I was inspired to write this post because of a blog I recently read that someone I know wrote. She wrote about her struggle with a physically abusive relationship, and reading it just ripped at my heart…. Because we had dated the same guy.
I never felt inclined to write about this topic because being vulnerable is extremely hard for me. I’m an innately private person, and to be completely honest there’s a lot of shame that comes with admitting to have gone through a physically and emotionally abusive relationship. Society doesn’t understand why anyone would just stay, and I honestly don’t blame anyone for asking that question because up until I had gone through it, I would’ve had the exact same response. Um, leave!
I have a lot of peace in writing this right now (years later) because I know that in my heart it’s something that could help someone else. People that follow me on social media see a certain side of me, in a certain light; an idyllic image if you will. But it is never and has never been my intention to create an image of perfection for the world to see. I hope if you’re reading this and you can relate to this story, that you find comfort in knowing that there is so much more than what you see on our platforms. Girls that post half naked photos in lingerie, drinking cups of coffee in different parts of the world, and post insta stories that seemingly are always up in the air on a plane, have been through some real shit too. Okkkkkur.
Several years ago I found myself in a relationship with someone that turned out to be a complete monster. The first 4 months we were together he treated me like a princess. The first time I was ever scared of him was after we had gone out to a club. I remember we got home and I immediately just laid in bed while he went upstairs. He walked into the room, got on top of me, and started choking me. I was begging him to stop, and he finally did and just passed out. I woke up the next morning and I felt like I had been in a complete fog. It didn’t feel real. This was the guy that told me all day long how beautiful I was, that brought me breakfast and coffee in bed, that told me how I had changed his life. It was so surreal that I think I almost doubted my own memory of what had happened.
I can’t remember the exact timeline of different events that occurred in my 10 month relationship with him, but I became a shell of a human being. We got into an argument in the car one time driving home, and he slammed my head into the right side window of the car. I remember walking away during an argument as he was screaming at me, and he told me if I took another step he was going to kick me down the stairs.
One night we were out and I had just gotten the vibe that something was going to happen. Anytime he would drink he would slowly get really aggressive, and I just knew that I had to get out of there. There were girls all around him and I didn’t even care, I knew I just had to leave. I was praying the whole way home that he would just go to his house and pass out. I was so scared that he would show up at my apartment and break down the door, (because it had happened before) I was shaking. I remember sleeping in the bathtub that night with a blanket and towels, thinking that if he did come, he wouldn’t think to look for me there. The nature of all of our arguments were surrounded by jealousy. I had my own apartment while we were dating, and he hated it because he didn’t want me to have any independence or anywhere that I could go to that didn’t involve him. One (of the many) times I tried breaking up with him, he showed up at my apartment and grabbed me and threw me onto the floor. Another time we had gone out and I left and went to my girlfriends house, knowing, once again, something bad was about to happen. I woke up the next morning with voicemails from inmate #12388753; He had gotten a DUI and called to let me know it was my fault. (What a turn on!) When we first met I got a phone call from Playboy and they wanted to fly me out the next day for a shoot. Initially he was so proud and excited for me, he helped me fill out a bunch of paperwork online so I could pack. As soon as I got back from the shoot he called me a slut for modeling for them. (Insert laughing emoji here.)
Right before any abuse had happened, my friends from Orlando came to stay with us. My girlfriend had started a sunglass company and wanted me to be the face of her line (I mean duh, if she picked anyone else I would have been salty) and our other mutual friend was a photographer, so it was the perfect scenario. We had been shooting all day, and obviously I was in full hair and makeup. I remember I could feel his vibe, I could tell he was jealous about me shooting with a guy, but he played it cool and was really accommodating to all my friends. Anytime I shoot I feel so happy and free, and I knew he resented that I had an outlet that wasn’t related to him that brought me so much happiness. He ended up taking all of us out to dinner and everyone spent the night, and my friends left having no idea what I was about to endure.
When we first started dating he asked me about a certain person that I had dated before him (yearsssss before him) and I never wanted to talk about it because I knew deep down he didn’t really want to hear the answer. One day he was in a good mood and just casually brought it up, asking if I had had sex with said-certain-guy. I said yes, we dated. A few days later he wanted me to come talk to him, so I walked in the room and sat down next to him. He looked at me and asked “Did you regret it?” I said, “Regret what??” “Dating that guy.” “Um… no?.” He reached down and grabbed me by my hair, and dragged me through the room, across the hall and into our bedroom. I was screaming and begging him to stop. He threw me up onto the bed, hit me in the stomach and kicked me in the side when he was standing over me. The craziest part about this is that he always had friends around. I know his guy friends were downstairs, and they had to have heard what was going on. All I can remember is yelling “Get the fuck away from me!” over and over again. That was the first time that it had ever been so severe. I scrambled to grab some outfits and my makeup case because I was late to film a show that day called “Hot Girls and Sports.” I walked to my car and he came out and was begging me not to leave him. I remember driving to set, hands on the steering wheel, just in a complete daze. I remember staring at the road thinking “Holy shit. I’m in an abusive relationship.” I was completely scared for my life. I threw my hair in a bun because I looked disheveled, and I had to go straight to set and have my smiling Aubrey Evans personality and game face on to work.
