I met my husband when I was 18 yrs. old. I met him through a mutual friend that I babysit for. We got along very well, he seemed nice. We talked for a year over the phone, as he was in a relationship with another woman and I was spending time out of high school with my family in Oregon. Shortly after I moved back to my home town and our mutual friend offered to pay me to be a nanny and move with them to Yakima, which had also been where my husband lived. I was just 20 yrs. old when Dan and I began dating on a serious level. In just 7 months problems arose between Dan and I and our mutual friends. Eventually things got so bad that I had to choose between Dan or my friends. I chose Dan.We moved in together and in our 7 month anniversary, for Christmas, Dan proposed and I said yes.
Everything seemed happy, but as our relationship moved on he became more possessive and I wasn’t allowed to talk to my friends from high school. When I made new friends, if Dan did not like them, he would cause problems by giving me requirements and rules I could not keep. Eventually, I stopped talking to them or I would have to end up changing jobs because my schedule did not work with his.Eventually, I began to be scared because he had closed all my options for friends or free time. I wasn’t even allowed to talk to male co-workers or even go to my friend’s birthday parties.I eventually left him to be with my family and try to be my own person again. He never stopped calling me or my friends. Eventually, he told me he had changed and I went back shortly after my 22nd birthday.Within 2 weeks of being back Dan and I were married and 2 months after being married I became pregnant with our daughter. He became controlling again on what I would wear, where I would go and what I would do, even though he would sleep all day.
After I had our daughter I was doing everything normal. Our laundry, the baby and trying to care for myself. Eventually, I stopped eating and I had to put the baby on formula because I wasn’t eating enough to feed my own body. I still wasn’t able to go anywhere without his permission. I tried to leave once when my baby was 5 months old, but he told me he had changed, so I came back after a month. His aggression got worst. He began to tell me that it was my fault. One time he pulled me out of the car and bruised my arm and told me it was my fault. I knew I didn’t have a choice, I couldn’t let my child see this and grow up to think that someone could control her and abuse her and blame it all on her. Things only got worse as I tried to stand up for myself. He got more controlling and aggressive. He started to hit the walls and kick the bathroom door. When I needed my space from him, he would never allow any of the bedroom doors to be locked and if I made him mad, he would go out of his way to hurt me by either destroying my keepsakes or by being aggressive. During sex he would always tell me if I would just relax it wouldn’t hurt me. I finally told him that I had had enough after a disastrous shopping trip and he punished me by shutting of my phone.
I told him that I wanted to leave him and get a divorce. He told me if I wanted to leave to go ahead, but I would never see our daughter again. I told him he would have to kill me before I let that happen. I asked him to let me use his phone so I could call my family for help. He refused so I tried to reach for it and he grabbed my arm. I tried to get him to let me go and he wrestled with me and he ran to the bathroom to keep the phone away from me. I followed, was able to side track him enough to grab the phone. He shoved me and began choking me. The only thing I could do to let me go was to hit his face. After that we struggled over the phone again. I fell on the floor and he choked me from behind and I struggled to get to the tub to throw the phone in the tub and turn the water on. He let me go and went to a neighbors’ house to call the cops. I grabbed my daughter and ran to the nearest restaurant and called my family. I was about to call the YWCA when the police found me. They took me back to my house to my husband and arrested me. I had never been arrested. I was only 23 yrs. old.
My family helped me post bail, but I was homeless with no money and no socks to my shoes. They released me in the middle of the night in Wapato. I was able to convince a police officer to take me to Yakima. I had to walk from the sheriff’s department to memorial hospital to ask for help. A week later I was able to get into the YWCA. There they gave me clothes, shoes and shelter. Over the course of a few weeks the YWCA helped me get an attorney to begin my divorce and get temporary custody of my 9 month old. When I finally saw my daughter 2 months had already past.
If Yakima hadn’t of had a YWCA I don’t know what would have happen to me. Over the next 6 months with the Y’s help, I was able to get my money, and our personal belongings. They also helped me find an apartment. I have had a few rough patches, but every time I needed help they were there to help me.Now I am getting started in a new chapter in my life and moved closer to my family and be safe. I have stopped the cycle of the violence and can teach my daughter how to be healthy and happy and that’s all I have wanted.