Although it was hard, Tracy found the courage to escape an abusive relationship.
“Everything was great at first. I thought he was “the man” when we first met. He would walk into a room and own it. Everyone liked him. We had a house and everything we wanted and needed. Around the time of my pregnancy, the abuse started. First as emotional, then it slowly turned physical. He would call me stupid and retarded. If he thought my outfit was too revealing he would call me a slut. The slightest things would set him off. He would grab me, push me, punch me. The moment I knew I couldn’t stay in the relationship any longer was the day I was raped. With only $40 cash, I took my kids (Tracy had a child from a previous relationship) and ran to my brother’s house. I expected support but instead what I got was more abuse. My brother blamed me for everything. It broke me down, took the soul out of me. We stayed at my brother’s for a about a month and half but left shortly after. I just couldn’t take it anymore.”
She reported the abuse to the local authorities but found them to be unhelpful and at times dismissive of her concerns.
“When I reported the abuse, the cops were very rude. I had two black eyes and they just seemed not to care at all. My ex owns a pizza shop and at this shop, all the police officers in our district goes there to eat so they know him. The evidence of abuse was there but nothing happened and I believe it was because they knew him. My neighbor would over hear us fighting and even she would tell them but, nothing happened. It made me feel like no matter what I did, I couldn’t get away from him. I filed for and was granted a Protection From Abuse (PFA) but that’s as far as it got. He wasn’t allowed to have contact with me, the courts gave me a restraining but no charges were ever filed.”
Tracy struggled to get back on her feet, house hopping and sometimes spending nights in her car with her children.
“I was working as a nanny at the time and it was tax season so I bought an old car. Me and the kids would spend nights in the car or at my sister’s house when we could. I always tried to make sure my kids were fed but there were many days I went without. I lost so much weight, I was only 93 lbs. at one point. I start applying to as many jobs as I could, customer service, data entry, call centers, just whatever jobs I could get to save some money. I lucked out got a decent paying job at an insurance company. I worked at the company during the day and nannied during the evenings. I was able to take my kids with me to my nanny jobs. I saved every dime I could and after several months, I was able to save enough to get my own apartment. It was one of the greatest feeling in the world to be able to finally have a home again.”
Tracy gives this advice to other moms in abusive relationships: “Even though it’s easy to feel stuck, it’s important to be motivated. You’ll be in survival mode almost like a robot. There are points where you’ll feel absolutely helpless and depressed. You question if it’s your fault but you have to remind yourself that it’s not. Get support and help in any way you can. It’s going to get better even when it doesn’t seem like it is. Without my sister’s help, I would not be where I am today.”
Tracy, thank you for inspiring us and for being the awesome mom that you are. You are a #MomWhoRocks #ExtraordinaryOdinaryMoms