The Divorce Series: Young, Pregnant, & Abused

There are many reasons why people end up in divorce. It could be irreconcilable differences, infidelity, or even domestic violence.  In this next interview, one of our readers shares with us her story of divorce and how it was one of the best decisions she has made.  

How old were you when you got married and how old were you when you divorced?  

I started dating my ex-husband when I was 13 years old in the 7th grade. He was 14 years old and in 8th grade. We married when I was 14 years old and he had just turned 15. We dated for about a year and only got married because I was pregnant. We divorced about 3 months later. 

Was your ex Hmong or not?

Yes, he was Hmong. 

Was it a mutual agreement to get divorce?

My ex-husband did not want to get a divorce. He really liked/loved me but with him being abusive, I did not want to continue the marriage because I wanted to live. Here is a little back story.  

We would get into many meaningless arguments because we were young. I never knew what would set him off. It could have been a minor thing and then fists would be flying.  

I knew if I didn’t get away from him, he would have beaten me to death. So when I had the opportunity, I ran out of the house. At that time, I was about 5 months pregnant and it was early into the night, around 1AM. I ran off because he was upset and was going to hit me. While running away from our house, I tripped and fell. Thankfully, there were some nice people who were outside in the neighborhood. They quickly called 911 and an ambulance was en route.   

While all of this was happening, my in laws and my husband were looking for me.  They even went to my parents house to look, thinking I had gone over there, like all the other times before (my parents lived a couple of blocks away). When they found me, the ambulance was already there. My dad was particularly upset because I was pregnant, hurt, and crying.

When I arrived at the hospital, my lips were dry, torn, and was bleeding from the mouth. It was standard for the hospital to let the police know and investigate because they suspected domestic violence. The investigation wrapped up early in the morning and by 7AM, they arrested my ex-husband.  

Since he was underaged,  he was sentenced to one month in juvenile court. We went to court and the judge asked me if I felt safe and of course I didn’t. The judge ordered a restraining order and he was not allowed to come within 100 ft of me. 

How was your support system? How did your family react? How did his family react? 

My parents supported me with the divorce because my ex-husband did not love me and he was abusive verbally and physically.  They were extremely happy that I decided to return home and end the marriage. My relatives and siblings who were older did not support me because they did not understand the situation that I was in with my ex-husband.  I think they were a little embarrassed and ashamed because of the whole situation.

My ex-husband’s parents were upset and sad. They knew he abused me but still sided with their son. My ex-in-laws were sad as well because I decided to return home to my parents.  

Did you try to fix your marriage through the community? What did the community advise you to do? What was that experience like?

My ex-husband’s relatives came over to talk about the relationship but I refuse to return. I didn’t want to stay in the abusive relationship. I didn’t want to die. His relatives knew how he was in our marriage. They only came once because of tradition and to save face for their clan. Once they heard that I refused to go back, they dropped it and did not try to persuade me.  

After my ex-husband got out of juvenile, he came right over. He cried and begged my parents for forgiveness. He told them he was going to change and not be abusive anymore. He started to stalk me even with the restraining order and my cousin had to call the police on him. My parents refused his request. That was the last time I ever saw or heard from him. It was a crazy time in my life but I’m glad it’s all over.  

Where are you now?

I am remarried. My daughter, whom I was pregnant with was born healthy. We do not keep in contact with her biological father or his family. They only recently wanted to start a relationship with my daughter but she is not interested. I have left the door open for her if she ever wanted to start a relationship with them.

Anything else you want to add?

If you’re ever in an unhappy or abusive relationship, get help and get out. I felt like I was really lucky, I was able to get out of that situation. My parents were really helpful and understanding as well. I think if I had stayed, I don’t think my daughter and I would be alive right now. Getting a divorce was the best decision I have ever made.

If you are in immediate danger, call 9-1-1.
For anonymous, confidential help, 24/7, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE) or  1-800-787-3224 (TTY).

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