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I became pregnant with my daughter with another man during our on and off dating, and this caused huge problems in our relationship. 

We moved in together and the abusive situation became apparent to everyone but me. I was convinced that I was in love and happy; that we were a family. I felt forced to choose, and decided I didn't want my family in my life for the sake of my own “happiness.”

Then the psychological abuse began. My abuser accused me of cheating and told me that no one else was going to love me as much as he did; that I would never be good enough for anyone else. I started to believe I was really worthless. I cut my hair short and started wearing baseball caps and men's baggy clothing. Eventually, I did not leave the house at all.

One summer day, my three year old daughter dropped a popsicle she was eating onto the ground. She looked at me in fear and began to cry. Alerted by her cries, our abuser picked her up by the back of her neck and threw her face first into the couch, splitting open her eyebrow. I “woke up” then to what was happening. After an investigation by the Department of Human Services, he wound up with a record, which only made things worse.

After that, the physical abuse started. I looked for a job where I would not have to deal directly with customers and could hide the black eyes and bruises on my face. I was lost. I didn't know how to escape. I tried shelters, but I wasn't strong enough to stay away from him on my own.

After seven long years of abuse, I found someone who was willing to help me find a place to stay. I pretended to get ready for work, grabbed my backpack with a change of clothes, my phone charger, and left for good! I am glad I was able to break away from the abuse. I still suffer from the effects of the physical beatings, but my daughter and I are alive and healing!

I want to make sure that people who are in the difficult situation I was in have somewhere to turn when it seems everyone else has deserted them; somewhere they can go to be protected and receive all the resources they need to heal.

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