Elizabeth P. - A Lifelong Story
Elizabeth P. is a woman in her late 40s currently experiencing homelessness. She grew up in a very toxic family that did not treat any of the women within the family well. She shared that many of her family members were heroin addicts & that from the ages of 3-13, Elizabeth was molested by her grandfather. Elizabeth then mentioned that she fought a lot in school because she wanted people to notice how bad it was at home. She also said that she never had many friends because she "didn't want them to get raped or molested." Her mother was married to an abusive man who degraded her, put her down, cheated on her, etc. Elizabeth began drinking at 13 and quickly got into drug use because she just wanted to get away from the chaos that happened at home. Elizabeth was also raped by her uncle at one point & was raped by a large group of boys at a riverbed because "they had mistaken [her] for another girl." When she was 15, Elizabeth was placed into foster care & she later got emancipated at 17.
Elizabeth was with her children's father on and off from 17 years old to 35 years old. She had her children in her early 20s and her first two were taken away by CPS due to her drug use. Elizabeth was both selling & doing drugs in order to make ends meet, but when her two children were taken away, she was devastated and became clean as quickly as possible. She began handing in clean tests to CPS, but she still struggled to get her children back. At this time, Elizabeth was also pregnant with her third, & last, child.
When Elizabeth was in her mid to late 30s, she began dating a man named Eric. They had a reasonably good relationship while they were dating, however, when they got married, everything changed. On Elizabeth's birthday, she and Eric went to hang out at a park. They didn't have any of their kids with them at the time & when Elizabeth asked where they were, Eric said that they could not visit them at the moment and that she had to "keep [him] occupied or else [he] would hurt the social worker." Elizabeth said okay and when they were leaving the park to her grandpa's house, she noticed that the social worker was still there. Once they got to her grandpa's house, Eric immediately left on a bike and got arrested for charges unknown to me. He was then put in jail for some time.
Elizabeth decided to move out of her grandpa's house and move in with her aunt. After a few days, Eric called Elizabeth to tell her that they had to get married because he "did not want anyone to devalue [Elizabeth]" & that even though he was not in love with her, he loved her enough to let her know. A few days later, Elizabeth went to pick him up from jail, and he told her to buy a wedding dress because they were apparently getting married the next day, on March 16th, 2010.
That night Eric took Elizabeth to Lake Mathew's, for what she thought would be a nice trip for their mini honeymoon, however, she could not have been more wrong. Elizabeth shared: "He whispered, 'Do you believe in God?' in my ear. Then he choked me until I pooped & peed in my pants & I blacked out." They then went to the emergency room and he told her "that's not the first time I've done that," she asked what he meant, and all he said was "just know that this is not my first time down this road." She woke up the next morning not being able to speak for the next 3-4 months. Elizabeth shared: "I didn't think about it. I could never fathom that he would beat me for another 10 years... I didn't know that was going to be the beginning of an adventure of 'whenever I want to cheat on you, I'm just going to beat you & put you in your place & do whatever I want.' " Elizabeth also shared that she did not know that he was using drugs at the time & that "[she] was going to live a hell. A hell that [she] was never going to forget."
Below is another story that Elizabeth shared regarding Eric's abuse:
Elizabeth was in contact with her children's bus driver regularly, as he would tell her if they were ever ditching school or when they were coming home so that she could always know where they were or if she had to go get them. When Eric found out, he assumed that Elizabeth was cheating on him, and he beat her. Elizabeth shared: "My husband would make me eat off of the floor & kick me in the back of my head. He also left me in a trailer for 3 days. There was a [very small hole] and I would have to climb out, run to the pastor's, get some food, climb back in, and make sure that the tape was precise because he measured it every time I got out. I would have to have it exactly the way it was, otherwise he would beat me again."
