Free At Last

December 2, 2008
Some of the worse things in my life took place when my mom was married to John Smith*. I understand this is a statement to be used with heavy consideration to say seeing as I am only fifteen years of age; however, it definitely scarred me for life, but has also made me stronger.
One of the most vivid things he did was when I was in first or second grade. I remember waking up to the sound of my mom and stepdad yelling. They were fighting again over things I didn't understand at the time. I looked at my clock and it said 1:54 AM.
“Why don’t you just leave? All you do is spend our money and sleep around,” she stated, “Get your things and just leave already!”
“Shut your mouth, woman! It’s none of your business what I do on the road; so, if I want to spend a few dollars for personal things, I will. I make the money around here!”
“You make the money? Then what am I doing running myself ragged; trying to make some money to get out of debt? You think you can control me?! Well, maybe, Amanda and I will just leave you then, huh?”
“Sit down and shut up! You have no right to talk to me like that, you little tramp.”
They continued on for so long I dozed off for a few minutes. When I woke up for the second time, they were still arguing.
“All you ever do is hurt us, so get your stuff and get out!” yelled my mom.
“This is my house, you good for nothing…! Get your ass out!” John demanded.
I lay in my bed for about twenty minutes and I couldn’t take it anymore. Standing up I felt tears roll down my face. Walking towards the door, I opened it without making a sound. I tiptoed to their bedroom doorway.
“If you lay one more hand on me, or Amanda, I swear I will call the cops.”
“You do and I will kill you and Amanda, both.”
“You wouldn’t dare…”
John didn’t see me, but my mom did. She told me to go back to bed and that everything was going to be okay. As I turned to walk away, I heard my mom’s body hit the wall.
“Look what you’re making me do, bitch.”
Immediately I turned to see her suspended in the air his hand around her throat. I ran to the kitchen and dialed 9-1-1. When the officer answered, I told her my information.
“9-1-1, what’s your emergency?”
“Hello, my name is Amanda and my step-dad is choking my mom.”
“Okay, Amanda, what’s your address.” I heard her hit the bedroom floor and I started to panic. So I began to talk a little faster, “2511 East Hein...”
Before I could finish, however, John came up behind me and grabbed the receiver and slammed it down. He backhanded me and I fell against the wall.
“John! She didn’t do anything to you!” My mom was black and blue when she came down the hallway.
“She didn’t have to. Amanda has no right to poke around in our business; it’s no one else’s either!”
“Hello, yes, my name is John…I’m sorry about that there is no emergency, my daughter just dialed the wrong number is all.” It was a school night. “Yes, I know that and I promise she won’t be doing it again. Uh-huh. Okay, thank-you have a nice night.” It was 2:30 a.m.
Since then, there was much more abuse and my mom divorced him on January 11, 2005. Even though he did some horrible things to me, the worst thing he did was physically, mentally, and sexually abuse my mother. It is still hard for me to sleep in the winter. Winter was when a majority of the fighting went on; my guess is because there was less work, they had more time. John worked road construction for majority of our time with him and was laid off in the winter. I have been witness to so much abuse that I can hardly handle simple teasing anymore, especially from men. My memories from the seven years I lived with John resurface all the time; however the experiences have definitely made me stronger. If I could go back and change anything, it would be the damage that was done to my mom. I do not think that I will ever forget what John did to us, but I do know that I can continue on with my life now.
Today my mom’s health is still ailing and she has a hard time even getting out of bed. She has a fractured spine, a concussion that has led to M.S., major emotional damage, and much more. Her spirits have never been back to what they were before John. Just the same I don’t think she will ever be the woman she once was. I miss having my mom and I selfishly want her back.
Nowadays I am doing real good in school but, not so much at home. My mom and I get in fights all the time and I think we have John to thank for that. Fighting was such a regular thing back then and it’s been hammered into our heads as the right thing to do. Yes, I did endure some physical abuse from John, but the worse that happened to me is I had another surgery to fix the titanium bars he broke from a previous surgery.
*Name has been changed

If anyone is in or knows someone in this situation, get help. Your local police station can help you, even if mine didn’t. Do not be afraid of your abuser, his/her strength comes from your own fear. If you’re afraid to talk to a police officer near you, call the National Domestic Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or TTY 1-800-787-3224. They have operators by the phone 24/7 just waiting for your plea for help. Hopefully, you can learn from my pain and won’t have to learn yourself.

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