Opening the front door to her mother’s house in Clearwater, Florida, Melissa Dohme’s new boyfriend Robert Burton was standing there with a fresh bouquet of flowers.
She was 18-years-old and had met Robert in school.
To begin with, Robert was the most charming young man and would frequently turn up with flowers and chocolates.
The couple did everything together, and soon, they were madly in love.
But Robert had a difficult home-life.
For most of his childhood, he was passed between his mother and grandmother, depending on who had more tolerance for him.
Then, when his mother remarried and had more children, he became the family outcast.
Kind Melissa just wanted him to be loved and accepted, so he spent most of his time at her house, as her family home could be the safe place he needed.
Melissa’s mother had no qualms about this, as Robert was a kind and loving boyfriend.
But with a dream of becoming a nurse, Melissa dedicated 600 hours to volunteering down at the local hospital.
At first, Robert seemed supportive and proud of his girlfriend, but he soon became jealous and paranoid. Wanting her wholehearted attention, Robert began manipulating Melissa and guilt-tripping her into spending time with him.
He would criticise her every move and would call her nasty names such as ‘stupid’ and ‘dumb’, as well as branding her a ‘bitch’.
Melissa knew that Robert hated the fact she was succeeding ahead of him, and so it wasn’t a relationship she could stay in.
So, one night after a string of abuse, Melissa finally decided to call it quits, but Robert threatened to kill himself.
Stuck in an impossible situation, Melissa reluctantly agreed to give Robert a second chance to prove himself.
After all, despite his behaviour, she did love him.
Melissa hoped that the near break-up would be enough to persuade Robert to change his ways, but things only got worse.
For the next two years, as the pair prepared to graduate, Robert’s jealousy took over his every thought.
He would constantly put her down and tell her she was not good enough, but whenever she tried to leave, he would threaten to kill himself.
Stuck in an unhappy relationship, Melissa had no one to turn to.
On the face of it, Robert still played the charming boyfriend, but her mother had no idea what was going on right above her head.
Then, out of nowhere, Robert’s abuse took a turn for the worse.
In an act of rage up in her bedroom, he grabbed Melissa round the throat and strangled her as hard as he could.
Eventually, when her body was too limp to fight back, he let go.
‘If you tell anyone about this, I will kill you, and your mum, too,’ he told her.
Melissa had no idea what to do and fearful for her life, she decided to stay quiet.
Continue reading your story on the app
Continue reading your story in the magazine
Stuck In Silence
My sick abuser made sure my mouth was shut…
Never Too Late
When It Comes To Love, Age Is Just A Number...
Melissa Dohme was stuck in an abusive relationship… and there was only one way out.
Worked Like Magic
I was meant to be having the holiday of a lifetime, but I desperately needed a magical fix....
Mother Of All Surprises
I went to bed with a hangover, but woke up with a shock…
Conned by a bigamist
My Dream Man was a dirty rat.
I'm in Pole Position to Beat my Bullies
Who cares what people say online – I love pole dancing!
Hunted By The Devil
I feared I’d be raped by the stranger stalking me
Pregnancy was not going to hold me back...
My £17,500 Pout!
Not even ruptured implants could curb my surgery addiction
JIMINY CRICKET! A LIVE-ACTION ‘PINOCCHIO'
After a string of live-action remakes, from “Beauty and the Beast” to “The Lion King,” the Walt Disney Co. has finally gotten around to “ Pinocchio.” Along the way, there have been some nice performances, enormous heaps of CGI and, lest anyone forget, one very blue Will Smith.
Kourtney KEEPING TABS ON TRAVIS
Since tying the knot in May, Kourtney Kardashian has made a point to never spend more than one night away from husband Travis Barker - and for good reason.
Teresa's Ultimatum: IT'S ME OR MELISSA!
The sisters-in-law have not spoken since Melissa and husband Joe skipped Teresa and Louie Ruelas' Aug. 4 nuptials.
JOE & MELISSA - Fractured Family
They're not going to fake their relationship from here on out
This Gladiator sports unique off-road lights and more tools for the trail
RESEARCHERS ASK CENSUS TO STOP CONTROVERSIAL PRIVACY METHOD
Prominent demographers are asking the U.S. Census Bureau to abandon a controversial method for protecting survey and census participants’ confidentiality, saying it is jeopardizing the usability of numbers that are the foundation of the nation’s data infrastructure.
The Family Circus
For a couple with five pets in Nashville, this storage-obsessed designer thought of everything.
ROBERT SCOTT WILSON BACK TO DAYS IN A NEW ROLE
Solving the Wildest Problems
Not all of life's problems can be quantified, and not all have right answers. Economist Russ Roberts offers a different way to approach them.
MELISSA GILBERT How I Made PEACE WITH MY PAST
THE STAR DIDN'T LEARN THE SAD TRUTH ABOUT HER FATHER'S DEATH UNTIL MANY YEARS LATER