“I met my abuser when I was just 16. I had never been in a physically abusive relationship before, and he was my first serious relationship. He applied for a job where I was working, and I thought he looked so cool in his leather jacket and bleached hair. I always had a thing for the older “badass” guys (Read: ‘Bad Boy Love’).

unnamed (5)We started talking as friends, and had an agreement that we wouldn’t start dating until I was 18. However, within just 2 months he had sucked me in with promises of a bright future, and I bought everything he was selling.

Contrary to popular belief, he didn’t start abusing me as soon as we met, nor as soon as we started seeing each other. It took a few months before he tried anything at all. One day we were sitting on his couch and play fighting. He slapped me hard across my face.

I was so hurt, emotionally and physically! I could feel my face stinging, and I ran away from him and drove as fast as I could home. I was so confused! Why did he do this?! He called me about 50 times that night – all night. Until finally around 3 a.m. I answered the phone. “I am so sorry – we were just playing and sometimes I don’t realize my own strength” I believed him, why else would he call so many times just to tell me that?! I was so young, so naïve, I had no clue what I was in store for.

So, I forgave him, and we continued seeing each other, but I felt like I was in control. We only saw each other when I had spare time, and only for as long as I could stay. I was going to school, working, and was on the dance team in high school. Things were going ok. He hadn’t hurt me since the first “accident”.

I don’t even remember the second time he hurt me, or the third. I remember the really bad times, and even have most of them blocked out and will remember them now as a flashback.

unnamed (1)We were together for 6 years. I had tried to leave once before, but the threats of him killing my whole family, my son, myself scared me to the point that I felt I had to go back so that my family’s deaths wouldn’t be on my hands.

I knew that if he decided to act on those threats I would never be able to look at myself or my family again without feeling so much guilt. I knew that I wouldn’t survive him doing that to my family – because I knew that the guilt would cause me to give up on my own life. I was so afraid of everything.

If I caught my own shadow out of the corner of my eye just right, or someone moved too fast, I jumped out of my skin. He convinced me that I was no good, that I was broken, and that I deserved everything he ever put me through (Read: ‘Speak Up’).

unnamedWe ended up moving up north near Sutton’s Bay, Michigan. The two of us, my son, and my daughter. He moved up with my kids before me, because I was still working to try to afford for the U-Haul to move all of our belongings up north. He took them the week before I was done with school, and it was his own assurance that I would be coming up.

He knew I couldn’t live without my kids, so he knew he had me trapped. So, the next week, the night after I finished my last class at 10 pm, I got in the U-Haul and drove the 3 ½ hours north to what I thought would be a new beginning – and it was; just not the way I thought it would be.

unnamed (2)I was up there for roughly three weeks. I was working 12 hour shifts trying to finish my externship, as well as working part time at a local restaurant to try to support the four of us. I was barely making anything at all. I had to go to a local Church to even have enough formula to feed my daughter. I had to depend on the generosity of strangers to feed my son. I ate when I could get enough change together to sneak a McDouble on my break without him knowing.

On August 12, 2011 my life would change forever. 

woke up that morning, thinking it was just like any other. I got up, got ready for my externship, kissed my children goodbye and left. The work day was uneventful, I don’t remember anything really out of the ordinary from that day. I do remember him texting me to ask me where the change was. I had taken it so I could eat that day.. But that didn’t matter to him, he needed it so he could take his brother to work. His family were always more important than me.

397791_362769287177992_727811888_nI always had to let him know where I was, or where I was going to be, so I remember calling him as I was leaving my externship to let him know I was leaving and heading to the restaurant to pick up my pay. I remember calling him to let him know I had my pay and was headed home. It was about 10 minutes later I got the call with him screaming that I needed to “Get Home Now, NOW! GET HOME RIGHT NOW!!!”

One of our biggest mistakes as victims of abuse is that we feel that as long as it is only affecting us, we will be fine, or that it is ok, (Read: ‘Why I Stayed’).  That is not the case, and that is why I share my story with you today. I made that mistake. I felt that since I had never seen him abuse my children, and his anger was only aimed at me, that they were somehow safe and unaffected. I wish I knew then, what I know now.

My daughter was just 3 ½ months old when he sexually abused her, and she passed away. 

There were no signs that he was sexually abusive towards children. The State of Michigan sealed his prior record, and that would have been the only indication. His family knew, but said and did nothing.

11205567_750318098423107_6505662949557466482_nNow my family feels nothing but pain and guilt for not seeing or doing anything to get me out of the situation. They don’t look at me the same, and it isn’t that they feel I should have done anything differently, other than speaking up about what I had gone through. Abuse doesn’t just affect the person being abused.

It affects children in the relationship, it affects the victim’s families – immediate and extended. The only way to put an end to it is for Survivors to step forward and share their story. Let victims know that they need to get out, and that the Survivors are there to help them do that.

After he murdered my daughter, he was arrested, convicted and sentenced to two natural life sentences for sexually abusing her and murdering her. It wasn’t until I was removed from the relationship, and started to notice how jumpy, broken and beat down I was that I started to realize that there aren’t enough resources for others trying to get out of these situations.

unnamed (4)I couldn’t afford counseling, and didn’t know where to turn to for help. Because of that, I founded the Evelynne Aimee Foundation on May 1, 2013. I founded it in Evelynne’s honor, sharing her story to help others. We help victims of Child, Sexual and Domestic abuse to get out of the situation in Genesee County, Michigan, (Read: ‘Abused no More’). 

Please don’t think that what you are going through is ok. Speak up about what you are going through, or what you have been through. I always tell everyone “Share your story, and if you aren’t comfortable with that, share my story –you never know who you could be saving in doing so.” (Read: ‘Reader’s Story: She Finally Flew Free’). 

The abuse and suffering I went through didn’t stop after I was out of that relationship and this is the sad reality for most victims. Its long lasting effects will always be there to remind me of a situation where no woman should ever find herself in. I now suffer from chronic migraines which I can get from the sun, loud noises and pretty much anything that can trigger it. They are caused by permanent nerve damage due to the abuse – and this is just the physical side of it.The emotional scarring and the hurt and pain from losing my daughter will last a lifetime.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and watch the video on my story.

You can find out more about the Evelynne Aimee Foundation, as well as follow what we are doing to make a difference on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/EvelynneAimeeFoundation?fref=ts) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/e_a_foundation).

We are a 501©3 organization, which means all donations are tax deductible, if you are able to help support our cause, you can make a donation at https://www.razoo.com/story/Evelynne-Aimee-Foundation.  

Thank you. Natasha

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