‘Linda’: Abuse survivor tells her story

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 31, 2004

NATCHEZ &045;&045; Linda knows terrorism firsthand &045;&045; not the kind that makes headlines around the world, but the kind that happens in your own home.

It was about three years ago when Robert, Linda’s live-in boyfriend (not their real names), started to gradually take more and more control of her life.

At the time, Linda was suffering from her second bout of lyme disease, which taxed her both physically and mentally.

Email newsletter signup

&uot;I was already so drained that I couldn’t see what was going on,&uot; Linda said, shaking her head now at the memory.

She was cut off from her family and friends, subtly at first. Then Robert would constantly check up on her whereabouts, even checking the mileage on her car on a regular basis for signs of any side trips.

&uot;Then, before you know it, he’s paging you over the intercom system at Wal-Mart just to make sure you’re where you said you’d be,&uot; Linda said.

At the same time, there were bouts of both physical and sexually abuse &045;&045; and verbal abuse, with Robert constantly impressing upon her &uot;that I was no good, that this was my fault, that I’d never amount to anything,&uot; Linda said.

But what finally forced Linda to seek help was not the abuse she endured. It was when Robert threatened to hurt Linda’s grown daughter, who was then pregnant, if Linda left him.

Ironically, however, it was Linda’s daughter that encouraged her to seek help. &uot;She said, ‘Mom, it’s like you’re not my mother any more. My mother doesn’t take this,’&uot; Linda said.

During the two years of abuse Linda &045;&045; who did not live in the Miss-Lou at the time &045;&045; was afraid to report the abuse because her boyfriend was an ex-policeman.

&uot;One time, I was in the car, ready to go, and he came out on the front porch with a rifle, pointing it at me,&uot; Linda said.

&uot;I said to myself, ‘He’s going to find me and kill me if I leave. So I turned the car off. I got out. And I went back inside.&uot;

In Monday’s Democrat, Linda tells how she got the help she needed.