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May 9, 2023

Extraordinary People #6 Warrior/Survivor Dr. Victoria Cuore

Victoria is a survivor herself, having more than 100 surgeries due to the injuries she obtained at the hands of her abuser. She has more than 17 years of educating herself and countless others; she brings a light to those who've known true darkness....

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Victoria is a survivor herself, having more than 100 surgeries due to the injuries she obtained at the hands of her abuser. She has more than 17 years of educating herself and countless others; she brings a light to those who've known true darkness.

Victoria has several degrees and certifications and is furthering her studies through online classes at Yale. Victoria is also a speaker and a published author and is now happily married to the love of her life, her soul mate that she was with 20+ years ago, and they have three children together.

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Hello, we are a podcasting couple. I'm Brad. And I'm Denise. And if you're into true crime, paranormal activities, aliens, disappearances, or anything that's weird or unexplained, then let us assure you, you don't have to look any further. We have all that, plus much more. We release an episode every Tuesday morning for your listening pleasure. So join us at World's True Crime Podcast and download our episodes on all your major streaming platforms. And remember, the world is not always as it seems. No, it's not.

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domestic and family abuse. Unfortunately in this country, 10 million people every year endures it. The effects of domestic violence can take months or even years to materialize. To live through it is hell. But what is it like on the other end to survive some of the most horrific

domestic abuse that you ever heard of, you get a warrior, you get a survivor, and you get a doctor. Join me as I talk to warrior and domestic abuse survivor, Dr. Victoria Currie, on this extraordinary people episode of True Crime and Authors.

Welcome to True Crime and Authors Podcast, where we bring two passions together. The show that gives new meaning to the old adage, truth is stranger than fiction. Here's your host, David McClam. What's going on everybody? Welcome to another episode of True Crime and Authors, Extraordinary People Edition. Of course, I'm your man, David McClam. Hey, if you guys haven't already.

Make sure that you are following us on all of our social medias. One link to a link tree in the show note description will get you everywhere you need to be. All right guys, today I have a very special guest and I'm glad that she is here. Let me tell you who my guest is today. She is a survivor, having more than 100 surgeries due to the injuries she obtained at the hands of her abuser.

She has more than 17 years of educating herself and countless others. She brings a light to those who've thrown true darkness. She has several degrees and certifications and is furthering her studies through online classes at Yale. She is also a speaker and a published author and is now happily married to the love of her life, her soulmate that she was with 20 plus years ago and they have three children together. She is a CEO.

advocate, survivor, author of the book, Who Kicked First, a Memoir, and the host of a Conchages Smile podcast, please welcome Dr. Victoria Courre. Hey, doctor, how you doing? Hey, David, how are you? Pretty good. I am honored to have you here today. So thank you for joining me. The honor is mine. Thank you, sir. So let me start off by saying, I hope that all is well with you. I know that recently you just went through

a heartbreaking surgery, you lost an arm and a hand, your sister passed away. How are you with me today? How are you holding up? You know, every day is a gift, and I try to find a silver lining with every dark cloud. And I got my sister into advocating, and she was doing it because she has an amazing son who has epilepsy, and she started to advocate as well, and I'm keeping on this.

Not because I wasn't doing it before, but I'm also doing it more for her too. Other than what I've read and we'll get a little bit into your story, because I know you have an incredible story when it comes to your abuse and situations of that nature. What can you tell us about Victoria that we don't know from your wonderful introduction? I'm just me. I've been very blessed because I survived. I was told I had a 2% chance of survival. My daughter wouldn't, and we're both here. We both advocate.

She published her first book and it went to bestseller, which was amazing. And we just try to help people realize that they're not alone. And we just want to pay it forward. So as you know, domestic violence is near and dear to my heart. I have been a victim of that. I'll be going on your show at some point to talk about that. I've done a couple of other shows. Uh, the stigma that I always point out and why I do it is, as you know,

men don't talk about it. That's right. And we have seven dozens, thousands of men that's been through it. The Mexican lifestyle, you know, the way that their society is, they call it machismo. African Americans, you know, they call us weak. So I'm out there to say nobody's weak. If you're suffering from domestic violence, you need to talk about it. Yes, and you're much stronger than you think. Right, right. And now in your case, your book,

just looking at the cover. So if you guys haven't figured this out, the name of her book is Who Kicked First, a memoir. Her cover has a big boot coming down on a woman that is naked, but she's pregnant. You don't see anything to see her pregnant belly. That kind of gives you leeway into what this is about. How did your abuse begin? Well, I was in the corporate world. I thought I had everything going for me. I had the love of my life, my soulmate, and we broke up. And it was the most devastating thing.

And only time in my life, David, I ever rebounded, ever. I met this charming, charismatic idiot, is the best way I'll put it, I'll keep it clean. And he, and I talked, I was not attracted to him physically. He asked what I was missing in my life. I told him I wanted a family, I wanted kids, I wanted that intimate family that I was missing.

