1. Select a discrete app icon.
Nancy Wilkinson has never been in a healthy relationship.
“I’ve been married four times and every one of my husbands thought it would be OK to hit me,” she says.
She hoped the fourth time would be different. Wilkinson and her most recent husband met in 2014 and, according to Wilkinson, it was love at first sight.
“I thought he was a gift from God,” she says. “He treated me like a queen—opened my door, helped me around the house. He went to church and we had the same ideas about what we wanted in life. He just swooped in and was kind of like the answer to my prayers.”
Wilkinson knew her husband had a violent past from the start.
“He had been in prison before which he was upfront about,” she says. “He had killed a man that raped his sister.”
But Wilkinson thought he’d changed after serving 15 years for the crime. He also put himself through school to become an electrician, an endeavor Wilkinson thought was admirable.
Plus, he was kind to her.
“He never showed me any type of violence,” she says. “For the first time in my life, I didn’t flinch when a man touched me.”
In fact, the couple’s first fight wasn’t until their wedding night.
“We got along great; we never argued,” she says. “Our first fight was on the day we got married." Wilkinson caught her new husband smoking crack, an ominous sign of things to come.
From Bad to Much, Much Worse
Both Wilkinson and her husband were laid off from their jobs in a short period of time and while she found part-time work, he began drinking heavily. Wilkinson got fed up.
“I told him, if this marriage is going to work, you need to go to rehab. That night, I found him on the floor of the living room. He had taken a bottle of sleeping pills,” she says. While he was in the hospital in a coma, Wilkinson started getting phone calls on his cell phone.
"He had gotten on my loans, pawned my truck, all kinds of stuff, to the tune of about $15,000.”
After she confronted her husband about the finances, he attempted suicide again. Though it seemed to be rock bottom, Wilkinson thought it was a turning point. Her husband quit drinking and began going to substance abuse meetings. Wilkinson really thought things were looking up when she got a new full-time job. But she came home from her first day of work only to find her husband “drunk as a skunk” and high again.
She decided she was done and went to leave. Her husband attacked her.
“I got up to turn to go out of the bedroom, and the next thing I know, blood is everywhere. He took an 18-inch solid metal pipe to the back of my head. I know now he was trying to kill me,” she says.
Fortunately, Wilkinson’s friend was staying in the couple’s home at the time of the incident.
“When I started screaming my friend’s name, the look that came over [my husband’s] face was like, ‘Oh, sh*t,’” she says. “If my friend had not been there that day, I would be dead.”
A Long Road to Recovery
It took Wilkinson nearly two months for her body to heal from the assault. Eighty percent of her body was covered in bruises and she had staples in her head.
Her abuser, whom she divorced, was charged with attempted murder but pled guilty to assault in the first degree and went to prison.
Two and a half years later, Wilkinson still has seizures as a result of the beating. And she’s only just begun to heal emotionally.
Donate and change a life
Your support gives hope and help to victims of domestic violence every day.
“It took me a long time to realize it wasn’t me, it was him,” she says.
Today, Wilkinson shares her story in the hopes of helping other women realize it’s not their fault either.
“If there’s any way I can help other people, I’d like to do that,” she says. “I just don’t want this to happen to anybody else.”
Domestic violence is more prevalent among people dealing with substance abuse like Wilkinson’s husband. Still, it’s important to recognize why abuse can’t be blamed on alcohol.
Looking for someone to speak with? Enter your location to find phone numbers for domestic violence experts in your area.
Have a question about domestic violence? Type your question below to find answers.