Domestic Violence In Women's Own Words

 

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Contents

Woman describes the bleak conditions and futility of seeking shelter from her abusive boyfriend

No such thing as an accident under current DV laws

Girls play games with her son's emotional problems

Husband learned to play the DV card in divorce

No excuse!

His wife killed my son

A mother's story

To whom it may concern

In a pickle

Daughter uses DV laws against father

Drunken argument in Alamosa destroys her boyfriend

Drunken night out ruins boyfriend's life

Out of control while driving

The 911 nightmare

Losing one's own points of reference

Son penalized for being a man

Colorado visit leads to my arrest

Restraining order

If I didn't know any better I would of thought you were writing about my life


 
An estimated 72 million men, women, and children have ended up homeless at some point in their lives as the result of domestic violence laws. But one is seldom told of the damage these laws do.
If you would like your story told in your own words please send it to comments@ejfi.org.

 

Woman describes the bleak conditions and futility of seeking shelter from her abusive boyfriend

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August 19, 2013 —As for the director who claims the women take advantage of shelter, i would tell her that most women will not talk about or tell about the real abuse because it will enrage their abuser more than he already is. Most abused women eventually return to her abuser for lack of options, so they stay quiet about the actual details. It seems like the victims are protecting the abuser, but really they are protecting themselves by staying quiet.

Sure, there are a few women who play the system to get a free ride, but the majority do not. Also, it's fair to say abuse shelters are like jails, and the advocates behave like our jailers, take donated items for themselves, lock the women up at night and lock the kitchen so the women cant take food, which is usually spoiled, outdated, donated food anyway. So in my opinion the shelters are as bad as the abusive homes. It is definitely not a place you want to be. I am 45-years old i don't need an 8:30 curfew. I didn't break the law and don't need to be treated like a criminal. Its very sad and depressing.

My boyfriend can't control his emotions and takes the keys and the money if he knows i intend to leave him again. I have left four times and have had to return to him each time because I have nowhere else to go. I can't trust him. He drinks and has tantrums so I'm always walking on eggshells around him. When the honeymoon period is over, it will start all over again. It is not easy getting yelled at every day, day after day after day.

There is always a woman at the shelter who is apathetic towards her own children, who are residing at shelter along with their mother. They do not have any life skills and do not know how to parent. Example: I was in a shelter recently and there was a five-year-old retarded girl who witnessed her father beat her mother within an inch of her life. The girl repeated words she was called like dummy and stupid and I hate you. However, when shown love and compassion from other moms, the girl responded to that very well. The mom just stood there like a worthless human being, no interaction between her and her special-needs child. If her child was taken out of that environment she would thrive. There were other kids making collages out of magazines and scissors and she wanted to make one also, but her mom told her she cant and had to wait to go to school to do that. The mom sat on her butt all day and did nothing but sleep and eat. I caught her mom yelling at her once and it was clear her mom was abusive, also.

There are women who bug you for cigarettes when you are in no position to give them anything. Then you have to deal with that ignorant cocky attitude from your peers in the shelter like you owe them something. There is no peace. There are smells and noises and crying kids. You have to motivate yourself out of shelter because it is so gross and so horrible but, unfortunately most times it means going back to the abuser.

If shelters were managed properly it would make it easier to leave and stay gone. We do not want to be locked up like that, and we do not want to eat rotten food or be monitored on camera 24/7. Abused women should just be given a place of their own instead of putting them in shelter, since that is the ideal goal anyway. There is no way to raise that kind of money for a new place in 30 days. It's pretty hopeless.

 

[EJF note: After writing this she was evicted from the shelter for being ten minutes late after curfew because she was working overtime. As a result she had to return to her abusive boyfriend as she had no place else to stay.]


 

No such thing as an accident under current DV laws

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June 22, 2013 —My boyfriend accidentally broke my nose. I had to go to the emergency room because it wouldn't stop bleeding. The doctor contacted the police, The police came trying to get me to sign papers. I refused. They went to our home, arrested him, and put a no contact order of protection out. I sent the DA an affidavit explaining it was an accident and I wanted the order lifted and case dropped. I went to meet him in person. They are refusing to budge. I went to the court date asking to speak to the ADA and the judge. Neither would look at me, much less talk to me. I am an adult woman, a college instructor, and a trained rape advocate. I am being treated like a child. my boyfriend has no prior record. I cannot believe this is happening.

Monica

New York


 

Girls play games with her son's emotional problems

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On May 2, 2013, my 18-year-old son unwittingly became the victim of a deleterious frame-up. His ex girlfriend and her friend co-conspired and executed a maliciously deliberate, outrageously premeditated plan. The goal, to create and engage in a hostile and combative situation for a young man suffering with severe emotional dysregulation resulting from his bipolar disorder. To cause him emotional pain and to get him into trouble. They had been broken up for over a year, and she started coming around again. She was trying to use her feminine wiles to manipulate him and he rejected her, and what further vexed the young woman was information anonymously by SMS Text, that my son was intimate with a mutual friend; her other BFF. So the ex girlfriend resorted to this terrible act out of spite.

