For years, I suffered abuse at the hands of my husband. He would hit me, call me names, and make me feel like I was nothing. But I refused to give up. I kept fighting, even when it felt like there was no hope. Finally, one night after yet another violent altercation, I'd had enough. I gathered my belongings and fled to a women's shelter. There I found safety and support among other survivors of domestic violence. With the help of the shelter staff, I began to rebuild my life. Slowly but surely, I regained my strength and self-confidence. And eventually, I left the shelter and started over again on my own terms. In this blog post, I want to share my story in the hopes that it will inspire other women who are currently in abusive relationships to find the strength to leave.
My Husband's Abuse Began Slowly
At first, the abuse was subtle. He would say little things that put me down, making me feel like I was never good enough. Then he started to yell at me more often, calling me names and making me feel like I was useless. The physical abuse began shortly after that. He would hit me any time he was angry or felt like he needed to exert his power over me. Over time, the violence got worse and worse.
I Was Too Ashamed to Tell Anyone What Was Happening
For years, I kept silent about what was happening behind closed doors. I was too ashamed to tell anyone—not even my closest friends or family members—what my husband was doing to me. Part of me thought that if I just tried harder or loved him more, he would stop being so abusive. But that didn't happen; instead, the abuse got worse and worse.
Why I Stayed
When people ask me why I stayed in an abusive relationship for so long, my answer is always the same: because he told me that no one would ever want me if he didn't want me. And after years of brainwashing, I actually started to believe him. Thankfully, that's no longer the case—but it took a lot of hard work to get to this point. You see, leaving an abusive relationship is much easier said than done. It's not as simple as just packing up your bags and walking out the door. There are so many factors to consider—like financial security, children, and where you would even go. That's why most women stay in abusive relationships far longer than they should. They're afraid of what will happen if they leave. And unfortunately, their fears are often well-founded. Women who leave their abusive partners are at a significantly higher risk of being killed by their partners than those who stay. But despite the risks, I decided that enough was enough. I couldn't live like that anymore—not for a day longer. So, one night after yet another violent altercation, I gathered my belongings and left.
Starting Over Again
When I arrived at the women's shelter, I was scared, confused, and didn't know what to expect. But from the moment I walked through the door, I felt safe. For the first time in years, I didn't have to worry about being hurt or killed. I could finally breathe easy, knowing that I was surrounded by people who cared about me and wanted nothing more than for me to heal and start over again. And with their help, that's exactly what I did. Slowly but surely, I regained my strength and self-confidence. And eventually, after months of hard work, I left the shelter and started over again on my own terms.
Felecia's story is one of courage and strength—traits that all women who have been victims of domestic violence need in order to find the courage to leave their abuser.
If you're in an abusive relationship, please know that there is hope for you—just as there was for me. You are not alone; there are people who can help you escape the cycle of violence and build a new life for yourself on your own terms.
All it takes is one step—one decision—to change everything.