who is leaving jail and going into the world after years of being locked up, I will feel like a fish out of water. How would I take care of my baby and myself? Find a job but where? I stopped working ten years ago when I got married.
Why did he do it? I thought he loved me. When we met, he was so charming. I fell madly in love with him and thought he loved me too. I guess I was wrong. Soon after the honeymoon, things changed drastically–they turned ugly. He became a monster. I saw the true person who had been lurking behind that charming façade. He prevented me from going out alone, from seeing and be in contact with friends and family. He was jealous of any man he saw me talking to and would accuse me of wanting to cheat on him. And when I denied it, he got furious and beat me. Afterwards, he apologized, said that if he didn’t love me so much, he wouldn’t go crazy like that. He would treat me kindly, buy me flowers and chocolates. We would make love and things would be fine until the next time he lost his temper. It was a relentless and vicious cycle.
Many times, I was tempted to run away but he threatened me. “I’ll kill you and then, I’ll kill myself if you leave me,” he told me before he smacked me hard across the face. Once, after beating me, he raped me on the kitchen floor. When he was finished, he got up, went upstairs, had a shower and went out with his friends. While he was gone, I thought of leaving then, but was afraid that he would make good of his threat. So, I stayed. For ten years, I’m trapped in a marriage which feels more like a prison with a cruel and unloving jailer.
I’m sitting on the sofa now, feeling depressed and wanting to die because I can’t endure any more of his abuse. The doorbell rings. I hesitate to answer it because my husband always warned me not to open the door to anyone. I rise to my feet and good to see who it is. It’s a policeman. I open the door. He asks me if Travis Barkley is my husband. I say yes. Then, he tells me that there has been a car crash and that the deceased man may be my husband. He askes me to go and identify the body.
I don’t want to go in case it isn’t him and he beats me for leaving the house without his permission when he gets home. After the police officer leaves, I pray about it and then, I decide to go.
I go alone and am taken into an empty room. A curtain is swept back and I find myself looking at my husband lying on a table. His body has sustained many internal injuries. I stare at him for several minutes in shock and it is when I am asked if he’s my husband, I break down. I’m sobbing because I’m sorry that he’s dead. In spite of everything, I never stopped loving him. I’m sorry that he has died without changing and accepting Christ.
Soon after, I quickly leave the room and take the bus back to the house. After the funeral, I sold the house and with the money, I moved to Washington, DC to be close to my family. I found a nice home and good job. In a couple of months, I will be giving birth to a baby girl. I don’t talk much about my marriage. It’s a very painful chapter in my life. I don’t know what I will say to my daughter when she askes me about her father. Maybe, I will tell her only the good stuff about him. Before we got married, he was good to me. That’s the father she will learn about. I thank God for getting me out of an abusive marriage alive. I’m a survivor. It could have been me lying on that table because my husband had finally beaten me to death. I’m still alive because God intervened.
This story is fiction and was written because October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. If you or anyone you suspect is in an abusive marriage or relationship, I pray that you will seek help as soon as possible.
Here are some quotes which I hope would encourage those of you who are stuck in an abusive relationship and those of you who know someone who is. And to the survivors, may these quotes remind you of your courage and strength:
“You are not the darkness you endured. You are the light that refused to surrender.” ― John Mark Green
“When it comes to abuse, you believe there’s no way out. There is always help. There is always a way out.” ― Rev. Donna Mulvey
“The more that we choose not to talk about domestic violence, the more we shy away from the issue, the more we lose.” ― Russell Wilson
“We can all take responsibility for helping to bring about change, and keeping our friends and colleagues safe from domestic violence.” – Charles Clarke
“Threatening a current or former partner isn’t passion, or love, or heartache. It’s violence, it’s abuse and it’s a crime.”― Miya Yamanouchi
“Someone once asked me how I hold my head up so high after all I have been through. I said it’s because no matter what, I am a survivor, not a victim.” — Patricia Buckley
“Pregnant women are more likely to die from homicide by domestic violence than any other cause of death.” — Lois Capps
“The best protection against rape, stalking, and domestic violence is to raise men who both understand that women are different, and would never dare take advantage of this difference.”— Wendy Shalit
“It’s not enough for women to speak out on the issue – for the message to be strong and consistent, women’s voices must be backed up by men’s.” — John Conyers
“It is not the bruises on the body that hurt. It is the wounds of the heart and the scars on the mind.” — Aisha Mirza
“Enough to anyone who excuses sexual assault. Enough to anyone who turns a blind eye to the violence so many women, children, and yes, men are subjected to. Enough condoning toxic masculinity with euphemisms like ‘boys will be boys.’ Enough. Together we can, and we will, put an end to domestic violence.” – Julian Castro
“Young men need to show women the respect they deserve and recognize sexual assault and to do their part to stop it.” — Barack Obama
Domestic abuse affects everyone so, let’s all do our part to help and support the victims.