I had I read about others being attacked and I always felt compassion for them. But you never think it will happen to you. At the hands of someone you love. At the hands of a man you are going to marry. Two days before the wedding. I was brutally and violently attacked by my then fiance. I never really knew fear until that moment in my life, with his hands around my neck, hearing his voice say Goodnight Bitch, you are going to die”. I had never been truly forced to face my own mortality, especially at the hands of another. I always thought I would die in a car accident, or maybe a heart attack when older, but not at the hands of the man I loved. That possibility never crossed my mind. And suddenly getting married was a topic which seemed irrelevant to the point of inappropriateness.
We had been not been getting along, and I chalked his behavior of cussing, yelling and being disagreeable as him just being extremely tired and jet lagged from his very long trip. I should have taken it more seriously.
At 7am that Tuesday morning, my phone alarm went off, he snatched it out of my hands, saying something and turned it off. We had a few words, and then he jumped up and stated that he was calling off the wedding, he would not marry me. We had a terrible argument 2 days prior where he yelled and cussed in front of my parents, so much so that the neighbors investigated and my own parents almost called the police on him that Sunday. Not wanting to have another horrible scene, this time at the hotel my parents had generously given so we could have privacy while the rest of the family stayed at my house, I asked that we discuss the break up later ofter I got off work. I needed to get ready so I would not be late. What followed was the worst experience of my life.
Waiting was not an acceptable option for him, and he wanted the engagement ring and diamond earrings he gave me back, right then. I said again to wait until later that evening, and we could talk when we were not upset, and divide everything up from there. As I got up out of bed to get ready for work, he came across the room and knocked me back on the bed. I was only in my panties, and very vulnerable. Sitting on top of me, straddling my midsection, one leg on each side of me, he held me down and started yelling for me to give him the ring.
At first I did not comprehend what was happening, I thought he might be joking. I asked several times for him to get off of me and stop. When it became clear that he was serious I again asked that he let go because I would fight back. My heart pounding, I realized this was going to be a bad situation. He did not get go, instead he screamed louder for me to give him the ring, And I thought, Am I really going to have to do this? And I started fighting back and screaming “Get off of me!”
We wrestled and struggled for quite sometime maybe 20 minutes all total. I tried to fight back, scratch his eyes out, but he was so much larger than I that he was able to brush my hand away every time I tried. (He was 5’11” and 260 lbs, I am 5’2″ 115 lbs). At one point I reached up to try to scratch him and my hand ended up in his mouth holding the bottom of his jaw. He bit down hard and he held on. He bit down on my fingers several more times and left large bite wounds as his teeth tore through my flesh and started to bleed. I couldn’t beleive thepain, but I was too stuborn, and too afraid, to let go. Still to this day I bare the scars from him biting me. He finally stopped biting, opened his mouth and I continued screaming and trying to fight back, more determined than ever to defend myself.
And in that moment, he died to me. In that moment, the man I loved was gone, forever, lost in the abyss of rage and hatred which I had not seen before.
Still on top of me, he began to scream for me to be quiet, but I did not comply. He alternated between screaming for me to give him the ring and for me to shut up, or…I screamed even louder, remembering what I was taught in my self defense classes. After several minutes of struggling, and he was still not able to get the ring from me, or get me to be quiet, he put his thumbs right above my voice box, his other four fingers easily reaching around my small neck, and he to strangle me. And there was no air. I could not make a sound, no screams, not even whispers.
He held me there for several minutes, strangling me until I nearly passed out, a slight grin on his face as he seemed please he found a way to over power me. The whole time I tried to reach up and fight back, but his reach was longer than my arms, I could not reach his face at all and barely his chest. After several minutes he let go and continued to try to steal the ring from me as I struggled and tried to catch my breath. I continued to fight back and scream for him to get off of me. I wiggled my wrists free, squirmed as much as I could with such a large man on top of me, I tried to reach his face and scratch, anything I could. Several more minutes of the struggle passed.
