Abuse Hides in the Dark. Turn on Your Light.

Marie A’s Story of Abuse

A woman with wide piece of tape over her mouth. She looks angry. Text says 'Break your silence'

Marie’s Emotional Signs of Abuse

Confusion, Self-consciousness, Unworthiness, Anger, Bitterness, Feeling lost, Doubtful, Fearful and Frustrated

Marie’s Signs of Being Abused

He was constantly putting me down for everything. I could do nothing right. I was a poor wife, poor step mother.

I could never spend enough time with him. And I either spent too much time with my step son or not enough time with him.

He wouldn’t work, didn’t work, and wouldn’t help keep the house clean. I worked 40 + hours a week (I’m a veterinarian and on call) he sat at home played on the computer, played video games, or watched TV all day.

He was involved with porn, he wouldn't have sex with me, he tried to get me involved but after several times of watching it, I told him I couldn't keep doing this and he got mad at me. He cheated before we got married and I'm not sure he ever stopped, and like I said he was at home all day, and I was working, and things weren't getting done around the house. He dismissed my feelings constantly. I had no right to be upset Christmas 2010 because it was my first Christmas away from my family, my whole entire life. He told me they weren't my family anymore. Him, his son, and his family were my family now. He ran up the credit cards and was constantly spending money even after I asked him not to because I couldn't pay them off. He would flirt with other women in front of me. And when I told him it bothered me and that he was doing it, he would deny it and/or down play how I felt about it. He was constantly flirting and grabbing and touching a friend of ours. He only wanted sex when he wanted sex, which was hardly ever...Oh, wait, he was having it I know with himself (because he would send videos and pics), and maybe someone else. But when I wanted sex he told me that he wasn't dick on demand and he always had a headache. I didn't realize all these things and many more were abuse until I ended up at the Abused Adult Resource Center (AARC) after he hit me the first time. They made me aware of the emotional, spiritual, mental, and sexual abuse which finally lead to the physical.

Marie's Story of Abuse

I worry about the next woman he will abuse. And for the sake of other abused women, I will fight this in North Dakota & everywhere my voice can be heard.Well, in January of 2011, my husband made a comment about how he watched porn to stay faithful. I said he didn't have to watch porn because he had a wife who wanted to have sex with him every night, but he didn't want to and would rather play with himself. My husband hit me in the head with a Nerf sword really hard. He did this in front of our friends (a married couple). Then, three days after I accused him of having feelings for the wife, he threatened to kick my ass while on the phone with our pastor while the couple stood there. He tried to throw the couple out of the house, but I wouldn't let them leave because I wanted witnesses if he hit me again. He called the cops and I had him escorted out. We went to counseling together with our pastor which didn't do us any good because he stormed out and the pastor said he could not help us anymore because it was beyond his abilities. We went for one visit with another counselor, but my husband stood me up on the second visit after finally getting a part time job making minimum wage. He had us go get his horrible step daughter from his previous marriage for the summer, and I got the joy of having to take care of her on top of my job, his son, and the house, and he was only working 15 to 20 hours a week. Then my folks came. We got in a huge screaming match on vacation with each other in front of them in Yellowstone. We finally gave his daughter back to the ex and she got to visit the son. During all this he got a new job, his motor blew in his car, after the car gave us trouble and a $1000 bill just to fix it when we went to get the daughter the first time...plus motel cost, food, towing, etc. while we were stranded in Montana. He comes in from his new job tells me he needs to have a 4-wheel drive vehicle and he's taking my truck to his job and he will be gone for don't know how long....I needed my truck for work...He tells me then I need to find us another vehicle...I break down from all the stress and his lack of concern. I found a vehicle before he left and used the money my parents had reserved for the wedding we were supposed to have later on (we went to the court house and planned a wedding for later). So, he leaves for a week and is supposed to be gone for 30 days or better. This is August 2011...I plan to get his son and his nephew for his son's birthday. I tell him that I'm taking them to a restaurant that has games and stuff for the boys to play...and his mom and sis are planning to meet us there. He calls me the day before says he's coming home for the weekend. When he gets here its later than when I was supposed to meet up with his mom & sis, but I had informed them he was coming. He is in a bad mood. I ask him what vehicle are we taking. (This was so I could get the boys in the vehicle and ready to go out the door.) He gets mad says quit rushing me I got to piss. I said fine I'm trying to get the boys in the car so we can go when you're done. He stayed pissed the rest of the day. We decided to see a movie after the restaurant and screamed cussed and yelled at me because I didn't know the movie times. I told him I originally wasn't planning on him being there and I wasn't sure if we would go to the movies or not depending on how long the boys played games. For 15 minutes before the movie started he screamed at me. Then he tried to touch me in the theater and I pulled away from him. He finally apologized. But he was still pissed the next day too which was a Saturday. I got supper ready, he slept most of the day. I fed the boys, got them showered and then put them to bed. I showered. Then he was going to shower. I put on sexy lingerie and waited for him. Apparently I turned the light of in the living room and he couldn't see. Instead of paying attention to me half naked, he starts screaming and fussing about the light. Then he starts screaming and fussing about stuff on the kitchen table. (which by the way was his stuff that was laying there for him to take back with him and I didn't know where else to put it so we wouldn't forget). He was fussing about how the house wasn't cleaned. I worked all week, I had a hectic prior week trying to find a vehicle, all the finances stressing me, both my grandmas were sick, my one grandmas boyfriend was diagnosed with cancer, and my aunt was in the hospital...yet he told me that was no excuse....Then I change put on different pajamas and move myself and stuff to the spare bedroom. He follows me continuously yelling screaming and I finally got back in his face yelling and screaming.

