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The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Woman tells experience about abusive relationship

By Amber Veytia/reporter

Kathy Hagedorn/MCT
Kathy Hagedorn/MCT

“I married a serial rapist and a murderer, but he was a good father,” said Ana as she began telling her story.

She told the 70 members who attended the Women in New Roles Network meeting at the Ol’ South Pancake House Nov. 13 how she and her children overcame an abusive husband.

Triesha Light, South WINR coordinator, explained that Ana would not disclose her last name for her own safety.

The room was completely silent. The only movement was a volunteer handing out ribbons from the Purple Ribbon Project to symbolize stopping interpersonal abuse.

“I did not have any family and friends that I could call. I had to come straight home from work,” said Ana, describing the isolation that her husband had created.

Ana’s husband had convinced her to run away from home at 17 and then made Ana believe her family would no longer love her for choosing him over them. He fed her insecurity to isolate her further. When Ana did manage to call home, he would sit right next to her, listening in to make sure she did not tell her family anything about the abuse or control.

“When he would want to go out to a club and I didn’t want to go with him, he would turn off all the power to the house as a punishment,” she said. 

If he wanted her to drink beer and she turned him down, he would pour the beer on Ana.

“It escalated,” she said. “And I always knew when I needed to walk on eggshells because he would lay the gun on the table.”

Ana said she hid the abuse and threats from her children since he was their father.

“One particular time, he was convinced I had cheated on him, so he choked me just until I would almost stop breathing and pass out, and then he would stop,” she said.

Ana said every time she recovered, he started choking her again.

“He was hitting me so hard that I was literally flying from one end of our sectional sofa to the other and just kept asking me each time if I had been with someone else,” she said. “I just kept saying, ‘No.’”

Finally, Ana told him what she thought he wanted to hear — that she had been with someone else. He just walked out the door, she said.

Paramedics and police descended on the home and searched the area for him. No one knew he had hidden in a tree outside the house watching Ana and the police. Ana and her two children were taken to a shelter.

Ana escaped the abuse because the FBI began investigating her husband for murder. One night while Ana slept, her husband sneaked out of their bed, went down the road and brutally murdered an FBI secretary. Her husband made it back to bed before Ana awoke. She had no idea what had happened. When questioned by the FBI, all she knew was when she went to bed, her husband was there. When she awoke, as far as she could tell, he had never left their bed.

FBI agents questioned Ana about his personality and the kind of husband he was. Based on her answers, they asked her to testify against him in the murder trial.

Ana said testifying was hard because her family did not realize much of what was described during the trial.

“You’re going to hear things that you don’t know that I went through,” Ana told her father before the trial.

As a teenager, Ana did not listen to her parents when they warned her about him. She wishes she had because she now realizes her parents knew more than she did.

The trial was even more difficult emotionally because the defense attorney kept asking Ana why she never reported the abuse. Ana responded that if she had reported domestic violence, he would have been locked up for only a short time. When he got out, the retaliation would be worse than what she was already going through.

Ana’s husband was convicted of murder and given life without parole. However, she still does not feel safe because she believes other people would do her husband’s bidding and kill her.

Ana was asked about her children and their recovery.

“I let him get in my head, and I did more damage to my children by staying, but it didn’t seem that way at the time,” she said. “My youngest was luckily too young to remember. But for my older daughter, I work hard to teach her that a woman can make it on her own.”

Ana wants to help people recognize abuse and get help.

“If I had known the signs of abuse, things in my life might have been different,” she said.

Ana said people should realize if they know someone who is being abused, that person may not be able to leave for many reasons. If people want to help, she said to offer support to a victim but not pressure the victim to leave immediately.

“Let the abuse victim know that your door is open to them or that you can help them escape when they are ready,” she said.

 Warning Signs of Abuse:

Do you

apologize all the time?

willingly accept the blame for everything that goes wrong in your relationship?

“walk on egg shells,” watching every word you say?

rehearse what you will say to your partner to avoid triggering a reaction?

cry more than you used to?

hide your feelings, especially anger?

constantly try to figure out how to get your partner’s approval?

give up interests, activities, and people that were once important to you?

hold yourself back in your educational or vocational advancement?

constantly excuse your partner’s behavior to yourself or others?

give excuses not to leave the house?

Does your partner

act jealous or possessive toward you?

isolate you from your family or friends?

check up on you?

display a quick temper or extreme mood swings?

become hypersensitive to criticism or perceived criticism?

blame others?

refuse to discuss, negotiate and compromise?

believe in stereotyped sex roles?

always have to be in control?

manipulate you?

have unrealistic expectations of you or the relationship?

get too serious too fast?

refuse to accept breaking up?

abuse drugs, alcohol or other mood-altering substances?

pressure you to use/abuse alcohol or drugs?

show little respect for the opposite sex?

pressure you for sex?

mistreat animals or children?

have a history of bad relationships?

scare or threaten you or others?

have a history of fighting?

own or use weapons or display them to back up threats?

break or strike objects?

become violent with you or others?

If you answered yes to even one question, you could be in danger. Call SafeHaven 24-Hour Hotline: 1-877-701-SAFE (7233)

Source: SafeHaven of Tarrant County, www.safehaventc.org

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