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  • Writer's pictureMiriam Yoder

The Love of a Mother

This is a story about domestic violence, told in the survivors' words. Content warning for abuse and more. Names have been changed to protect the identity of the innocent. This perpetrator was found guilty by jury trial of multiple crimes.

It could be important to remember that survivors may not have language or be in a space to describe what they are experiencing in detail.


Hear their words.

Amplify their words.

-Mary


I was never taught to speak up. I never saw a therapist. I don’t know how to begin seeing a therapist.


Because I was never allowed to tell people about my feelings, I don’t know how to tell people what the impact of these crimes are on me and my children. But I will try my best.


I met a man in 2018 and got married in 2019. He seemed like a good guy and I thought he was going to be my forever, but little did I know he’d start abusing me 3 to 4 months after we got married.


It started with belittling me, then physically abusing me, over the littlest things. He changed into someone I didn’t recognize.


He should have been my safe place, but instead was an abuser that wanted everything his way and did whatever he wanted.


I got pregnant before we got married so in Amish beliefs we had to get married. If I had known he was going to turn out to be the guy he showed me he is, I would’ve never put myself or my future children in a dangerous position like that.


We were Amish yet. He decided to get a smartphone. I called my sisters and my brother and I told them what Jacob was doing, meaning having a phone and having sexual conversations over the phone with women and how he was abusing me.


It made me feel like I wasn’t enough and he always made comments about other women being beautiful, I would always feel jealous and wonder if I’d ever get the attention I did in the beginning.


We went to another state to have our first baby at my parents. I called my sister Rachel and told her we were going to my parents’ and that I’d feel safer there. In the end I wasn’t safe. Their beliefs were forget and forgive, meaning I should stay with my abuser.


He got in trouble with the law. He had to register as a sex offender and I got a restraining order against him. Because of others making me believe that he would change, I asked to void the protective order in hopes of him totally having changed. After he got out of jail, I was living with him for years. I realized he was never going to change. After everything that happened, he still hasn’t changed to this day.


There was an incident where he kept me from my son Joseph. My son kept crying and Jacob wouldn’t let me pick him up to comfort him.


In 2021 we left the Amish community because we got in trouble with the Amish community. After leaving the Amish community we moved to another place. Over that time he had been sexually abusing me. He forced me to have anal sex, he went through my phone almost everyday trying to see if I was “cheating on him”.


Joseph would always run for the potty when Jacob came home from work. I wasn’t allowed to show much affection to Joseph as Jacob said he was a stupid and dumb child.


After my daughter was born I really felt like I didn’t have the support I needed. The one person that is my support now, I was never allowed to talk to because Jacob said so.

It made me feel isolated.


Jacob continued to belittle me and told me I was stupid, dumb and worthless. He said: “You should just go kill yourself, the kids would be better off with a stepmom.”. I wanted to end it all because I knew I was never going to be enough for Jacob.


How have these crimes affected me and my family?


It’s hard at times because the other parent didn’t wanna commit and do everything he can to help being better for the household.


It made me feel like I was nothing, like I was not even a person, like I was just a slave. I would cook for him.

He would come home from work and lie in bed. He’d tell me I want something to eat and I would serve him food in bed.

He wouldn’t allow me to show affection to Joseph freely, because he said Joseph was dumb and stupid as a two year old. But he was allowed to show Joseph affection, but he didn’t show him affection. He made Joseph sit in the potty at night. When Joseph didn’t poop in the potty, he put his belt around him attached to Joseph’s crib to keep him there overnight. This went on for several weeks. He wouldn’t allow me to release him.

I had to parent the way he wanted me to parent.


At times when we got something to eat in town, Jacob wouldn’t allow me to let Joseph eat what we ate. He would make me make other food for him.

When I got Joseph to a safe place, he would cry and scream in terror at the idea of going on the potty. It took months for him to be able to get on the potty let alone without crying and screaming in fear. Every time we made something to eat, Joseph would cry because he thought he wouldn’t get the food we got.


Some songs trigger flashbacks and I go right back to that place where I am again unable to protect my children or myself. For example Slowly by Kayden comes on and I cry. I think it might take years for me to enjoy these songs I like that cause me to have flashbacks.


I have trouble falling asleep because I think a lot about what I can do to make my kids' lives better. I think about sending them to school and it's scary because I will be alone in covering the financial costs, doing homework with them as well as providing clothing and transportation. I’ve never had homework from school and I don’t know what that could be like. Sometimes I think about where to live, even though I am currently in a safe place. On an average night I can only sleep around 5 hours. While I struggle, I wonder if a therapist could help me sleep better.


I get uptight now because I am not used to shopping because he did the shopping. There’s so many people there in the building, I am afraid people are watching me, I am afraid men are lusting after me,


Today, I don’t have those thoughts of wanting to end it all. It's hard being a single mom. I struggled to get a job because I do have 2 children. I would benefit from being able to see a therapist to help me navigate my life, unfortunately I cannot afford to pay a therapist. Joseph would benefit from having therapy and I can’t afford therapy for him.


I hope Jacob never hurts anyone else in the future.


Last year is when I decided to stand up for myself and my children. They never deserved the life they had. They never asked to be in this world and we as parents should always be the ones they run to when scared or hurt, not run from because of abuse.


Ever since I got out of the situation, me and my children have blossomed and are doing better.







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