And so he played on that card and he knew the right things to say. And he kept pushing and pushing, incredibly charming. I worked out of state and I flew back and forth. So we didn't spend a lot of time together in person, but I didn't stay overnight with him. Is that a clean way of saying that? Prior to us getting married, he literally, David rushed me down the express lane of this relationship.

And I kept telling him, we're moving too fast. And when I would say something of that nature, he would come back and say, well, we've been without the right one for so long. Don't you think it's time we do something for ourselves? We make this right. Incredibly charming, incredibly deceitful. And I introduced him to my ex, who was the love of my life. And they hated each other. You can't imagine two people hating each other more than these two did.

The man that I broke up with that we were together for four years was a police officer. And they just had the worst chemistry and they hated each other. I end up getting married. On my wedding day, I literally was sitting in the bathroom on the floor. I'm going to show my aid here. Looking at my Palm Pilot trying to find a flight back. I knew it wasn't right.

I knew he wasn't it. But something really big and amazing came over me and said, you have to do this. And we got married. And not even a month later, I was pregnant. Like I said, I was very honest with him. I told him I wasn't in love with him, but I loved the individual he portrayed to be. He really stood out about being so big about family. And he was active military.

had a relationship with anyone in the military, so it's a very different situation. And he just kept promising me the world how he'd been overseas and fighting for everybody else and now he wanted to fight for what he wanted, which was a family as well. So we get married and pregnant and then the abuse started as soon as he realized I was pregnant.

rush to the marriage aisle was something sexual or that he just felt like that there was the need to marry you because he would have control? That is actually a great question that I've never been asked. He actually, it's very common in the narcissistic realm of individuals that they want that control and they portray that person that you long for or need, and then they go through their cycles.

the rush of the marriage because they can't control you like they will when you're living with them. I became isolated from friends and family. I had to call at checkpoints while I was driving. He would call my office and verify through like my assistant that I was in or I would have to call him and he would check it on caller ID that I was where I said I was. So

He couldn't control me if I was not living there and I would not have tolerated it for a second. It's interesting you bring up the military because my father who was my mother's abuser was also Marines and as much as I love the military, they've done me sometimes when it comes to domestic abuse. A lot of abusers use the military because they move a lot. That's what happened to me and my mom. We end up having to move away from family and we're isolated and

you have friends that cover things up for you. So I don't know if the audience do, but I totally understand when you say it's different when you with somebody from the military. Well, it's not just that David, it's the fact that one in three families in the military are openly going through some sort of domestic abuse. And if that's the case, what do you really think the real numbers are? Because if it's one in three that come forward, how many aren't? I wanna put out there, full disclosure, I know that not.

all of the military is bad. I appreciate and respect the people who fight for us and our freedom, but there are bad apples in every orchard. And I happened to get the really crappy ones. His platoon covered it up. They actually witnessed him beating me on the insulation and did nothing. And I went to them with concerns and proof and evidence.

medical records that coincided with documents and photographs. They did absolutely nothing to protect myself and my unborn child. The one thing I will say, uh, like you, I respect the military. I respect the men and women in uniform. We have liberties because of them that we would never have. Also agree with you that yes, they're not all bad, but I do want to point out that just in case people who are not in the military have, don't have family in there.

there are rules and laws in every branch of the military when it comes to domestic violence. It's an honorable or dishonorable discharge, it's a court martial, I mean, there's a lot of things that happen. So I just want people to know that that is there, even though it didn't happen in your case or mine, right. You know, I was even, I even went to the advocacy department of the military and I spoke with them. I even had their card with their cell phone number on it and their handwriting.

They told me about transitional compensation. If you haven't been in the military, how would you know what that is? I had the reading material about it, how there's this fund that was created for the military spouses who are going through domestic violence, how they help you get out, how they help you reestablish. I never got a dime. They took away the insurance. And I'm like, I don't get it. They did not dishonorably discharge him.

And it's like a whole lot of hot air, but none of it is followed through. And I can say that on my part, it sounds as if you can say it on yours. And the fact that I've worked with plenty of other military families who have said the exact same thing, there is no repercussions for the abuse that these people are going through. So if you didn't love your first husband at the time you married him, did you have a feeling that because of who you perceived him to be, that maybe you could fall in love with him down the line?

Honestly, David, I was so heartbroken over losing my ex. And I was very upfront with him about that. I loved the person that he said he was and he portrayed himself as. I wanted nothing more than to be a mom. I knew that was my purpose. And he kept talking about how he wanted kids and his whole family was all about kids and fostering kids and helping children. And that grabbed at my heartstrings. And I figured...

