Masthead header

Married at 18 to an abuser: Sheree’s Story

“At that moment he punched the car window, grabbed me through the broken glass and threw me against the windshield of my car…”

I woke up on October 1st, I was finally 18.

This was the day that I chose to start my life fresh. I couldn’t wait for that night- my boyfriend was coming to take me out for a nice dinner. I needed to get out of the house, my mom was so emotionally abusive and expected me to take care of the whole house. Just one day, I wanted it to be about me.

Then there he was with flowers in his hand. Later that evening the most important question was asked, “Will you marry me?” Of course I said yes. The reasons I said yes aren’t the reasons someone might expect. I said yes because my mom always screamed at me on a daily basis, she always made me feel like I didn’t matter. And then there was my step-dad, he was an alcoholic and when he would drink he would flirt with me. Of course I always said, “Oh he’s just a drunk”. All I ever wanted was out of this situation. I only wanted to be loved by someone who honestly loved me for me. I just wanted a normal life. I needed to get away.

abuse

The special day arrived, I was getting married to the man I love. (Someone I convinced myself that I loved) My family wasn’t welcome at the wedding as they disapproved. Hours after we said, “I do”. He brought me to our new home. That’s when the “nice guy phase” was over. Over the course of the evening, my new husband began with the emotional abuse. As the days passed I knew I couldn’t do anything right. It seemed as if he married me to beat me down, not to be my knight in shining armour. Wasn’t he supposed to rescue me? Where do I turn now? I can’t go back home. My family isn’t talking to me and my parents would say, “I told you so”. So I stayed, enduring every painful day. Some days I didn’t think I could be with him, but he made me believe I couldn’t deserve any better.

One afternoon, I pulled up to our house, he ran across the lawn and demanded me to open the car door. I instantly went into a state of shock and refused. I knew something wasn’t normal- it felt like I was in a nightmare I couldn’t wake up from. He often took his frustrations out on me, verbally beating me down, but this was different. At that moment he punched the car window, grabbed me through the broken glass and threw me against the windshield of my car. I laid there not realising what happened. My husband had punched me, hit me so hard I had bruises on my body. I remembered thinking- I’m now living the life my mom did when I was young. My mom was abused and I promised myself that I wouldn’t be that woman. At that moment I laid there and cried. I cried out to God, asked him to rescue me from horrible decision I made- to save me and not let me die. I opened my eyes and no one was around. I felt peace, somehow I knew I was going to be okay. I stumbled off the car, with glass embedded in my back, arms and legs to my neighbor’s house.

The next morning, my husband’s parent’s came to give me paperwork that he was filing for divorce. There was a sense of relief, I now was free from my tormentor.  A few minutes later my step-dad arrived to take me home. My husband used to always say,” you will never leave me.” I remembered the entire car ride home, being thankful that there was a chance to start fresh (not just run away). I didn’t feel welcome at home, but I felt hopeful for the future.

It took time to gain my confidence back, to trust again and I couldn’t have done that without support. I have forgiven my ex-husband and no longer think I don’t have any value. I know that I am lovely- being me. My relationship with my mom began to heal once we learned how to communicate. I am thankful for the lovely girls who helped me overcome and let go. It was a hard journey. I struggled a lot with fear, control and self esteem. I chose to face these problems head on as I didn’t want my past to dictate my future. Thank you, Lovely for being the example of value. I didn’t know my worth, I settled for an idea of normality, but trust that there’s more. I want a life that’s extraordinary!

I was abused and beaten, now I am Lovely.