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Victim, Survivor or Fighter?

A Story of One Woman's Determination

Domestic violence is not always obvious.

This is not a story for the weak minded or for those of a softer nature.  This is the short biography of a women who has struggled through more hardship in her young life than most have gone through in the span of a lifetime.  Although she herself is also flawed and has made mistakes. Some may be so bad, they will surprise you. But it is all true. And it is through these trials, tribulations and sins that she finds out exactly how strong she is and what amazing things she is capable of.  It may have some sad moments, and it may make you angry at times.  But this is not what I want you to take from it.  By the time I have finished telling this story, I hope you have found the "Fighter" within yourself, and the determination to keep your head up no matter what life throws at you.

My Earliest Years

This is my story and it begins with a time that I don't clearly remember. I was three and my father was leaving my mother. The only things he took with him was my two older sisters and myself. At the time, I worshipped my father because at three, all you see is your hero. I thought that he was Superman and he would always be there to save me.

The fantasy soon faded, when we returned to my home town of Lincoln, Nebraska. We immediately took up shelter at the local rescue mission. I don't remember much about living there, only that it was cold, crowded and noisy.

Unsure of exactly when we left or how long we were at the mission, I do know that we weren't very happy with the alternative living situation either.

My sisters and I discovered at an early age that our father only wanted us as bait for the opposite sex. He would show them that he was a family man and that he wanted a mother for his daughters. Once they were comfortable with him moving in, he would then begin to use and abuse them.

The first, that I can remember, was Valerie. She had a teenage daughter of her own, Natasha.

Valerie was constantly traveling for work, and almost never home. My father was also rarely home, but for reasons of a different nature. When I did see him, he was severely intoxicated and would pass out shortly after making it through the door.

Natasha was usually charged with taking care of us. This was no comfort, as she enjoyed torturing us. Especially in the company of her friends.

One memory stands out more clearly in my mind;

Her and her friends surrounding the bathtub to poke and prod at me while I tried to take a bath. They all laughed and took pictures as if I was some circus side show. The worst part was not having parents who cared enough to take notice. And as a child, I didn't know how to even bring it up.

We knew the instant that Valerie was home. Not because we saw her, but because of the screaming matches that would take place once she was home. Even if I had had the courage to tell them about what was going on, I never truly had the opportunity to do so.

One evening, after we had gone to bed, I heard my sisters talking softly to one another in our bedroom closet. I opened the door to ask what they were talking about.

"Go away, Tina."

I insisted they include me. Sara, my oldest sister, told me that they were running away. I immediately jumped on the chance. Unfortunately, what they meant was that they were going to stay in the garage until they were caught. I went along until Sara did something incredibly dumb, and lit a fire with the hay in the garage. I decided to go back to the house to sneak some ice cream out of the kitchen. My sisters chose to follow me, leaving the fire unattended.

Before we got back, my father had returned from one of his benders. Finding the garage on fire, and our step sister telling him that we (his children) were still inside. Hearing this, he ran into the garage that was quickly becoming engulfed in flames.

When we heard sirens, we raced outside to find him stumbling out of the inferno. It was the only time I ever remember Clay being happy to see us, and not punish us for something bad we did.

The next day, I remember being stuck in our room as we heard a lot of crashing, banging and yelling coming from beyond our bedroom door. Shortly after, we looked out the window to witness a couple of police cars racing around the corner of our street, to park in our front yard. Our father went out to meet them and was immediately pushed to the ground to be handcuffed.

When my sisters and I saw this, we panicked and jumped out of our window to run from the police. We were very quickly caught, but not so easily placed in one of the cruisers.

To our surprise, they took us to our grandmothers apartment not far from where we were staying.

My sisters and I ended up staying with my grandmother, while my father was... I don't know where. This was a time that I actually remember being content. But, like most good things in my childhood, it was fleeting.

To be continued...

I never had the chance to tell anyone about my story. This is a secret I have held onto for years until this article.

My daughter is now 16 months old and I realized that the past shouldn't be held onto. Kept, hidden in the shadows.

I did not have the best upbringing. But instead of putting blame on my past I fought through it and became stronger for it. I would not change my history, because it made me who I am today. Nor, would I be blessed with an amazing husband and children. But I will share my story, because I believe that secrets can destroy you. The only way to truly let it go, is to bring it all out into light! And if I can help one woman to find the courage within herself, to fight and keep on fighting. It will all be worth it!

I will post more under the same title, later.

Thank you for reading, and I hope you come back to read more!!!

*Names have been changed to protect their identities.   

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