Cassandra's Story

October is not only Breast Cancer Awareness Month, but also Domestic Violence Awareness Month. There are a lot of people that wonder why a person would subject herself to violence. I used to ask myself that whenever I watch a Lifetime movie. As a survivor of domestic violence, I can say that it is not easy to leave. Here is my story:
* name has been changed to protect identity

Cassandra’s Story

The year was 1997. I had just graduated from high school and entered into my first year of college. I was young and naive. It was my first time out into the world without my parents. I knew I had to apply the morals and teachings that my parents ingrained in me, but I guess I needed to learn them firsthand. A couple of months into my freshman year, I met this guy. His name was Derrick*. Derrick and I met over the phone. He called my number by mistake and we began to a conversation. He was a charmer, a smooth-talker, some would say he had “the gift of gab” and I would be his next victim.

As I look back at this period in my life. There were signs that I chose to ignore. I thought I could change him. I felt as if I loved him a lot and gave him the support, financially and emotionally, that that would be enough. I was wrong.

The first incident that I can remember happened a late February night. He was in Louisiana at his grandmother’s house. He called and told me he was going to kill himself that life was not worth living anymore. I told him that he had a lot to live for and that he would hurt a lot of people if he went through with it. I told him not to do it and I am on my way. My roommate told me not to go and I told her that I could not have blood on my hands. I drove to his grandmother’s house, which was two hours away. When I arrived, he was standing outside waiting for me, with a sawed-off shotgun. I told him that he didn’t want to do this and that I needed him. By this time, I am crying and pleading for him to put the gun away. He then tells me that he was going to kill us both, that we could be together for eternity. I do not know how I talked him out of it, but I did.

Fast forward, the year is 2001. By this time, I am not the strong, independent person that I was in 1997. Derrick had drained the life right out of me. I felt ugly and undesirable (which was the reason for him to cheat on me). I was told constantly that if I left him, he would kill me and the guy that I was with. I was not allowed to have my guy friends and if he saw me talking to guy, it was pretty much guaranteed I was going to get the third, fourth, and fifth degree. I found myself going to the library a lot. It was my refuge, my haven, my sanctuary. For some reason, I felt alive when I was at the library. It was during one of my library outings that I got the urge to find my pen pal, Aubrey. Aubrey and I started writing each other when we were 11 years old. He was in Texas and I was in Mississippi. We lost contact in 1997, after I met Derrick. Aubrey told me that I should not get with this guy and I told him it was not any of his business who I dated.

We had never met face to face, only through letters. I told myself that I could not leave this world without talking to him. So for a week straight, I would comb the internet looking for him with no success. One day, after aggressively searching, I hit a road block. I sat and stared at the monitor for what seemed an eternity. Then it hit me, try his mom’s address. So, I typed in the address and BINGO! I got a phone number. I called the number and talked to his mom for approximately 15 minutes. I do remember telling her that I needed to talk to him and to please give him my number. Well, Aubrey called me and we talked every day. He knew I was in a relationship, but did not know the abuse until a month or so later. Aubrey called me one day and Derrick answered the phone. I knew it was him when Derrick told him not to call anymore. I guess Aubrey told him that he needed to hear me say it. Well against my will, I had to tell the one person that made me happy that I could not talk to him anymore. I knew I had to tell him this if I wanted to see the next day. After Derrick hung up the phone, all hell broke loose. He called me every derogatory name he could think of, in English and Creole. He even slapped me a couple time (“just to make sure I got it”). To escaped, I ran and locked myself in the bathroom with my cell. When he left to go be with the girl he was cheating on me with, I called Aubrey to apologize and tell him the whole story. Aubrey promised me that he would get me out that relationship. And he did.

It has taken my a long time to write some of the events that I have with through with Derrick.

Please, please if you know someone or if you are the victim of Domestic Violence, please get out and get help before it is too late.

National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)

1 Notes from all over:

Semloh said...

I remember this time...cause i remember i stopped coming around cause you wouldn't let me hurt him. And i was so happy that you found Sam again...you wonder why i cried at the wedding. *sigh* I love you, Sis...