Physical Violence Erupts Again

All of a sudden he grabs me around the neck with both his hands and starts choking me. He slings me around the room. All this time I'm trying to pull his hands away from my neck screaming...it seemed like a lifetime. He knocked my glasses off my face threw me on the bed and proceeded to choke me even harder. He finally looks at me and says quit screaming or I'm going to punch you and balls up his fist. I turn my head as best I can. And for what ever reason he finally lets go. Then I grab my cell phone try to dial 911 and he grabs my phone and breaks it. While he's busy breaking that one I grabbed my work cell phone dialed 911 and threw it in the closet. I never said a word to the operator. Then he comes back in and grabs me by the arm and drags me down the hall and pushes me on the couch. Then he starts screaming at me about everything again. He said I hated his daughter, I told him I didn't hate her I didn't know how to handle her disability and neither did he, she was difficult to handle but I didn't hate her. He started yell because he wasn't on the title for the house. He told me once again my family wasn't my family any more. Finally the cops show up, arrest him, and take my statement. He spent a few days in jail. I filed protection order right away. I pressed charges. He was allowed to violate the protection order by the officers, by my lawyer and his lawyer with all the divorce stuff. And again the last time he came to get his belongings the stupid officer told him he could return the vehicle that next day since I would be at work. When he wasn't suppose to be within 1000 feet of my house, or my job, or me period. Then the stupid DA charged him with interfering with the 911 call and only a simple assault, when it should have been strangulation or attempted murder. When the officers had pictures of my neck and he could have got him on 2 felony charges. All the ex got was unsupervised probation for a year and is supposed to complete batterers treatment but they have no way to monitor this. So, he will get by without having to complete it. I have also provided another part to my story of abuse the year after the incident....which was written on the one year anniversary of my last abuse and the beginning of my freedom. I call it:

