A few years ago, I was trainer at Xerox, one of my trainees would always talk about her boyfriend. She’d talk about how much she loved him, how happy they were, and they had just moved into together. It was kind of annoying.

One day she came to training class and she was very quiet, she was wearing shades and she sat in the back of the classroom. I immediately noticed that something was wrong, but I didn’t want to pull her out of the class in front of everyone and draw more attention to her. So during our first break, I went down to the lobby of the building and found her sitting on one of the couches. I told her to take off her glasses and her left eye was completely black and blue. She had several small scratches on her face too. I asked her what happened. She said she’d gotten into an argument with her boyfriend. I said her face looks like it was much more than argument. She said she was fine, she hit him too and now they’re ok. I told her she was not fine and offered to take her to the doctor, but she had already gone and had been taken care of.

I had never been in a domestic violence situation or even known someone who was. My first instinct was to try to explain to her that fist fighting with your boyfriend is not normal and she needs to leave him and go to the police. I even told her I would go to the police with her. She became very upset and closed off saying that it was her life and it wasn’t my place to tell her what to do or to go to the police. I felt completely helpless. I told her I wouldn’t go to the police but if she ever needed help, I would be there.

A few weeks go by and comes to me and says she’s pregnant. The fights and beatings with her boyfriend hadn’t stopped and she wanted to get an abortion. This was so overwhelming to me because I had no idea what advice to give her. She asked me what I thought. I told her what she decides to do regarding her pregnancy was a decision she needed to make on her own and to do what’s best for her. I told her to leave her boyfriend and stay with some family and friends and I told her I’m sure there is someone that can help her with next steps.

That was the last time I saw her, my manager said she quit the job. Now I have no idea what happened to her or what she chose to do but I can only hope that she got out of that terrible situation before it was too late. No relationship is worth your life or your child’s life. Hitting and being controlling is never ok in your relationship and if you are experiencing anything even close to this, you need to leave and get help immediately. There is always somewhere to go. You only need to be brave enough to leave.