Maybe. I mean, I know I'm not Catherine Zeta-Jones. I get it. But physically, he wasn't what I'm used to. It's not something that I brag about. But I mean, I'm just being real and owning it. He wasn't anything appealing to me. Like when my friends met him, when we were in that courting period, they were all like, yeah, right. No way. No way. You're not. You're not with this guy. There's no way.

because he was just the complete opposite. And I thought maybe that's what I needed. So how long into your marriage, if you got married, did the abuse begin? Right after we found out I was pregnant. Was it because he didn't want a child or you just think something in him triggered because you were pregnant? Well, honestly, I didn't move in until after we were married because I had a lease and I had my own apartment and I moved in and by that,

On a calendar it was only a couple weeks literally like two and I was pregnant. I knew right away. I was pregnant and After I had confirmation it began within 48 hours and He openly admitted he knew he would never have struck me if I wasn't pregnant Wow in your mind. Why did you think that is I mean to me? you know, I have six kids and I have

Two of them look but the current wife I have we've been married for 20 years. Oh good for you And the thing is is what I hear that my mind switch to you know There's a life in there that now I have to protect. I'm very protective over the woman that's carrying my child Nothing, I mean I want to do everything in my power not to upset What why did you think in his mind now? It's okay to hit you when you are carrying another innocent life

Well, you're not a narcissistic sociopath. I mean, that's a big difference. He knew he couldn't, I would have walked out the first time and he knew that. He knew I had a background in martial arts, which I really think helped me tremendously. He also, I made a deal with him, David. I told him as long as he wouldn't hit my stomach, I wouldn't fight him back. And people who have heard me say that, why, why would you do that? When you're asleep,

and your quote unquote husband comes in the bedroom and straddles you and punches you in the face until you wake up to tell you he's thirsty and to get your lazy fat butt up to go get him something to drink, you know that's not a situation you can deescalate at that point in time. So let's clear this elephant out the room because you hit a good point because

So from reading about contagious bowel and listening to some episodes, I know that you're filled with this question too. And I get tired of hearing, especially now that you bring up martial arts, I'm also a martial artist. I kind of feel like that that goes hand in hand with domestic abuse. A lot of my friends that are martial artists, I took Tae Kwon Do, did it because of that. But I get tired of hearing, well, if she knew this and she could do this and wasn't she ever home alone, why didn't she run?

What do you say to people that continuously blame the victim and say, you could get out? Thank you so much for asking that. When I do speaking engagements, I often ask people to bring others with them that may not be supportive because I want to help crush that for them. The thing is, is when I tried to leave once, he shot and killed my puppy to show me what he would do to me if I tried to leave. My puppy, an innocent six month old puppy.

The best answer I can give people is I ask people all the time, you say you would never let it happen to you, that you would never be in that situation. Well, one in four women are going through it. So let me ask you this, if you have myself, I had a lady right in front of me who was a survivor, her mom and her sister. I said, so there's four of us here and I know for a fact two of us are survivors. So let me ask you something. You're...

You're literally humiliating your child instead of supporting and helping her in the situation. God forbid. Well, first, let me congratulate you on not being one in the four. Let me ask you this. God forbid you get a diagnosis that you have a brain tumor. That's horrible. Nobody in the world could ever imagine how you feel, how you're coping with it. Nobody would try because we can't. Would you go to a podiatrist to treat you?

because a podiatrist is a specialist on your foot or would you wanna go to a neurologist who specializes on the brain? You can't fathom what it's like for us to walk in our shoes unless you've been there. Just like I couldn't fathom being a cancer survivor. My hat's off to every one of them who've done it. I hope I'm not in that shoe one day, but I can't imagine what it's like. So please don't try to imagine what it's like.

for a survivor who never raised their hand to say, hey, I want to be a battered wife. I want to be abused. We don't do that. We don't choose for this to happen. So instead of ridiculing us when we're already at our lowest, why not show us support? Offer a hand to hold. Sit in the room with us. Be an ear. Offer shelter.

just knowing we actually have someone who believes in us because we are constantly being told we don't deserve to be alive, nobody would ever love us again, we are making them do these things, why do we make them upset to the point they have to do this? Show us that we are worth fighting for because at that moment, David, they don't believe that they are. And the thing I'll add to that is this, and that's what I've used before because I've been asked that same question. I always take offense to it because I'm like,

You haven't been there, you don't understand. When my mom has a guy, now I'm six, four and a half. I'm actually taller than my dad by half, half an inch. But when you have a man that's built like Bruce Lee, he's as quick as him, I watched him hit a guy once and broke his jaw in seven places. And when you have somebody saying, if you do this, I'm gonna do this. So that's all I do is say, okay, we walk into a room together, I'm your best friend, you trust me completely. And all of a sudden I hit a light switch.

and now I turn and I pull a gun out and I say, now, either you're going to sit your butt down in this chair or you can take a chance and run out this door, but you don't know if I'm a shooter or not. What you going to do. Right. And when you start thinking about that, the first thing you want to do is run, but you're like, but if I sit in this chair, I have a better chance of surviving. That's what abuse is. You want to get out. You want to take that chance, especially women that has children.

