(The survivor in this story has granted permission for her story to be published on this blog. Names have been changed and details have been fictionalized to protect the identities of the individuals involved.)
I met Richard in December of 2007. He was cute and charming and we stayed up all night talking to each other. All I noticed back then were the things we had in common. Little did I know about the monster that he truly was. Our first three years together were heavenly, and nothing would ever prepare me for what was to come. The first time he hit me was a devastating blow to my fairytale. He blacked both my eyes, busted my lip and gashed my head open by smashing a thick glass ashtray against it. That incident landed me in the hospital and it was the beginning of the terror I was about to endure for the next year.
The next incident that I remember is the one in which I ended up actually leaving him for the first time. After a brutal beating I went to a shelter for abused women in Beaumont and they sent me to the hospital. When I got to the hospital, the nurse said she would have to call the police. So I lied to protect him and ended up calling his mom to let her know I was safe. Richard answered the phone and began to cry and asked me to go back home. He told me that he loved me and promised to never hurt me again. I went back to the facility and told them that I was going to a friend’s house, but instead I went back to him.
The days ahead were filled with terror. When he wasn’t beating me with his hands he was beating me with his words. One day the neighbors called the police when he beat me up in front of them. He went to jail for the first time that night, but then his mom and I bonded him out three days later and the abuse began all over again. I was isolated, lost, hopeless, faithless and desolate; I wanted to die. We lost our apartment because of the violence and ended up living in a seedy motel for the next month. The violence turned into a daily thing. One night, he tormented me until dawn by beating me, holding a knife to my throat and peeing on me. He asked me if I wanted to die and I said yes. I don’t know what stopped him from killing me that night.
The second time he went to jail he had blacked my eye so badly that a broken piece of bone still floats around under my eye to this day. While he was in jail, I ended up going to treatment for drugs and alcohol. Months later he was released on a four year probation and once again, he convinced me to go back home to him. He promised me that he had changed, and told me that he loved me. But soon enough, he beat me one last time—this time almost to my death. He gave me two black eyes, shattered both of my eye sockets, split my lips open, broke my ribs, raped and sodomized me with a hot curling iron, and then he hung me from the ceiling with a lamp cord.
I was on a respirator for three weeks, suffered a pulmonary embolism and my memories and nightmares are still just as vivid as if it happened yesterday. He was sentenced to four years in prison, and is now out. I am a survivor by all means, and am still enraged that the justice system does not do more to protect other women going through similar things.
If you or anyone you know is experiencing domestic violence, call the numbers provided below for help or more information:
Houston Area Women’s Center 24/7 Hotline: 713-528-2121
(Crisis intervention, shelter, referrals )
HPD Family Violence Unit: 713-308-1100
(Filing police report and information about your rights)
Harris County District Attorney : 713-755-52888
(Information and help filing a protective order)
Family Law Hotline: 1-800-777-3247
(Legal questions on family and domestic violence issues)
Aids to Victims of Domestic Abuse (AVDA) 713-224-9911
(Legal advice and representation)