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Survivor Story

*Featured in the Someplace Safe Fall 2019 Newsletter*

*Identifying details may have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals in this article submission. Someplace Safe is not responsible for any statements and/or the content contained in the following Survivor Story submission. Someplace Safe is not liable for any content which violates copyrights, trademarks, or other intellectual property rights. In addition, Someplace Safe is not responsible for any content which is libelous, defamatory, violates local, state, national, or internal law, contains illegal or violent acts, is discriminatory, or misrepresentative.


- A Survivor Story Submission -

Dedicated to my mom and all the women who have lived through domestic violence.

Cathy was a 33 year old single mother of 3 kids: ages 3, 9, and 12. She worked full time as a nursing assistant to make ends meet. Cathy had lived a rough life up until this day in October of 1990. She had been battered and bruised, kicked and punched and brain washed. Worst of all the person that had tortured her for so long also claimed that he loved her. He was also the father of her youngest son. Cathy and her 3 young kids longed for the day that they could get away and not live in constant fear and torment. That day finally came in 1990. It was the day that they finally got away…

Cathy and Bob met through mutual friends in 1983 at a party. At the time Cathy was going through a nasty divorce. Bob was a young man who had served in the military and was also divorced. He had left his wife and 2 young children to go live the “wild life”. When Cathy and Bob met, it was magical. He did everything and said everything that Cathy wanted to hear and see. But most of all he made her feel loved. After a couple of weeks the two moved into an apartment with Cathy’s two small children. Cathy had no idea at that time what the next 7 years of her life had in store for her. At first things were good. Bob worked full time, Cathy worked part time. Bob would help Cathy’s kids with their homework. He played with them and bought them things. Cathy loved the way Bob made her feel. Then Bob started coming home late. When he would come home he reeked of alcohol.

Cathy would ask Bob where he has been for so long and he would reply, “As long as I come home and the bills are paid, don’t worry about it!” But Cathy did worry. A couple of years went by and Cathy and Bob moved several times. Both of them went through many jobs and were struggling to survive. This has put much stress in their life. Soon Cathy found out that she would be having a baby. This filled the drunken Bob with rage. Bob would beat her to the point that she couldn’t leave the house. He would threaten her children and scare them to death when he’d come home drunk. Five years had gone by and history had repeated itself time and time again. But what do you do when the person you love beats you so bad that you are afraid to leave? Well, Cathy stayed. She tried to leave many times knowing that it would happen again and again if she didn’t. But you see Bob was a smooth talker and even though he beat her and her kids, she let him back in.

A short period of time went by and things seemed to be looking up. She hadn’t been beaten for a while and they had found a nice home in the country where the kids could run and play. That year the unexpected happened. Cathy and Bob only had one car which was Cathy’s, due to Bob not having a driver’s license from so many DWI's. Shortly after that move to the country, Cathy once again found out she was with child. She wasn’t going to let Bob know this time for fear that he would beat her. So months went by and finally she let the cat out of the bag. To her surprise he took the news well. Then one day he took her car. It was cold at the time and she had no means of transportation. Little did she know that he wasn’t coming back with the car that day. One week went by. Cathy, pregnant, no car, no food, no phone, no anything. Then low and behold Bob decided to come home, drunk of course. Cathy feared the worst. She knew that he would beat her. She asked where he had been and he answered, with his hands. Things were quite ugly. Cathy ended up in the hospital once again. And once again she forgave him.

But then things changed. Bob seemed to stay in his work shop for long periods of time. One-night Cathy sent her daughter up to the shop to get Bob for supper. When her daughter came back in, she was crying, shaking, and her pants were undone. She ran crying to her room. Cathy had no idea what had happened in that shop and wouldn’t know for two more years. Time went by and Cathy had a healthy baby boy. Knowing the current situation, the lies, the drugs, the cheating, she had to get away, but how? How do you run away when you feel you have no where to go? Cathy and Bob moved into town that summer. It was 1988. The beatings kept happening and Bob would leave for weeks at a time. Women would call for him and this made Cathy very mad. Finally, one day when Cathy’s oldest son, who was 7 at the time, was outside playing, Bob came home and seen that Cathy’s son was playing with his tools. This made Bob furious and he threatened and beat Cathy’s son. Cathy was upset over what Bob had done. Nothing ever happened though.

Cathy got a job working nights at a nursing home. While she was at work her daughter would care for her brothers. One night Cathy came home exhausted from a long night at work. Bob was home. Cathy’s daughter seemed different. Cathy noticed that her daughter’s grades were slipping, and she didn’t seem to smile as much. She tried to talk to her but never got anywhere. One evening Bob came home drunk like he had numerous times before. Only he was very lovey-dovey. He obviously was feeling “in the mood”. A month or so went by and finally Cathy’s daughter wanted to talk to her. She told her mother that when she would be away at work, Bob would come in her room at night while she was asleep and touch her. Cathy couldn’t and wouldn’t believe her, until the night that her daughter couldn’t take the abuse any more. That night everyone went to bed. Cathy and Bob were in their bed and the kids in theirs. Then in the early morning hours Cathy heard screaming and realized she was in bed alone. The screaming was coming from her daughter’s room. She ran to the room, opened the door and saw what every parent fears. Her daughter was being molested. That night was the straw that finally broke the camel’s back. Cathy finally left Bob. She took her kids and left, for a better life. Years of abuse and torture and torment had come to an end.

This is a true story... it’s my story.

Domestic violence happens everyday, everywhere around the world. My mom got lucky. Many women don’t. Many women truly believe they deserve the beatings that they receive. As a young child, I watched my mother get beaten. It is by far the most horrific thing I had or have ever seen. She wasn’t only tortured physically but also mentally and emotionally. It took a long time for her to realize that there was a way out. I often sit and wonder what would happen if things had been different and we hadn’t escaped but then I think it doesn’t matter because we made it out and most importantly, we made it out alive. We are all survivors. My mom is now happily married to a man that treats her very well. I am now 27, also happily married with 2 small children. My older brother is 23 and a graduate from high school and college. He now has lots of his own tools to play with and he doesn’t have to worry about getting beaten for playing with them. Our younger brother who will be 16 soon has no memory of our life with his father, which I think God for everyday. I’ll always remember that day back in 1990 when my younger brother and I huddled together vowing to each other and before God that we would never let anything or anyone hurt us or our baby brother or our mom ever again. And to this day we haven’t. As for Bob well, he hasn’t changed much. He still beats women and drinks. My brother sees him once in a while but Bob will be going to prison soon and my brother has a hard time dealing with the things and choices that his dad has made. So I try to protect him, like we always have. I know he will be ok. He’s not like his dad. I’ve told him some things but not everything. It hurts him and he doesn’t understand why his dad is the way he is. My brother is very much against abuse. He believes that a lady should be treated with respect and dignity. He’s quite the young man.

Someplace Safe staff recently reconnected with Cathy, who stated she is doing well. Cathy still remembers the abuse, all these years later and feels that it still affects her. In instances of conflict, Cathy stated that she finds herself shutting down, backing down, and avoiding conflict. “It is something I still do. I don’t want to anger anyone, as that used to trigger beatings.” Cathy went on to describe that she is now familiar with the warning signs of an abusive partner. “I know now not to stick around if someone is controlling or possessive.”Cathy finds comfort in the ability to share her story with others.

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