Soon I was 18, married and heading out of the country for the first time! It was in July of “79”, that I took the long flight to Frankfurt Germany and I was excited to start this new journey.
Things seemed a little different from the moment I arrived. We greeted one another with a hug and kiss, but it didn’t feel as warm as I expected, but I was distracted by the excitement of being with the man of my dreams [tall, dark, handsome, ambitious, smart]. I was anxious to start our new life together.
Frankfurt was beautiful! We took the autobahn and went on an exhilarating high-speed drive. I was on cloud nine! He had “conveniently” rented us an apartment in a small German town approximately 20 miles outside of Frankfurt.
A few days after my arrival, he came home and told me he’d found a job for me. It was at a daycare/pre-k center on the base. I enjoyed my job with the children and staff, it soon had become an escape from my life at home.
He and I were arguing a little more than I liked, but I felt it was just a part of married life; no big deal. I think working with those children caused my maternal instinct to kick in and I soon began to have baby fever. He wasn’t too keen on the idea, he said wasn’t ready for a baby, but it was something I really wanted. I wanted to start our family. I wanted a child with the man I loved. Approximately a month after my arrival in Germany, I became pregnant with our first child. I was so excited, but things soon took an abrupt change for the worse after we found out.
In addition to smoking marijuana, he began drinking heavily and staying out all night. When I questioned his whereabouts, he would give the excuse that he’d drank too much to drive and passed out at the barracks. Most of those encounters ended up in an argument, which would sometimes become physical. It started with him grabbing me by both arms and pushing me onto the bed. The first time he hit me was with his fist which landed on my forehead and left me with a knot the size of a ping pong ball. I was so confused. How could someone who was so caring while we were dating, turn on me in a matter of a month?
Throughout my pregnancy, I experienced some very unimaginable things. Without going into graphic details, I’ll just say there was an instance where ropes, a lit cigarette and the threat of me making money for him were involved. Then there was another time when he wanted to try out his new whip on me.
Most episodes of the abuse were followed with an apology and lavish gifts. I found myself becoming mentally numb to the pain and survival mode kicked in. I had become increasingly fearful for my life, so I was now fighting back.
One fight resulted in him receiving a flesh stab wound in the chest and another with him receiving a knife slice just below his eye to the top of his upper lip. The cut to his face caused me to run from the apartment with the car keys.The entire time all I could think, “What have I done?" and "He’s going to kill me now”.
Shortly after that, he purchased a stick shift, which he knew I couldn’t drive.
During that time, I also discovered he was having an affair with someone I thought was a friend. He’d been out all night and fortunately came in and went straight to sleep. I got up to go to the bathroom and right outside the bathroom door, he left his pants laying across a chair. I noticed some paper sticking out of the pocket. I pulled it out to see what it was and as I began reading it, I immediately realized it was a love letter from a woman. My first reaction was to immediately confront him, but intuition forced me to stop and say, no, read the entire letter first. I went into the bathroom, shut the door and finished reading the letter. The more I read, the sicker I became. I discovered this was who he’d been spending those nights with. According to the letter he’d even given her a sweet little pet name, “Ebony Eyes."
Our daughter was born in May, one day before his birthday. A month later I found out the other woman was expecting with what I assumed was his child.
I soon found myself having an occasional glass of wine and a joint, just to take the edge off and as an attempt to numb the pain. Yes...even during pregnancy.
To be continued...
Here are some helpful resources if you or someone you know is in a domestically violent relationship-
The National Domestic Violence Hotline
National Domestic Violence Hotline
Advocates are also available to chat 24/7.
National Center for Victims of Crime