I don't believe that these young women had a full understanding of the magnitude the consequences. I do believe that their intent was get him to react in a violent manner in order to video record him, turn him into the police, then to pass the video along to their friends to defame his character. I believe they acted with full knowledge of my son's mental illness and with full knowledge of how he would react. She dated my son for 3 years, even participated in some of his psychotherapy session, and was most definitely a "Mania" trigger during their time together.

I must stress that I do not condone my sons actions in his reacting, but at the same time, in his defense, I feel his mental illness was exploited and used as a tool to cause him harm. Physical violence isn't ok... BUT.... It's NOT OK for females to push males around and do what these girls did. I find it unforgivably offensive that ANY female would ride the coat tails of the fight for Equality for Women, Feminist movement, Anti-Women's suffrage movements and to use their gender identity as a female to victimize a man because they can.

The media is forever talking about the "War On Women" but they never talk about the secret "War On Men," girls using their gender identity as a weapon, I feel this makes them a threat to social order and to the survival of our human male species; because of their awareness of the imbalance of justice within the court systems. I wish everyone would take a deeper look, below the surface of our American cultural sociological psychology. There is a fear and hatred of boys and men in our culture and female-on-male, male on male violence not being taken seriously.

The court system's favoritism of women illustrates this point, as my son is sitting in jail right now facing charges for assault and threatening a witness; with a $20,000 bond. We had a bond hearing yesterday, and I was disappointed that the Judge denied our request to reduce bail. I tried to appeal to his "Public Defender" that if D___ sits in jail, he looses his SSI, he is not getting mental health care, and, he cant do what he needs to do to assist with the fact finding in his case. As I am unable, due to the confidentiality rules, to actively participate as a cohesive part of D___'s defense; I can only communicate the information I have, and hope it will hold some relevance and help D____'s Defense. As Theodore Roosevelt said, "Justice consists not in being neutral between right and wrong, but in finding out the right and upholding it, wherever found, against the wrong."

It is so sad to see young people behaving so inhumanely.

With sincerest thanks,

Elisa


 

Husband learned to play the DV card in divorce

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May 19, 2012 — I am a woman living in Huntsville, Alabama. I was married for 28 years. I raised two daughters, was a stay-at-home mom, subsequently became disabled; but am stable, adopted a special-needs son and home schooled him.

My ex-husband continually committed adultery and threatened me that if I did anything he would see me homeless, broke, and I would be the government's problem. That is a direct quote of many from him. I was scared to leave, had nowhere to go and because of my son's condition I could not go into shelter.

I made my husband leave (the police removed him) and I went to get a Protection From Abuse (PFA) order the next morning.The judge turned me down (I had a Domestic Violence Advocate with me), stating that he didn't "think you are taking this very seriously." This was Madison County District Judge Richardson. I was devastated.

I changed the locks on my home. My husband wanted to talk and I managed to keep him away for a week. I cared for my son every day for 14 years. It is imperative that I should say here that my mother (age 72) testified in trials against my other two sisters who subsequently had their children removed. She is mean and manipulative. I believe she thought if I divorced my husband, I would leave and her access to my son would be restricted although I never said that would happen.

My husband came into my home, beat me unmercilessly and then called the police (same ones who had removed him a week before) and ex said I beat him.

I was in shock!

I was taken to jail for Domestic Violence. My husband got a PFA. He sent my son to live with my mother and when I got out of jail, I found out that the same judge who denied me had approved him and I had nowhere to go.

I had no money, lived in my car from April 27, 2011 to June 13, 2011. I had no money for an attorney and when I did get one she was totally ineffective. My ex husband's attorney used the tactic of putting me on the defensive (use of the PFA and unfounded claims of abuse of my son — by my mother) to divert from his adultery (Alabama is a "fault" state — and we proved adultery BTW). The same judge (Richardson) who turned me down for a PFA, gave my ex one, also presided over the hearing and he ruled that the PFA would be in effect for a year! I have not seen my son in over a year.

Now my ex-husband (who has sole custody) says that Will (my son — remember, cognitive impairment, etc.) would decide if he wants to see me and he doesn't. I don't believe that for one minute. This is textbook abuse, control and meanwhile the damage being done to my already impaired son is unknown but I know I am so upset

I am stable, I am responsible, I have never hurt any of my children and the family court awarded custody of my son to me (when we adopted him) over his natural mother. I passed a DHR background check.

My divorce is over. I couldn't ask for visitation because of the PFA (in effect at that time). There is no visitation order. I don't have any funds to pay an attorney. I am barely getting by. I am writing to ask for help in any form you might be aware is available to me and to help my son. This must not be allowed to happen, this must be stopped. This is so wrong on many levels and Judge Roy Moore (Ten Commandment Judge) reviewed my case and says my Constitutional Rights were also breached. He says this is a classic case of Parental Alienation Syndrome.

Is there anything I can do? If I file pro se, the court most likely will not hear it. The same judge who gave me nothing after a 28-year marriage would hear it. I need legal help and I need it quickly for my son's sake. My "taxable income" for 2011 was $4,000. 00 and I depend on a social security disability check each month.

Sincerely,

Cathy


 

No excuse!

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I am a woman who was abused for many years and after 6 years I am still fighting for justice for what he did to me.

