Part 2: Survivor of domestic violence recalls fight to stay alive, escape from cycle of abuse.
This is the conclusion of a two-part series on a story about Erath County Sheriff’s investigator Rosye Holland’s escape from a violent domestic relationship. (Click here to read part one.)
After months of abuse, Rosye agreed to marry her abuser.
Here, in her own words, is what happened next…
I remember asking God for a sign; show me a reason not to marry this man.
The day we got our marriage license, my world changed, and it nearly cost me my life.
It was New Year’s Eve 2018 and we were celebrating our engagement. The night was great; we laughed, danced and he told me how much he loved me.
But that all changed in a matter of minutes; something made him angry and he left the bar without me.
While his sister drove me home, he called and began cursing me out.
When I asked what his problem was, he said I would understand when I got home. I knew what that meant; I had to get there and leave before he arrived.
I had no keys to the apartment or my car, so I broke a window and crawled inside the apartment, grabbed a spare car key and ran to the parking lot.
As I started to leave, he suddenly appeared.
He rammed his SUV into the back of my car and came up to my window. I was so scared that instead of locking the doors, I unlocked them.
He opened the door and began hitting me over and over in the face, ripping my clothes and trying to pull me out of the car.
I began to scream and neighbors called authorities.
As the police arrived, he grabbed my car key and phone, then ran off. The officers asked me what happened, but I refused to speak; I was so humiliated.
They asked where he went, but I had no idea. I didn’t want them to find him because he always threatened that if the police got involved, he would hurt them.
After receiving no cooperation from me, the officers had no choice but to leave. At that point, it was around 1 a.m.
I was afraid to get out of my car because I had no idea where he was. I sat there crying and trying to decide what to do. Then he came walking down the stairs of our apartment and my heart sank.
He beat on the windows begging me to get out of the car. Between tears and bloody cuts, I told him, “No, I am not getting out and I am not marrying you!”
He unlocked the car door with his key and dragged me up the stairs. He triple-locked the apartment door, dragged me through the back room and into a walk-in closet.
The next four hours were a fight to survive; I was beaten, knocked unconscious and strangled.
I tried to fight back, but my body was exhausted and I was losing the battle. Then, he kneeled next to me and said, “Run!”
After three attempts to get up, I finally made it out the door with my key and phone. I drove a block away and pulled over because my face was so badly beaten that I couldn’t see.
I reached for my phone to call for help and slipped into unconsciousness. At 6:45 a.m. a patrol officer found me in my car, unconscious.
I was taken to the hospital where I met with Corporal Miller, who I worked with, and despite my hesitancy, he kept trying to get me to talk.
He said, “I know you are a fighter, I can see the defensive wounds, let me get this guy!”
I gave him nothing and refused to sign any paperwork.
Thankfully, noncooperation doesn’t stop an officer from trying to protect a victim.
After I was released from the hospital, I stayed with a friend for several days, and all I could do was sleep.
Then Captain Ben Moore called. He asked how I was doing and if I was going to file charges and put this guy where he belongs.
I told him that I didn’t know.
I will never forget his next words: “That’s bullshit! Get it done! You know what you need to do.”
And so I did.
I gave a statement detailing the abuse I had endured and officers were able to obtain two warrants for his arrest.
During the course of the investigation, my abuser admitted to the assaults and he was charged with two third-degree felonies.
He was sentenced to one year in jail, 10 years probation and is prohibited from ever owning a firearm.
A week after the last assault, I was medically cleared to return to work. The amount of shame I felt putting my uniform back on while I still had black eyes was indescribable.
I didn’t believe I deserved to wear the badge and even contemplated going back to my abuser. It’s the recovery cycle of abuse, and it’s very real.
I reached out to a local advocacy organization, and after rescheduling my appointment several times, I finally went.
The lady I spoke to was a former police officer. She listened to me cry while I described my ordeal.
She asked what I wanted to happen? I told her that I didn’t want him to hurt anyone else, but that somehow, I still loved him.
Then she spoke these powerful words: “Every single time the man you love places his hands around your throat, he’s not practicing love, he is practicing MURDER - on you!”
That was it. Those were the words I needed to hear.
I would not be here today if I did not have people willing to protect my life.
I will always live with the long-lasting effects of being strangled; my voice has never been the same, my memory is not what it used to be and there is nerve damage in my left eye and partial hearing loss in my left ear.
FOUR YEARS LATER...
For the first time in my life, I am in a happy, healthy relationship.
To say I am dating the best man ever would be an understatement.
I have finally been able to open my heart, to have that friendship, to have that listening ear and to have that support system I always dreamed of.
Abuse can happen to anyone; the 60-year-old woman you sit next to at church, a college student or the officer wearing a badge.
If you know someone in a violent relationship or if you are being abused, remember my story.
Call law enforcement. Call Cross Timbers Family Services. Tell a friend.
Break your silence.
October is Domestic Abuse Awareness Month.