And men that has kids, your thought pattern is not 100% about yourself anymore. It's about if I do A and it don't succeed, is the abuser coming after me or is he going after my kid? I can endure the pain, but my kid cannot. So people need to get off of that the victim could have ran because unless you've lived it, I'm telling you, you're telling them it is not that easy. So you had over a hundred surgeries due to...

injuries, what kind of injuries did you sustain? Well, and I have to say this. When I was in the ICU for the last time, I was unrecognizable and my daughter and I were given, she was given a zero, really, well, one to zero percent chance. I was given two and my jaw was broken. My nose was shattered. My shoulder was completely destroyed, both my knees, my

my hand, my fingers. And I said to them, if it's not life threatening, I can't do it right now. My priority as a parent is my daughter. When they took my daughter and I to do an emergency C-section, she was life flighted. And it's the scariest thing you could ever imagine is hearing that helicopter going further and further away with your child on it, and you're not there. It is the most painful thing anyone can imagine.

I stayed in that hospital because when he kicked me, which is who kicked first, I got a blood clot in my leg. They couldn't put in the filter because they do the filter through the groin and when you're pregnant you can't do that. So I had to remain still in the bed for a week and a half, couldn't move because anything can make that blood clot split and then you have a pulmonary embolism and it would have killed us both.

So I knew that I, in my own way, was exacerbating my injuries because I wasn't treating them at the time that they needed to be treated. And so I understand that, but I don't know any good parent that would do different. Both of my jaws, if you, well, you can see it, David. If you look on both sides here, I look, well, some people tell me I look like Frankenstein.

I have 26 metal pieces in my face. Both sides of my jaws here and here have been done. So my jaws are all metal. Countless surgeries to try to avoid this, but it couldn't happen. So every 20 years I have to get all of this replaced. So I have the pins and screws and plates and bars and all that in my face. I have become deaf because of the shattering of my jaws and my eardrums. So I have hearing aids.

so that I can hear. My shoulder had to be completely replaced. I was stabbed over a dozen times. He even tried to cut her out of me. He put a knife in my chest that I took out myself. And it was just one after another after another. My arm became partially paralyzed due to the damage. And I had 16 surgeries to correct.

that damage from the neuropathy. It didn't work. I had pins, screws, plates, four STEM router devices placed that give you constant electric. You're constantly electrocuted. You have to wear it externally to connect to the internal wires and connectors. My fingers had no bones. They had screws and pins.

And then the CRPS, which is complex regional pain syndrome, got worse. I've never taken one pain med because my daughter has special needs and I would have to come home and take care of her. She had a tracheostomy placed. She had a feeding tube. She had epilepsy. So I had to be ready at every moment. Never stayed overnight in a hospital. Literally would come back and take care of her. So with all of that.

We couldn't get my hand better. I ended up with the claw hand and ended up making the toughest decision. Uh, this not passed six months ago and I lost it after the fight to try and keep it. Yeah. So that was my next question was of what happened to you recently had to do with your abuse. Part of it. Uh, thank you for sharing that because that's another thing I try to educate people on is the.

situations of the abuse, what your body suffers doesn't always materialize right away. It could be one year, it could be 10 years, it could be 20 years. I'm convinced thoroughly that the reason my mom died at the age of 68 was because of the abuse she suffered from my father. You know, everything from, you know, she had no teeth when she died because she had pyre of the gums that was brought on because he beat her in the mouth so much. Right. Um, there was a lot of physical weapons and beatings. It's like being a drug addict.

There's a number of people I followed that has since been clean of drugs 15 years, but they died the last year because all that drug abuse came back and wrapped around their heart and it killed them. So it's not that you see all of the traumas of abuse happen immediately. It happens down the line. How are you coping now that you've unfortunately lost your arm in your hand? Um, well, also I have what's called secondary concussion syndrome. So I get bad headaches from.

all the concussions, normally football players get it, where you get a concussion and it doesn't heal before the next one comes, which is getting your head bashed in to the floor and to bricks. And so I get treatment of injections for headaches every three months. It's tough. I've had the most fantastic surgical team. I've always held it together. I go in for this surgery and I look down, I'm like, how can I say goodbye to my arm?

This is the hand that held my daughter's hand. This is the hand that held my grandparents hand that meant the world to me. How am I gonna function? I literally had the same team. It was my surgeon. He was an arm and limb recovery specialist. He cried in there with me, David, before I went under. The nurses cried because I've had the same ones. And I'm this person that when I come in, we're gonna laugh before I go.

under because I think that bonds us. So I'll be like, Oh, great. You're going to go get on my nerves and leave me in stitches. And, you know, I bring homemade cookies to people before surgeries. And just because I value people and in today's world, I don't think we show that enough. So I woke up and I was pretty out of it. I went home that night and I go into the bedroom and go to the bathroom and my husband's like, let me help you change. Nope. I got it. I got it. I got it.

