In an Imgur post titled, "My domestic violence tale, yadda, yadda, yadda," a woman created a picture of what life was like with her abusive ex-husband, through the text messages he had sent her.
Imgur user KrissyKross said she shared the messages as a way to get some closure. "Strangers on the internet are better than keeping it inside for so long," she wrote.
The messages she shared show how controlling an abuser can often be. "Where are you?" her husband, Adam, asked in the first thread. That's a normal enough message, except that he sent at least 10 more texts before she was able to answer.
"This is a good example of strings of texts I would get at work while on shift (I am not allowed my phone on the clock)," KrissyKross wrote.
Her next thread showed how Adam would get jealous over her co-workers and assume that she was cheating on him. "How's Tony? lol," he wrote. When she responded that she didn't know how Tony was, because he had worked the morning shift and gotten off before she started, her ex-husband called her a liar and used the fact that she knew Tony's schedule as "proof" that she was sleeping with him.
Adam's behaviour escalates with each thread, showing that he would set "traps" for her to see whether or not she was sleeping at home, that he bit her so hard it left a bruise for several weeks — and that he wanted her to lie to her mother about it, that when visiting her mother she was required to call him at midnight every night, and that he would tell her to text photos of herself so that he knew she was actually at her mother's house.
"My ex-husband was a kind, loving man. That is, until I lost weight," she wrote. "I then got a job. Suddenly I was cheating, I lost weight to get men, I couldn't buy clothes that fit me after the 80 pounds lost because it showed off my body. He hit me and sexually assaulted me. He waited outside my work for whole shifts, not telling me if he was carrying the Beretta M9 he had purchased recently," she wrote.
She details physical abuse and the jealousy that other people didn't see in him.
"I tried to talk to his parents and they told me it was normal in a young marriage and I should reassure him. His father is a pastor in Tennessee and holds this belief," she wrote.
When she was finally able to leave him, she went to court to charge him with abuse and had to sit through several character witnesses who testified that he was a good man.
"I still had to listen to several people testify how great of a person he was - a whole group on his side while I sat there with one friend and my lawyer," she wrote.
Her ex-husband was charged with a few misdemeanours and two felonies, she wrote. It has been three years since she left him, and she said she keeps his text messages as a reminder of how far she has come.
“It was weighing heavy on my mind,” she told HuffPost. “I never got therapy afterwards due to lack of money, so I never really learned how to deal with what had happened. I didn’t ever bring it up with anyone and never really talked about it with my family after the fact.”
Many of the people who have read her post have sent messages of support, and hopefully given her the ability to finally talk about her abuse. One of the people who commented pointed out that his abuse was not a result of her losing weight, though it may have seemed by the timing that it was.
"He thought he wasn't going to be able to control you anymore. It was always there but he used your lack of confidence to his advantage," another person mentioned.
It's important to note that abuse is never at the fault of the person who was abused, and there's nothing someone can do to "provoke" an abusive relationship.
While most of the messages on her post were of support, some also asked the problematic question that is often asked of domestic abuse survivors, "why didn't you just leave." KrissyKross told HuffPost that it's hard for people who have never been in an abusive relationship to understand the reasons someone would stay.
"I made very little money, I was financially dependent and I just really wanted my marriage to work. I didn’t want to give up on it. But it’s hard for people on the outside to really understand that, I suppose."
Her post could help people to understand that there are many reasons someone might stay in an abusive relationship, and it could also show other women in her situation that there is a way out.
“I think that women (and men) who manage to escape these situations should find someone they can talk to,” she told HuffPost. “Getting through the court dates and trying to pay bills alone on minimum wage is hard enough, but I found that my real struggle was learning to undo all the mental and emotional damage that had been done.”
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