By Samantha Ortiz
CCC Journalism Program

BLACKWOOD – Jennifer Brown, 28, is recently happily engaged, but she has not always been this lucky.

Jennifer Brown and Mark Myles enjoy time together at a restaurant. By Samantha Ortiz, CCC Journalism Program

Although Brown was born in Italy because her father was stationed there in the Army, she was raised in New Jersey. She thought she had a normal family but looking back from her adulthood, she realized she did not. She said her father was abusive mentally and emotionally.

“It should have been no surprise when I ended up in an abusive relationship myself,” she said.

Brown started college at Gloucester County College right after high school. She dropped out because she did not apply herself. Around this time she met the love of her life, Chris, or so she thought.

“I was 20 when we met and he was very handsome and charismatic. He swept me off my feet and within a few months we were living together,” she said.

About seven months after moving in together, she became pregnant with their first child, Christopher. She recognized this is when her love’s abuse slowly crept into their lives. She said it started verbally and emotionally. When their second and third children, Sarah and Zachariah, were born, she said the abuse became physical.

“I had been pulled around the house by my hair, pushed down the steps and smashed in the face with a mirror, resulting in 36 stitches. He even attempted to run me over with his truck,” she said.

The fact he was going to bars almost every night getting drunk and even turned to drugs “was a recipe for disaster,” she added.

Like many victimized women, she said she wished she could have left the relationship but he made her feel as if no one else would want her. Finally, when Chris went on a vacation with his friends, she packed up herself and her children and went to her parents. This led to taking him to court for custody and child support.

Finally, Brown’s life was beginning to look up.

“I was determined to make my life better for myself and my children,” she said.

She met a guy named Mark Myles and their relationship slowly blossomed into a happy engagement. They recently bought a house together and she found out on Nov. 16, 2010, they will be having a child of their own.

One of Brown’s classmates at Camden County College, Stacy Murphy, said, “I feel like she had darkness in her life and now she’s at a peace of mind.”

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