I felt utterly trapped.
When I was 21, I got married to a man with drug addiction. I married him because I believed he’d changed his ways — but I couldn’t have been more wrong. I remained a virgin until I got married, which caused me to miss many red flags. These missed red flags led to being raped on my wedding night.
In the months following our wedding, I learned my husband’s past drug use wasn’t the only thing he’d been hiding from me; basically, his entire past was a lie. He didn’t grow up where he said he did, he didn’t have the college education he claimed he had, and his (now estranged) parents didn’t have the careers he told me they did.
When I told my parents about my situation, my father told me divorce was not an option. “We will pay for marriage counseling, but we will not support you in a divorce,” he said. “You cannot move in with us because you need to work things out with your husband. As Christians, we do not believe in divorce.”
So, I tried to work on my marriage.
Not because I wanted to, but because I had no other choice.
For me, by the time things reached a level that involved a horrific amount of domestic abuse, I was trapped. I had no college education to fall back on. And as a stay-at-home mom with no job, no access to my own money, and no family to support me in a divorce, I stayed.
I started to believe that my husband’s issues were my fault. Manipulated by my husband’s lies and shunned whenever I made efforts to get help, I began to foolishly believe that his lousy behavior resulted from me not being supportive enough.
“I can’t believe he’s doing this” quickly turned to “I can’t believe I made him do this” — just as it does for many abuse victims.
I stayed with him because my family trained me to believe that saving my marriage came before saving myself.
I stayed married to my husband, my abuser, for eight long years, and during that time, many tears were shed behind closed doors where I could wipe them away before walking out the front door and plastering a smile on my face.
Was I happy? No, not even close. But my family expected me to fix my marriage, and that was that.
By the time I reached the end of my marriage, my husband was a full-blown meth user and dealer. He was hiring women off of Craigslist for sex and raping me whenever he pleased. He lived a double life I knew absolutely nothing about until the minute he drained the bank account, abandoned his car, turned off his phone, and never came home one night.
My family never helped me leave him.
Did I marry him? Yes.
Did I continue to stay with him? Yes, and looking back, I wish I hadn’t.
But was it all my fault? For a long time, I thought that it was, but I know now it’s not.
So, if you’re a victim and you’re reading this, don’t worry about the negative things people are saying about you.
This isn’t your fault. You’re just another victim, and you deserve better than what your family is doing to you.