I seek justice, not revenge!

I am all for the justice of abused men as well. I know that there are men who try to walk away from a bad situation instead of taking it out on a woman. She decides she doesn't want him to go and tries to beat the hell out of him, or kill him so he can't have anyone else, telling police it was him who tried to harm her, because the norm is that men abuse women.

These women need to know that they will go to jail too! Keep your damn hands to yourself!

I don't care who does it, abuse is wrong! Stop using your gender to get away with crimes! Anyone you have to hit, you don't need, because the true meaning of love does not produce harmful actions.

I would tell a man the same thing that was told to me, get away!, And they need to start offering men the same protections as they do women.

Men, keep up the fight, just as I do.

Belinda


 

His wife killed my son

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My son was the victim of domestic abuse by his wife. She repeatedly said she was going to kill him and had tried to poison him several times. The last time she gave him poison he and his young son were living with me.

I got him to the hospital where he was beginning to recover when she did something to him and he almost died again. Then she went into his room as he lay in a coma, totally restrained, and ripped his breathing tube out. The police found her sneaking back into the hospital after she ran away and took her to the station where she failed a lie detector test.

My son was placed under guard but not expected to live. He didn't die at that time and the county attorney said since he did not die he would not charge her with anything. The police, hospital, and county attorney all said that she did this.

The next ten-and-a-half months were sheer hell. My son, who had had no health problems, now was disabled, had a huge bed sore, was on dialysis, using a wheelchair or walker, and the list goes on.

They divorced during this time and I was taking care of him 24/7. We were in and out of hospital. The last hospital stay he was not ill but was having a port put in for the dialysis. My son died on October 24, 2009, in the hospital after a visit from the ex-wife. He was 36.

This woman had been convicted a year before of filing a false police report after she said my son abused her and the child. She is not allowed to work in nursing homes or pharmacies any longer after pulling that breathing tube out while he was in a coma.

I was told by a police detective that she was crazy do not leave my son alone for a minute in the hospital. The only time I was not next to him day and night was October 24 th .

This is so hard to write! There are a 100 more details. Bottom line is my son was killed by his ex-wife and she is walking around free.

Patricia


 

A mother's story

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My son was beaten by his ex almost daily, when he went to the police they laughed at him, even tho the ex was on probation for assaulting a minor! She has a long psychological and criminal history, discovered by my son after 2 children. The courts REFUSED to even look into her history, knew about her violence, her conviction and STILL gave her full custody! The kids are 2 and 4 yrs. old, they were 5 months and under 2 when she abandoned them for 8 months. My son is unique — he would raise his children — yes he has to work, but has help in me. His ex had bankrupted him, stolen his only vehicle, and just left. The cops stopped her twice in the stolen vehicle, called him an hour later asking mockingly: "You want us to arrest the mother of your kids?," and they wouldn't!

Since being given custody, she has created parental alienation, perjured herself repeatedly, lied about my son (all disproven by us), and refused to do court ordered therapy. along with many other issues that amounted to contempt. Interfering with parenting time in itself is against the law, yet she has done that each and every time, yet when we address the court about all of this the judge has made excuses for her! She has come up with every lie that she can think of to keep the kids from their dad, the cops have had to be sent to take them from their home several times and give them to my son, yet the judge does nothing to her!

In my "perfect world" the courts would REALLY be concerned about both sides of the issue, each case would be regarded as unique, and each child would be worthy of their concern and best interest. The frosting on the cake — this woman took pornographic pictures of my grandkids, some were sent over her cell phone, authorities were notified, C.P.S. called in. Every court official as well as cop that saw those pictures admitted that my son would have been thrown in jail had he taken them. What happened to her? NOTHING! She was offered counseling from C.P.S.!

My point is that family court is filled with corruption, and it is little more than a joke. In my world there would be an actual way to get these stories before congress and get the whole damn system investigated and changed! Our next battle, and we have been warned that it will be just that, is to get this judge removed. Tons more $$ and a huge fight.

Just the amount of $$ that it takes to do so is astonishing, and in my opinion, part of the corruption involved. Do you know, in all that the judge has been made aware of about this woman, never once has he given one reason why my son should not have his children, never suggested parenting classes for him, never has he stated a reason or fear of my son having custody. And I will add one more injustice — when the children were taken, my son had begun a custody petition here, the state the case is in did not even have jurisdiction! This judge asked that question at the very 1st hearing that took place, all have agreed that he had to have known the answer, yet he even ignored that! Now we are left fighting 900 miles away. And with that comes a ton of expenses that his ex never would have expended for those children had the case remained here, as legally it should have. We are certain that once the eyes of the court are off this woman, once the GAL is removed, all hell will break loose and these kids will be in danger from her violence and sexual exploitation. A sociopath cannot be treated, surely the court appointed psychologist knows this, yet no one cares! This system HAS to be changed! Once our fight for these kids is successful, we hope to be voices for all of the others who have faced these horrible injustices.

Diane


 

To whom it may concern

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September 24, 2009 — I am outraged at the gender bias within our state with regards to alleged acts of domestic violence. The policies that the State of Colorado have in place currently deem that law enforcement has the right to decide a "primary aggressor" in cases of fights between people in intimate relationships even though both are cocombatants. In most cases the male is taken into custody and charged with domestic violence due to his size and allegations angry women make against him.

