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True Stories About the Moment Survivors Decided to Leave

Survivors share the exact moment when they decided to leave an abuser and escape domestic violence

By Amanda Kippert | DomesticShelters.org

In case you weren’t aware, abusive partners aim to confuse their victims. They make them doubt their own intuition, gaslight them into questioning their reality. The goal is to keep a victim trapped for as long as possible under an abuser’s control. It’s not a place anyone wants to be, but for many survivors, there can be a turning point—a moment when they see the abuser for who they really are and realize the time to leave domestic violence is now.

Survivors who are part of DomesticShelters.org Victims and Survivors Community on Facebook, what was your last straw? Here’s what some of them said. If any sound familiar, maybe that’s your sign to get out, too. Contact a trained domestic violence advocate at Martha’s House (863.763.0202) to talk about safety planning and discuss the best way to leave an abuser.

What Was Your Last Straw?

“Looking at the terrified face of our 1-½-year-old son as his father screamed at me.”

“He told me in explicit detail how he was going to kill me and our three children. A few days later, I ran to a shelter with my kids.”

“The first time he drew blood.”

“When I saw the gun.”

“My almost two-year-old son was in a hitting phase and my now ex-husband said, ‘Hit her for me, buddy,’ like he was teaching him his ways. I couldn’t raise my son to be like him.”

“He would gaslight me and try to recreate history. In an argument, he’d bring me to mental exhaustion and tears. He told me that I was crazy and delusional. He blocked me from leaving, but I found a way to escape with the children. He was beating on my car windows when we left. I told him I was going to the store, but we never went back.”

“We were both on drugs and in danger of losing our two small children. I knew I had to get clean … if I lost my [parental] rights, I wouldn’t survive it. He wasn’t willing to get clean. I went to rehab and found clarity once I got away from him. Thank god, I got my kids back. It’s been three years and from what I hear, he’s still not sober.”

“The last straw for me was discovering he was offering me up for sex with strangers on the Internet. He was setting me up to be raped.”

“Waking up to his hands around my throat.”

“The last beating. He punched me, strangled me, dragged me by the hair and threatened me with a loaded gun. I know this sounds bad, but he had done worse. The last straw was the fact that he was doing this while our one-year-old was in my arms. I’m seven months outside that relationship and life has been peaceful…. I’m grateful God gave me a second chance at life.”

“Getting away for two weeks for work, seeing his outrageous behavior from a distance, and then the two friends I had been staying with sitting me down and telling me what they had observed. That time away gave me enough mental rest to plan the end.”

“A lot of verbal abuse that kept happening closer and closer together. Then there was one big moment where he threatened to rape me and bury me in the backyard. I left with the kids the next morning.”

“He broke my ribs.”

“He lost it on our 4-year-old daughter—screaming, yelling, absolutely terrifying her. He grabbed her by the jacket and threw her on a sofa. I tried to intervene and he pushed me away, screamed at me … I couldn’t help her and I was so scared.”

“I had come home from my mom’s for Easter and brought him some food. He was angry the minute I got home. He punched me in the back right after asking me [to be intimate]. It was a feeling hard to describe, but a few days later I asked him to leave and he left.”

“My abuser left bruises on our 14-year-old daughter’s back. I didn’t know until the school called. Child Protection gave me a choice—her or my husband. Out he went!”

“My therapist finally convincing me that I would have enough money if I left.”

“I got to a point where I was more afraid to stay than I was to leave.”

“Sadly, I never left him. He got thrown in jail for abusing me and called his mom to bail him out. She imposed a condition that he had to file for divorce for her to do it, so he did. Three months later I was happy and free and he came begging me to take him back. Best thing that could have ever happened to me and my kids. I got the divorce and never looked back, all thanks to a mother-in-law who hated me. I went back to school and got a degree … and have a great job and have eight grandchildren who he’ll never be allowed to see. I thrived and he failed.”

“When he set me on fire.”

“I just had enough of it all one day.”