Sometimes you have to dance with the devil to get out of hell.

I stood in front of the mirror yet again. Slowly applying the skin colored concealer over the purple circle surrounding my eye. I wondered if I could hide it to avoid the questions, to protect my boyfriend, the predator.

I had spent all of seventh grade chasing my crush. He was the first boy I swore to be in love with. The only person I would do anything for. I wanted him with a passion. I thought about him night and day. I started conversations about him. I even planned my routes in between classes, just to get a passing glance at him. My whole life revolved around him, and to put a grin on your face, yes I did get the man I wanted; I was his first girlfriend, first kiss, and first time. Yes, that would be the perfect fairy tale story, if that was what this was about, but no, this is not about the butterflies I felt when we were together or about how we magically fell in love.

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This is about how I was his first, first victim.

I will never forget the first time. The first time a hand was laid on me with force. A hand whose job was to cause pain, and create harm. The first time my boyfriend, who I loved and gave everything to, hit me. It was another ordinary day at Bleyl middle school. I had met up with Chris in between classes, wrote him notes during, and ate lunch with him. We were the known couple. Everyone knew of our love. It was “Us” “them” or “we”. This particular day it was time to leave seventh period. I was of course the first to cross the threshold leaving the class. I rushed to our meeting spot as always. As I turn the corner I was shocked to see him there first. A wide grin swept across my face. It left as fast as it had appeared when Chris took my hand into his and lead me towards the gym without a spoken word.

“Where are we going babe?” only silence filled the air as he kept leading me.

“Is something wrong?” we descended the stairs leading into the gym. He kept walking, pulling us behind the bleachers. I was excited to be alone, yet worried, as he still remained silent. I was standing back against the wall. Suddenly I was aware of his weight slowly adding onto mine. Once more I called out.

“Babe…” I was answered.

“Did you think I wouldn’t find out, that word didn’t get around?” I was silent unsure of his words meaning.

“I know you kissed him.” Shocked I stood still, racking my brain for anything that made sense. I had no idea what he meant.

“Kissed who? You’re the only one I kiss.”

“You can’t lie anymore, I know the truth.” His eyes suddenly lost the light brown hue I loved; darkness seemed to take over. I was suddenly aware of the rustle of shoes from those rushing to class. I could hear the minute hand moving on the clock above. We were out of sight and alone. Then I felt the stinging. My cheek was fiery hot. All I saw was the slowing of Chris’s hand after it made contact with my face. I watched as his face again became familiar. The features of my lover returned. The pain began to subside and Chris grew frantic muttering words that ran over each other trying to get them out. Then I heard

“It will never happen again.” Somehow I ended up in my next class on time, trying to calculate how all that happened in five minutes. As time bore on we didn’t mention it, like an unspoken agreement. Yet the knowledge of the memory remained. We continued our routine, seeing each other every chance we got, but our routine took a powerful spice. He became my punisher, judging my wrong doings and providing a sentencing. He had choked me, bruised, crashed, and on a special occasion dragged me across a field by my hair. I had grown accustom to it, it happened everyday for two years. Chris never missed a chance, weather it be at school, my house, or his. The pain was unreal but I believed it was a trade-off. A mere opportunity cost for love. I was no longer an individual. I was one of sixty percent of women who have been abused in a relationship. Forty percent of women have reported being in an abusive relationship, while twenty four percent have never reported their abuse. As quoted from National Resource Center on Domestic Violence.
Love binds many things. Love bound me into torture. I never left chris. One day he just never showed up and I learned he transferred schools. His Number was changed and he left to live with his dad. The last time I saw him was when he walked away and I laid sprawled across the floor unable to move. I may have never left him. I wouldn’t have gotten out. Who knows if I would had died or suffered my entire life. There are a millon what ifs, but I do know I survived. I survived and was molded into who I am today. I am a headstrong, driven, indepent women. I can not claim I am no lnger a statistic because I am. I’m one of ninety percent of survivors. I know the importance of life. To cheerish freedom and my opportunities. I know to put my needs first, but I know how to do this while being a team player. This experience did not ruin me, it molded me into one hell of a strong human being. I do not want peoples pitty. I want the opportunity to make something of myself, to share my knowledge. I am who I am today because I can get through anything.

I still stand in front of my mirror. No longer to hide my bruises, but to show my scars. I have tattooed a purple ribbion in my skin. A symbol of domestic abuse survivor. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. I am strong.

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