The law is written so the alleged victim's rights are taken away from them with regards to whether or not they wish to even have the alleged aggressor charged. The law enforcement officers have to take someone to jail if they have even an inkling of a suspicion domestic violence or verbal abuse has occurred. What the laws are telling us is that we cannot be human beings and have fights and arguments and that the system is to monitor our behavior and protect us and prevent our feelings from being hurt. I do not deny there are real acts of deliberate domestic violence that should be punished. However, the law is written too broadly and gives too much power to females to falsely accuse males in order to control a situation they are not comfortable with, or want vengeance or revenge against.

Once you call 911 you cannot undo it even if you called for the welfare of the other person e.g., if they say they are going to commit suicide. Somehow it turns into a domestic violence call.

I am resentful of what this system has done to my family's life. It has destroyed the man I love and the relationship with his family. He cannot trust that the system is fair and impartial since it did not treat us equally. Had the system treated us equally we both would have been arrested, which I feel in and of itself is ridiculous, and charged with the same crime. I had engaged in the conflict and kicked doors in. But police did not even include that in their report and omitted pertinent information that would make it obvious we both were at fault. We never had a chance to work things out without the "aid" of the judicial system. Police had to arrest someone and even though I did not want him arrested they told me they had to since it was the law.

Taking away someone's rights to due process just to push through more convictions is not justice. It is a revenue stream. The Fast Track system does not allow time for the defendant to pursue counsel. The facts of the case are never to be heard in court since it really isn't about justice. It is about beating down men and collecting more revenue for special-interest groups.

It was found out that my husband had a medical condition that if given the chance to present to a court he would have been freed. He had a herniated disc in his neck and was in intense pain, but I was unaware of it. However, discovery was not allowed.

How do the laws as they are written allow due process if you are railroaded through a Fast Track system that does not allow counsel, has the DA's Office give plea agreements to move people through the system, and puts alleged violators through courses to generate revenue.

This "perfect" system of dealing with "domestic violence" has now forced me to move out of my marital home. That was necessary so my husband feels safe that law enforcement will not come and arrest him again under false accusations in case we have a fight and the neighbors call the police. We cannot ever again have a normal relationship and we are resentful of a system that has systematically destroyed our family and told us there is nothing we can do. We are both seeking separate counseling to see if we even have a chance to stay married because the legal system became involved and branded my husband a criminal for life. These laws have caused us not only emotional hardship but financial hardship as well.

When will this all end? Has government nothing better to do than create more government to monitor our society to be sure we are behaving like good little girls and boys instead of treating us like adults and allowing us to manage our own personal issues. God, not the government, binds a marriage. Arguments happen between two consenting adults. It is not the right of the state to come between a husband and his wife to solve their problems.

At this point it appears we are a country divided. Special interest groups against the general public. Unfortunately the general public does not have the monetary backing the special interest groups have so our voice is not heard. When will our elected officials start working for us and what we believe in and not for these ideologues?

Sincerely,

Liz


 

In a pickle

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I am a woman in a relationship that became abusive over the six years we've been together. We have two children in common as well as his child from a previous relationship that his parents have guardianship of but I raised from four months of age. The last time he abused me a temporary order of protection was already in place and it was considered a violation. He did two weeks in a psych facility and two weeks in jail and his parents bailed him out. I know we were both to blame for the situation as well as the stress from his mother having custody of his oldest son and using that as a control factor. There were also financial problems that came into play.

The fact is, during his arraignment in criminal court, they put a temporary order of protection in place on my behalf without even notifying me. I was also forced to sign a paper with the local CPS unit stating that I would file for a temporary order of protection and custody against him in family court...they are now in place. The local domestic violence unit "helped" me to fill out the petition. When I say "helped " me, I mean that I felt I was coerced into writing what they wanted me to write with the fear of losing my children hanging in the balance. I told them that I didn't believe that he would hurt the kids and that I didn't want to write what they were "suggesting" but they told me that I had to. I don't want to lose my kids. I'm all they have left. But I've now lost my step-son and I'm afraid that I've lost my boyfriend because I'm sure he resents me for saying what I've said, even though it wasn't what I wanted to say. My children are suffering, they miss their Daddy and their brother and our family has been torn apart. His criminal and family court cases are coming around in the next couple weeks.

I don't want for he and his children to be kept apart, but I feel that I have no other recourse. I also don't want to lose him. I think he and I both need help, emotionally and psychologically. We were trying to get couples counseling at the time that all of this happened, but were getting the run-around in getting an appointment (we'd been trying for two months).

Bridget


 

Daughter uses DV laws against father

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I am the wife of a man charged with Domestic Violence. On February [2008] while on the phone with my 30 yr. old Daughter my Husband simply raised his voice and yelled at me. no cursing just yelled. We have been married 15 yrs raised his 3 kids and 1 of mine. My Daughter who was temporarily living with us after her divorce and was not even at the house lets her boyfriend talk her into calling 911. Why, she knows he is getting a 4 bedroom brick house and she wants him to let her move in with him so she figures if she listens to him and calls 911 with no idea there would be an arrest, she simply thinks the sheriff will show up and then my husband would throw her out and the boyfriend will feel responsible and let her move in.

