Dove’s Story

After 14 years, I experienced physical, emotional and verbal abuse from my husband. I decided that enough was enough; and for the sake of my three children who were growing older, I needed to end the abusive marriage. After finally speaking up and saying, "no more!" to my abuser, I was able to get out. My story has a bit of a twist to it, because after I did that, my abuser assured me that we would divorce civilly. That was my first mistake -- to listen and believe him. His motives were purely evil. My husband at the time and his father (ex-sheriff of a small town) decided to have me removed from my home in front of my children, stripping me of everything but a nickel in my pocket and a bag with three changes of clothing! I was literally thrown on the streets by my abuser because I spoke up and ended the silence. He was able to maliciously do this by lying to judges and anyone else he could convince. My only support person was my 83-year-old father. I was alone and terrified and did not know what to do next.

That day in April 1998 left me so desolate and alone -- my children were being kept from me, told lies to about me. My abuser and his family did and said anything they could to brainwash my children. I lived in sheer terror: waitressing, living in a trailer with no furnishings, and trying to rebuild my life from nothing. Everything we had -- money, cars, home -- remained in his possession due to his lies. He knew I had broken the silence of the abuse. Fighting to regain back what was mine, I was pushed off a bridge by my abuser's father, followed by death threats at my door. I was harassed and assaulted. No matter what I did, it seemed they had the upper hand. Now, instead of being abused by just my former husband, I was now being abused by his entire family. Needless to say, this was not easy to deal with. Eventually, I did, through sheer determination. The most difficult obstacles that I faced included: not knowing that there were programs to help me; lack of money; depression; and the pain and trauma -- not just dealing with the past 14 years, but having to cope with all of this too. I just wanted to have my children back to protect them and to live free from abuse!

After two years of fighting for my children, I moved 1500 miles away from my abuser and his family, thus removing me, their target. The abuse finally ended he could not touch me or come close to me. I removed his focus finally! I took back my life for the first time in fourteen years.
It took me almost a year and half, but I finally got my children back by fighting my own court battles for child custody with no lawyers because no one would help me in the system. With out money there was no help. I knew in my heart I was not a stupid woman. If I could learn to live with abuse and wear the mask. Then I could certainly learn all I could about the divorce and custoy process.

I used the internet and I learned and read all I could, and represented myself in court -- and won!!!! I won back my life, my freedom and my children. In the process of all of this after seeking support groups and help, feeling afraid to leave my home due to the threats of my abuser and his family  I began searching on AOL for online support groups.
I am also remarried to a wonderful man. I did not know that love was not suppossed to hurt. Rock taught me that I was a person and had a right to equality in any relationship. It took me letting my walls that I had built up for so many years and learn to let someone love me for who I am. I was always waiting for him to change into the monster in my dreams. But that did not happen. My Message to you is if you have been the victim of abuse, female as well as male victims, there are good wholesome honest loving men and women out there. And if you have been the victim of abuse, its ok to learn to love again and trust.

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