One Week Out: The Complicated Relief of Escaping Abuse

Each day after leaving brings emotions that are anything but simple

Maggie Haukka
Human Parts
Published in
4 min readNov 5, 2018


Photo: David von Diemar/Unsplash

Day One

We leave in the night. It isn’t how I planned it, but none of this is how I planned it. Nobody plans to end up in an abusive marriage; we just ignore the signs that foreshadow its inevitability.

The girls are curled up like squirrels on the sleeping nests I’ve made them on the floor of our new apartment. I couldn’t have any furniture moved ahead of time because I couldn’t risk telling him we were leaving until after we did. Even the dog seems unfazed. I look at the three of them, so trusting of me, so accepting of this absolutely bizarre circumstance, and it breaks my heart.

I lie there on the floor next to them questioning everything. Was it really that bad? Did it warrant this?

It was. It did. I know it. I’m just scared.

And it’s so hard to know anything for sure, in the middle of this night. I am so cold. Bone-shakingly cold. I look at the thermostat, and it registers a perfectly livable temperature—everyone else seems fine—but I shiver and shake until sunrise; I am chilled to my core.

But the sun does rise.

Day Two