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My escape from a boyfriend who beat me

Jessica Long was trapped in an abusive relationship until she unexpectedly discovered hope for a fresh start

Jessica Long's story is proof that you can't go back, but you can start over. Watch her short video above and read the story behind the story ...

Jessica took 10 years to grasp what she’d known all along.

On Super Bowl night 2013, her live-in boyfriend was drinking his way through a case of beer, just as he always did, and Jessica was bracing for the verbal abuse or the beating that would always follow when he “flipped out.”

This night, he picked up a plate holding his pizza dinner and smashed it against the wall in an explosion of glass, food, and cussing. Jessica’s four children were asleep in the next room.

After he passed out, on her hands and knees scrubbing the walls of their trailer, Jessica suddenly felt the full force of the pain and despair she had been pushing away for years.

“There’s no way out,” she thought. “This is how it’s going to be forever.”​

I was always walking on eggshells.

Battered and Bruised

Jessica met him when she was 16 and he was 23.

She quickly got pregnant, then the violence began. At eight months pregnant, while they were still both under Jessica’s parents’ roof, he punched her in the belly. By God’s grace, the child was unharmed.

Over the years, she was choked, pushed, punched and burned with cigarettes. She got countless black eyes and bruises.

“He would flip out and get mad over anything, something small, or nothing at all,” she says. “I was always walking on eggshells.”

He’d continually insult her, calling her words like “bitch,” and telling her she was a bad mother.

“I had to make sure the house was clean and everything cooked,” she says.

I felt like I deserved the abuse

Lonely and Trapped

In addition to the violence, she endured his extreme, controlling behavior.

He wouldn’t let her go anywhere alone. She couldn’t be around friends or family or talk on the phone.

When she was at community college studying to be a nurse, he would loiter in the parking lot, waiting for her. She could never walk out into the parking lot with a classmate — and definitely no one of the opposite sex.

When she worked at a local chain restaurant, he’d show up continually and pick fights with her male co-workers. His jealousy and rage were always at a flashpoint.

Wherever she went, he asked the same suspicious questions: “Who are you looking at?” and “Why are you smiling at them?”

Early on, she thought that showed he was a good protector, she says.

I thought maybe he wouldn't do it again

Defenseless and in Denial

Why did she put up with the abuse?

“Plenty of people would try to tell me, ‘Why are you doing this? You need to leave him!’ But I just wouldn't listen. I thought it was normal,” Jessica says, pointing back to her own childhood and the alcohol-induced yelling and fighting she witnessed in her own family.

“After years and years, I started to believe everything he said about me was true … that I felt like I deserved the abuse,” she says.

If Jessica tried to leave, it would only be a day or two before she came back.

Through it all the cops were called out hundreds of times, but she would never press charges.

“I thought, ‘maybe he wouldn't do it again,’” Jessica says. “I didn’t want to him make him even more mad.”

That Super Bowl night, Jessica felt what it meant to be stuck in her abusive relationship. Trapped in fear, she knew she couldn’t go back, and she couldn’t move forward. There was no hope. No way out.

No mess was too big for Jesus

A Light in Darkness

Then a few months later, in the summer of 2013, God broke through the darkness that had smothered her life.

Riding in a car one sunny day, while he was yelling about something, she felt the sun shining on her face, and she heard a voice whisper to her quietly: "I have more for you than this.”

Jessica had no history in church, and the only thing she knew about Jesus came from a book that an uncle gave her when she was 10.

But she knew it was the voice of God, and it was a voice that was giving her a promise.

Around that time, Jessica’s sister had been inviting her to NewSpring Church, so she decided to go.

What she heard about Jesus there represented hope — the possibility of breaking the chains that shackled her to a living hell.

At one sermon that fall, she cried — happy tears, this time — knowing it was time to ask Jesus into her life and “come home” to Him.

“I believed and trusted in Him — that Jesus could overcome anything and no mess was too big for Him,” she says.​

I had the courage and strength to not look back

Making Her Escape

Within a couple months, she found the courage and strength to leave her boyfriend — and start over.

Of course, he didn’t let Jessica go quietly, and he’s caused trouble since.

But she’s never looked back since the day she bolted for the car, locked the doors, and drove away, with him chasing on foot behind her.

“The minute I made that decision, my mind was set and I had the courage and strength to not look back. I remember looking at my phone and saying, ‘I do not have to answer no more,’” she says.

Those first few months were so filled with joy that it burst out of her in singing along to worship music all day.

During that time, a small group of friends helped her take next steps in faith and grow in understanding about how to follow Jesus.

I don’t know how I managed to keep my sanity

A Bright Future

In the three years since, Jessica graduated from nursing school, started working full time to support her family, and bought a home of her own.

“I still have struggles, but Jesus gets you through the storm,” she says.

She knows she was supernaturally protected from many of the consequences of the trauma that she lived through.

“Looking back, I don’t know how I managed to keep my sanity and deal with all that,” she says.

Jessica’s whole family is happy and healthy as a result of family counseling and, most importantly, the influence of KidSpring and Fuse student ministry.

When she left, her eldest son, Tray, was already acting out, displaying the disrespect and defiance he had witnessed in his violent, chaotic household. He met Jesus, and his behavior has turned around.

Her eldest daughter, Dezarai, experiences less anxiety, and she is happy and cheerful, too. When Jessica seems down, Dezarai writes her letters saying, "Mommy, God loves you. We all love you!"

Jessica’s youngest two children, Braylynn and William, were too young to remember the abuse.

Listen to Jesus, and everything falls into place

Free To Live

What Jessica expects from a serious relationship now is nothing less than what Jesus says every woman deserves: A man that pursues her heart romantically and affirms her as a good mother. A man who makes her feel beautiful, worthy, and loved.

Above all, someone who will follow Jesus and help her stay close to Him, model faith and pass it on to her children.

If she could go back in time and speak to herself, she knows she wouldn’t have believed then that there was a better day.

But, she says, “I’m here now. I’m witnessing it now. There is a better life. Listen to Jesus, and everything falls into place.”

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