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Escaping the Dark House: A Domestic Abuse Survivor's Story

By HERWriter Guide
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Escaping the Dark House: A Domestic Abuse Survivor's Story Erwin Wodicka/PhotoSpin

Jessica Yaffa spent years trapped and frightened in a marriage dominated by violence, sexual abuse, intimidation and manipulation. She finally got out with her young son, and lived -- barely -- to tell the tale.

After suffering rape and attempted murder at the hands of her now ex-husband (who is serving a lengthy sentence for his crimes), she has taken her suffering and turned it into a cause.

Her mission is to prevent other women from going through what she did. And if they suffer as she did, she’s here to help them get their lives back.

I had the pleasure of talking to Jessica recently about her life as a survivor of near-lethal domestic and sexual violence. She spoke about her role now as author and advocate for those still trapped in dangerous and destructive relationships.

I sent her some questions which she answered in the same frank and honest manner as I heard when talking to her via phone.


Jessica, it seems like you came from a loving, caring family but you had low self-esteem. Where you do think your lack of self-confidence/esteem came from and how was your ex able to capitalize on it?


It is important to recognize that many young women that come from what seem to be "normal" homes struggle with significant issues regarding their self-esteem. In my particular case, I grew up in a home where I was constantly striving to win my father's approval, often falling short.

Because I experienced his disapproval around my school performance, choice in friends, clothes I wore, and sassy attitude, I began to internalize this as meaning I was unworthy of love, or unaccepted for who I was.


When did you realize your marriage had become dangerous?


I was "walking on eggshells" for years before my marriage actually became physically dangerous. I met my ex-husband in high school, and while he was altogether charming, he was also manipulative, controlling, and possessive ... a combination that felt all too good to a young woman starving for attention.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

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