I pulled all the dressing off. I'm a little stubborn, I'm a redhead. And I saw my amputation and I lost it. My first thought again was I'm gonna lose my husband. He's not gonna wanna be with me. He was so amazing. He actually wrapped up his arm, put it in a sling, and we videoed him for a whole day of what it was like for him to try to be an amputee. He couldn't do it. He could not do it. It's very hard. I'm very stubborn.

I've gone to my surgeon, I have a prosthetic hand now, and they actually lasered a drawing that him and my daughter did on it to make it look tattooed. And he's like, how's that going? Well, you're taking something that is mechanical and your brain's having to make it move. You have to train yourself to make this move. It's heavy. And amputated arms are not common anymore.

If you go, I work with amputees now and everyone that I've had the honor of working with, hands down said they'd rather lose a leg than an arm. People take for granted opening a jar, tying your shoes, getting dressed, washing your hair, brushing your hair. I mean, the simplicities of things that women go through like putting a bra on, it's impossible you can't do it. So everything changes and you have to learn how to do everything.

I hide it when we go out for dinner. I normally hide it and I'll sit in the booth where my amputated side is closest to the wall of the booth so people don't see it. I do get stared at. People make really nasty comments. And I'm just trying to help people realize that this could be them in a week because you never know what can happen. I never thought that I would lose my hand.

Limited my wife's mother rest her soul. She was a WMUT and the legs below the knee. Um, and she was that way since a child. She had an issue with a child that took her legs. Uh, and it's funny that you bring up that you were stubborn because in the stories I've been told, uh, so was she, uh, she'd never wanted a handicap placard. She never wanted assistance. She parked like everybody else did. Uh, she wore her legs only in public, but my wife's like, she scooted around the house on her arms.

in the house and she moved faster than everybody else in the house. Their bedroom was upstairs. She wouldn't allow a lift to be put in. She slid down. She had a special board she had made the way she slid down the stairs on her own. So she made herself a slide pretty much. Yeah. Good for her. And I've never lost a limb. I am a professional drummer. One of the drummers I always looked up to was the drummer for Def Leppard because if anybody knows anything

Matter of fact, nobody wants to give him credit, but he is the musician that actually really ushered in the use of electronic drums. Because he had one arm, but he had two feet. So he had a lot of pedals below him. So I've always had respect for folks like yourself that has one arm. I've tried that before, to be honest. Somebody said, why don't you try to tape your dominant arm up and see what you would get, man? I was lost. I'm right-handed. I couldn't do nothing with the left.

When I read your story, I'm like, I wonder how she coped with that because now you go from having two arms to just one. And so how did you cope with that? I know you just said, you know, you couldn't do things like put on a bra. How are you getting along with that now? Have you retrained yourself to do things like that? Here at True Crime and Authors, I read a lot of books. Every author that you heard me interview and everyone that you will hear me interview, I've either read one of their books or I'm in the process of reading one.

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was really big with the martial arts into weapons and things like that. I love shooting, so that's a little challenging. I love axe throwing, knife throwing. That's challenging. Martial arts is incredibly challenging. You don't have your full balance because you're off-centered, so that makes it a challenge. But I'm very stubborn and I will sit there and learn how to re-time my shoes. It might take me an hour, but I'm going to do it.

If I can't open a jar, I'll put it in between my feet and I'll open it that way to hold it for a grip. I've learned how to use my nub to hold like the strap from a trash bag and try to tie it. But also I will wash my nub and then put flour on it. And I use it as a rolling pin to make cookies. See, so there's always a silver lining. And then when I, and it's the kids that are the best.

Cause when I see kids and they look at me, I'm like, Oh, I'm captain hook sister. And they think that's great. Now the adults, they look at you like you have the plague. And if you touch them, they'll lose their arm, but the kids are great. Do you have any hopes or do you want any type of prosthetics? I have one. I don't wear it. I said it makes a fantastic, beautiful decoration on my dresser. So I have to ask the, all the stuff you've been through.

Do you now or have you suffered with PTSD? Absolutely. Does it come in waves and bouts or do you know when it's there? I know when it's here. So after all of that, how did you finally make it out? That's a good question. Um, I don't want to give away too much. I ended up, and this is something I help other survivors with. I don't want to say victims because I can't stand that word. I started making my house safer because it's a house, not a home, as you know, that is not a home.

It's no longer a relationship because a relationship is with a partner and it's equal. That's not that anymore either. I started doing things like making sure I wasn't in the kitchen because the kitchen is just a playground for an abuser when they can get their hands on so many things. I would make sure I wasn't near a corner or near a bathroom because there's so many things in a bathroom that the abuser can use that most people don't think about.