Well ruin our lives. They arrest him for having yelled at me slap a no contact order on him and leave me disabled out here on a Farm with livestock to tend to during a snow storm!. This stupid no contact goes on for 3 months, my husband is sitting out there thinking I called 911 on him and files for a Divorce instead of hiring a Criminal attorney. Well, I try to get a criminal attorney to fight the Prosecuting Attorney who kept refusing to see me, but since I was not charged with anything I can't be represented. AUGH!!!! So here they go trying to railroad him. So meanwhile I stop at nothing. I manage to get message to him DON'T PLEA BARGIN!!!. Anyway I manage to go to a Friend of mine who is the State Senator to call the Prosecuting Attorney- Well the Prosecuting Attorney will call him back. Talk about Violating MY rights. Anyway prior to the discovery hearing the Senator manages to get the Prosecuting attorney to dismiss the case with a 6 month no violence order. Then finally the Prosecuting Attorney calls me and tells me he is dismissing the case after a completion of 6 months no violence with a diversion hearing Dec. 11, 2008. My husband realized I had nothing to do with all of this and dismissed the Divorce case and is living with his parents at 52yrs old until the diversion hearing since understandably he does not trust that they won't try to accuse him of something before the hearing. I am concerned about the diversion hearing because I don't trust them either. This whole thing is just beyond belief.

Anonymous


 

Drunken argument in Alamosa, Colorado, destroys her boyfriend

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I was just reading through your website, I wish I would have read it before my boyfriend pled guilty to DV charges. He was a drunk, we were fighting, etc., and my neighbor convinced me to call the police so he could "get help." The only help we got for him thinking he was taking responsibility to his actions was more debt, more anger (which is controlled now), and just turning our lives over to the court. We have lost our business, are in more debt than before, and stuck in poverty now.

My boyfriend and I were both fighting verbally, he never laid a finger on me, and my advice to all this domestic BS is to never ever invite the police into your home. We have become brainwashed to think they will help you in these matters, and it is a big fat lie to get more money out of you. All of his DV classes are BS, and when he spoke up in class, saying he wanted to really talk about why he was here, why he was angry, the teacher pulled him aside and asked him not to come back to class for a week!!!!!! He is now in County Corrections, which is ran by a load of monkeys who don't know the first thing about "therapy."

Well, I am going off now, as I am sure you have heard it all. But it is good to see a website that tells you the truth. We fought for less than 10 minutes and or lives have been changed forever. I know their are cases out there that demand for such harsh laws, but the courts do not take that into account. I don't know why my boyfriend pled guilty.

DH


 

Drunken night out ruins boyfriend's life

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I am trying to see if there is anything that my boyfriend or I can do to overturn a guilty plea. He was charged with Domestic Violence at the end of March 2007 due to my negligence while I was completely intoxicated. I only signed the police report on the night in question as I just wanted to go to sleep. I never pursued filing charges against him the following day when the Sheriff's department contacted me. My boyfriend's attorney was negligent in representing him, which resulted in termination so that he could represent himself. His attorney had told him to agree to the plea bargain that the prosecutor had put on the table before appearing before the judge. He did so, waived his rights and pled guilty — at the last minute, before the judge, the prosecutor reneged on his "bargain" and my boyfriend got screwed. The judge has been throwing the book at him and this was his first offense. He's never had a history of violence nor DUI and the system is totally taking advantage of him now that he doesn't have an attorney. Is there anything we can do to overturn the Judge's ruling? I feel like both of our rights have been violated.

Lisa


 

Out of control while driving

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We had been arguing from the night before over money. Our argument spun out of control in the car. He opened the door on the highway and threatened to jump out of the car. He also grabbed the wheel three times, trying to take control of the car, and pounded with his fists on the window — all while I was driving.

He and I both know that this argument spun out of control. My reactions in the car were under severe panic as to what was happening. Also, we were between Monument and Colorado Springs and I did not want to leave him by the side of the road. I knew if I did I would see only more drama and waste more time because I wouldn't have left my husband like that.

He called 911 from the car. He told them I was not letting him out. I got on the phone with them and they guided me to the nearest police station. At the police station, the first thing the officer said was that there were three 911 calls from the road about our car. They separated us and my husband (thinking that a police man is a counselor) talked and talked about relationships and how angry he was with me. He (falsely) accused me of making a scar on his hand — which he realized later that he was mistaken — he burned his hand on the frying pan. He called the DA and told them that too — but that never made it to my file, though they said they have taken notes about it. The officer asked me to write down what happened and I did. I wrote down everything. Because there were marks on his leg from where I scratched him (keep in mind that the marks on his leg were not as bad as the marks on my wrists from the handcuffs) I went to jail.

I couldn't understand why I was being held. I told the whole truth to the police officer thinking that he would see that this is an argument gone wild between a man and wife. I also thought that he would see that I was terrified in the car because of what my husband was doing and my reactions were made in a state of complete panic. I had no idea how to respond to my husband grabbing the wheel, screaming at me, calling me names, and threatening to jump out of the car in the middle lane of traffic going 65 miles per hour. It all happened so fast...I froze.

