- Tanya Foster
Survivor Story: Happy Again
Updated: Mar 19, 2021
When I met my future ex-husband, I thought he was everything I had always wanted. He was funny, charming, good looking, and enjoyed riding and training horses like I did. I thought we both fell in love pretty fast, but it’s clear now I was the only one that fell.
He wanted to get married in Vegas that December. It seemed too fast, but I wanted to be with him, and was scared of losing him, so I agreed. The night before our wedding was the first time he assaulted me. We’d been having a great time out at the bars when he became convinced I’d cheated on him. He drug me off the dance floor by the collar of my jacket, called me a worthless whore, and shoved me to the ground by my face. Security for the casino saw what happened and tried to get me a safe ride and somewhere to stay away from him, but I was too stubborn and convinced he was just drunk.
Throughout the course of our marriage, my husband never paid a single bill. He would claim he was out working, but now I know he was either cheating on me or spending my money on cocaine and meth, while driving my truck. He controlled every bit of the money I worked hard to earn. I spent thousands on entry fees for team ropings. If I bought the “expensive” brands of foods, though, I was living in excess and would be reminded how worthless and stupid I was.
The physical abuse continued. Within a month of being married, he held a gun to my head. Less than 2 months after our wedding, we had been to a concert. He had gotten drunk and was passed out in my truck puking on himself. It was 30 degrees outside so I tried to wake him up and get him inside. He punched me in the temple. In response, I slapped him across the face. Then he grabbed a handful of my hair, pulled my head in his lap and brought his elbow down across the back of my head 5 or 6 times, until I was covered in my own blood. The next morning, he claimed he didn’t remember any of it.
I got promises to never drink again, never raise a hand to me again. The promises were all lies. Through the next 6 months, things just got worse. I was dragged across my house by my hair while he said he was going to drown me in the bathtub. He choked me, headbutted me, and punched and slapped me. Once, I was collapsed on the floor crying and he came behind me and put his fingers in the corners of my mouth and pulled as hard as he could. He was really good at hurting me in ways that didn’t leave obvious marks.
When I tried to leave, he would shatter my phone and drag me back in the house. If that didn’t work, he would hold a shotgun in his mouth and say if I left him, he was going to pull the trigger. Towards the end of our marriage, he started dealing meth. When I tried to leave after that, he said the plan was to have me murdered, because I knew too much about the meth ring. When that wasn’t enough to make me stay, because death sounded better than life with him, he said my mom would be murdered if I left.
Through it all, I kept trusting things would be better. I just needed to do a better job of keeping the house clean, I needed to listen to the things he said better, if I just did better, everything would be fine. It never was though. The day I left, he had come home high on meth. He had several hog-hunting dogs that I had been taking care of for months, so they were like pets to me. He needed my help catching one because it was afraid of him. While I tried to catch the dog, I tripped and fell. He called me a string of curse words, then hit me. I started to walk away while he tried to grab the dog. The dog tried to run, so my ex beat the dog to death with a baseball bat, then slit his throat. He threatened to do the same to my other dogs, and my horses if I left. He left the house later, after shattering everything in the kitchen and smoking meth out of a lightbulb, and I knew it was time to leave.
I loaded my dogs and drove to the Houston County Sheriff’s Department. I didn’t get the help I hoped for there. Not one deputy. They basically shrugged their shoulders and smiled when I told them I needed help, because I still needed to get my horses and I knew if my ex showed up while I was getting them, someone was going to end up dead.
Luckily, my best friend was able to help me get in contact with Tanya Foster. If it wasn’t for Tanya, I’m not sure I’d still be around. She helped me get a protective order, which my ex continued to violate constantly. The first time he was arrested for violating it, he was picked up half a mile from my office with a 9mm and 2 clips. He was released a few weeks later and was at my mailbox leaving letters and spray painting signs on my road within 12 hours of being released. He was arrested a couple weeks later on felony charges for continuing to violate the protective order, and he’s still in Leon county jail waiting to face trial.
Last week, he was served with divorce papers. When I first left him, I didn’t know if I would ever be happy again. My savings account was gone, my credit card was maxed out, my nice horse was half starved, two of my dogs were dead, and I’d lost nearly all of my friends through the course of my marriage. He made sure to cut me off the best he could from friends and family. Luckily, I had a few good friends and parents that were too stubborn to let me go.
Since I’ve left, everything has changed. My horse looks and works better than ever and has been winning checks, I’ve paid off almost half my debt, and I go to sleep at night without any fear of when he’s going to find me and what he’s going to do when he does. Every aspect of my life has changed for the better, and I thank God every day for the friends and family I had through it all, Tanya Foster, and everyone else in Leon County that helped me get out. ￼
Photo by Millicent Leandra on Unsplash