One Imgur user’s post has recently gone viral for its horrifying portrayal of what an abusive relationship can look like.
KrissyKross, who requested to be referred to by her Imgur username, told HuffPost that she decided to share the text screenshots on Monday because it was the third anniversary of her ex-husband’s sentencing.
“It was weighing heavy on my mind,” she said. “I never got therapy afterwards due to lack of money, so I never really learned how to deal with what had happened. I didn’t ever bring it up with anyone and never really talked about it with my family after the fact.”
The below messages are a devastating example of the many forms in which intimate partner violence and abuse can manifest. According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, habits such as insulting partners, showing extreme jealousy, controlling a partner’s social life, damaging a partner’s property and hurting their pets are all indicative of intimate partner abuse and violence ― and KrissyKross’s ex-husband exhibited much of this abusive behavior.
Over the course of their marriage, KrissyKross said that he physically, sexually and emotionally abused her.
She also said that she shared the texts years later because the stigma that surrounds women who stay in abusive relationships kept her quiet for a long time after her relationship ended.
“Even on my post, a small handful of people were asking, ‘Well, why would you stay then?’” she told HuffPost. “I made very little money, I was financially dependent and I just really wanted my marriage to work. I didn’t want to give up on it. But it’s hard for people on the outside to really understand that, I suppose.”
There are myriad reasons why women stay in abusive relationships ― as HuffPost’s Melissa Jeltsen reported last year, those reasons can be financial and emotional, and also for fear of retribution or breaking up a family.
KrissyKross eventually left her husband, after he hurt her dog and her kitten. He was formally charged with “a handful of misdemeanors and two felonies.”
As terrifying as the story is, KrissyKross ended her post on a positive note: “I have my own place, a decent job, my pets are doing very well. My credit is shit from the divorce but really, I’m in decent company in that. This isn’t really a sob story; I’m really proud of what I’ve done on my own.”
She also told HuffPost that, although she’s pleased with where she is now, it took her some time to get there ― and no one should have to go through it alone like she did.
“I think that women (and men) who manage to escape these situations should find someone they can talk to,” she said.
“Don’t be ashamed,” she added. “Getting through the court dates and trying to pay bills alone on minimum wage is hard enough, but I found that my real struggle was learning to undo all the mental and emotional damage that had been done.”
Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) for the National Domestic Violence Hotline.