So, as I said, I went to jail.

I couldn't believe it. I called my mother from jail. Little did I know that all calls are recorded as testimony. I had no idea about anything that was happening. I was completely ignorant and thought that something would protect me. I was wrong. In jail, I was so upset, I couldn't eat or drink. I couldn't sleep. I couldn't believe where I was. It all seemed like a nightmare.

I went to court the next day. First, I pled not guilty, then, after talking to the DA, who seemed so kind and nice and explained the plea bargain with me, I accepted the plea bargain and pled guilty. The judge asked me if I really thought I was guilty and I hedged saying that he pulled the wheel, etc. but I decided that the threat of a trial would be too much stress for me to live through. Little did I know.

The next day at the hearing for a personal recognizance (PR) bond — when I told my husband I had pled guilty — his face fell. Again, I live in a state of complete confusion. Why was all of this happening?

I went to see a criminal defense attorney in Denver. He looked at the case and explained some things to me. Deferred sentence, restraining order, conditions of the restraining order, the power my husband now had in my life because he is the "victim." The next week, I moved out into my own apartment.

My husband thinks I am being very dramatic. He wonders why I don't want to work on our "relationship." I have filed for divorce (at his request) and still he wants a "date night" or some kind of relational contact and he can't understand why I cannot give it to him. I went to my DV evaluation and was treated like a criminal by a therapist that I have more education, experience and expertise than. I have realized that many people in the DV system love the power they hold over the "perpetrators."

Under the stress, I fell ill. I had a fever of 104.5° F and continue to struggle physically. I am so scared.

Esther


 

The 911 nightmare

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I am a 37 year old professional registered nurse. I have taken many classes on domestic violence and know the warning signs and symptoms. There are, indeed, many women trapped in a cycle of violence that they can not leave without help. I, however, am not that woman. I am strong and capable of making my own decisions regarding what is best for me.

That being said, I am now being treated by the legal system like a child without the ability to determine my own fate. Under the guise of "my own good," I am forced to accept the fate of my life based on decisions by the criminal justice system.

After a particularly stressful 6 months, my husband and I had a rare argument. We both resorted to acting like 2-year olds under the stress and pressure of our current family situation. We engaged in an altercation of pushing and shoving for which we are both accountable and which had never happened before.I called 911 to prevent the situation from escalating.Thus began the spiral into hell.

Since I called 911 and the altercation became physical, the police told my husband that one of us would have to go to jail. My husband, being the man he is, told the police to take him, knowing it was unlikely that I could face the horror of jail. As they were taking him to jail, I began to realize the ramifications of my actions. I simply wanted to win the argument and perhaps have the police ask him to leave for the night. In no way did I intend for my strong and tender husband to be hauled off to jail.

I, of course, went to the hearing in front of the judge the next morning. I hadn,t slept at all that night, as I am sure neither did he! I talked to someone sitting in the court area who appeared to work there and told her that this was a huge misunderstanding and that I wanted the charges dropped immediately. After approaching the bench area and speaking with someone standing there dressed in a suit, she told me I could try to talk to the judge, but "don,t piss him off."

My husband appeared in open court in handcuffs. He looked pale and shell-shocked. He had never been arrested before, let alone been in jail. It was all I could do to keep from busting into tears seeing him this way, know that my actions had caused this. I stood up when the charges were read and even though the judge looked right at me, I was not given an opportunity to speak. A no contact order was issued. I found out later that this means he is unable to be in my presence until the case is resolved. I rushed to bail him out of jail, knowing that even when he got out, I could not be with him. He is facing a Class A misdemeanor with up to 1 year in jail.

After speaking with Victim,s Assistance I was told that I could not drop the charges. "It is out of your hands now." I am unable to have the no contact order dropped even though I did not request it, do not want it and want to be with my husband and resume our life together.

This crazy system has to change. I realize some women do need protection. In nursing, we complete assessments to determine the needs of the patient in order to provide the most appropriate services for them, if they so choose. My right to choose was taken away from me and I have been placed in the stereotype of a weak woman with no backbone. Anyone who knows me, knows I have a backbone! I am capable of speaking up for myself and deciding what I want.

However, now I have lost my right to self determination. This system that, in the pursuit of the "best interests" of women who are too weak to defend themselves, has taken decision making rights away from all women. I didn't think that was what the women's movement was all about.

I am bitter and angry and truly feel like a victim, not of my husband, but of the legal system!

Amy


 

Losing one's own points of reference

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July 29, 2006 — I am a recent victim of domestic violence. My husband and I are currently separated after being together for just 7 months. During our marriage he verbally abused me and physically abused my property: throwing my clothes, cosmetics, jewelry over a mountainside on our honeymoon; destroying my company laptop while he was away with me on a business trip; destroying my cell phone, and more.

He would keep me up all night at least twice a week, verbally abusing and tormenting me. I found myself trying to find ways to deal with his psychosis: I would ignore him; or leave the room or house; or fight back with logic, but none of it worked. It got to a point that I was provoked to the point where my heart would race, my skin would crawl, my body would twitch.

