Monday, February 11, 2013

You call this justice???

They say it takes an average of leaving 7 times before you leave your abuser for good. I'm not keeping score but my domestic violence counselor and I have agreed that this last time was probably around my 7th attempt. I did everything ive been trained to do to protect myself. I kept car keys and a cell phone on me at all times, I avoided fights in the kitchen and bathroom and yes I called 911 when I was scared for my life. I even did the unimaginable and actually testified in front of a judge and jury all for NOTHING. It turns out the abuser has more rights than I could've ever imagined.

As I first approached the testimony box in the courtroom I was trembeling with fear. I sat down and scanned the room. I saw my abuser to the left, and avoided eye contact with him and then scanned over the audience in the court and then the jurors. The jurors were all Caucasian and asked during jury selection if they had any bias to interracial relationships or domestic violence. They all responded no. With that being said I felt confident we have a good jury.

I was nervous for the first few questions. I was pretty much answering yes or no and then I realized I need these jurors to hear how bad the abuse was. So I started answering the questions in more detail. Then the 911 call was was my first time hearing it in the court room. I remember losing it when I heard myself on the tape say to my son "go get help for mommy". At this point I was positive my abuser would be found guilty. My testimony was the only portion of the trial that I as the VICTIM was allowed in the court room for. My abuser was allowed in the courtroom for all of it, even my testimony. Finally after hours of pacing the court house halls the jury finished deliberating.

I sat in the back of the court out of sight from my abuser and his family while I listened to the jury read NOT GUILTY on both counts. I couldn't believe it...he is free and walking out of court today. Honestly, all that I could think about in that devastating moment was to get my kids before he was walking the streets. I drove out of that court as fast as I could and got my son from preschool and then rushed home to my daughter who was already home from school. I sat in my room and cried for quite awhile. I honestly hadn't considered what I would do if he didn't get convicted. This supposed man and father who I now only refer to as my abuser or ex is really freaking FREE.

Now this all happened about 2 weeks ago and here I am awake at 4 a.m. blogging. I am up because I don't want to fall back asleep and slip right back into the nightmares that have been keeping me up every night since court. Just a few nights ago I was dreaming that I was in the house watching my children play in the yard from the window. All of a sudden this nice peaceful dream about my children turns into a nightmare that still haunts me. So I'm watching the kids play and all of a sudden I see a coyote digging in the trash. I yell out to the kids "stay still there's a coyote ill be right there". I run downstairs to try to distract the coyote so my kids can run in the house. I start banging things around and yelling so the coyote will focus on me while the kids run inside. It worked and the coyote slowly started approaching me and as it did it started to turn into my ex aka my abuser. Now here I am talking face to face with him and now panicking because I know I'm going to have to fight for my life. That is when I woke up crying with my heart pounding and racing.

Now until last night I was pretty confident that this was actually the end and he was going to leave me alone. I haven't heard from him or his family, I have had sightings but nothing major. Last night however my phone started ringing private around 1a.m. I would've answered but whoever it was wasn't letting it ring more than once. My gut tells me it was him but he was panicking and hanging up. He is not sure if he can take the risk of violating a restraining order because 2 weeks ago I did something I've never done before. I TESTIFIED!

Only time will tell but for now I will continue to be aware of everything around me and keep on surviving. I am strong enough to do this. I left him, I tried my best to put him away and now that he's out I'm still living and moving on. He did not win. I am me and I am safe with my children. I couldn't ask for more. It's only a matter of time before he is back in jail for some reason of another but it doesn't matter because he is not my problem anymore. So even though justice was not given for me and my pain I did not lose. I am FREE from his prison and torture and I can rebuild can he???

