“Growing up was not easy for me.”
(This is a sensitive essay on domestic violence)

By Robin Golliher

Growing up was not easy for me. I was raised in a very dysfunctional home. I had 5 sister and 2 brothers. My father and mother were very religious. Church twice on Sunday, and then on Wednesday night. We were made to go to church. People respected my dad, as the town knew him as the man of the church. What they did not know was the horror behind the walls of our home until many years later.

My mom was the slut of the town. She used me to get out at night to see other men. She had many boyfriends. At 13 I watched her have sex with one of my sister’s classmates. I sat in the truck of the man that she tried to sell me to. He kept me in his truck as we watch my mom have sex. He told my mom that I was too young. I failed 7th grade staying home watching my little brother so she could see her many lovers.

Many nights us children woke to the sounds of a gun shot. My father would shoot his gun into the ceiling while screaming at my mother. We lost many nights sleep over being scared. I have never forgotten the night my father came home so angry after work. Our pony got out of the fence and my father went out with his gun, and shot our pony dead between the eyes. We children cried for weeks because he killed our pony. Anger was building in my father. He knew what my mother was doing behind his back with all her lovers. One Sunday I was not paying attention in church and my father beat me until I bled six weeks internally.

At the age of 14, I began my escape plan. I ran away from home. I slept on benches, under bridges, under trees and in many strangers home. I hid out for many years running and not looking back. What I did not know was that life on the road would even be harder. I was raped by several men, beaten by many men physically. I took it for a place to stay. I did not know any other life.

I became pregnant at the age of 19 and married the abuser just to give my baby a name. My life was a living hell. We fought day and night. We would hit each other, pull knives on each other and call each other names. He then cheated on me with my sister, then drugs and the alcohol started. I move out and filed for a divorce. He then stole my 18 month old son whom today has been over 24 years ago.

I have been through three marriages. Each one was very abusive. A few pages cannot tell you anything. I was drugged in one of my marriages that sent me to the hospital four times. I have had many years of therapy and four break downs. Even today at the age of 47, I still cry when I look back over the years. I came to my senses when I realized that only I can control me and no one else. I had to figure out after so much abuse how to take back my life. It is not easy but you can do it. It takes determination to win the battle. You must learn to love yourself to move forward.