I found myself trying to stop his abuse by verbally abusing him in return. I felt justified in striking him. Once I did that, I realized that if this man could, yes, "get me to do this to him", then I needed to get out of this relationship.

But I couldn't get out so easily because he kept apologizing, saying that he loved me, working his charm and using the incredible chemistry we had to get me back. But the abuse never stopped for long.

And my hitting him continued. I knew I needed out, since I sensed grave (no pun intended) danger ahead. Then he would use the excuse of my hitting him to strike me back. Then the whole physical abuse cycle would start.

I reached out to my family and friends, I called the police, I'm finding my way out still.

Then on Monday, July 31 st , my husband broke every car window. That night he apologized and told me that he loved me and was sorry. I have gotten an order of protection. It will be served next week, when I have the Separation/Divorce agreement. The process server said it would be easier this way...that my husband would be less likely to get "crazy" if it all happened at once. Otherwise he may see it as me taunting him and may get abusive...violating the order of protection doesn't mean anything to someone who can't control themselves.

It is now 5 days after the car-window wrecking incident. My husband continues to call, to say he loves me, to apologize, to want to start anew. I feel myself slipping into his "control" . So I'm going to therapy tonight. Part of the problem comes from actually speaking with him...I promise myself I will not speak with him. But when I see his calls come thru, I melt. As crazy as it sounds. Therapy. Therapy. Therapy. No more talking to the fox.

Virginia


 

Son penalized for being a man

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Dear Sirs,

My son was repeatedly abused by his live-in girlfriend. He was penalized for being a man and was never given a fair shake until one black magistrate stood against the stereotype and used his brain and common sense.

The law here in Washington, North Carolina, states that in a domestic situation if the male says he was assaulted, the woman is charged with simple assault.

When a woman says she has been assaulted (even without physical evidence) the man is charged with — now get this — assault on a female that carries a heavy penalty, much heavier than simple assault.

I pled with everyone in the legal system to change the charges against her and keep her locked up because she would one day kill my son and their child. My pleas fell on deaf ears.

After he moved out of their shared residence she did try to kill him. Beaufort County deputies never even interviewed her when they were told she had motive and means to have been the one to stab him and closed the case "unsolved" after only 30 days. Despite the fact that she had a rap sheet for drug violations and violent behavior, the police never looked at her like a viable threat.

What my son has gone through (thankfully, she only hunts him down occasionally now) has been traumatic and the stigma has crushed him. He is a big man and very strong. Had he abused her she would have had marks and displayed the behavior of an abused person. She never did. In front of a house full of police she got in my son's face and poked a finger in him and threatened him. The officers just watched with a smirk as my son recoiled. He' d had too many keys stabbed in his head, boots in his ribs, knives in his belly, VCR's smashed into his head, etc., to not be responsive.

The system needs to change and look at women as lethal weapons.

After he called 911 because he didn't want to strike back at this woman, knowing he would hurt her, and bleeding from his ear, his neck, his chest, his knees, and wrist where she had sunk her teeth into him, and holding her baby that she didn't even care was crying hysterically, he was arrested for "assault on a female" and taken away because, when the cops chased her down, she said he hit her. The police noted there were no marks on her at all except what appeared to be restraint marks — redness on her wrists where my son tried to hold her hands away from him. He got the stiff arm of the law — she got nothing.

They are living separate lives now (there's much more to the story) but she still hunts him down and threatens him by phone and to his face at his place of work.

She's been arrested a few times for growing drugs in her home and selling and she has lost her children to the state. So, slowly she is getting what she deserves but I believe the slow process is because she keeps getting released with lesser charges than a man would. I wish I had known about the Equal Justice Foundation while we were going through all that.

If I had a way to help push for awareness, I would.

Heather Luna


 

Colorado visit leads to my arrest

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Dear Dr. Corry,

In the summer of 2004 I was visiting my ex-husband and son, who was staying with his dad in Breckenridge, Colorado, for the summer. Before my visit, my ex and I had discussed the possibility of a reconciliation and I was visiting to find housing for my son and I to relocate.However, I learned during my visit that my ex-husband was quite "involved" with yet another ex-wife and my son was very confused about her and my ex-husband.

As a result I decided to terminate my trip early and told my ex-husband that I was taking my son back with me to our home state since I had sole custody and his summer visitation with his dad was over anyway. The night before my flight I became angry that my ex-husband had put my son and I through this confusion when he didn't appear to be "committed" to us relocating or trying to reconcile. I told him I was taking our son back with me and we would not be moving to Colorado. I saw one of my pictures on the table, pulled it down, and broke it. When he approached me, I pushed him away. When I tried to pack my son's belongings, he began pushing me away.

As it was becoming late and our flight was early in the morning, I called the police seeking assistance to allow me to take my son back to our home state. I had proof of custody, so I thought they would simply enforce the court order and simply explain to my ex that he has to allow me to pack my son's belongings. That was all that I said when I called them, I had a legal and court-ordered right to have my son return with me.