I would go to the dollar store and I would get a plastic brush because I had a metal brush because I'll think my hair is. And he would take the metal brush and beat me with it. Well, I knew it was going to happen. So the best case scenario at that point was to get a plastic one because it's not as bad. And I started literally just going and when I would go to the grocery store or Walmart or wherever he would make me go, he would always check the bank statements because that's that financial control.

But I would start taking cash back and not telling him. And I started saving it that way. And I had all this evidence and nobody was helping me. It didn't matter. It wasn't happening. I owned my mistakes. I'm human. His command came to see me in the hospital and I screamed and yelled at them to get the, you know what out? This was as much their fault as it was his.

They've been given plenty of notice that this was happening and that they needed to get out. I absolutely did. I screamed at them. Who wouldn't? I mean, what am I supposed to do? Bring them over for coffee and cookies? No, I hold them as accountable. So he ended up going into the hospital for surgery himself. I found out everything about him was a lie. Like when you dated your wife, did you ever card her?

No, I didn't. Okay. Well, going to the military, as you know, you get a military ID. I went on my lunch break to go get mine and I go in there and give them DOB and everything. And they said, we don't have a soldier here by that name with that DOB. What? And so I called him and said, hey, I'm here. They're telling me you don't exist. He comes rushing over all charming himself in that phase.

And he says, hold on, give me a minute, talks to the girl, comes back and says, just take this for now, we'll iron it out later. I look at it, his name, his social, totally different year of birth. He looked so much older than he told me he was, but he said it was because of the rough life he had going overseas and deployments and things of that nature. Then I was younger than me, didn't even tell me that. Thought I was wife one.

No, no, not even close. So we end up in the NICU for three months. We end up going back to the house, which I had not expected. I was hoping to be out by then. And I'm really gonna try to get through this without crying. So David, you have to give me a second. My daughter was on.

bolus feeding from a G tube, which would give her her nutrients because she couldn't take anything orally. She had a tracheostomy, which is a tube you, you breathe out of. So she's nonverbal, no crying, no nothing. We were given nurses hours, but I wouldn't sleep when it would be just him and I, I had not expected to come back there. I go into the kitchen to clean out her feeding bag because insurance

only provide so many. I have her in her seat in her baby rocker. I make sure her pull socks is on. It's great. I have the reading set up higher, so I would have plenty of time if God forbid something happened. She was coding and having seizures constantly in the NICU before we were put in with the trach. And I made sure her apnea belt was on. Her machines were all on. The room was a very open concept.

so you could see, but I go over to the sink and literally like I'm talking to you, David, he says to me, she's blue, just like that. I don't even remember if I turned off the faucet. You're a dad, imagine hearing that about your own kid. I rush over there, her machines are all off and my daughter's lips are blue. Immediately I grabbed the cell phone, call 911, put it to my ear and started ministering.

CPR for a tracheostomy baby. Next thing I know, I hear a gun get cocked behind my head. I knew if I hung up that phone, we were done. So immediately on the phone with the operator, I'm trying to give every piece of clue possible. This is before we hear about the ask for pepperoni pizza or any of the other things that have come up since then. I kept saying his name.

I kept saying, stop standing behind me and do something. Please, our daughter's not breathing. How did the machines get turned off? I kept saying, I just walked 10 feet to clean her feeding bag and all the machines were on. How aren't they working? Help me. And I kept saying his name. I kept doing the CPR.

And I said, I need ambulance, I need fire, I need police, I need everyone. And you could hear my shaking in the voice. And I don't blame the operator because she could have very well misconstrued my fear for the fact it was just my daughter, but I really tried to put forth any and every clue I possibly could, which I think that the operators could have a little more training to catch on to that a little bit better because if I had heard someone say,

Why are you standing over me? Why aren't you doing anything? Our daughter's not breathing. I'm crying. I would be a little concerned as to why I don't even hear him speaking in the background. You literally hear nothing from him. So then you hear the ambulances and I said, could you at least go open the door? So he takes a gun, he throws it behind the couch, the couch cushion, and he goes back to playing his video games. They came in.

ma'am, let us have her, let us have her. We gotta go. I grab her emergency bag and I take off with the paramedics. I am in such fear that I will never see my daughter alive again at this point. She kept coding, they told them to step it up because she's non-responsive. And I actually started working on her because

Tracheostomy, first aid is not something taught very often. In order to go home, you have to do a room in and the hospital certifies you on the needs of your child and the equipment and what needs to be done. So I start working on her and I'm talking to her, I'm gonna come in there and get you. You are not leaving me. You cannot go anywhere. We get to the hospital, we run her in. I have tunnel vision, I don't see anything.

