Pam is a victim of Domestic Violence, not just once, but four times in four different marriages. Her story is one that is built on a cycle of love and then pain but, for Pam, it is a story that needs to be heard. Pam hopes that her story will help others see that abuse is never to be accepted and there is always a way out. For even in the darkest night, God always provides hope.
It all began in the early 70’s when Pam was 18 years old, she gave birth to her pride and joy, her son Neilo. She married his father but soon found that his addiction to drugs and his violent disposition was more than she could handle. The abuse began here and the marriage lasted only two years.
Her second marriage lasted for 15 years but life hit them hard. After five years together, while Pam mourned the loss of her mother, their finances took a hit and they struggled to make ends meet. Her husband became an alcoholic and would never be the same. The verbal abuse would continue for the next ten years and, when he turned his anger toward Neilo, she knew it was time to end the marriage before he hurt Neilo.
Her third husband took everything she had. Her dignity, her money, and her home were all taken from her within the first six months of the marriage. He was a conman and left her with no choice.
In all of those situations, she had to walk away.
When she met her fourth husband, Dale, they were attending the same church. He was a kind man who had suffered from Bi-Polar disorder for over 30 years, but Pam recalls how sweet and wonderful he was. He was an outstanding member of their church, worked in their children’s program, helped with repairs and was loved by all. The medicine was working and his doctors were great. However, his medicine would soon become ineffective.
The first incident of abuse occurred without warning. While sitting in a recliner, Dale flipped the chair over on her, pinning her against the wall. The attack left Pam with a herniated disc in her back. The second incident was much worse.
While talking to him in the kitchen, he became irate and assaulted Pam. He threw her body into the kitchen cabinets. As Pam tried to gain her composure, he grabbed her again and threw her over the island in the kitchen, slamming her body into the kitchen floor. It was as though he was a different person than the man she knew as he told her to stop screaming or he would kill her. After coming to his senses, he let Pam go and Pam left him.
Six months later, Pam agreed to counseling as long as he received new medication. For 2 years they attended counseling together with their pastor and things were great. Dale worked hard to regain her trust and to prove his love to her. Ten years went by without an incident. However, in 2014, after his new treatments and medication began to fail him again, Dale became violent once more.
For 5 weeks, he was in a mental health treatment center then his doctor released him against Pam's wishes because he had been on another new medication for three days. This was not long enough to be effective. Then on the day of release, February 7th, Dale threatened to end Pam’s life. He held her hostage in their home for an entire night at knife point; trapping Pam in a bathroom and threatening to kill her. Pam was terrified as he cut her off from the outside world by destroying her phone. He said that if she screamed, he would kill her. If she fought back, he would kill her. There was no way she would survive this night on her own strength.
She credits her survival to one thing- the presence of God.
Even in the midst of all of this pain, God had been working on Pam’s heart. She had been raised in church but, over the years, she had found that her relationship with God had suffered, however, with the help of her son, whom she considers one of her heroes, and through the encouragement of others, Pam drew closer to God and was baptized on August 31st, 2009. The Spirit had drawn her back into her relationship with God. This would prove crucial during this long night.
As Dale threatened to take her life, she could feel the protection and peace of God around her. As he screamed, she prayed. She prayed that God would help her to remain calm as not to exasperate Dale further. She prayed that God would soften his heart and he would let her go. As the night went on, she could sense God’s presence surrounding her more and more. When morning came, her son arrived to find Dale shoveling the driveway. They managed to get him back to the hospital for further care. Pam pressed charges against him and filed for divorce.
She had to walk way.
Since that time, Pam has found great comfort in her relationship with God. Her favorite portions of scripture are found in the Psalms. Her son regularly attends a house church through Apex and they helped her get re-established by moving her into Neilo’s home, where she has been for the past year. He also helped her to meet Sue who is a counselor through a ministry at Apex Community Church. Sue has helped Pam emotionally and spiritually, essentially becoming a friend, but Pam gives all credit to God. She still struggles with fears and anxieties from time to time, but God has proven to her that he is with her and she is ready for the future.
Pam says, "As Christians we need to understand mental health - people closest to the patient often come in harm and need to be protected."
She hopes that women in her situation will read her story and find the strength they need to find help. There are resources through the county and various organizations that are available. She pleads with them to know that they are not stuck in their situation. Her motto has become, “With faith, you can survive anything.” She is living proof.
Author: Devin DelGrosso