I was nineteen, a college drop-out to be closer to my emotionally manipulative, verbally abusive boyfriend. I was *his*, he’d made that clear. *His* enough that he dictated whether I was allowed to be on birth control. *His* enough that sex wasn’t a consensual, mutual decision. I was his captive. Friends and family were not an option, and he brainwashed me to believe that this was a good thing. If I had no friends, no family, it meant I loved him. It meant I was devoted to *him*. After a year, his abuse turned physical, and I left in the night, fearing he was going to actually kill me.
After I was safely back at my parents’ house, he began a new form of torture–calling me at all hours of the day and night to berate me, yell slurs into the phone at me, threaten to drag me back to his house to finish the job he’d started. When I stopped answering my cell phone, he started calling my parent’s landline. He called every day at dinnertime, and sat silently on the phone, breathing just loud enough to hear him on the other end. I was terrified.
After three weeks of being home, I was feeling bloated, nauseous, tender breasts, the works. It wasn’t the flu as I originally anticipated. I was pregnant.
I knew I couldn’t keep this pregnancy. I lived in a small town, and if I stayed pregnant, he’d find out. He’d find me. I doubt very much that he’d let either of us go unharmed. If I had the baby, he’d fight for father’s rights just to hurt me, just to put that baby though all of the awful things he put me through, and maybe worse. He’d play the victim. He’d get sympathy because no one knew what he was doing to me for that year we were together.
So, I had an abortion. It wasn’t an easy decision. It wasn’t easy to do. It was horrifying and sad and humiliating and heart wrenching. I wanted my first pregnancy to be shrouded in love and happiness, not smothered in hate and hurt.
It took me sixteen years to write about this.
It took twelve years for the silent phone calls to stop.