The doctor says, let us have her. And I just kind of collapse. Three hours later, he shows up screaming and yelling at me about how dare I ride in the ambulance with her and leave him home alone. He was so tired of me always putting her first. And then he leaned over and whispered that the only thing that saved my life was calling 911. And he wished he had blown the trigger anyway.

And then he said to me that the reason that she stopped breathing is because he put his finger over her trach and occluded her airway until she stopped breathing. And I can't, I cannot imagine a parent looking in the eyes of your own child and watching them look at you like, help me, what are you doing? Help me. And they're gasping for air. They're turning blue.

and he just kept doing it.

I can't imagine that's not a human being to me, David, that's a monster. That's a monster. And it was at that moment that I shoved him into a wall and said, that's it. And he said, I had every intention on pulling the trigger because you were too devoted to her and your devotion should be to me. I call his command, they come up and of course they side with him. I was done. I'm out.

Well, obviously you survived. I know that your daughter also survived. What is she up to now? How is she dealing with all of this? How does she feel about her dad and what he put her through? There is the biggest inspiration that people can ever meet. She hosts her own podcast called Teen Talk and she has millions of followers. She has overcome literally every single obstacle that has ever been put in front of her.

Everything that they said she couldn't do, she's done tenfold. They told her she would never talk. Oh, she talks. They told her she wouldn't walk. They told her that she would have brain damage. She wrote her first book and it opened on opening week as a best seller. I've told her from day one that he was just a bad man. She does not know all the ins and outs of what happened. I don't think she needs to know. I don't think that's fair.

So I fought and got his rights terminated. He hasn't been anywhere around her. We have permanent restraining orders. And I've told her from day one, there was only one person in this entire world that I thought was ever worthy of being her dad. And that was my soulmate from back in the day who has now adopted her and is my husband. Wow, you know, us kids of abuse, we go through a lot of things. And I think because of things that we go through,

Uh, we strive to survive. And that's one reason I do this leg of my podcast to let people know just because we have bad circumstances. Don't mean we can't, you know, do what we are told that we couldn't do. I was told I would be an abuser my whole life. I would beat everybody. I should just give up on life now. Um, and breaking that cycle. I might, my first name is not even David. I hate it going by my first name because I'm a junior.

And legality wise, you always gotta use that name. You could change it, change it. Well, the reason I did was because of this. One day my mom says, I know you hate your name. And I said, yeah, because my name was his. And she said, but it's not the name that makes the man, it's the man that makes the name. So you can take that name and turn it around and make it be something better than what your dads were. And that's what I did because of that. Good for you. So.

The daughter's amazing, you are amazing. You've had to reinvent yourself once you've done that. How do you cope now day to day now that you reinvented yourself? What are you doing out there to help other people like yourself cope with things they may be going through? I fight for special needs, individuals, for families. I work with domestic violence survivors and other types of abuse. I help remind them that they are worth fighting for, that this was not the person.

that they were before the situation started, and that they do have that light within them that still shines. And even if they believe it's dimmed, a tiny spark can start a wildfire. And I remind them that if right now they don't feel that they're worth it, believe that their kids are. Because do you want that child to grow up and see that that behavior is acceptable to have from a man in your life? Because that's what they see from the parents.

our job as parents are to prepare our children for the next phase of life. And if that is their quote unquote normal is to see dad or mom, because both men and women are abusive, being abusive to their significant other, that's what they're going to say is okay. And they're going to follow suit. And that's why you have to break the cycle. If I brought my daughter in here right now, she would tell you I've never screamed at her. She's never been spanked. And she is so respectful.

I absolutely guaranteed that she would not spend her adulthood recovering from her childhood. That is a good thing. Wow, that's amazing. Can you tell me what you would like people to take away from Who Kicked First? I never intended on publishing it. I had a beautiful person at the hospital beg me to, and it took me 10 years to do it.

I always tell everybody you have one heart, it's one size. You can fill it with hatred and then you're no better because you're just full of negative. Life is too short, you don't know if you have tomorrow. I embrace every day, I try to help one person every day, put a smile on their face. Smiling is contagious. If you can bring happiness to one person, I thrive on helping. If somebody reaches out to me,

I've helped plenty of men that need help figuring out how to do this. You will get me every step of the way. I want people to know that they have survived 100% of their worst days. Let that resonate for a minute. You have survived 100% of your worst days. There's nothing but positive going forward. And when you might slip a little bit and need a reminder,

there are those of us here that will help do that for you. Because you are the survivor, they are the cowards. I mean, I've been told I look like Freddy Krueger and the Elephant Man had a baby because I have so many scars. And you know what? For the longest time, I was so ashamed and that part of me still is. But then I look down and say, that's how many times he tried and he failed. He didn't win. I'm still here. He's still him.

I'm way ahead. You don't allow them to have that power over you. And I will show people how to have that happen and how to have a happy life. Now, of course we got to end this on a happy note. Yes. So you are now married to who you call your soulmate. From back in the day. After finding 20 plus years later. Tell us how that happened and how you guys got back together. We always stayed friends.

