On March 20, 2009, I married Neil Zucconi in front of a Justice of the Peace. My three beautiful children were our maid of honor, flower girl and ring bearer. They were so happy for me. Like me, they believed I was marrying a good man.
Fast forward to our honeymoon in Maui ... it's late at night, in our hotel room where my husband is pacing and yelling obscenities at me, calling me filthy names that I can't imagine anyone ever calling me.
Me: (sobbing, on the bed in the fetal position) I'm sorry I didn't eat ice cream for dessert with you. Please don't hurt me.
Back up to a few months before we married, when he is proudly telling my teenage son about the Criminal Law degree he got many years ago from a San Diego University.
Fast forward to six months into our marriage when things were very shaky, the verbal abuse had done nothing but escalate, and things got even shakier when we had this conversation:
Him - You love me, don't you? (sweet smile)
Me - Why? (holding my breath)
Him - (big sigh) I don't really have a college degree. I lied. I didn't want you to think I'm the stupid shit that I am.
Me - What are you saying?
Him - Really, I don't have a college degree. But I am taking this online class and I thought if I could get my degree online and just never tell you, then it wouldn't matter anyway because eventually I'd have my degree and it wouldn't be a lie anymore.
Me - So why are you telling me this now?
Him - Well, I'm failing this class (because I'm a stupid shit) and I need you to write my final paper for me so that I can pass. And then I can eventually get my degree and it won't matter that I lied to you about having a degree.
Me - So what else are you lying to me about?? For all I know, you could be having an affair.
Him - No, babe. I'd never do that. I love you too much. So ... would you write this paper for me? Come on, you're my wife. It's your duty if you love me.
Fast forward to September, 2010, when a woman discovers my blog and emails me to let me know that she had an affair with Neil the entire time he was dating me, engaged to me, and during the beginning of our marriage until she finally broke it off when his controlling and stalkish behavior started to scare her. She knew nothing of my existence until she found my blog.
Back up to February 9, 2010, when I went to court and filed divorce papers. I was terrified, beaten down by the abuse, beyond devastated, ashamed that I'd ever married him in the first place, (ashamed that I'd ever dated him, that I'd ever kissed him, that I'd ever given him 5 minutes of my time....) and still reeling from four days previous when I had to call 911 for the police to remove him from my home when I was terrified for my life. Shortly after filing for divorce, I filed an Order of Protection against Neil Zucconi.
This man brutally dragged me into the realm of domestic violence. This wasn't supposed to be my world. But since I am here, I am fighting back, sharing my story with any and all who will listen, and spreading awareness to help other women who deal with the insanity and chaos that exist in this realm. This shouldn't be their world either.
Please remember that October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Twice as many women die from domestic violence than from breast cancer. Let's stop the violence.
Take what you want
Steal my pride
Build me up
Or cut me down to size
Shut me out
But I'll just scream
I'm only one voice in a million
But you ain't taking that from me, you ain't taking that from me ...
... Sometimes all it takes is one voice
"Strip Me" by Natasha Bedingfield