Hope is the Only Thing Stronger than Fear
A Jane Doe Survivor Story
I was just 14 years old when I met the guy I thought was my soulmate. RJ was to be my high school sweetheart and eventually my husband. I had been seeing RJ’s cousin before I met RJ, and once I was single I started dating RJ. RJ was so sweet when I first met him. I thought wow, how did I get so lucky? If I only knew then what I know now. My life would be totally different. The only good thing that came from RJ, is my 2 beautiful children. I noticed once I turned 16 he began to be controlling; he never liked any of my friends and wanted me all to himself.
My parents didn’t want me with him because I changed so much. My world revolved around him and only him. The first time we were intimately together. I was just 16 years old and things really changed. He was my first and I was his, so I felt like I had to stay with him. He started telling me I was worthless, and then the name calling started. I got pregnant at 17, and we got married right after high school. I never told a soul we got married, not even my parents for over 6 months because I was so embarrassed.
Time passed, and things got progressively worse. He would force himself on me, and did inhumane things to me that to this day I am unable to utter. I thought it was “normal” to be forced on, to be controlled, and to be called names.
In 2003, he wanted to have another child! I thought maybe, just maybe, a new baby would change him. I was wrong again! He became physically violent with me. He began hitting, beating, choking, and kicking me like I was a stray dog that didn’t belong in his yard. I felt trapped! I was only 23 years old with two young children, who I took care of by myself, RJ did nothing to help me with the children he so desperately wanted. He would break my belongings and burn my clothes. Then of course tell me he was sorry time and time again and I believed him.
In 2004, I had a nervous breakdown and had to be admitted into a psychiatric hospital for 3 days. I wasn’t eating or sleeping, and I lost so much weight. I was depressed and suicidal all because of him. I was put on medication and tried to live life the best I could, but he always brought me down.
Daily, dinner was made and the house was spotless, even though I had to ask his permission to clean. I even had to ask for permission to use the restroom. I’d lay his clothes out, take his boots off, rub his feet, and have his bath water ready every single day. RJ would hide my car keys, no one was allowed at my house and I wasn’t allowed to go anywhere. As our children got older, he began to be jealous of them. Yes, his own children!
I would leave him from time to time, but I always thought he would change, so I would go back. He never did! Eventually, he started mentally and physically abusing me even more than he had previously and he started to abuse my babies too!
My 5 year old daughter developed an eating disorder because he would call her fat. He would call my son worthless, and pick on him constantly. He would move us around every year or so. My son went to 6 different schools by the time he was in 4th grade. I promised him the last time we moved that I would never move him again, and I kept my word. I seen my baby boy cry his eyes out because he’d move and have to make new friends all over again.
To this day my children resent him and yet, they love him because they was blessed with a soft heart like mine. I still to this day have nightmares of the horrible things RJ did to me and my children. I do know there is hope, and I promise that you will be a stronger person in the end. I always thought I was weak minded, but I’m not! I’m a very strong person because I’ve been through so much in my lifetime. Now, I only pray to God that my kids who are now 21 and 15, will never put themselves in a similar situation like I was for all those years. There is hope, and there is a way out. It’s hard, but it can be done and you are worth it. Your worth is more valuable than you realize. Don’t ever give up, as close as I came to giving up I didn’t. If I had he would have won!
Jane Doe, the Survivor
I Got Out Alive
By: Jane Doe, the Survivor
I was 17 when I met “J”. We met through a friend and he always seemed to be wherever we were. He convinced me to go out with him. That was a mistake. He watched my every move and he wouldn’t let me go home at night. He would insist I lie to my parents and tell them I was at a girlfriend’s house.
I wasn’t allowed to go anywhere or talk to anyone. My first time was with “J” and is was rape! From that point on he would always accuse me of being with someone else, even though I was with him all the time. He would beat me until I would admit that I was with someone else, even though I wasn’t; it was the only way he would stop beating on me.
I worked one weekend at a booth during a coon hunt, hoping he wouldn’t find out. He met me on my way home and held me on the ground in a huge ant hill. He beat me until the insides of my ears were black and blue.
He always apologized after he would smack me around; he’s promise it would never happen again, but it always did. I eventually ended up pregnant.
