The Face of Domestic Violence

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A Fresh Start?

I felt reassured when Dietrich made good on his pledge to attend a couple of AA meetings. He thought we needed a clean slate, so in the fall of 1998 we moved almost 1,000 miles away to Tampa, Florida. Those days were the best of our marriage. He found work laying down tile; I helped out while the baby slept. We took our son swimming in the ocean, and Dietrich toted him around in a baby carrier. He also fussed over me and bought me a beautiful silk bathrobe and diamond bracelet. I really thought he had changed.

But six months later Dietrich couldn't get any more work. That's when he started to abuse me again. During an argument he pushed me and broke my arm. Again I lied to doctors at the hospital and said I had fallen down the stairs. And to my surprise I found out I was pregnant. We eventually ran out of money and moved back to Arkansas. After our second son was born, in November 1999, Dietrich attacked my mom when she tried to stop him from driving drunk with the baby in the car.

In 2001, three years into our marriage, I finally got up the courage to leave. My parents were so relieved and rented me a house. Dietrich begged me to come back, but even though I learned I was pregnant for the third time, I stayed strong and filed for divorce. He said there was no way I could care for three kids on my own, and that scared me. So by the time I delivered a third son, Dietrich and I were back together.

Continued on page 4:  Hitting Rock Bottom


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