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Domestic Abuse Testimony: Twahna’s Story

This is one of the many survivor stories contributed to Amnesty International. Read on Twahna’s domestic abuse testimony and find out how she finally broke free from her abusive relationship.

domestic abuse testimony
Twahna, founder of the Butterfly Society, a grassroots organisation raising awareness of domestic violence

I was a sophomore in college. I fell in love with a wonder guy, my prince charming. It was the perfect relationship – until one day I felt his hand on my face. He said, “Bitch if you had kept mouth closed, it wouldn’t have happened.”

I fell in love with a wonder guy, my prince charming 

From that moment, my life was turned upside down. I was mentally, emotionally and sexually abused. He degraded me, he talked about me being overweight, and he stripped me of all of my power. I began to question my self-worth, self-confidence, and my true purpose in life. I thought of committing suicide many times. It was a way out for me.

I told no one in the beginning. I was too embarrassed and ashamed to share what I was going through – my family and friends adored him. He isolated me from my support system, those who loved and cared for me dearly. Lines of communication with family and friends were limited. He monitored my every move.

Eventually I built up enough courage and strengthen to tell a relative.  She said, “I believe you. You deserve better. What can I do to help?”

I left him and went to live with her for a while, but my abuser convinced me to return to him. He swore that he would seek counselling, an anger management program, but he never did. He said all the right things to get me back in his possession. I believed him with all of my heart. I gave in to another chance. 

Change never came. One day he put his hands around my neck and began strangling me. It was like he was possessed. He said to me, “I will kill you if you every leave again”. I saw myself dying at his hands.

I woke up and the voice said to me, “today’s the day you leave”

I went to bed that night and prayed. I heard this soft spoken voice in my ear and I knew it was voice of God. The next morning, I woke up and the voice said to me, “today’s the day you leave”. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. I told him I was leaving for work and gave him a kiss goodbye. I hid behind a building across from our apartment building and when I saw him get into his car I returned to the apartment to gather my things. I never went back!!

It was the  scariest time of my life. Starting over without him was very challenging, but I pressed forward determined to live again. I got busy volunteering at a local shelter and speaking out against domestic violence in some uncomfortable spaces. 

I began dating again, and decided to return to university. I had the opportunity to share my story with a gathering of young women an event remembering those who had lost their lives due to domestic violence. That night my story impacted several of the women and I realized my story could inspire me.

One person can’t do this alone. It takes many hands and many voices 

The Butterfly Society came to be through my personal journey. We’re a grassroots organization – boots on the ground, meeting people where they are. We go to barbershops, neighbourhood schools, and churches. We aim to educate, empower and engage the community.

There’s still so much work to be done and it’s up to us as a team to make an impact. One person can’t do this alone. It takes many hands and many voices to do this work.


This story is republished from Amnesty International under a Creative Commons license. Read the full and original article.

Also read: Domestic Abuse: What You Need to Know