Q & A

How did a 20 year old young lady end up dating a convicted felon on parole who is almost twice your age?

Well, this is a sad and long story in itself. It all started when I moved from my home in St. Clair, Michigan with my boyfriend Dennis, to his home town in Pontiac, Michigan. I was 18 years old at the time and pregnant with my daughter. We moved there to start a new life together, starting from nothing, and we worked our way up. We had our own place, a new car, Dennis had a new job working for the bank cleaning up repossessed houses, which was a long way from some of the not so savory jobs of the past.

We were happy and it was the first time ever that I was living clean and sober by my own admission, and things were good for us. I had my daughter in October and a few weeks later, we were on our way as a family to go meet Dennis’ relatives for Thanksgiving dinner. We were pulled over by the police not three blocks away from his grandparents’ house.

Needless to say, an old warrant had popped up and Dennis was arrested on the spot. This was the beginning of my downward spiral. I ended up going back home that night without Dennis – just me, my new baby and Justin, Dennis’ cousin who lived with us at the time.

Justin and Dennis soon decided that Justin would continue to stay and watch over the baby and I until Dennis was able to return home. Because I wasn’t from the city, Dennis worried about my safety and wanted to make sure I was protected. Things were moving along and the holidays came and went. Justin and I did our best at managing the house and baby together. I patiently waited to find out what would happen to Dennis.

It was mid-January when I came home after my baby and I had stayed the night with a friend. It was a particularly cold January day and I remember walking up the stairs with my baby in her car seat in one arm and the diaper bag in the other. I knocked on the door and nobody answered. I was waiting for Justin to let me in so that I didn’t have to dig for the house keys. No one came, so I pulled out the keys and opened the door and the first thing I felt was a big wave of heat pour out the door. The day prior, I had turned up the heat because the temperature had dropped and my daughter’s room was slightly drafty in that older house. After the heat hit me, I opened the door and their was Justin, dead on my sofa. I completely freaked out and ran downstairs where I called the police. Justin has taken his own life. After the coroners came and took his body, I was so spooked – I wanted nothing to do with my house.

I called the only person I really knew in Pontiac to come get me, and that was a guy named Johnny. He was 43 and also on parole. We knew each other because he had given Justin and I tattoos a week prior and we had hooked up.

I started using (drugs) fairly heavily after that. Finding Justin dead kinda kicked my P.T.S.D. into overdrive. I ended up giving my baby to my mom back in St. Clair, while I went back to Pontiac with Johnny. My life with Johnny was terrible. I was beat senselessly all the time and to cope, I just stayed loaded… all I wanted to do was to fall asleep and never wake up…but I always did.

This cycle of abuse continued on for a few months and just when it seemed like there was no end in sight, Johnny’s friend James started coming around. He was fresh out of prison too, and came across to me as almost charming. But, then again, comparatively speaking, Lucifer himself would’ve seemed charming compared to the sociopath that was smashing my face in on a daily basis. So along comes James who begins to say all the right things like, “Why are you with that guy?”

“You don’t deserve to be beat on like that, you should run away with me.”

“You’re too beautiful to be treated that way.”

After a few months of this, I finally worked up the courage and left Johnny, even though it was more like fleeing for my life.

I ran away with James, whom I thought was my knight in shining armor at the time. When I started living with James I was 19 and it didn’t take long to find out that James liked to beat women, too. The first week we were together he smacked me straight across the mouth in front of his two children, who were only three to four years my junior. And things just got worse from there. The assaults on my mind and body broke my spirit, a few even landing me in the hospital. I prayed for it all to end and eventually it did, but not in the way I hoped.

With all the abuse that you endured by the “men” in your life, why didn’t you just move back with your mother?

Well, here’s the best way I can explain it.

So, my mom had my daughter and I was pretty hard core using heroin IV, which means I was shooting up. Well, I was sitting alone in my apartment and I was literally hours away from becoming homeless and I called my mom and told her that I was completely dependent on heroin and I was sick everyday without it.

I wanted to come home and get help. I truly poured my heart out to her and she told me “No.” I couldn’t come to the house because she had my daughter and honestly at the time she didn’t believe that I was actually addicted to heroin. I ended that phone call with total devastation.

I just saw no hope within sight, so I called Johnny (abusive man #1) and moved out to Pontiac with him… living from couch to couch… running from the absconding team every morning because he had absconded from parole and relapsed back on crack.

He’d go on binges for days and beat my ass or leave me at his uncle’s house for days by myself while he was out doing God knows what… he’d come “home” only to basically rape me and beat my ass and make sure I wasn’t going anywhere… then he’d be off again.

I tried to kill myself for the first time when I was with him because in my mind anything was better then this. After I failed to hang myself I started to shoot up as much drugs as possible in the hopes that I would fall asleep and never wake up…. I almost succeeded a few times but I always woke up. That is why today I feel like I have some purpose on this Earth. I just am still looking for the reason.