Day 19 of #31Survivors Domestic Violence Storytelling Series - Yoshiko Burney - The Butterfly Project

Yoshiko’s story began with her abuser isolating her from family and friends.

A few months into us dating, I realized that he did not want to meet my good, real friends that’d I had known for years. He wanted us to build friends together. He was so protective of me. I never drove. He always drove. I never went to the store.

Eventually, Yoshiko’s boyfriend moved in with her. That’s when the physical abuse began.

The first time he hit me, I had just come home and I was cooking our dinner. I was cooking chicken Alfredo. I had already cooked the noodles and the chicken was in the freezer cooling because he hated hot food. He had gone through my phone and seen texts from my ex-boyfriend. He came in the kitchen and raised pure hell. He said I was a whore and trash, then flung the Alfredo sauce on me. (To this day I cannot bring myself to eat chicken Alfredo). I tried to run out the front door.

I got the lock unlocked but the chain was still on the lock. He pulled me back and pinned me against the wall. He broke my phone in half as I tried to call 9-1-1. I cried for help loudly - begged him to stop as he hit me. We both tripped on the black halter sundress I had on. We fell by his gun. He put it to my head and right as he was pulling the trigger, the police kicked in the door. Apparently my neighbor called the police and they came right in the nick of time. Of course, the next day I didn't want to press charges. He apologized and I stayed.

Three years passed as the cycle of broken windows, bruised bodies and flattened tires continued. One incident left Yoshiko beaten so badly that she couldn’t go in for work the next day.

I knew his was still sleeping with his son's mom. I popped up at his mom’s house where he was staying when he wasn’t at mine. At 3 am, his baby mom’s car was out there. I flattened every tire on all four vehicles that were in that yard. I knocked on the back door that led to his room and she answered with his t-shirt on. I was blown away. He came out lying, then got mad and began to hit me AND HER! Then she and I started fighting. It was a terrible event. The next day I was so beaten up, I couldn’t work. He really had done a number on me. I told the typical curling iron and falling lies but no one believed me.

She stayed in the relationship and the abuse persisted until one day, an argument over his infidelity ended in a violent fight.

We were arguing and he called me all types of stupid hoes, b****es, etc. I put him out after I had gone to work and found out my neighbor was friends with some of my coworkers and was telling them I was getting beat down at home. They were all at work, laughing at me. Then his son’s mom called me and said that they had been playing house in my home. After he drops me off at work in my car, he would let her drive it and she was in my house wearing my clothes - cooking dinner with the food I bought. They would put their son to sleep on my couch and make love in my bed. I believed her because she named brand names of appliances, electronics, clothes and shoes that were in my house. So I KNEW she was in my house! We argued and fought. He choked me, bit me, kicked me and punched me.

That night I was tired and over him. I fought back.

That made him angrier. I got him out the house. He punched out my window. He cut his arm open from the wrist to the elbow. It was so bad, you could see his tendons. He left a blood trail because he’d gone across the street to his cousin’s house. I called the police. He called the ambulance. When I told the police what happened, they said that they had a call for the ambulance across the street with similar arm abrasions. They immediately picked him up from once he got stitched up and took him to jail. I did not go get him this time. I didn’t even answer the calls.

The years that followed the abuse offered Yoshiko the healing and restoration she needed.

 

The healing process was so hard. I had to go to a psychologist who diagnosed me as an alcoholic. I went to AA and gave my life to God. I asked him to rescue me. In that process, God spoke to me and told me to move to a different state. I've spent time with myself – learning myself and God. It is definitely an up and down process that was tough to face. Sometimes, I still fight with it but I never stop moving forward.

 

I will do anything I put my mind to. I am unstoppable. I control my destiny.

 

She vowed to never again place that control in another human being.

 

At some point, I gave my crown away to someone undeserving of it. Being a survivor means that my crown is mine to keep and that some are just not deserving of my presence and my crown.

 

Although he caused her great suffering, Yoshiko forgave him.

I have forgiven because I realize that I was not the problem. I was not the reason he was abusing me. He was controlled by darker entities that controlled him. I can only pray for his salvation.

Yoshiko uses her story to teach survivors how to reach their full potential after abuse with her nonprofit, The Butterfly Project.

Most women feel that after abuse, they have lost their dreams and hope. The Butterfly Project reminds women that they can conquer anything - that they are survivors. We provide resources, coaching and rehabilitation for survivors. I am in the process of getting a safe house built so they can have a safe place to go when they need it to get them on their feet.

 

To learn more about Yoshiko and her nonprofit, visit www.thebutterflyproject.com.

Follow her on Instagram @thebutteflyproject.