Former Queens resident Tiffany Rosario believes that she is a stronger person today because of the abuse she endured.
Rosario had been with her husband for 13 years, including five as a married couple. She said there was always verbal abuse, such as him telling her that she looked fat. Emotional abuse later became a part of their lives.
The physical abuse began when Rosario said she had enough of him having affairs with other women. She finally told him that they could be friends for the sake of their children, but that he didn’t need to be in their home any more.
“That’s when he was like, ‘If I can’t have you nobody will.’ He actually became physical and that was also the same day that I pressed charges on him and I left him,” Rosario said of the day in May of 2009.
That day, Rosario, who was a stay-at-home mom, was at a friend’s house. Her husband was at work, and she was not expecting him home so early. As he approached her and a male friend, she said he was aggressive and accused Rosario of leaving him for the friend.
Rosario said he was just being jealous and kept telling him to leave, but he wouldn’t. While her children remained at the friend’s house, Rosario went back to her apartment as her husband followed. Although he acted understanding, Rosario said he kept pushing and cornering her.
“I already knew it was going to get kind of physical and I didn’t want him to go in [the apartment],” she said. “When I got to my apartment he pushed me in and shut the door behind me and locked it. I was very scared.”
Her husband was screaming. Rosario said he kept telling her he wasn’t going to hurt her, but she knew he was.
As the fight escalated, Rosario said he put both his hands around her neck and began strangling her. He eventually stopped but, when she tried to get past him, he picked her up by the neck, body-slammed her and started choking her.
“As I was screaming he covered my mouth,” she said, adding that he told her to shut up or he’d kill her. “I knew he wasn’t playing. I didn’t even recognize my own scream. That’s how scared I was.”
When he finally let up, Rosario ran to the front door, only to be grabbed again and have him start strangling her again. With her mouth and nose covered, Rosario said she started to lose consciousness and her body went limp. She said something told her to calm down. She then laid still and asked him to please stop hurting her. While looking into her eyes, he told her to go.
“I don’t know where I found the strength,” Rosario said. “I just ran out of the apartment and ran to my friend’s house.”
Although her husband had been knocking on the friend’s door afterwards, he was gone by the time police arrived. Three or four hours after the incident, she said he turned himself in. In court, he denied everything, but he was found guilty.
“He didn’t get any jail time because there was really no blood on me I guess,” Rosario said. “There [were] no open wounds.”
A relative told Rosario about the Family Justice Center. They helped her with food stamps, public assistance, school, housing, shelter and clothing. Rosario, who said her kids are doing well now, is working and looking towards reach her future goals.
Part 3 of our series spotlighted sources of help for victims of domestic violence.
Part 2 of our series delves deeper into the issue of domestic violence, including the effect on children, male victims, and what is being done to help victims.
Part 1 of our series focuses on the introduction of the “disease,” that is domestic violence.