Valentines Day was a day to focus on romance. But what happens when the romance goes bad and turns abusive? That's the kind of thing the Family Crisis Center in Rexburg focuses on.
Jay Hildebrandt visited the center this week and talked with a young woman who had been emotionally abused in a dating relationship. She didn't want us to show her name or show her face, but she did want to tell her story to help other. Here's her story.
"I didn't notice it at first - he was kind of nice, but at the same time he kept throwing out little hints of, I guess you would call them red flags. At first he wouldn't lose his temper - he would just say it nicely, but forcefully, if that makes sense. He would get really upset and not talk to me for a couple days, but he had to know where I was, so he would sit with me and not talk to me. Then he started yelling and getting really aggressive and very overprotective and possessive. He isolated me, that's one of the first things he did- he would not let me talk to my mom. He wouldn't let me confide - he would yell at me, 'How dare you talk to your mom about us, how dare you mention me to your mom.' It was very strange."
"So what was the next escalation?" asked Hildebrandt.
"I wouldn't say he forced me to do things, but he did. I wasn't raped or anything, it was just overbearing, 'you need to do this, there is nothing wrong with this', very forceful, that was his peak, that's when I was finally able to say no. "
""So why did you stick with this as long as you did?" asked Hildebrandt.
"That's a very good question. Actually, I'm quite embarrassed. That's something I've gone back over in my mind a million times. Ultimately I think I stayed because I was so desperate for any kind of love. I thought anybody can change and I just need that patience, maybe that's my calling to be patient with all the abusers and so I stayed with him thinking that he would change, I felt it was my duty.”
"What advice would you give other girls in a similar situation?" asked Hildebrandt.
"I would tell them to know what they're worth, because if you know what you're worth, you're not going to allow people to tell you otherwise - nobody deserves to be yelled at, screamed at, treated like dirt, nobody!"
"Why to you think it's important you tell your story?" asked Hildebrandt.
"If I share my story other people can say, maybe this is happening to me."
If you find yourself in an abusive relationship, seek help from those in your support group or a family crisis center. The number for the Rexburg center is (208) 356-0065. It's at 16 E. Main St.