Relationship Violence Story From Stephanie H

by Stephanie H
(Calgary, Alberta, Canada)

It all started when I was 15 years old. I was a super shy girl. My brother was 21 years old at the time and he was having a birthday party where there was drinking (including myself). The next morning I woke up in between two 21-year-old boys (nothing sexual happened and we were all clothed). One of the boys I began to have a huge crush on. He added me to MSN and for a few months we started talking and were really into each other. My parents disagreed with the relationship due to the age difference but I told them I was in "love". (Remember, I was 15 at the time.) I told them I stopped talking to him but really I continued to for a few months.

On my 16th b-day we talked on the phone for like 6 hours and then we eventually decided to meet up. Our first date I thought was "magical". We watched movies at his house and eventually we began to kiss and he started to touch me down there. I told him I wasn't ready and he accepted my wishes.

The next date we went on we were taking the train. Lo and behold, my sister happened to jump on, and she told my parents. I was forbidden to see him ever again, but of course being the rebellious teenager, I was back. Then I ran away from home and my aunt took me in and said I could see him once a week. Yet I saw him more than that. Eventually she found out and I was given the boot and moved in with a friend. I didn't listen to her mom and decided to see the boy (note how I don't say "man" when he's 21 years old).

I eventually ended up moving in with him. Soon after, I learned he was a heavy alcoholic and often was out till the early hours of the morning. When I would be angry about it he would put me down and feel little. He also would call and lie and say he had to work early in the morning but he was really sleeping at his friends house drinking (or with a girl, who knows). He used to say I'm the most hideous girlfriend he has ever had, that he would fantasize about Angelina Jolie while we were having sex and so on. My grad pictures were the worst. My eyes were puffy due to crying and not being able to sleep the night prior.

Eventually he and I moved in with his 2 friends who were super cool. The drinking got even worse. He would put me down even more and then he began to get physically abusive and almost threw me down the stairs during a fight. Of course he had no recollection about this the morning after and told me I am making stuff up.

One night, it was actually Thanksgiving, he got so drunk and me and my roommates tried to ignore him because he was acting so stupid. One of my roommates went for a walk with his girlfriend while my other roommate went to bed. He decided to take his anger out on me. He grabbed me by the neck and pushed me to the floor and then picked me up again by the arm and threw me again. A lady that was over as well screamed and told him to lock himself in his room and to leave me alone. He didn't listen. He grabbed my roommate's car keys and took his truck and ran into another vehicle that was parked (no injuries). I ran to tell my roommate and he called the police. The police came and told him to keep it down and to go to bed. My roommate let me sleep in his bed because he had a lock on the door (my roommate went to sleep on the couch). That made the alcoholic boyfriend freak out to the point he attacked my roommate with a samurai sword and the cops were called again. He was taken away.

Few days later he was released and I decided to go back to him (what was I thinking!). We stayed together for another year. I had to deal with the drinking and the emotional abuse he put me through almost every day. One time he locked me outside on the balcony for an entire was windy.

Finally, I decided to leave. I called my mom and told her we had broken up and she came and helped me get my things.

I think the biggest lesson I learned was that family tell you no because they care.

I am now 20 with a daughter, and am now with a different boyfriend who to be honest I don't see us working out together. Because of this relationship I have a low self esteem and am scared to get hurt....

I really want to raise abuse awareness in my area, but I don't know how I should begin. I can't seem to find any abuse awareness places here in Calgary, Alberta.

Thanks for reading my story. I would love feedback.

A Video Reading by Darlene BarriereNote from Darlene: The volume of contributor submissions has now made it impossible for me to comment personally (especially in great detail) on each and every contribution. If I haven't left you a comment or one that is in-depth, please do not take my lack of a personal response as a slight, or as a statement that your story is somehow unworthy of my time. Nothing, and I do mean nothing, could be further from the truth. If there was a way for me to respond to all of you at length, I would.

Email addresses, phone numbers, home addresses AND website/blog URLs in visitor comments are STRICTLY prohibited, and could result in being banned from making further comments on this site.

Comments for Relationship Violence Story From Stephanie H

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May 19, 2009
Part 1 of 3: Give yourself the credit you are due...
by: Darlene Barriere - Webmaster

Stephanie, it sounds as though you have a family you can now lean on for support. You need that in your life, and so does your daughter. But as you already know, they can't live your life for you; you must do that for yourself.

What encourages me the most about you, Stephanie, is that you are a willing student. You are prepared to accept that you made mistakes and that there were—ARE—people in your family who were and are trying to help you make better choices. That tells me that you are taking responsibility for your own actions. But don't for one second think that that somehow puts you at fault for the abuse. It doesn't! Fault lies solely on the shoulders of the abuser. Abuse is NEVER EVER the fault of the victim. Always remember that.

Stephanie, be proud of yourself for realizing that this "boy" was bad news and for getting yourself out of the relationship before he did you or your daughter serious injury. Getting out was the first loving thing you did for yourself. Give yourself credit for that. Try not to beat yourself up for staying with him; focus instead on making healthy choices for yourself in the future. You didn't—DON?T— deserve to be mistreated in any way by anyone. EVER.

