He’s Hurting Me…
A friend reached out to me and while we were chatting, the problem came up. She and her kids were living with a guy. She didn’t want out, she was sure he wasn’t hurting the kids, and she was sure the kids didn’t know. She was sure he was going to change and things were going to get better.
I offered to get her out of there, but apparently I didn’t “understand”. So, I listened, and I waited. Soon she quit texting me and calling me. Through channels, I let her know I was still around, and she let me know he was monitoring her phone so she couldn’t talk anymore. I managed to get her the phone number of the Advocates Against Family Violence Domestic Violence Crisis Phone Line, and also reminded her of 911. And I waited.
One Friday night at 2:30am she called. The cops had been there, they arrested him and were recommending she go to the hospital. I drove right over.
The kids were with their Dad somewhere else, so they didn’t see it. He had a bad week at work, she got “lippy”, and he broke her cheek bone, tried to strangle her, sat on her chest, and gave her road rash on her kidneys as she struggled to get out from under him. She was in shock and refused to go to the hospital and refused to go to a shelter. He had alienated her from her other friends.
She stayed on my couch that night. The next day I took her to three different shelters. The first one, she refused to go in, the second and third she went in and talked to some people. She didn’t want her kids to be in a shelter, so she talked to her ex and he happily agreed to keep the kids a few days extra.
Monday we went and saw the Prosecutor. They took pictures, took her statement, gave her more referrals to counselors and provided resources for medical treatment. We got her a new cell phone with a new number. This way, he didn’t have control of it, and couldn’t monitor it. Now she was able to talk to her kids.
The next week was spent mostly on the couch sleeping, crying, angry and hurt. A huge rollercoaster of emotions. She went into work and talked to her boss, and explained what happened. Her face was a mess, he had a lot of empathy, and told her to take the time she needed to get it put together, and he’d happily put her back to work when she was ready.
The abuser’s father wrote a large check, and he was out on bail. I learned what a Civil Protection Order was. If you’re unfamiliar with what a CPO is, it means he can’t come near her and with my address added, he couldn’t come near me either. I told the local cops what was going on, and they were pretty happy to keep an eye out for us. They drove by a bunch, which made us feel better. Thankfully, he didn’t come around.
We looked up the abuser’s record. He’d been arrested 5 times over the years for domestic violence and assault and never convicted. Until now. He is now currently in the state penitentiary doing 10 determinate, 15 years indeterminate. This means that he won’t be out for a minimum of 10 years.
Over time, she moved on. She worked it out with her ex and they continue to share custody of the kids. She kept her job, and is working to get to a position to go back to college. That was a really bad time in her life and I remind her of it. We don’t talk much anymore and that’s okay. What matters is that her kids are safe, and so is she.
Women who are living with an abuser will often find help for the sake of their kids. Kids see and hear more than we think they do. They wake up when they hear the sounds of a slap, or the whimper of mommy when she is brutally pinched. They hear the derogatory comments the man makes, the snide digs, the put downs. They see mommy hustling the kids away when he’s had a bad day. This becomes normal to the kids, so the behaviors continue on for the next generation. Young girls look for guys who show their love by hurting.
I’d do it all over again, although I’d do some things differently. I would listen to her, but I would also point out these things; Do you want your daughter to find a great guy to hurt her? Do you want your son to be the young man who hurts?
Next time I’d push her to take care of her kids, and protect her kids by doing the scariest thing imaginable – change. I’d push her to call the Advocates Against Family Violence Domestic Violence hotline to get help (208.459.4779).
Thousands of women and men have gone through this, and they want to help others find their way out. People want to help. They are grateful for the chance to help. They know how scary it is to reach out and think about change, and they completely respect the courage and love it takes to try by reaching out to the Domestic Hotline.
Do them a favor. Let them help you.