Walking on egg shells around your abusive partner can be terrifying, especially when you are constantly being threatened and assaulted. Kaitlyn was just a teenager when her boyfriend began violent tendencies.
When Peter was 23 he met 19-year-old Kaitlyn. Soon thereafter, she became his girlfriend and then she got pregnant with his child. Early on in their relationship, she learned that if she said something he did not approve of, he would punch her in the face. If she tried to leave the house during an argument, he would threaten to kill her. Immediately following her pregnancy, he got into drugs.
“He was addicted to heroin and crystal meth which made him angry.” Kaitlyn said. “He already had a bad temper, but the drugs made him violent.”
In addition to the abuse, every little aspect of Kaitlyn’s life had to be monitored by Peter. Unfortunately, Kaitlyn didn’t know how to stand up her herself or escape. Her fear outweighed all options. She felt as though she had no choice but to put up with him for the sake of their baby boy.
“I was scared to talk or do anything around him because I feared he would hurt me or my child. He has always been emotionally unstable and very controlling,” Kaitlyn said. “He would control what I wore and wouldn’t ever let me leave the house. If I wanted to hang out with friends or go to the grocery store, he would assume I was cheating.”
The police were called multiple times for domestic violence and child endangerment. Peter didn’t just physically abuse Kaitlyn while she was alone, but would also aggressively punch and slap Kaitlyn while she was holding their newborn baby.
“Every day he would threaten me with physical violence. He told me if I tried to leave the house, he would shoot me,” Kaitlyn said. I believed him because he actually attempted to kill me several times. He’s tried running me over with the car and shooting me. One time he fired his gun and the bullet nearly missed my head.”
Two weeks after Peter attacked her and their baby, Kaitlyn called the police again. While they were at Peter’s mother’s house, Kaitlyn’s received a phone call from her friend, but since Peter didn’t approve of her friend, he punched Kaitlyn in the face. This altercation ended in his sister and mother pulling him off of her.
He was arrested, charged with domestic violence and sat in jail for a year awaiting his trial in 2020. In the meantime, Kaitlyn gathered the strength to seek help from Lone Star Legal Aid for her and her one-year-old son. He voluntarily relinquished his parental rights and was ordered to take an anger management class while Kaitlyn was granted a protective order.
“Lone Star Legal Aid helped me get full custody of my son and I definitely feel safer,” Kaitlyn said. “I want to tell other teenagers like myself that are experiencing dating violence that it might be hard to leave a violent relationship, but life will get easier once you do.”
* Names were changed to protect the identity of the individual(s).