Thursday, June 02, 2005

 

Should I Stay or Should I (Call 911 and) Go?


This isn't about me, so don't start getting all panicky when you read the title. My marriage is actually in pretty good shape right now; better than it's been in years.

This is not about me at all.

This is about my friend. The friend I wrote about some time ago, who took her kids and left a physically and emotionally violent man.

She has told me that he is abusive. She has described enough incidents in enough detail that I have no doubts at all about her veracity. I've never seen that from him, but then again he's antisocial and has never even said "hi" to most of the daycare parents on the few occasions upon which we have seen him.

I'm basing all of this on her word; a word I have no reason to doubt.

They were together for several years. Years during which he threw furniture at her, threw glasses, broke plate-glass windows, tried to strangle her in front of her little kids.

Fortunately the last incident was when they were too young to remember, but jesusfuck, it should never have happened at all.

Through it all, she never reported it. The one time she tried to call 911, he had ripped the phone out of the wall. So there is no paper trail.

Most abused women never report it. Please, consider doing so. It's not about embarrassment.

This isn't a man-bashing post, either. Most men who are abused by their partners never report it, either. Violence knows no gender.

He has abused and assaulted at least three other women that we know of. It's not like this is new.

She asked for more child support. She already gets a fair amount, however based on his salary it's about half of what he should be paying.

He objected to paying more and decided to try to take the kids from her because "I will make you pay for what you have done to me."

wtf? She left and then asked him to pay for his kids' upkeep. Doesn't seem unreasonable to me. Upkeep for kids he never wanted in the first place, and who he is only trying to take now because she had the nerve to leave him and it would hurt her more than words can tell to lose them.

He decided to attack her mental stability and went for a Section 15 psychiatric assessment. An expensive procedure, but it would seem he would rather pay for that than to pay for his kids to get another pair of shoes.

And she got the doctor's assessment. They have decided in his favour. Despite affidavits from three prior girlfriends as to his violent nature.

They accepted the statements from a woman he's been having an affair with for 12 years and who has never met her. They accepted statements from just about everyone on his side. All statements and affidavits from her side were dismissed, as far as I know.

So now she's sitting there, thinking that within a few weeks she could lose her children. Children she grew in her belly. Children who need to be protected from her ex.

I don't know what's going to happen, and this is too big for me to try to fix. I hope she asks for another assessment.

The main problem seems to be that no violence was ever reported. I've been a victim of violence (although never in either of my marriages) more than once. And I never reported it.

So, because none of the other women ever reported it, there is a very real chance she will lose her kids.

I can understand the reasoning behind not reporting. "It's just me, it's just now, I've kicked his skanky ass out, and he can't touch me again", but please, if you have been assaulted, report it. Fuck embarrassment, fuck fear, fuck the thought that it only affects you.

It doesn't, and a few years down the road it could have more ramifications and grief than you could ever imagine. Because if nobody speaks up, then it isn't happening.

So please, if this is happening to you, report it, no matter how frightening it is to do so, because this is not only about you. This is about the girlfriend or boyfriend three people down the line who could lose everything because you didn't speak up.

If my friend and the other women had reported it, then there would be a solid paper trail. As it stands, there's nothing.

And she's going to have to pack her kids' room up and send them to live with the man who thinks it's ok to throw night stands.

And if I were her, right about now I would be thinking it was ok to drink bleach.

Comments:
That is horrible that the courts or those appointed to look out for those children would put them with an abusive man!!

If I were her I would contemplate leaving with the kids and changing my identity...But that's just me-I would be willing to deal with those consequences.
 
What a thoroughly horrible situation for anyone to go through. It is amazing to think that the courts that are supposed to help protect this woman and her children seem to be putting them directly in the line of fire. I hope for her sake and the sake of the children that she does manage to get reassessed and the findings are different. No one should have to live with that kind of fear and agony.

This woman is lucky to have you as a friend, because even though it's not something you can fix you can be there for her and be supportive. Hang in there, and put down the bleach. =)
 
Shit, I hope she can appeal, and I hope she can have a good lawyer. That's miserable and enraging.
 
Boy, that is awful. Your message to report violence is a good one. I didn't report it when it happened to me either. I should have.
 
I'm with Amanda and Janis - I'd be packing my stuff ready to disappear and make a new life as someone else.

I too should have reported being abused by a boyfriend. I've often wondered if he has hurt anyone else.
 
I truly hope she doesn't lose her kids. It's just like an abusive man to want to hurt the woman more by screwing with custody.
 
How horrid. I've been in a similar position, but won the court battle. She needs a good lawyer. That sure as hell helped me a lot.

I reported the violence with my X. He's *still* angry six years later and blames me for the time he spent in the county jail. Yeah. Charming.
 
how long ago did she leave? has she been to therapy since she left him? gee, wonder why she didn't pass the assessment! asshole. she needs a good attorney, and NOW. hope things turn out well. i hate hearing things like this. i've lost my kids (have them back now) and it's the most painful thing you can ever dream of.
 
I`m not too clever about Canadian law but I think what she needs is a good lawyer and another assessment - as soon as possible. You have to keep fighting men ike that.
 
What? That's horrible! She definitely needs to get a good lawyer. Imagine what he'll do to the kids? Even if he never lays a hand on them, which is doubtful.

Drink bleach? I'd be serving Molotov cocktails myself.
 
Yeah, and I was one of those dumbass girls that told the cops "I'm okay, he didn't do it." back in the days in California when they didn't just haul him off anyway, which is what they did years later to my girlfriend's husband when he trashed the house because she had the temerity to want to go to my 35th birthday party. She's still with him. We don't talk. Sad.
 
Well done for speaking out. Leaving an abusive partner and reporting it was almost the hardest thing I ever did. The hardest was telling my daughter night after night that we didnt have a home yet as we had to keep moving so he couldnt find us. I almost went back just to be able to stop moving and have a home of some sort. But I didn't and we now finally have a home.
 
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