When police arrived, four of them and a representative from child protective services, to my surprise they immediately pulled me outside and another officer went inside to talk to my ex. While I was explaining that my former husband was keeping me from packing and that I am the custodial parent, my ex was inside being grilled by the police. Somehow he (innocently) mentioned that I had broken my picture and pushed him away. Next thing I know, I am going to jail, although I later learned that my ex pleaded with them not to arrest me. Needless to say, this was a hellish nightmare that I wouldn't wish upon anyone. It was very costly to resolve this matter and an experience I will never forget.

What was the most disturbing for me is that at no time did they ever ask to see my court order that allowed me to return home with my son and the only reason why I even called in the first place. They were looking for an arrest, looking for a case, and mis-charged the incident as domestic violence, when it was actually mutual assault and interference with custody, if anything at all. Then the police report was falsified stating that I was living in Colorado, among other things that were untrue.

I would never, in this lifetime, call the police for anything again. This incident has drastically changed my opinion of law enforcement and I now realize how skewed and misused a domestic violence charge is.I am hopeful that police will acquire more training and use better judgment when and if using a DV charge against someone, as not every family matter or issue is a matter of domestic violence, or warrants an "arrest." I am so glad that I found your web site and appreciate all of your support during my ordeal.

Anonymous


 

Restraining order

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Date: Thursday, April 10, 2003

From: Kimberly (Denver area)

To: comments@ejfi.org

I recently did a search on Yahoo on the words, "restraining order," and came across your site. I found it very informative, and amusing in an extremely ironic way. Because, you see, I am a woman who was thrown in jail by a man who fits the definition of BPD on your web site. I am now in the position of having to spend $5,000-6,000 (at least) in attorney fees to fight what is essentially a manipulation of the current laws by my ex-boyfriend to extract vengeance. I am frustrated, humiliated, and angry that I am given no recourse now but to prove my innocence. So, you see, it's not only women who are "working" this system to their advantage.

When I was in jail, I was truly shocked at the stories of the women who were jailed for "domestic violence." One poor woman had called the police herself only to have them arrive and put both of them in jail, leaving the children with no explanation or understanding. This trend will perhaps contribute to revision of these laws quicker than anything else.

I must tell you that I grew up in a home where real domestic violence occurred weekly. When my mother would call the police, they would invariably arrive to witness the result, but my father was wise enough even in a drunken stupor to settle down before the police got there. The police would then tell my mother it was too bad they didn't witness the incident, as their "hands were tied" in the eyes of the law. Now, as society overcompensates for the inaction in generations past, the pendulum has swung too far the other way, and peoples' rights are being blatantly abused. Please note that I say "people," not just men . It is a shame for all concerned. I have no doubt that the pendulum will eventually settle at a balanced point.

In the meantime, good luck in your endeavors. We must all be wary of these laws.

Kimberly


 

If I didn't know any better I would of thought you were writing about my life

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Before I was afraid to read anything to do with domestic violence because of it's interpretation of what part men and women take in a situation. My husband got sent back to prison on a parole violation because of an argument we had.

I don't know if anyone can help us but I am trying everything. My husband pled guilty in 1998 to simple assault [involving domestic violence] and was sentenced to 3 years in the Department of Corrections, he was then in Community Corrections, ISP, then parole. On August 28, 2002 he was arrested for simple assault, false imprisonment, and criminal mischief, the DA said she would drop the other two if he pled guilty to simple assault, which is a misdemeanor.

Then we had to deal with parole. His parole officer served him with a complaint with the three charges above and 14 other counts which basically came down to missed UA's and taking his antabuse. The parole officer told him that what they were doing was cleaning out his file. My husband was never told of any of these missed UA's or antabuse and they had happened in 2001, January of 2001.

The DA led us to believe that if he was to plead guilty to simple assault he would get work release and his parole officer told me that he would get ISP.

Don't trust anyone!

He never laid a hand on me but by the time you're done plea bargaining with the DA who asks "What would you like to see happen?" I answered "I would like to go to counseling, I would like my husband to attend a parenting class, I just want my marriage and family to get help." Now what I don't understand is why she asked me anything? She never listened to me, she was too busy giving my husband the shaft. And now my world has been turned upside down. Your web has been a vote of encouragement. I have been reading trying to find anything that could possibly help. I have printed out a couple of different articles and sent them to my husband.

On October 1, 2002 he went to county court where he got 180 days and, if he was accepted, he could do work release. On October 2, 2002 he went in front of a parole person who revoked his parole and sent him back to [prison to] finish the rest of his sentence, which is October 26, 2003. My husband has never had any write ups, no relapse in alcohol or drugs, he attended every class that they wanted him to. I don't believe that they have given him all his earned time or good time whatever they call it.

Keep up the good work, and thank you for showing both sides, I can accept responsibility for the part I played. It was mostly my fault. I started the argument because he had lost his job, the car needed to be fixed, I had lost a child 12 years ago and her birthday would of been in a couple days. It was disastrous, and now he's in prison until October 2003. I will faithfully check your web site to see if there is anything new.

His sentence started June 26, 1998 and the nightmare still lives on.

Thanks again,

Ellen Schoneweis

Lakewood, Colorado

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If you would like your story told in your own words please send it to comments@ejfi.org.

 

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Last modified 5/18/15