I want to start this off by telling you the number of times it took for him to hit me before I reported anything, but sadly I couldn't remember how many times. Either I forced the horrible memories from my mind or I lost count.
What I do know is that not calling the police, not telling my parents, not leaving, not taking pictures, not reaching out to anyone were irreversible mistakes. I can tell you that the last time happened in a public parking lot in the presence of my infant son. I think he was the only reason I realized I had to call this time.
Sadly, I thought so little of myself that I accepted being hit by him in private, prior to our son being born, but my heart would not allow him to see this, to grow up this way, seeing his mother live in constant fear. The first time he hit me while holding my son, he knocked me to the ground for turning on the wrong radio station in our living room.
I promised myself if he did this in front of my son again, I'd call the police.
Perhaps, the blow to my face from an almost 300 lb. football player had finally shook some sense into me. Perhaps it was being temporarily knocked unconscious from my head hitting the concrete and waking up to the sound of my son wailing from his car seat. Perhaps it was this time thinking I would die.
This time he knew I would call too, but prior to driving off, leaving me on the ground to suffer, and my son in the car, he snatched my phone and smashed it into pieces on the ground. He wanted to make sure I couldn't call for help.
The sad thing is, an innocent bystander saw this and was too afraid to stop to help.
Luckily, someone else did and I called the police. I want to tell you that this led to him being punished in the way that he deserved. I want to tell you that everyone believed me and that this was easy once I spoke out about it. Those would be lies.
It was tough fight, but a fight worth having. During this time, I found out who my real friends were and I found out how the system favors some athletes. I was called a liar, blamed for ruining his career, abandoned by other athletes' girlfriends/wives who believed me but were now afraid to associate with me, and my child was left fatherless due to his father's anger towards me.
Although all this happened to me, I don't regret leaving him or finally calling the police. What I do regret is not doing it sooner, not taking pictures, not telling someone. What I do regret is putting on a pretty face for the games and parties when I was hurting so bad on the inside.
If you are in a similar situation, start taking pictures NOW. Start documenting NOW. Thinking back, I constantly wonder if I had more evidence, more documentation, etc., would that have helped? Would justice have been served? Even if you're too afraid to call yet, do this "just in case" you realize you've had enough. "Just in case" you finally realize you don't want to die.
A Former SEC Football Girlfriend
A Current Professional Woman Married to a Wonderful Man