I went on my senior trip and when I got back home he was here to pick me up. He immediately went through my luggage, looking through my clothes and underwear and insisted that I had slept with someone on the trip. He said he would never take care of another man’s baby. He beat me, trying desperately to make me miscarriage. The beating didn’t work, so he forced me into having an abortion. I hated myself for not standing up to him and protecting my babe; but he kept telling me that the beating would have made the baby handicapped in some way. I couldn’t have my parents take care of the baby and I was not in any way able to care for a child with special needs.
“J” was still unhappy, he wanted me to be pregnant and he wanted a child but I was afraid and didn’t want to bring a child into this environment. He would get so jealous he would hold a loaded gun to my head until I told him what he wanted to hear.
On one occasion, he tied me up and put a blanket over my head. He put me in my car and started telling me how he would cut the brake lines and let the car roll. He actually let the car start to roll before he jumped back in and started driving like a mad man. He said he would get out of the car when there was no one around and let the car go. He made sure to tell me that no one would ever find him and I would always be looking over my back for him.
He would go to my parents’ home when they were gone. He would rummage through my belongings; he would burn and destroy my school memories and break the things that meant something to me. Then all of a sudden, he was nice for a few weeks. He said we just needed to get away from here. He said we would leave Ohio, get married on the way to wherever and he would change. We left but never got married and nothing ever changed with the exception that I no longer knew anyone around us.
He would still accuse me of being with other guys and I was pregnant, again. The beatings got to be every day. One day, I finally had enough and I didn’t fear him anymore, he was already doing the worst things to me, what more could he do. So I made an effort to stand up to him. He then threatened that my sister’s baby would just come up missing and that it would be my fault, he would taunt me asking if I could live with that knowing I was the reason that the baby was harmed. So I started doing exactly as he told me to.
I wrote a letter telling all of this and how afraid I was of him to my family, but feared maybe “J” knew the mailman and would tell him. I tore the letter up and threw it away. “J” found it in the trash, and beat me really bad.
After the baby came, he changed some, he didn’t mistreat the baby. We moved back to Ohio. “J” insisted that I get a job and that the baby would go to daycare even though he wasn’t working. Before the baby, he insisted that I go everywhere with him. After the baby, we couldn’t go with him anywhere he went. One night when I got off work, it was late, I looked across the street and saw a truck that looked like “J’s”. I decided to drive passed it but still wasn’t sure if it was his. As I pulled away, a man raised up out of the back seat of my car. It was “J”. He insisted I was meeting someone and beat me. I saw so much and “J” convinced me I was as guilty as he was, if I said anything.
We eventually divorced because he was seeing someone else. I honestly believe that is the only way I got out alive. His next ex-wife was not so lucky, they called it suicide. I only wish I would have gotten out sooner but I was a scared naive child. I didn’t tell anyone about what I endured until I was nearly 30 years old.
Jane Doe, the Survivor
It Happened One Night
By: Jane Doe
I would like to say that what happened that night was an accident, I would like to say that it would never happen again, and I would like to say that it was just one continuous terrible nightmare. Fact is, it was all very real and it changed me forever.
I was 18 and naïve to the world for the most part when I met JD through a mutual friend. He was a little older, drove a sports car, and he was interested in me. JD was like something out of a fairytale, he was charming and mysterious; I would later find out that he was really the villain of my story.
Things started out normal enough, we would go to the movies, out to shoot pool, and hang out with friends. My parents disapproved of him, I didn’t understand why they couldn’t see how fantastic JD was. What was it that my parents saw, that I didn’t? I was head over heels and the more my parents disapproved the more I wanted to be with him. Gradually, I started staying out late and eventually not coming home at all. My parents tried everything in their power to keep me away from JD. It finally came down to an argument that upset me and JD had an argument with my parents.
As a teenager, I thought it was the end of the world and that I couldn’t go home. I would later realize that this was JD’s way of isolating me. Shortly after that things started to change. I had never been with a man in the biblical sense and JD was my first. I really thought I was in love and that JD loved me.
The abuse was gradual. At first, it was a dirty look when I said something that JD felt was inappropriate, then he started to disapprove of my clothes even though my style was the same since the day we met. Next, JD would disapprove of me wearing makeup and even putting my hair in a ponytail. He began to literally control every aspect of my daily life. I wasn’t allowed to speak unless spoken to, I was not to make direct eye contact with another man. If I did, he would get jealous and angry. He would accuse me of cheating, even though I hadn’t left his sight, ever! I wasn’t allowed to drive, I wasn’t allowed to have my own money or phone, and he insisted that I go everywhere he went. And then it happened!