He went to court with me against my abuser. It's one of my eighth wonders of the world because they went to the bathroom at the same time together and I have no idea what happened in there. He went through and got divorced. He married someone else and she came at me because I was just his friend. And I told her, I said, I had him first, I'll have him last. I promise you I'll have him again. And they got divorced.

And like I said, we had stayed friends. I told him I would not be the other woman. I deserve better than that. I'm not another woman. I deserve more respect than that. And as soon as they got divorced, that was it. And we got back together and been together ever since. We've never had a fight. And like I said, we stayed friends the whole time. He is the most loving, amazing father. And we do everything together. We laugh.

all the time. We literally can finish each other's sentences. And now we are doing this to pay it forward. We're also breeding golden retrievers to help for support and emotional support because it takes five years on average for someone who needs that dog to get it. So we've been doing this out of our own pocket from day one. We've been funding this. So we have had, as long as our children have a roof over their head and food and clothes, we're good.

But we have sacrificed a lot to be able to pay for all of this. We had to literally take out our whole backyard and design, create and build kennel system, the puppies, everything. We have funded it all by ourselves. Yeah. That was going to ask you about too, because I did read you guys are doing golden retrievers. I want to point out that on your podcast, a contagious smile. If you guys do decide to donate to her podcast.

which I'll make that available in the show notes. All of that money goes back to helping them continue to do this amazing job with breeding golden retrievers for children. I have a son who we are now figuring out that we think he needs to have an emotional support animal just for him. Uh, it's kind of funny cause all the dogs we bring in here, even the dog that's supposed to be mine migrates to my wife. And so he always gets upset. Puppy, which is what my wife named her dog.

He, she doesn't like to come in my room and I need my own dog. And I said to my wife, I'm like, we need to take him somewhere where they just breed a dog just for him. He goes out there, they train him with them. So that dog is just his. And that is the work that you're doing. Yeah. My husband is a canine officer and he trains them. And like when I came home from my amputation and my dog was here, we've named him Stucco and Stucco is at that point in time, just a couple months old.

no training, sweetest thing you'll ever, ever see. The most amazing, and they're so caring, they know, if there's anything I can do to help you and your family with this transition, I think it's a great thing for them to have those unconditional loving best friends, because they make a huge difference in your life. And you need one because it helps on those days. You don't have to say a word, they just know. It does, and...

My dog passed away a while ago, so I've been considering getting my own, but my wife's dog, Puppy, she knows when somebody's down or my wife suffers from migraines and she has anxiety and Puppy always knows when to be there in the bed with her or what she needs. So animals are incredible when it comes to that. Yes, actually I'm having my daughter grab mine so you can see my sweet boy really quick.

because he is just the sweetest thing ever. But yeah, absolutely. They'll make a huge difference. I mean, all they want is your love and attention. And it's the best thing ever. You just can't have a bad day. So the one thing I will point out, I don't know if you even know this, so I'll make this available. Because of domestic abuse, Apple has done something with iPhones. And it's called safety check. We often know that.

People who are abused, they are forced to give over passwords, locations, things of that nature. What SafetyCheck allows you to do is it allows you to break that cycle. So you're able to see who's on it, kick people off, and also call for help. So if you do carry an iOS device, make sure if you are being abused, you do initiate SafetyCheck. Absolutely. So in closing, Doctor, is there anything you would like to say to all of your listeners and fans out there today? Just...

know that you are worth fighting for, you're not alone, and you are so much better than you believe you are, and will help bring that light back. Well, Dr. Victoria, I appreciate you coming on the show today. It's been very enlightening. I am a better person for knowing you, and I'm sure this will not be the last time that we see and talk to each other. It better not be. It better not be. It better not be.

Alright guys that was the incredible Dr. Victoria Currie. You can find her book Who Kicked First a Memoir at Amazon. If you are part of Amazon reading program over there which is Kindle Unlimited you can get that book absolutely for free. Please keep in mind though that she does not make any money off of anything unless you are flipping pages. So make sure that you download it and make sure that you are reading it.

In the show description you will find everything you need to know about her, where you can contact her, her Facebook information, and it will also be tagged to her episode on the podcast. Also, if you are interested in helping out the show, yes as you heard from her, podcasting is not cheap. Everything you donate to me goes back into the show. You can do so by buying me a coffee. Link is in the description.

All right, everybody. Once again, I thank you for tuning in today. I know you have many options for true crime and authoring podcasts. I'm glad that you have chosen me and always remember, always stay humble. An act of kindness can make someone's day. A little love and compassion goes a long way. And this is the podcast where two passions becomes one. I'll catch you guys in the next one. Thank you for listening to true crime and authors. Don't forget to rate.

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