Baggage to Beautiful


I could not wait to get started on my favorite romance author’s latest publication. About halfway through the first chapter, I had to put it down. The book was too close to home. Although this was a fictional story, it was based on a true life experience—and it had torn off the scabs of my 20-year-old secret.

Nine out of the twenty years, I was in an emotionally, and sometimes physically, abusive marriage. Divorced for the other 11, I never had spoken to anyone regarding this. I think my family suspected it all along, but most likely didn’t know how to address this with me—and to tell the truth, I would have denied it.

People often ask how you can stay in such a relationship. You don’t want to, and deep down in your subconscious mind, you know it is wrong and unsafe, but there is just not an easy way out. Emotionally and spiritually, you are so broken down that you don’t believe that you will make it if you leave. Every day you hear that you are not good enough or skinny enough—and that even if you do leave, where will you go? Who will look at you anyway, seeing that you are so overweight? Moreover, he controlled the finances, so how would I survive?

Emotional abuse is so much easier to hide from the world because there are no marks on the outside, but deep inside, you slowly die. You become a master at wearing a mask while your own personality, creativity, and soul wither away. And you have to keep up the guise, because nobody would believe you anyway.

People considered my ex-husband to be a nice guy, everyone’s friend, someone who was always willing to help. Sometimes, I even let myself be convinced that I was just imagining things.

Today, I have no desire to ever see my ex again, but if I ever did, I know it would be okay—because I no longer have the fear inside me. Speaking out about abuse after I finished reading the romance made me stronger, and I keep getting stronger each day.

It is difficult, but it only takes one step. Now, I am also involved with gathering “second handbags” filled with toiletries, a soft toy, and a letter addressed to women who have been abused or raped, or who are survivors of human trafficking. My mission and passion now are to let women know that there is help, and there are safe places and people who believe in you.

Avatar photo

About the Author | Elmaret Fourie

Elmaret is just a girl finding her true passion and mission to want to help people with the same issues. She has a special loving for angels and dreams of Prince Charming on a Harley.

Leave a Reply

6 comments to "Baggage to Beautiful"

  • Chrisna Junius

    Elmaret, you are making a big difference here at the most southern point of Africa with your handbags full of necessities for women who are taking back their lives at Heavenly Promise Safe House in Bredasdorp. You can now live fearless free.

  • Driekie Zietsman

    Elmaret, I know your story so well as I lived through it as well. The years of being told I’m fat, ugly and have no personality. I should go on my knees and thank God that he married me. The beatings (I have lesions on my brain and suffer from temporal lobe epilepsy) never stopped. Until my sister said enough and persuaded him to throw me out. Years later and I’m good. Better than good. I’m fantastic. Happily married. And just happy. Xx

  • Susan DeFazio

    Elmaret I am so proud of you for sharing your story and escaping from all that held you back. You are beautiful inside and out!

  • Johan Foley

    Elmaret ek lees jou verhaal en ek huil en kry seer vir jou maar dankie dat jy opstaan en dit deel met ons ek is so trots op jou want ek ken jou van lankal af
    Jy moet aanhou want jy is d steunpilaar en voorbeeld in ons familie
    Bly so opgeruimd en pragtig as wat jy is

  • Kelley a gallagher

    I have a lot of hand bags that I would be willing to give up for this wonderful  cause.

  • Gloria Doody

    Hi Elmaret, I have’nt spoken to you in a long time. I know your story and you know mine. I did see you on facebook and commented on how wonderful you look. You must feel great and are so healthy’, I’m so jeloues. I know, I just need to work harder. I am so happy to be able to read your blogs again. And I did sign up for the book and the 5 keys.