Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence

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Domestic Violence: Finding Safety and Support

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Keisha’s Story

We met through mutual friends and almost immediately we became inseparable. He was cute and funny. He called and dropped by with flowers and was just so charming. He made coffee in the morning and cleaned up after himself and we just couldn’t get enough of each other. The abuse didn’t start out physical. Honestly, I didn’t even realize it was abuse until later. I just thought it was the way he was. It started with him telling me I was lucky to have him, he could do so much better than me, the house needed to be cleaner, and I needed to be home with him when he was there, that my friends were not really my friends, and on and on.

Then he started hurting me. Not hitting, but pushing and grabbing. Then he would apologize: "I'm so sorry. If you had only listened the first time, I wouldn’t have had to grab you so hard." As time went on the abuse got worse and happened more often. I was hiding all this from people who loved me, so I had no one to turn to. I was afraid to go to the police because he said they wouldn’t believe me. So, as the abuse escalated, so did my fear that something really bad was going to happen to me.

The final straw was the day we had gone over to the neighbor's house for a barbecue and he accused me of flirting with some man. When we got home, he started in on me. There was nothing I could say or do. He got more and more threatening, and before I knew it, he had his gun. It was not the first time that he did that, but thankfully, his uncle showed up and I got out of there.

I was sort of surprised when I realized that something like this could happen to someone like me. I’m college-educated, I have a good job. I own my own home. I have lots of friends and a close family who loves me. I had no idea I was involved with someone who was capable of hurting me, and it wasn’t until later that I realized I was in danger.

Excerpt from "Finding Safety & Support: The Video"