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Sarah Weidner 2021 Scholarship Recipient

One in three women will experience some form of physical violence by a partner in their lifetime. For some, it will be a one-time deal; for me it was the longest two years of my life.

Who would of thought that the nerdy guy I dated for two years in high school would go on to become my high school sweet heart and abuse me for the next two years. I was transitioning from high school life, constantly being told what to do by my parents, to this new freedom which was quickly taken away by my controlling boyfriend. I did not see it at first. At first I just called it love, then I said it was because he cared, and finally I said it was because I wasn’t good enough for anything else.

You don’t see it coming. I grew up watching TV shows discussing abusive relationships convincing myself I would never let that happen, and then one night I’m being choked, life fading from my body and wake up in a pool of my own blood. He tactfully convinced me my friends were no good, and made up excuses why my family didn’t care, so that when he hit me, I felt alone and stayed. It is the feeling of no self worth; it is the feeling of loneliness that keeps you there in the abusive relationship. That was how he had control. The night the darkness closed in on my vision, and the breath left my body, I remembered I prayed to God to give me one more chance. If he would just give me one more chance to live that I would get out. When I woke up in my own blood on the floor, with my abuser gone, I knew God had heard me. That next day I reached out to my dad. He met me for lunch, secretly, while I was supposed to be in class, and we made a plan to get me out- but do plans ever really go the way we want them to?

I got a text from my mother a few days later. My dad was leaving her and she no longer felt like she had the strength to live. This extremely dark day for my family is the day that got me out of that abusive relationship permanently. My mothers attempt at suicide meant that someone must watch her constantly while she healed her mind and got her strength back. It became my job, which meant I had to move home. Moving me home meant I no longer had to be around my abuser and my abuser let me go peacefully and left me. Looking back on it now, my mom has said that she would go through that pain one hundred times over knowing that it saved my life and got me out of my abusive relationship safely.

It took years to heal. I fell into a deep depression after and had to seek therapy and get on medications to stop the feeling of wanting to die. So much change in such a small amount of time caused for my body to create a hormone imbalance. Throughout my therapy sessions I was able to rediscover myself and find a purpose as to why this had to happen to me. I no longer believe things just happen because- I know that I went through this trauma to help recognize the early signs of abuse in my best friends’ relationship and I was able to help her see it too and get out. My experience will also help me in my profession, making me more compassionate and relatable to my patients if they come in with stories like mine. I would like to say I have fully overcome this hardship, but in reality I still live with it. To this day, I still have night terrors, and some times things trigger me and I am that defenseless girl I was seven years ago. Even though I have not over come it, I have learned from it. I have learned to expect the unexpected, be more aware of others intentions, and to keep an open line of communication with people so that if I need help, I feel like I can ask.

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