I was a young, naive 16 year old. My boyfriend was 4 years older than me. He was known for his tough guy behavior. All the other guys in my circle were intimidated by him. Not his smarts because he was lacking those, being a high school dropout, but by his fists. His impulsive, erratic behavior; this somehow appealed to me.
I don’t remember the first time he hit me, and I don’t remember the last. There were too many over the four years I spent in this abusive relationship, but there are many that I cannot forget. Even writing this twenty years later, I am still haunted by these events through nightmares. They are becoming further and further apart over the years, but they still come.
On Valentine’s Day night, my Junior year in High School, I was fast asleep in our home which was in the country. I was alone. My mother was spending the night in the hospital after having a hysterectomy. It was around three in the morning when there was pounding on my door. My boyfriend, being dropped off drunk, knowing I was alone. I let him in, without a choice as we lived a ways away from town, and it was in the middle of an upstate New York winter. I went back to bed because I had school in the morning. He tried to force himself on me. His stale beer breathe was making me sick to my stomach as many things did during this time because I was close to three months pregnant. I tried to push him off me, praying he would just pass out, this was not happening. He was not someone who accepted the word “No”. This began the struggle and ignited the demons within him. I fought; and I fought hard. I was not going to allow him to rape me. This evening turned into one of the worst of my life, but also one of the best. Here’s why: after about two hours of fighting, running, hiding, being hit, thrown down, and dragged through the snow, barefoot I made my attempt to escape and run to the top of my driveway where my car was parked (we had a very long, steep drive, and in the winter months often had to park in a cleared area at the top, otherwise we would not be able to get out due to the ice packed under the snowy slope). I will spare the many details from this night that are still as fresh in my mind as they were twenty-one years ago; the torture that I endured. But I will share this: a desperation came over me, exhaustion and pain setting in, the gripping fear that this night would not ever end, that it could easily end in my death as he was angry and in a black out state of vengeance against me. I sat in a chair and screamed these words, “Please God help Me!” Those four words spoken from the depths of my heart, seemed to freeze time. Everything stopped; the fight, the torment, the will to hurt me and the unborn child within me. He stopped. He picked up the phone, called for a ride, ran through the house ripping the phones out of the walls, (I’m guessing to ensure that I didn’t call 911 while he was out walking to meet his ride) and left. He left. It was as if God had sent his angel armies to fight the demons for me. A light came shinning into the darkness, because I had cried out to him and asked.
“Please God help Me” spoken from a sixteen year old to her Heavenly Father. Those words, I know, saved my life. And not just my physical body, but my spiritual body, my very soul. This was the first time I had met God. Sure, I grew up in the Church, but this, was my first raw experience that opened the eyes to my heart, allowing me to see and understand, that God is real. It was no coincidence that after a two hour battle for my life that my attacker stopped dead in his tracks.
About forty-eight hours after this assault I was hospitalized due to my beating and suffered a miscarriage. I remember waking up from the anesthesia, my Doctor with tears in his eyes, held my hand and asked me, “What kind of monster did this to you?” Apparent from the many welts and black and blue marks on my body.
Today I sit and think of these things, while it is the month of October and October being the National Domestic Violence Awareness Month as well as the month that honors Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness. It wasn’t until this year that I put these two awareness’s together. I suffered the loss of an unborn child through a miscarriage because I was a victim of domestic violence. Wow! But out of ashes there is beauty. Out of suffering there is joy. This was a night of loss, but also a night of gain. I lost my unborn child, but I gained an eternity in Heaven, where I know that one day I will be greeted by the face of this baby. God showed up because I called upon Him. This is one of many testimonies as to why I know beyond a shadow of doubt that God is real and I will forever glorify his name for rescuing me.
Psalm 50:15, “Then call on me when you are in trouble, and I will rescue you, and you will give me glory.”
Psalm 91:15,“He will call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him.”