Still yelling at me to shut up, he grabbed a pillow and shoved it hard over my face to quiet me. He told me if I didn’t shut up he would make me and he laughed. It was dark and I coud not breath. My arms flailed around as I tried to grab onto something but found nothing. My screams were muffled. I managed to turn my head to the side and found an air pocket, and I wondered how long that air would last. He held the pillow over my head for several minutes until I stopped struggling. He then lifted the pillow, surprise on his face that I was still conscience, and again started wrestling to get the ring. As soon as the pillow was raised, I started screaming again, my fear of dying over riding any other thought. I had to make as much noise as possible. I had to survive, someone had to hear me…
Then he then leaned in close to my left ear, and without warning let out three screams of pure rage. He was so loud and the scream was from such a deep place inside him, that his whole body wretched as he screamed. His face was a deep red, almost purple and his being, he himself, was not of God at that moment. He was a mad man, out of his mind with rage. After a few more minutes of struggle he yelled that soon everyone would know what I had done because the entire thing was being recorded. This bizarre statement only made me scream louder. And that angered him even more.
He then put his hands around my neck once more, and said “Goodnight bitch, you are going to die.” With a smirk on his face that I will never forget, he smiled as he strangled me harder than before and seemed to enjoy seeing me struggle. I could not breath. I could not scream. I could not even whisper. This excited him and I could see he was very pleased. The thought ran through my head was that I was going to die, without even making a sound. I remember mouthing the words, ” please don’t kill me over a ring.” He was still smiling.
In desperation I started punching him as hard as I could in his groin. I punched with every bit of strength I had, I wasn’t going to make it easy for him to kill me. I punched and punched, and prayed that I did some kind of damage before dying. Then I looked up right before passing out. He was smiling. That is the last thing I remember.
When I came to, weak and confused, he was still on top of me, this time taking the engagement ring off my finger. I don’t know how long I was out. It took me a moment to remember what had just happened. He then looked at me and screamed he wanted the diamond earrings too. Still weak from passing out, I tried to get my right earring off, but the backs screwed on and I could not figure out which way they went. He became impatient, moved my hands out of the way and ripped the earring out of my ear. It has yet to heal completely.
He then demanded the left earring, and I managed to get it off, desperate to not have his hands on me and that close to me again. I was shaking, I still had not caught my breath, my neck hurt, but my body did not start hurting until later that day. After I put the earring in his outstretched hand, he finally got up off of me, and I assume walked to the other side of the room to put the jewelry away.
I thought as long as I moved slowly and made no sudden movements, he might let me live. Still with his back to me, I slowly put on pants and a shirt, picked up my keys and slowly walked to the door. It was like moving in slow motion in a nightmare. I was praying to God that I survive. He had made it over by the door by this time and said he was going to call my mother and tell her what I had done. I simply said OK. He stepped in front of the door and locked it as he dialed the phone. I simply whispered “Please let me leave.” We stood there for a long time, until he unlocked the door and started to leave a message to the person he was calling. Terrified he was going to jerk me back in the hotel room to kill me, I slowly walked out the door.
As soon as I heard the door shut behind me, I ran as fast as I could down the stairs, past the reception desk, to the parking lot and into my car. My car meant safety, it meant he could not get me. I drove the mile back to my house, ran in, woke my mother and called police. By the time the police arrived, took my statement, took pictures and went to the hotel to arrest him, he had disappeared.
And as I watched the bruises surface, over a number of days as they do, I was amazed at the amount of anger and rage that manifested itself on my body. So where all who saw me. He ran from the police, and they could not find him. Afraid for my life, I fled out of the country, told that he could not travel with warrants out for his arrest. What was meant to be a honeymoon was soon a safe haven for my healing. Everyplace I went had been told of the situation and security was tight. One thing you cannot do, however, in the tropics, is hide bruises while wearing a bathing suit. Every place I went, it was obvious to all those who saw, that someone had beaten the crap out of me. There were bruises on my face, on the front and back of my neck, my chest, up and down my arms, my stomach and even my legs. And for about 2 weeks, every day a new bruise surfaced. And I was very sore, a few days it was hard to move.