The Last Year: From Chaos to Blessings

As I sit back and think about where I was a year ago today, I look at how much my life has changed in the last year. If you had asked me this time last year how I was doing, "not real well" would have been the answer. I had to face one of the hardest things in my life, harder than vet school, and harder than nearly dying in vet school. This trial was the hardest I faced yet. The reason being is that the last 3 years of my life I had been with a man who constantly criticized, ridiculed, put me down, took advantage of me financially, and finally he decided show his real true colors and self and put his hands on me. All in all this man made me feel so horrible about myself that I was questioning my own existence, capabilities, and worth. I thank God everyday that the night he strangled me I had my work cell phone because having that second cell phone saved my life, and got the cops there…because while that man was busy beating my other cell phone, I was able to dial 911 press send and throw the phone in the closet, and he had no clue what I was doing. I have never been so fearful for my life in any one moment, not even when I was laying up in ICU in 2005 facing possible death. I've never seen so much hate and anger in someone’s eyes, and never imagined that the man, who claimed to love me, could look like that and be standing there above me choking me. No woman ever expects this to happen, and that it would ever happen to her. Then things started becoming clearer to me as I started to face all the chaos that went along with an abusive relationship, how abusers are selfish, how they manipulate, how they control, how they forbid things, how angry they are, how they feel entitled, how they justify abuse, how they try to hide it to the outside world, how they are deceiving, and numerous other traits these abusers possess. But abusers also possess a soft, kind side, which keeps women in these relationships, and makes them want to stay. The women see this side of them early in the relationship, and the abuser makes the woman feel that she no longer tries or doesn't try hard enough, or what other excuse they come up with to justify the abuse. I've had to face things about my past, my childhood, and the abuse I endured then. I had to realize that I was drawn to a person like this man because that was all I had known and seen. I realized I had married my father basically, especially, the really bad version of him before he got saved. And I've had to face, that I even have some of these abusive tendencies that I need to work on. I had to learn that what my abuser did to me was not my fault, that I was not to blame. I had to learn that this was his inherent nature, the person he is, and he was going to do it to me no matter what I did. I had to realize that just because I didn't clean the house that week, did not give him the right to put his hands on me, or the fact that he later told the cops that he thought I was cheating, also gave him no right to put his hands on me. Which the cheating statement then lead me in turn to face the fact that he was probably portraying guilty feelings about his behavior onto me because I know I wasn't cheating. Then there were violations of the protection order allowed by the Morton County Sheriff’s Deputies, because he was allowed 4 different times into my home, when he should have only had one chance and one chance only to remove his things from the property. Then on the last attempt to remove his belongings the officer allowed him to drop the expedition off the next day (instead of returning it that evening which was agreed upon prior to him coming) without a police escort, when he wasn't supposed to be within 1000 feet of my house, or my work, or me at any given time. And the constant continuing of manipulation and abuse from him through his attorney and his numerous times of setting up to come an remove his possessions from the house, then canceling at the last minute. The constant emotional roller coaster that all this put me on, and the constant fear, anger, and hurt I felt all wrapped up into one every time this occurred. The justice system failed me…even though they had the perfect pictures of his hand prints on my neck, they did not charge him with strangulation or attempted murder, which both would have been felony charges. He would have had to fight 2 felony charges, but instead the spineless jellyfish of a state's attorney charged him with simple assault, and felony interfering with a 911 call. Then they dropped the interfering with the 911 call and allowed him to plead guilty to just a simple assault. He got a years worth of unsupervised probation. Explain that one?! How is that any different from his normal living?! The one thing that may help is he is supposed to do mandatory batterers treatment before the probation is over otherwise he faces jail time. Due to all the stress, the fear, and every other crazy emotion I could feel, I've had very little sleep in the last year. Any little noise I hear wakes me up. I haven’t slept well since the whole ordeal, not that I've ever slept well to start with but it’s been a lot worse. I lived in constant fear for months, fearing he would come back after me, because he got arrested and in trouble with the law. I fear running into him in Bismarck…and some of these things I still fear. And even though I still slightly fear these things…I’m not as fearful as I once was before. I’ve decided one way or another I will get justice. Morton County doesn’t have a way to monitor whether or not he completes batterers treatment, and there is only one place they can receive the treatment. The problem is no one cares whether he completes his treatment. Well, I’ve decided I care and I will make a huge deal out of this if he doesn’t get batterers treatment. If he doesn’t complete the treatment before his probation is up then he faces jail time. I know it won’t help me, but I worry about the next woman he could possibly do this to. And for the sake of the sisterhood of abused women, I will fight this. I’ve already been fighting this. North Dakota will hear my voice I don’t care if I have to go to ever law making meeting or what I have to do to have things changed so I can make it easier for other abused women to get the help and justice, they so need and deserve. With all that being said, God has blessed me. He has blessed me with a very hard learning experience that has for ever changed and shaped my life, the way I view myself, men, and people in general. God has showed me there is something besides Veterinary Medicine that he wants me to do and that is advocate for abuse. It is to help give advice, comfort, and just plain be there for other abused women. But God has blessed me with something far better than I had before. I was blessed enough with a great support group of family and friends, and made new wonderful friends! God has blessed me with a wonderful man. Someone who treats me good, who listens to me, and who has been supportive about everything since we’ve been talking and together. He is supportive and lets me say how I feel and lets me talk about that experience. From day one he has been a far better man than the ex ever had time to be. And I am forever grateful for that. And I guess if the ex hadn’t treated me so bad I wouldn’t know what being treated good felt like. I said the other night that I regretted ever marrying my ex but then I told my friend I take that statement back because if I hadn’t been through what I have been through then I never would’ve found the wonderful man I'm with now…So, I’m actually grateful for this horrible experience, which actually surprises me to say. And I’m amazed by this wonderful blessing God has sent me and I hope that he is around for a very long time.