For years, Michelle led a double life. By day, she was a high-flying corporate executive. But by night, she was a victim of domestic violence. She was terrified to tell anyone or leave the relationship for fears of retaliation by her abuser. But finally, enough was enough. With the help of a friend, she was able to escape the abuse and get the help she needed. Here is her story.
I never thought it would happen to me. I was successful, independent, and strong—or so I thought. I met my abuser at a happy hour after work one day and we hit it off immediately. He was charming, funny, and attentive—exactly the type of man I had been looking for. Little did I know that behind closed doors, he would be a completely different person.
The first time he hit me was two months into the relationship. We were arguing about something minor, and he just lost it. He slapped me across the face so hard that I fell to the ground. I was in shock. I couldn't believe that this man who claimed to love me could do something like this to me.
From then on, the abuse escalated. He would hit me, kick me, pull my hair—you name it. I was too scared to leave him or tell anyone what was going on because he threatened to hurt me or kill me if I ever tried to leave him. So, I just kept quiet and pretended like everything was normal on the outside while my life turned into a living nightmare on the inside.
One night after he had been drinking heavily, he came home and started accusing me of cheating on him—even though I had done nothing wrong. He started calling me names and then he hit me so hard that I blacked out. When I came to, I knew I had to get out of there before he killed me.
I called a friend and told her what was happening. She came over and helped me pack a bag and get away from him for good. She took me in and helped me get back on my feet again. It's been two years since I left him and I'm finally starting to feel like myself again.
If you are in an abusive relationship, know that you are not alone—and there is help available when you're ready to take that step out of the darkness and into the light.
No one deserves to live in fear.
This post was written in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.