I am concerned that you are in a relationship right now. Take things slow. Give yourself time to understand more about why you made the decisions you did when you did. Yes, you were young; but there was more than that at play. If you can recognize what it was about this boy and his ways that made you attracted to him in the first place, what is was in your own life that was missing, perhaps from your own childhood, then you can work on resolving not to make those mistakes again. If you can understand what in your own life was lacking, then you can work toward fulfilling it for yourself, without a boyfriend. Healing and understanding your own self is key to ensuring you chose wisely the next time. And not just for yourself anymore, Stephanie, but for the sake of your precious little girl. Because every decision you now make for you affects her too.

If at all possible, consider some form of counselling. And keep telling yourself that you are worthy and deserving of love and of dignity and respect. Because you ARE, dear. You really are.

See Part 2 of 3: Abuse awareness programs... below.

Darlene Barriere: author. speaker. survivor. coach.
Darlene Barriere
author. speaker. survivor. coach
Talk Before Touching® Series

May 19, 2009
Part 2 of 3: Abuse awareness programs...
by: Darlene Barriere - Webmaster

Stephanie, there is the Canadian Red Cross RespectED Program, a program that teaches about abuse and abuse awareness. I've taken the series of courses myself. But it will cost you upwards of $1000 to take the basic course, which deals primarily with child abuse. Then you can opt for more training with regard to bullying and harassment, relationship violence, and violence in sports; each of which you will have to pay for separately.

If you go this route, you would have to make a commitment to the Canadian Red Cross (CRC): You would be required to become certified to go into the schools and facilitate presentations on each of the topics you were trained for. In the past, CRC required a 2-year commitment from its facilitators. And while you would likely want to present on relationship violence, there are two things that might make you less willing: One, you would have to become certified in child abuse first, and only then would you be permitted to become certified for relationship violence. Two, the program is templated, scripted to a certain degree. You would not be permitted to use your own personal experience to speak to the students. That might not work for what you really want to do. But as long as you know what's expected, perhaps the program is something you'd be interested in.

Another option: Try contacting your local women's shelter or crisis centre. They might know of organizations in your area that you could link up with.

Stephanie, it is admirable that you want to become more of an advocate. That you want to use your own experience to help others. It means you want to turn your pain into power. I so commend you for that. Thank you for sharing your story (and your aspirations) with my visitors and me.

See Part 3 of 3: Regarding the inclusion of personal information... below.

Darlene Barriere: author. speaker. survivor. coach.
Darlene Barriere
author. speaker. survivor. coach
Talk Before Touching® Series

May 19, 2009
Part 3 of 3: Regarding the inclusion of personal information...
by: Darlene Barriere - Webmaster

You'll note I removed your last name (removed in order to ensure your privacy and anonymity) and email address from your story. I have a strict policy with regard to personal information such as email addresses, etc., on the site. I cannot control who visits this site, but I can ensure that all who visit here stay safe from predators and other less honourable characters. I trust you understand my position on this issue. If anyone would like to give you feedback, they can do so by leaving you a comment, provided they are respectful. I delete all disrespectful comments on visitor submissions before they go live on my site; therefore, you don't have to worry that someone will write something nasty.

Darlene Barriere: author. speaker. survivor. coach.
Darlene Barriere
author. speaker. survivor. coach
Talk Before Touching® Series

May 20, 2009
Listen and learn but for your own sake listen
by: maurice

Stephanie H. Many teenagers do not listen to sound and good advice from their parents especially their mothers. Adolecence is an awkward age for most teenagers. Most if not all mothers are sound when they Love their teenage child. They want always what is best but most teens do not see that at the time. Stephanie H you have found this for your own betterment. That your Mother knew best. Your learned a harsh reality about a false building of love and a relationship who had a severe drinkng related problem. I am so happy you were brave enough not to stay in such a relationship which would have in time made your life a misery. Stephanie H at 20 the one person you must begin to love, value, respect, and acknowledge that you are one very special woman beautiful and very intelligent with integrity. Begin to have a good mirror image of yourself with the help of your Mother/Family and your true friend (s) who really care for you in a good way. Always believe in yourself. So from this day on think positive, act positive, and be positive about the wonderful and great person you are. Be brave and be strong as you were to break away from that man and that way of life you thought was cool while you were testing the ground of LOVE. Love and respect number one (YOURSELF) first and then you will always be safe in building a true relationship with some one who will likewise treat you with LOve and REspect. Stephanie H you will not go too far astray in your young life now if you read carefully and slowly the loving caring advise and words of encouragement from Darlene. If you do, you will live well, laugh alot and love much. That mirror image you build for yourself is most important for you. Please see yourself as beautiful. Say to that lovely beautiful you in the mirror I can accomplish anything I want and I don't have to doubt that or make reasons to doubt it (ever) You have listened and learned and returned to a Mother who really cares about you. Your motto from now on Stephanie H should be I will, I can, I must loving care for my own wellbeing because I love ME.

Sep 03, 2009
I know how this feels.
by: Janelle.

Stephanie, You did everything any typical teenager would do. But, you didn't deserve that at all. I've been through this, but only it was my moms boyfriend. And, I was only 6.
I had no escape. Just when I thought that i could go to my dads and be safe it continued at his house. By him.

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