Right before the abuse started happening, one of my girlfriends had been reaching out to me all the time to help her through a toxic relationship she was in. She always told me how strong I was; I was the one person she could come to without feeling judged, and that she looked up to me for not ever taking shit from anyone. The fact that out of all people, I ended up in this kind of relationship, is what makes this story all the more visceral and frankly, like something out of a horror movie.
That night when I got back from set, I was completely empty. I knew I had to leave him, yet I was terrified that he would catch me in the middle of packing my stuff. I remember he went to the gym and texted me asking if I wanted a smoothie. I could barely even breathe, because I knew that that meant he was almost done working out, and he’d be coming home soon. If you’re reading this and you don’t understand how I didn’t just leave, then you’ve probably never been in a situation where you literally felt like you could have ended up dead.
Soon after that he had to go to New York to film a show. He was blowing my phone up, telling me he loved me and that he would never put his hands on me again; he wanted his girl back, he wanted to be a better man for me. (In order to be a better man you have to first, be an actual man, but whatever.) His friend showed up one day at my apartment with an envelope of money. I could just tell by the look on his face that he knew what I went through. He knew that I needed to leave, and he wanted me to use it to get a new apartment. I immediately found one that I really loved; (The man upstairs was watching out for me obvy) It was impossible to get into the building unless you actually lived there, and had security guards and a guard gate; so obviously I was sold. I officially became a resident in Fort Knox.
Now, at first I hesitated in writing this last part because the fact that that wasn’t the official end is inconceivable, but this is a part of my journey and to pretend that I’ve never had weak moments would make me inhuman. Here we go. He got back from his trip and came over to my apartment. He asked me what was wrong, and I just said I can’t do this. I could never forgive you. He looked at me and said, “I need you to call your parents and tell them that I didn’t do to you what you said I did. I never kicked you, I never hit you Aubrey. It wasn’t as bad as you made it out to be. You were being dramatic.” (The term for this is ‘gas lighting’. It’s a tactic that abusive people use to make you doubt your own reality.) All of a sudden my life flashed before my eyes. He literally was trying to manipulate me in believing that none of the abuse had happened. In that moment I felt all of my inner strength come to me, and I knew in my soul that that day I was going to get my life back. I was no longer scared of him. I just started freaking out, telling him to get the F out of my apartment. I had no fear. I was no longer afraid of what he could do to me, because I knew that I had it within myself to make it through anything life had thrown my way. He was furious, but I could tell that he knew I was really done. I can’t remember anything he said but he broke a hole through my bedroom door on the way out.
And that was it.
That was the day that changed my life forever. I looked at someone in the eye that had physically and emotionally abused me, and I freed myself. I immediately changed my phone number, and never looked back. When I was going through all of that, I never told my friends because I didn’t want them to carry the weight of what I was dealing with. I’m the type of person that will jump on a plane in a heartbeat to help my friends, and I didn’t want anyone that cared about me to have to bear the weight of feeling helpless for my situation. Anyone could just tell me “Just leave him.” But, you don’t understand. A monster doesn’t just disappear, it’s not that easy.
Some people go through life struggles and they allow themselves to become a victim because of their circumstances. I look at life in the complete opposite way. I’ve been through literal hell, but you know what? From the bottom of my heart, I’m thankful for it. Imagine life as a two way street. Imagine you’re standing on the road, and there’s two paths you can take. The path on the left is smooth, paved, and newly painted. The path on the right is bumpy, uneven and full of potholes. I always was someone that chose the unbeaten path. I never wanted to follow a road that everyone else was on, I wanted to pave my own way. Did I walk on that path knowing I was going to end up in an abusive relationship? No. I was always the girl that would be like “BYE!” the second a guy did something stupid. (And I still am that girl lol) But I truly believe that the things that are put in front of us serve a purpose.
There’s a saying. “Nothing goes away until it teaches us what we need to know.” I learned so much about myself from that situation, I learned that I can make it out of anything from my own personal strength. I hesitated for so long to actually publish this specific blog, because there was a part of me that felt like people might see me as being weak for having gone through something like that. It took a long time to realize that confronting an image of weakness or shame is the last step in freeing yourself from any darkness you’ve gone through; and I know I am the woman that I am, not because of what I went through, but how I walked through the fire.