That night is forever etched in my brain, I can see it so clearly and each time I think of it, I relive it. JD had left the apartment and said he would be back in time for dinner. This was odd, he never left me alone, and I welcomed the privacy. I made dinner, as I usually did and at the usual time. Hours passed before JD finally arrived home. I had already eaten and that made him mad. He was in a foul mood. I made his plate, like I always did, and he started to eat. He said the mashed potatoes weren’t salted, so I sarcastically responded that he was a big boy and that he could add salt to his own potatoes. Like a flash of lighting, his plate full of food flew across the room! The plate shattered into several pieces and the food went everywhere. There was gravy on the wall, potatoes on the floor, and the pork chops landed on top of my open book. He screamed at me for disrespecting him and that I would have nothing without him. He ordered me to clean up the mess. I had never seen him so angry. I didn’t know where this behavior was coming from. It was like he flipped a switch. I felt like I had literally witnessed the transformation of Dr. Jekyll into Mr. Hyde. As I leaned down to wipe the gravy off the wall, he had walked over to me and grabbed my ponytail. Before I even knew what had happened, my head hurt so badly, and everything went dark. I can’t even tell you how long I was knocked out, I woke up cold and alone on the hard wood floor and there was a small dent in the drywall, apparently that was where my head hit.
Things only got worse from there. I walked into the bedroom and demanded that he give me the keys, I was determined I was leaving. I wanted to be anywhere but there. I thought, how dare he lay his hands on me like that. In hindsight, I wish I had just snuck out and started walking, that would have been the end of it all. I had no idea what was in store for me.
He woke up with a look on his face that I can still see like it was yesterday. It was a crazed look, pure evil. He grabbed me and forced me to the bed. He punched me in the head several times and he put one hand around my neck tightly, I was in a fog. I remember grabbing and clawing, trying to reach anything to get him off me but there was nothing, and no one that could save me from what was happening. He over powered me and I became very aware of what I was about to go through. My mind drifted, the tears just rolled down my cheek, and when he was done, he threw me to the floor. I tried to get up and he pushed me so hard I hit my back on the corner of the dresser. I still have the mark on my back to this day. He insisted I sleep on the floor. I lay on the floor for what seemed like an eternity, I couldn’t sleep. I didn’t sleep like a normal person for almost year after that night. I still sleep lightly and can hear every surrounding noise.
When he woke up the next morning, he acted as though nothing was wrong and that it was a normal day. He made a callous apology, one of many I would endure for the next year and a half. The acts of that night would become a regular routine. He would force himself on me, he would hit me, and make me feel like I deserved everything he was inflicting on me. He started leaving me alone but only because he was locking me into a room like a prisoner until his return and my release was to prepare his meals and clean his laundry. This was my life, every single day for a year and a half. I felt helpless, I was ashamed, and I thought this is how I am going to die.
Then one day, he had returned and a knock on the door followed. He answered the door to find two local law enforcement officers. They wanted him to come to the station for questioning. I was thankful they insisted that I come with them. I didn’t realize it then but my responses to their questions contradicted what he told them about his whereabouts on certain dates. I didn’t know anything about what to do if you were questioned by the cops. They released me but they kept him in custody. Things drastically changed from that point. JD was to serve a prison term and I was about to find my way out of the darkness and into the light. I found the courage to go home.
When I met JD, I was healthy and weighed 135lbs, a year and a half later, I looked like the walking dead and weighed only 95lbs. When my head hit the pillow for the first time away from JD, I slept for nearly three days straight.
The light at the end of the darkest tunnel I had ever endured was finally right in front of me. I finally stepped out into the light. Years later, I look back on those dark days and can’t help but think of how it changed me. I am stronger now than I ever can imagine that I would have been had I not endured such hell. I stand up for myself and others. I make a difference to those around me. I know now, that I am worthy, I am beautiful, and I am not alone. Even during those dark days, I was not alone, the Lord carried me through and made sure that I would survive! I am a Survivor! I will forever be a SURVIVOR and you can be too!
Jane Doe, the Survivor.