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Ummm lady this is called intimidation...

one thing that blows my mind is how the abuser is allowed to continue to abuse from behind far my ex already has an intimidation charge plus a violation of a restraining order for intimidation and yet my phone rings again and its the abusers family. I missed the call and I'm glad I did but I'm still left trembling in fear without even hearing her voice. To hear from her means she's heard from him and they have discussed me and the case. I know he wants her to reach out to me to either guilt me out of testifying or to convince me to take him back and make this go away. She knows my strong desire to make my family work. She knows me well because we were best friends for most of her son and I's relationship. As much as she didn't like the times I've had her son arrested for domestic she loves me because she knows I stood by him through drug addiction and obvious mental health issues. Speaking of mental health it's got to be hereditary too because his mother called back and like a sucker I answered. The last we spoke I was to blame for her son's suffering in jail. I expected her to be angry and have demands but instead she acted as if nothing was wrong. She wanted to know how her granbaby is and to check on me...really??? I must be I'm just dealing with one dysfunctional family. Or maybe she intended on planting the seed in my head that everything could be okay and we could be a family again.  That seed I have to admit whether it was intentional  or not the seed was planted. Although I feel weak right now I am aware enough to recognize this is intimidation it's another form of abuse and mind control. It is a last minute, desperate attempt to lure me away from testifying. So they next time she calls what I really need to do is say Ummm lady this is called intimidation and violation of a protective order and you know that. Goodbye. Then I need to empower myself to enforce it by notifying the courts.

The Unspoken Rules...

It's funny how the same qualities and characteristics that he said contributed to him falling in love with me, are the very ones he stripped me of. I think my sense of humor was one of my best qualities and that was the one he focused on the most. He knew what laughter did for me, how it lifted my spirits and helped me enjoy life. He also knew my sense of humor was what my friends and family loved most about me. I think that's why he worked so hard to break me of it.
 I've been safe from him for over 4 months now and I still don't feel safe enough to watch reruns of Seinfeld on the television. I couldn't watch any primarily Caucasian funny sitcoms, he felt they taught me how to be a "smart ass". That was a huge unspoken rule in our house. I still find myself not buying pork at the grocery store or if I do, I cook it and throw it away because I have guilt for even buying it. If I wear a cute shirt that I like but it shows a little too much skin, I cover up or change it. I'm meticulous about giving my son a bath because god forbid my son has wax in his ears or dirt under his neck. The list could go on and on of the many crazy and always changing rules. They are so ingrained in me that I'm having a hard time breaking them now that he's gone.
He had a real talent for making me feel stupid for enjoying simple things like a song on the radio or a cute baby in the grocery store. Eventually, it got to tiring for me to try and save my joy , humor and personality so I gave up. I stopped having an opinion or say on anything because I finally realized that every time I would learn and master a rule he would change the rules.

My Story...My Journey...My Desire to Live.

I am a first time blogger so please forgive my typos or any other mistakes ahead of time but I'm here to get my story out and raise awareness of the effects of domestic violence on our women, children and communities...

I figure I should start out with my story. I have been looking for a way to be heard for a long time now. When I first entered the relationship with my abuser I had a tremendous amount of family, friends and co-workers. By the time I escaped my abuser 6 years later I found myself alone with 2 children and no where to go. Yes, I have a counselor who is a tremendous help and both my children's schools counselors are aware of our situation and are very supportive. I appreciate the help from the community more than words can express because they were there for me when I had no friends and family to help but I'm still missing that intimate connection or conversation with someone who truly understands what my children and I have endured the last 6 years.

Now when I look back all the signs were there but love had me so blinded I refused to see the red flags and refused to listen to my intuition. The emotional abuse started very early on in the relationship. He spent the first month building me up just to start breaking me down. He started that as soon as he was convinced that he had won my heart and I wasn't going anywhere.

The physical abuse did not start until after our son was born, probably about a month after his birth. Once the baby stopped breast feeding and didn't have to rely on me for survival I lost all control and say over our son. This was around the same time that family members and friends started to walk away from me. They tried to warn me and I would defend him and say things like " you don't know what he's been through in life and he would never hurt me or his child" or " you don't understand the stress he is under , he doesn't mean to do it". Eventually everyone got so sick of it they walked away.

