When Kate finally escaped her abusive husband, she thought that the violence and terror were over. What she learned instead is that, when children are involved, escape and safety become even more difficult as abusive ex-partners use child custody and the family court system to continue their harassment and abuse.
The first time her husband hit her, Kate was pregnant with their first child. He had forgotten his fanny pack at the drug store, Kate recalled. Once at home, she told Truthout, "he smashed me hard on the back of the head and said, 'How could you be so stupid?'"
It was the first time he had struck her, but her husband had emotionally and verbally abused her for years. "I felt like I was walking on eggshells and was nervous all the time," she explained. "All I could do was grovel and then go back to the drug store to get it."
The abuse continued. "Every few weeks there was something," she recalled. Her husband blamed her for each incident. "There were never flowers or apologies," she said. "Instead, it would be like, 'This is your fault. You need to understand that and then we need to move on.'"