Silent Night, Violent Night
My husband had come home from a long, 12-hour shift and immediately opened a beer. I could tell his mood was off but hoped the kid’s excitement for Christmas would rub off on him. After a while, he sauntered into the kitchen and asked what I was making for dinner. I swear I saw fire in his eyes when I told him. He was appalled, telling me I never cooked and how did I expect him to work hard all day while I was home doing nothing. The more I tried to explain, the angrier he got. He walked out of the kitchen and I thought that was the end of it, so I turned back to the stove to flip the now burnt grilled cheese. The next thing I know his hand is on the back of my head, pushing my face into the screaming hot skillet. When he finally let me up, my face felt like it was still on fire. He dragged me past the kids, and pushed me into the bathroom. He told me to clean myself up and finish making dinner.
It wasn’t the first time he had attacked me. I had called the cops on him before we moved, to get him out of the house when things got really bad. He had a bad temper sometimes, but he always returned to his normal loving self. That was part of the reason I was excited about moving. I thought a new job and a fresh start was exactly what our family needed. While I was sitting in the bathroom looking in the mirror at the burn, I took a picture and sent it to my sister. I’m not even 100% sure why I did it, something inside me told me to do it “just in case”.
I was almost finished cleaning myself up when I heard a pounding on the front door. Before I could come out of the bathroom the door swung open, my husband told me the cops were here and to stay inside. He would deal with me later. I found out later he told the police that I wasn’t even home. He convinced them that my sister was crazy and jealous, always trying to drive a wedge between us.
I heard the door close and my heart dropped as he made his way across the apartment. The bathroom door flew open and he began attacking me. I felt bones break and remember thinking I was glad he closed the bathroom door so my kids wouldn’t see this.
I woke up later in the hospital. I found out my oldest child had called 911. When he heard the cops again, he ran out the back patio and into the night. He broke my nose, my arm, and a few ribs. I know he was going to kill me.
When I finally came around, I knew I couldn’t go back home. The cops hadn’t been able to track him down and I was sure he’d be looking for me. Someone in the hospital gave me YWCA Oklahoma City’s domestic violence hotline number. They told me we could come to their emergency shelter for safety. We entered with nothing but the clothes on our backs. As I watched the gate close behind us, I knew we were safe for the first time in years.
My advocate helped me reach out to my family, and I was able to really rest for the first time in years. My kids enrolled into a new school and received all new uniforms and school supplies. I was even able to go through the YWCA Santa Store and get all new Christmas presents for this kids to open. While at the shelter, I got to heal my body and soul. For the first time I felt hopeful, especially when the cops finally apprehended my husband. YWCA OKC helped me with resources to find a new home, a new job, and a new safe life for me and my kids. My life, and my kids’ lives, were broken and riddled with violence. Today, our lives are beautiful and full of possibility.