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Back in October of 2014 (Domestic Violence Awareness Month) I put up a photo of a purple square (the color for domestic violence month) on my Instagram, Facebook and Twitter pages. I wrote about my experiences in being in a domestic violent relationship for 5 years with my older children’s father. This was an experience and a time in my life that I seldom talk about. It was a very dark time. I was young, unaware of who I was, and depressed. Please keep in mind that I was only 14 years-old.

As I look back at myself during that time, I can’t even believe that I stayed so long in the relationship with an individual that treated me so poorly. Maybe it was because I didn’t know any better, but even at the tender age of 14, I knew better. Maybe it was because I had my first child with a man who was 10 years older than me and I wanted to be grown? Or maybe it was because I was looking for love in all the wrong places? I really don’t know what it was back then, but as I started writing the caption underneath that purple square on my Instagram page, anger and frustration started to consume me.

I finally had a platform for people to hear my story (after so many years of not being heard) and I wanted to lash out. I pressed the “SEND” button and the rest was history. I got about 100 likes in less than 10 minutes and even got some comments from women about how they had been in similar situations and relationships and found comfort in the fact that they weren’t the only ones who had experienced such things. From black eyes, to the pulling out of hair, to being smacked and humiliated in front of friends, to being beaten while I was pregnant, I was letting it all out and nothing was off limits. And just as quickly as I had posted my story about my first children’s father, I quickly took the story down.

I’m not sure if it was because I was embarrassed, or if it was because I was giving this fool the time of day and he didn’t deserve it, or if my husband would feel a way about me revealing a certain part of my life that took place before him, but I took the post down. I felt like even if I was bashing my first children’s father (and I use the term father loosely here), I didn’t want him to have the satisfaction of being able to say “She’s talking about me”. I also didn’t want to be bothered with any backlash I might have received by his relatives (who are following me on my social networks). So I just left well enough alone and took down the post.

Truth be told, A LOT of people don’t even know I have a “baby daddy”. Yes, I know the term is ghetto as hell, but that’s exactly what this individual is and nothing more. I ALWAYS give credit to my husband for the upbringing of ALL of my children. My husband and I have been together for the last 15 years and he’s raised my oldest children since they were 6 & 7 years old including the children we have together.

My older children’s biological father is not something I’m proud of, nor was he a staple in my children’s lives, so to me, out of sight out of mind. However, I decided to talk about this horrid relationship and little did I know that it would help so many. A lot of people might be reading this story and saying to themselves, the relationship couldn’t have been that bad since Vivian has 2 children from the relationship, but it was bad. I just didn’t have the courage to leave at that time.

When I finally decided to leave the relationship for good, it was because I was almost killed while sitting in the passenger seat of my children’s father’s Toyota Camry, with over 2 pounds of marijuana in the trunk and my 2 young children screaming and hollering from the back seat for their father to stop slamming my head into the dashboard while doing about 80 miles per hour on the Southern State. I lost a good chunk of hair from my scalp that night, and it was only by the grace of God that a state trooper didn’t pull us over!

I remember that night as clear as I know Barack Obama is our President! When my children’s father dropped me off at home with the kids (because I was still living with my parents) I had a bloodied lip, a black eye, damn near a bald head and my children were crying out of their minds while my children’s father was trying to get a goodbye kiss from me. I couldn’t even believe what had happened. Out of all the fights I’ve had with this man, things never went this far and the looks on my children’s faces, coupled with the fear I saw in their eyes thinking their Dad was going to kill their Mommy, I knew it was time for me to go. It was really late at night, I gave my kids a bath, put them in their beds and promised myself and them that they would never, ever again in life have to experience that kind of thing again. I explained to them that Mommy was not going to be dealing with Daddy anymore and quickly got a restraining order. I was done!

I made sure to go to court to obtain sole custody of my 2 children and asked for supervised visits. I also took my children’s father to family court to get child support. At one point, he was in arrears of $65,000! I had him locked up several times for non-payment. I also took my kids to counseling for years. They hated it then, but I hope they understand now why I did that. I wanted my kids to be able to express their frustrations to a professional who could help. I needed the counseling also and it took YEARS for me to come to a place where I am today……which is happy and extremely blessed! Believe me, all of this was a process and a mere couple of words and paragraphs can’t even begin to explain what I went through, however, my older children are now in their 20’s and living positive lives. They are working, graduated from high school, they’re not in gangs, they’re not on drugs, have their own cars, and have goals they want to accomplish.

I’m here to tell you ladies that there is a light at the end of that very dark tunnel. You just have to be willing to walk through the tunnel. You have to want to leave that unhealthy relationship and value yourself enough to know you deserve better. God has blessed me with better and I couldn’t be more happier. My life is totally different now then from my teenage years, but we all have our walks of life that we must deal with. I pray I have somehow helped someone in need, or you at least gained some knowledge about me. I just thank God I am here to tell the story!

If you feel like you or someone you know needs help in leaving a domestic violence situation, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233.

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