Steph’s story

What Happened:

The first time I remember my boyfriend hitting me was last year. I was driving and we were a block from my parent’s house. He got mad and had a habit of smacking at my mouth. He hit me in the mouth and I lost control of the car. I blew out the tyre and almost hit a cement wall. We were four houses away from my parents. I called them on the cell phone and my dad changed the tyre. I told my parents I lost control of the car. My silence resulted in 7 more months of abuse. One time during a football game he said I frustrated him and grabbed the back of my neck and pulled me towards him and bit my face. When I broke up with him he threw me to the floor and dragged me over the carpet and on to concrete yelling and calling me ‘bitch’ and ‘whore’. We tried counseling but as soon as I mentioned the biting incident he walked out of the session. Since breaking up he has begged repeatedly for me to take him back.

How I coped:

I have been in counseling for three months and I keep a daily journal of recovery. I also have started writing poems again.

How the situation changed:

I got out of the relationship because I knew hitting was wrong but he had brainwashed me into thinking it was my fault. I went to counseling not for abuse but because I thought there was something wrong with me. My counselor explained abuse and is helping me cope.

What helped me to get stronger:

I was in denial for a long time. As a professional, single femaleI didn’t fit a profile I thought of an abuse victim. By speaking with other victims I have discovered I am not alone. He was a classic abuser and had I taken the quiz you offer I would have checked everything as yes. Speaking with other women has given me strenght and confidence.

What I would say to someone who is being abused:

It is not your fault and you can not change or control the situation. Get out before you get hurt permanently or he kills you. I could have lost my life for someone who, only months later, has moved to someone new. No one is worth it and you can do better and find true happiness.

The Domestic Violence Resource Centre (DVRC) is a statewide service in Victoria, Australia, that aims to reduce and prevent family violence by providing education to improve service and policy responses, and by assisting people who have experienced abuse. This story, and many others, are shared through their “When Love Hurts” project.


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