Relationships are hard. But they’re even harder when that relationship is abusive.
And they are downright dangerous, and possibly deadly when they are physically abusive.
Some may think that the days of men slapping around their women are long gone. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Both and men and women are still subjected to domestic abuse.
The numbers are, frankly, astonishing. More than 10 million men and women will be physically abused by an intimate partner in the U.S. each year, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Abuse.
That’s 20 people per minute.
One in three women and one in four men have experienced physical violence by an intimate partner, including slapping, shoving, or pushing.
Domestic abuse is a lot worse than a push or a shove as Kimberly Rhine can testify.
The Wilmington, North Carolina woman was lucky to leave her relationship alive.
It all started when her boyfriend of almost two-years came home from a seven-month deployment and she found out that he had been unfaithful during that time.
She asked him to leave. He refused.
She called his friends and an Uber to get him to leave.
He would not.
“My boyfriend proceeded to closed-fist punch me in the face, completely knocking me off my feet. My 6-foot, 3-inch, 230-pound MARSOC operator in the Marines boyfriend split open my face,” she told Love What Matters.
Since that night, Kimberly says her life “has felt like slow torture.”
Unfortunately, bringing her abuser to justice hasn’t been easy.
She has received continual promised that her case will be resolved and that her abuser will be held responsible.
But the process continually lags on with dates being pushed backed and plea deals that she finds completely inappropriate.
She’s suffered sleepless nights and “nauseating distress” as a result.
“The photos here explain an ALFORD PLEA. A plea that is almost NEVER to be used. There are graphic photos of my face, and of the man who did this to me, my long-term ex-boyfriend who I was devoted to,” she wrote on Facebook.
“A man who is trained day in and day out to kill efficiently and swiftly. A MARSOC operator in the Marines. I will never forget hearing the ADA say to me that since this is his first charge, and there is no GROTESQUE DISFIGUREMENT, that a plea of domestic violence assault on a female would be offered.”
The trauma of the punch required Kimberly to get six stitches, gave her a concussion, loss of vision, chronic pain, and sensitivity to light. She says it has also jeopardized her modeling career.
Most of all, her trust in people has suffered.
“My face was, as she said, not ‘a Quasimodo disfigurement.’ I remember looking at her for the first time, in a meeting where she has never met me OR heard my story, but had already offered a meager plea… through bloodshot eyes telling her, ‘You may not see what you feel to be a Quasimodo disfigurement, but it feels that way on the inside.'” Kimberly recalled.
She keeps getting calls on her phone without a caller ID and even has the defendant’s lawyer trying to pay her off so she won’t finalize the restraining order.
“It’s not about money, it’s about keeping me safe. At this point, I have exhausted all my resources. I receive assistance through Operation Pretty Things, Inc. I have received aid from University of North Carolina Wilmington CARE group, Domestic Violence Shelter and Services, Wilmington, NC Open Gates legal advocate,” she explains.
Kimberly decided to stand up for herself and fight for the justice she deserves. So, she took her story to the media.
She says she did so to advocate for herself and other victims of domestic violence.
Six months after the attack she is still in recovery. She says the military only got involved after she went public.
Her ex-boyfriend’s marine battalion told Task & Purpose that they have taken administrative actions of issuing a military protective order and reassignment duties while they follow the case in civilian criminal justice court.
Kimberly says she urges others to seek to get out of abusive relationships.
“I’ve received hundreds of messages from women all over the United States with similar heartbreaking stories. Some even way worse than mine, like losing unborn children,” she wrote. “With domestic violence, each incident gets worse and worse – don’t let it happen to you.”
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Those who are suffering can get help from the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or visit thehotline.org.
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