In 2020, Eric went to jail for quite some time & Elizabeth began dating an Armenian guy. They did a lot of drugs together, as she mentioned that Eric "left [her] strung out on drugs." When he found out, he beat her with his belt and accused her of also cheating on him with his gay friends. Elizabeth shared: "He beat me. He just beat me like I was a piece of meat, like he didn't care. My whole body was [covered in large purple bruises]." Elizabeth said that she had to leave 2 counties to get away from him and that when they searched through his house, they found 2 semi-automatic rifles in his drawers. She left all of her stuff at the house & she had just bought her daughter hygiene products, a tent, a backpack, etc. because she was living in the Riverside County riverbed. The police would not allow her to collect any of her belongings from his house, so she lost everything. Elizabeth said that losing everything was evidently difficult, but what hurt her most was that she could not pick up the supplies for her daughter experiencing homelessness.
Elizabeth began staying at a women's home because that was the only way that she could be hidden. Once she got there, she called her dad to let him know that she had to leave, but she was unable to see him at the time, as he was suffering from Coronavirus. On August 7th, 2021, a family member came down to let Elizabeth know that her father had passed away on Father's Day.
On August 12th, Elizabeth went to court regarding Eric's abuse and all they gave him was a 3-year probation. She shared that the last thing that he said to her was: "I don't know if I want to kill you, or if I want to beat you like I did yesterday. I don't know yet. Let me take a ride on my motorcycle & I'll come back and tell you."
On August 13th, Elizabeth had to bury her father. She said that between then & October, 3 of her other cousins had passed away. In November, Elizabeth got into a large car accident, totaling her car & causing more injuries to her neck. In December, one of her aunts passed away. Lastly, on January 22nd, 2022, she called her husband to tell him that she wanted a divorce, and on January 23rd, he was found dead under a tree. His cause of death is unknown, however, Elizabeth believes that he committed suicide or overdosed.
Elizabeth wanted to share some of her thoughts/advice regarding her abusive relationship. She said: "When a man says that he loves you, a man should know good & bad. & even with the good & the bad, how to treat you. If a man hits you one time, a man will hit you always. Always. Nothing will change." Elizabeth also mentioned that growing up she wanted to be a lawyer to help women who were abused to get justice and to teach men that "women are not just punching bags." As I mentioned previously, Elizabeth grew up seeing her mom abused by her husband. She shared: "I didn't want that. I wanted a husband who was going to love me for who I was, how I was, whether I was loud & obnoxious or quiet & meek. It didn't matter, I just wanted him to accept me. But, I didn't get that." She said that she thinks that she stayed with Eric mostly out of fear, but that she also loved him. & that she loved him so much and knew him so well, that when he walked into the room, she could look into his eyes and know whether he was going to beat her or not. Elizabeth said that she really just got used to it & became acquainted with "battered woman syndrome." Elizabeth also shared that the people who were the most affected were her kids & his kids "because you know what little girls do? They find guys that are like dad. You know what little boys do? They find intimidated little girls, like mom. And it's a big ole circle all over again."
With all of this being said, Elizabeth now has "the greatest fiancé ever" & is very happy in her new relationship. She has known this man for a very long time, & he originally dated her cousin. This all came about because when she lived with her aunt, she was not allowed to leave the house without him, so they became very close & started dating around 2 years ago. She said that "he was [her] homeostasis from the chaos that [she] was living in." When her aunt kicked her out, he came to live on the streets with her because he did not want her to be alone & they have been together ever since.
A few weeks ago, Elizabeth was not feeling well after church, her head felt wobbly & she had a sharp pain going down her leg. She went to the hospital and got her neck X-rayed. The front of her neck was pushed back, which was caused by the injury she endured at Lake Mathews, & the vertebrates in the back of her neck were all crushed, which was caused by Eric constantly kicking her in the head while she was forced to eat off of the floor. She had to get emergency surgery, and at the time of our interview, she had just recently gotten out of the hospital & is now in recovery.
Elizabeth shared that she has been experiencing homelessness for many years. She experienced it briefly when she was in her late teens & 20s, and then for some years after her aunt kicked her out. She said that she lived directly on the streets, in her car, before she totaled it, in warehouses, and in many other locations during her experiences with homelessness. Elizabeth has now been at Grandma's House of Hope since April 2022 & is over 2 months clean from all drugs!
Thank you so much for sharing your story with the world, Elizabeth! You are so strong & I wish you all the best at GHOH!
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