Even still, the bruises fade, as the body begins to heal itself. And during my “vacation” the minister who was to marry us counseled me. He guided me spiritually through the first days of life after the attack, praying for me and with me, letting me cry, giving kind and compassionate words of wisdom and advice. I also worked with the police, I made contact with him pretending to want to get back together with him, so that the police could track his location and arrest him. I was afraid of him, of what he would do to me. I have never been the kind of person that would go back to an abusive man, much less one who tries to kill me, so I lied about my feelings for him, I told him I still loved him still and knew we could work it out. I told him I forgave him and what he did because I knew he loved me and we could still have the dreams we planned together. The things I said to make him believe me made me want to vomit.
I held my tongue in disgust as he gushed about how traumatized he was by the ordeal. How he did everything for my own good, and how he would find it hard to trust me, but because he loved me so much, he was willing to try, and that I should be thankful. If I would just call the DA’s office and tell them I would not be willing to be a witness against the case against him, then he would believe me. He told that that he would only be willing to forgive me if I dropped the charges and called his attorney. Then and only then, would he know he could trust me and could give all his love to me.
My jaw fell to the floor as he complained how he tried to access my Netflix account after he choked me and found the password had been changed. I really wanted to ask him if usually mooched of the women he beat and tried to kill…but thought better of it, instead saying I was told by police to change all passwords, so I did. The police did find him, only because of our communication, and he was arrested a few miles from where I then worked.
My way to deal with any challenge is to research. Within a few weeks I had tracked down several relatives, ex girlfriends, and ex spouses. Then there was the legal battle. A disappointing decision, due to politics and budgets, but even now the DA recognizes a mistake was made, though it cannot be undone. However, a firm foundation has been laid for his next victim, and there have been several in the past, so there will be others in the future. If he so much as looks at another woman inappropriately, and he will be taken into custody, no plea deals available. I did that and I am proud.
Then there was anger. And why should I not be angry at him? He bilked my family and I out of thousands of dollars, robbed me of jewelry and gifts, beat me, choked me, took away my wedding, threatened to take away my life. Then the anger faded to fear, the blinding fear that he would try to come back for me. After his arrest, the loss of his job, knowing that I played a part in both, his thirst for vengeance and control made me fear what he would try to do for retaliation. He made threats; he had been around my house and in my neighborhood. The home security people confirmed the downstairs back windows in my town home had been compromised. He cyber-stalked me, viewing my websites as many times as 142 times in 8 hours. He called my friends and family, made threats to them too. And I was so afraid, because of what he did to me, because of what he did to his ex wife, because of what he did to his ex girlfriends. I went to target practice, upgraded my security, got a dog, and called a large ex boyfriend to stay with me. And still I was afraid.
But today there is no more fear. It is gone. And I know that he can do nothing to me. I invite him to try. Because I know he cannot touch me, he cannot touch my Peace, as it is God given. I know, he cannot disturb the steel frame inside of me. Yes, today I stop living in fear. He is too weak of a man to do anything to me. There is Peace in my knowledge of his smallness, Peace in my faith and Peace in knowing that I never have to see him, speak to him, acknowledge him again. There is security in knowing that my friends and family, who I have been so blessed to have in my life, are watching over and out for me. That I have loving arms to fall into when I cry, that understanding waits for me at night in a warm, kind place. That still, even now, I trust others, I believe in love, I believe in the possibilities of my life that lie ahead, that I believe, oh so much, that I can be happy, and loved and safe.
He took nothing from me after all. Only a moment in time, a memory in the vast space of my life, and one day, he will not even be that. And as I move forward in my life, I will still have everything I ever wanted and ever dreamed, while he is still stuck in the mud and muck in which is spirit lives. Only by the Grace of God can he be freed from such a darkness, and that is not for me to pray for. I leave that to those who are far better than I.
And I live a life of no fear.