A look from the outside.
Standing in the cold by myself with my nose running, waiting for daddy to open the door. It's been so long, and the laughter of his friends keeps getting louder and louder.
I wonder… If I go around the house to the kitchen window will he see me and remember that I am out here?
As I walk around the house I scrape my legs on the bushes trying to get up to the window. Using an old air conditioner as a stool, I look inside and see my dad staring right back at me and laughing.
If he knew I was out here why wouldn't he let me in?
Five year old me didn't understand what I had done so wrong to be left in the cold outside all alone, all night long.
All I wished for was to go back to mommy's where she paid attention to me and didn't do the bad things that daddy did. Where I wasn’t left to take care of myself at an age where I could barely tie my own shoes.
Standing outside my mind was running… What could I have possibly done to make daddy so mad at me?
No matter how hard I tried I kept coming up blank. I couldn’t think of anything at all that I’d done to justify being forced to sleep outside in the dog’s house.
As much as I try to block out the things daddy always did but never should have done, I’m still haunted by them. It scarred me for life.
This story is just one of many that comprises my relationship with my dad.
Having been so little at the time I never really understood anything that was going on. I just knew that my mom hated the fact she had to give my dad his share of time with me; but by law she had no choice.
Looking back now at everything I went through it's 100% clear to me that I was a victim of domestic abuse.
My mom was a single mother fighting the court system nonstop to get me away from the abuse, yet she never saw any results.
It was agonizing at my young age to watch my mom go through this and I constantly felt like it was all my fault, that I had been doing something wrong.
But over the years with the help of my mom I finally understood the truth - this was never my fault in any way.
Domestic abuse is only ever the fault of the abuser, not the abused.
Now I spend time encouraging others to share their own stories. I want them to know that it is going to be okay, but more importantly that they are not alone.
When you are a victim of domestic abuse it has a profound impact on your life. But it doesn’t have to define who you are, and it doesn’t have to take over the rest of your life.
Domestic abuse is far more common that most people may think, but you can get past it and still be the person you want to be. My own dream is to become a professional model, and I’ve been working hard and making strides every day that get me closer to achieving my goal.
My desire is that one day my story will show your dreams can come true if you’re willing to work hard for them, no matter what obstacles you faced growing up. And I will continue to share my story in the hopes I can reach more victims and provide them with the inspiration they need to not only survive, but also to thrive and succeed.