I Am Project Babe: Fighting Against Domestic Violence, Abuse, & Assault

By: Anna Cecilia        Illustration: Aja Horvat

It’s hard to put the pieces of a broken heart back together. I believed everything he said, I defended everything he did, I loved him with my entire being.

“Why can’t you move on,” the Assistant State Attorney asked, after involving me in a three-month-long chase to get the man I thought I knew so well, back to Miami from New York.

“Don’t tell him you know about the fraud. Don’t tell him you’re with us. Make sure he knows you love him and want him to come back.” I did love him and I did want him to come back.

That was last March.

In my head, I knew it was over in February of 2017 when I was confronted by two Homeland Security officers in regards to his case, but even with my best attempts, my heart didn’t let go until almost 7 months later. I was asked to continue communication for three months, act as though nothing happened, so I did.

Part of me was relieved that I could still talk to my best friend, another part of me was dying inside after being forced to face the reality of what he had done.

At the end of my relationship with him, the heartache only got worse.

I was surrounded by men (lawyers, judges, federal agents) who couldn’t seem to fathom the love I felt, even after he had hurt me so badly, stolen hundreds of thousands of dollars from me, and abused me for what seemed like the better part of our relationship. “Why can’t you simply stop loving this guy?” they would all ask me.

What is it about me that couldn’t let him go? Possibly the belief that the man I had fallen in love with was still in there somewhere. Or maybe it was just the fact that love is not a switch you flip on and off, it’s a series of complicated emotions- often times blinding.

When it came time to place the blame, he was asked one question: “Did you do it?”

His answer was simple, with his confident voice and a surprisingly humble demeanor, he replied, “No.”

In his federal case, I became the victim. I knew him well enough to know that his heart was hurting, his mind racing. He was scared of the uncertainty of his future. I, on the other hand, have gone through countless hours of therapy and could now see the facts clearly. And I now realize he got away with it all.

He was arrested on five federal charges- he took a plea, plead guilty to threatening to kill me, and was sentenced to a year in prison. One year. That’s it.

That was last August.

This summer, in late August, he will be a free man again. The questions thrown at me differed from the simple one he faced, “Did you cheat on him? What did you do to make him so mad? Why would he threaten you like this if you didn’t do anything wrong?”

Sometimes, the man you thought you knew so well, the man you fell so deeply in love with can be nothing like the man that is standing in front of you. Reality hit me hard, because maybe, just maybe he was never that man I thought I knew at all.


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