Dating Violence: A Story Of Abuse
In November 2004, Alexandra was 19 years old and living in Indianapolis, Indiana. She was at a low point and had extremely low self-esteem. She started chatting with a boy named Matthew, a friend of a friend, on AOL instant messenger on an ongoing basis. The night they first went on a date they had been chatting at length about Calculus and Alexandra’s struggles in the course. Matthew offered to help “tutor” Alexandra and assist her with homework.
They met for the first time to do homework together and ended up going out to dinner beforehand. During the dinner, Alexandra started to get a bad feeling about the guy. She decided she didn’t want to see him again. That night, he had left his coat at her house. When he came to collect it the next day, she let him know that she didn’t think they should go out again. However, he pushed back and convinced her to give him a chance. Looking back, Alexandra realizes that this was the start of his controlling nature breaking through.
Pretty quickly the dating violence escalated into sexual, physical, verbal and emotional abuse. On more than one occasion, he strangled Alexandra until she lost consciousness.
The violence escalated. He hit her on numerous occasions, once with a commemorative baseball bat that he broke on her back. On another occasion, he struck her with an electric guitar.
Escalating Dating Violence
Alexandra was a waitress at the time. Her abusive boyfriend forced her to cover every inch of her body before leaving the house to ensure her bruises weren’t visible. The ones that were visible, he had her conceal with thick make up that he would have to look at and approve before she was allowed to leave the house. He distanced her from every person in her family. He listened in on every one of her phone conversations and twisted everything her family said to her, eventually convincing Alexandra that her family didn’t love her and she had absolutely no one but him. Over time, she began to believe his lies.
After four months of abuse, Matthew told her outright that he was trying to kill her. He told her not to sleep and to call her work and tell them she wasn’t coming in because her face was so swollen and bruised from his beatings.
When she called her job the following morning to say she was sick, Alexandra’s manager told her she had to come to work or she would fire her. Alexandra’s abusive boyfriend had thrown her keys onto the roof, so she was unable to leave the house without him. He drove her to the restaurant where she worked and told her to go in, clock in and then pretend to be sick so they would send her home.
She did what he said, went in and then to the bathroom where she pretended to get sick. A co-worker told one of the managers what was happening. The manager, Shea, then came in to check on Alexandra. She found her hunched over the toilet, bruised and visibly upset. Upon looking at Alexandra, she understood at once what was going on. “I know what he’s doing,” she said, “and he’s going to kill you.” Those words and looking into Shea’s eyes immediately opened the flood gates of Alexandra’s tears and emotions. Shea asked Alexandra, “Do you want me to call your parents?” and Alexandra replied, “they hate me.” She assured Alexandra this was not the case and stayed with Alexandra every second until her father arrived.
Getting Out Of The Abusive Relationship
Alexandra’s father came to the restaurant and picked her up. He took her home and had her take a bath. As they approached the house, Alexandra’s mother rushed outside causing further tears and sobbing. She immediately offered to help Alexandra take a bath. She washed off the full body makeup, and could see that Alexandra’s back, face, legs, and stomach were black and blue. There was not a part of her body without marks and bruising.
Following the bath, Alexandra and her parents went to speak with a psychiatrist, then her father filed for a protective order with the police. Once the protective order was filed, they took Alexandra to the Emergency Room. She found out that her ear drums had burst multiple times. Her nose was broken in addition to being covered in surface injuries and bruises from extensive beatings. Police investigators took photos of her injuries and told her they had never seen anyone alive with the amount of injuries she had sustained.
Matthew was arrested and charged. The prosecutor petitioned to revoke bond but was denied. About a week after the release on bond Matthew violated the protective order conditions by attending a course that Alexandra was enrolled in. The professor of the course reported Matthew’s visit to the school police and he was once again arrested. Due to the violation of the protective order his bond was revoked and he remained in jail until sentencing.
To avoid a jury trial, Alexandra worked with the prosecutor for a plea agreement to be offered. Matthew didn’t have prior felony convictions so there was a question of how long a sentence might be. Some of the charges were dropped. A maximum of ten years sentence was part of the agreement which Matthew accepted. He was convicted of Felony B Criminal Confinement along with some lesser charges.
Sentencing took place in November of 2005. Alexandra along with her parents read their Victim Impact Statements before the court. After reviewing all of the evidence and hearing the statements, the Judge sentenced Matthew to 10 years in prison, the maximum allowed under the plea agreement. Matthew was released after serving only 3.5 years of the sentence.
The teen stories in this series were provided to Your Teen by No More (nomore.org).