Survivor of domestic violence recounts the moment she knew she had enough

By Angelina Halas
February 17, 2020

Editor Note: The name in this story has been changed at the subject’s request

Madelyn Gold is many things. She’s funny, loving, caring and she’s always smiling. Despite what’s seen on the surface, she’s been fighting a battle for quite a while within her family. Gold’s journey started out locally at Upper Merion Area High School.

While at Upper Merion, Gold was a cheerleader, a lacrosse player and a softball player. In her free time, Gold was a typical teenager. She hung out at Angelo’s, the local pizza shop  and went to the Friday night football games. 

All of these activities that were a daily routine for her, would soon come to an end. Gold’s world that was focused on one person, now had to be focused on two.

During the beginning of Gold’s senior year of high school, she became pregnant. She did her best to hide it, by wearing sweatshirts and sweatpants to school. She hid it from her friends and teachers for eight months.  

“I found out I was pregnant two weeks into my senior year,” Gold said.

A month before she was due, she had to go on bed rest, but was ashamed of the fact she had to tell her teachers she was expecting because she thought it sounded “trashy.”

Despite the challenge, she did graduate high school the same day everyone else did, but Gold missed her prom, missed senior week and was forced to grow up very fast.

“I was living a lie. It was this big secret I was hiding, it was really difficult. My friends didn’t even know. It was weird. I was sitting in class and would feel this thing inside me,” Gold said.

Despite being upset about missing out on life with her friends, Gold has no regrets because she loves being a mom and she adores her child.

Now, Gold is 39 with two boys (20 and 14). She has nothing but love for her children. Five years after the birth of her first son, she married his father. Everything seemed romantic, but matters deteriorated. 

Gold had battled leaving her husband of 12 years five times between Nov. 2015 and Sept. 2016.

“I finally left my children’s father after 19 years. It was hard,” Gold said. “I had tried going back for my kids, I had never been away from them. But I’ve learned that living with a monster, didn’t make me the mother I should have been for my kids.”

Gold’s oldest son was heading to college soon after these events, so he stayed living with his father, but would often stay at his girlfriend’s house instead. The youngest lives with their father, but gets to see Gold twice a week and every other weekend. 

Every time Gold would go back to that house, she would become depressed. Her husband wouldn’t let her go out and he was physically and verbally abusive towards her.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, one in four women experience intimate partner violence. Photo by Angelina Halas.

Gold’s problem worsens when she explains how her husband affected her life.

“I had been brainwashed for a long time. I had lost contact with my friends and family. I lost the relationship I had with my mom because he was jealous of that. I became a hermit because I was never allowed to go anywhere. I was a person that I didn’t want to be, I lost myself,” Gold said, while also admitting she lived in a world of fear every day with her soon-to-be ex-husband.

According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, after surveying 164 female survivors of domestic violence, 82 percent said their abuser damaged, destroyed or took their personal property. This has happened to Gold.

Photo from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research showing how much those who faced property damage lost financially.

“What was the worst was when he burned everything,” Gold said. “Once I finally left, he burned all of my clothes and personal things that I had there, like pictures of my family.”

Gold continued to describe how his behavior affected her while at work.

“He stole my car from the parking lot at work one time,” Gold said. 

The Institute for Women’s Policy Research advises that change needs to be made and workplaces should enable a “safe-time” policy: “Enact policies that enable survivors to take the time they need to address the effects of abuse without placing their jobs at risk, such as paid sick and safe leave policies that survivors can use to recover from violence, seek help addressing it or care for family members that have been victimized.”

Gold thinks that this is something that should be implemented as it would be beneficial to other victims and survivors as maybe she would have spoken up sooner.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate parter in the U.S. alone. Photo by Angelina Halas.

However, not every sad story has to have an unhappy ending.

Gold is never going back. She knew there would be a rough road ahead, at least financially, but mentally, she was and is in a much better state and has been taking on the challenge ever since she left.

Gold hopes her kids realize that she’s in a much better place now than she’s ever been with him. Her oldest son understands the situation, and swears he will never be like his father. The youngest doesn’t know every detail, but can acknowledge that his parents both love him but are better apart.

“It’s okay to admit you married the wrong person. I was never in love with him, I just did everything he told me to do,” Gold said. She came to realize that telling the truth makes things much better instead of just holding it in.

“Once I told my oldest son everything, I felt so much better and I knew it was time. I also knew though that if I would have told my family the truth months before this whole ordeal, it would have been so much better,” Gold said.

A new man, who has shown Gold “what a normal relationship should be,” is treating her properly. It’s completely different than anything she had experienced before.

“He has shown me that he loves me for who I am and treats me on the same level he treats himself,” Gold said. “Being in this relationship really made me realize how not normal of a relationship I was in before.”

The advice Gold wants to give to women in similar positions is, “Don’t stay around for your kids and don’t wait too long until it’s too late. Be honest with your friends and family and get the help you need. Don’t stay for all the wrong reasons because it doesn’t get any better.”

Madelyn Gold is many things. She’s funny, loving, caring and she’s always smiling, and now, she’s happy.

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Angelina Halas

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