ALLY is a beautiful, independent, charismatic woman who is a single mother and full-time student and paralegal.
However, her life wasn’t always like this.
She spent many years in a very emotionally, mentally and physically abusive relationship, living day-to-day in fear and constant turmoil. The good news is that Ally managed to make the decision that some abuse victims don’t get to make: She left her abuser.
The bad news is that things got worse then. Her abuser’s rage grew, and he began stalking and harassing her on a 24-hour basis. He tried to kill her several times. And then he and his family began an eight-year court battle to take custody of their daughter away from Ally.
And then, finally, some really good news. Ally survived the repeated attempts on her life, and she won the custody battle for her daughter. Today, Ally is thriving, stronger and smarter than ever, relishing a life of freedom and peace after abuse, her daughter at her side.
BEA and dating abuse.
The first day of high school was terrifying for Bea. She couldn't find her friends, so instead she met a new girl who smoked marijuana and had older guy friends from another town. One of those “older guys” became Bea’s boyfriend. He was 19, she was 14.
In retrospect, the signs of dating abuse were there, but back then, there weren’t words for it, people didn’t know what it was or how dangerous it could be.
Bea’s boyfriend’s behavior was flattering to her at first: He was charming and smooth and jealous, called her all the time, bought her her own phone, asked her to call him from school to “check in.” Their relationship moved fast, too fast, and soon the boyfriend was controlling Bea – what she wore, what she did – and isolating her from family and friends. Eventually, it was just the two of them.
Sometime Bea stayed in her room all day, wearing a pink robe her boyfriend had bought her. She cried a lot and whispered and pleaded with him on the phone. Then he would pick her up to "go to the mall."
One day, Bea told her family she was pregnant. Her mom drove her to get an abortion. It was the worst day of her mother’s life – and maybe Bea‘s as well.
Things went on for a long time, until Bea was 19. Then, somehow, thankfully, the relationship ended.
Bea is in her forties now. She is a family therapist with a master's degree, has three children and owns her own home. The experience with dating abuse as a young teenager left Bea with emotional scars that don’t show and physical scars – cigarette burns on her arms and long scars from self-inflicted cuts on her thighs – that do. But she is, finally, happy.
~ Stories courtesy of Domestic Violence Awareness and Action based in Maple Grove at St. Joseph the Worker Catholic Community.
Paint the town purple
Citizens are asked to wear purple clothing and to change outdoor lighting and décor at their homes to purple by using purple lights, displaying purple wreaths, or tying purple ribbons to mailboxes, trees or vehicle antenna during Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October.