When I realized I was alone my abuser took this opportunity to convince me to move to Florida with his family. Worst thing I could've ever done was make that move but I did because I truly believed the happier he was the better my children and I's life would be. Once he had me completely isolated in Florida his drug abuse and the physical abuse towards me kicked into high gear.

The first time I attempted to run was when my abuser kept me locked up in the house for three days and did nothing but terrorize me with threats like " I could kill you and bury you down here and no one would ever know" or " next time you go to the store I'm taking the baby and leaving you". Between the days of threats and physical abuse he finally took my son and I out of the house to his mothers business. When I got my first opportunity to run with my son my abuser chased me down and took the baby. So I had to make the choice do I leave my baby and risk him kidnapping him while I go for help or do I stay. I must have been truly scared for my life because I left my baby and ran barefoot through the grass to the neighboring business ( an auto parts store ).

The workers there locked the doors and listened to me and tried to get me to call 911 but after a few minutes I started worrying about my baby so I went back. I finally got my abuser to give me my son in exchange for the car keys and cell phone. I then took my son and walked to his other family business about 2 miles away. I couldn't carry my baby the whole way so I hitched a ride. I'll never forget the sweet gentleman in the worn down minivan who picked us up and pleaded for me to take his money to get back to Massachusetts. At the moment I had too much pride to take money from this hard working family man. I thanked him for the ride and finished the brief walk to the families other business.

While with my sons great grandmother I had to listen to her tell me how to be a proper wife and how I'm supposed to take the abuse quietly and not involve other people in our family business. I'm grateful that I was aware enough to realize she only said those awful things because she is an elderly black woman who grew up in the deep south, that's all she knew. Soon after my abuser came and picked us up and took us home. It was the next day that I pulled an old corded phone out of boxes and hooked it up and dialed 911 and hung up. I knew if I called and hung up from a house phone they would just show up and they did. They saw the bruises on my arms and chased him down the street and arrested him for domestic abuse. As soon as they took him I started making calls to family back home who wired me money for me to pack the kids and drive home. I believe I had just reached South Carolina when my abuser made his first call to me since the arrest. He made bail came home and found the house empty. He couldn't believe I left and begged for me to come home and I almost did but at the time I was too scared to lose my kids to cps in Florida if I stayed. So I told him I loved him but I love our kids more and to please get help so he could come back to us one day.

Once back in Massachusetts I had to get back on my own two feet. Within two months I was in my own place with a full time job and life was great. Once he found out I was on my own again the calls started saying he wanted to come home. I stayed strong for 9 months eventually I gave in and  he came home and within 3 months I got my first beating. He ended up beating me so badly that I attempted to throw my child and myself out a second story window to escape but he pulled us back in. He ended up getting 18 months but serving 11 and coming right back home.

I tried hard after that to be a "good wife" and do as he wanted. I learned how to behave which resulted in less beatings but they never stopped completely. That is until this past September of 2012. This beating all started because I accidentally bumped into him. It was so bad this time that he twisted my wrist until it broke. He was on top of me, beating me and out of the corner of my eye I saw a glass ashtray. I grabbed it, smashed it and took a shard of glass and stabbed him with it. I grabbed my son who was nearby watching all of this and ran to a neighbor who called 911. He has been incarsarated ever since and we are currently going to trial soon. I am scared out of my mind to testify against my abuser but I keep asking myself if he could snap my wrist with such ease what could he do to my neck?

I need to survive for my kids. If I'm not here to guide my daughter decisions she's going to end up a victim just like me. If I don't remove my son from this situation statistics say he's going to end up an abuser like his daddy or he's going to murder his daddy for abusing me. No child deserves that kind of life and I have to start with helping my kids before I can help others. So yes I will testify and tell my story and once he is convicted I can start the process of helping others.