I went to court last November while the rest of the country decorated for Christmas and baked Thanksgiving pies.
I represented myself in a civil suit, requesting the enforcement of a Protection Order (aka Restraining Order) against my ex-husband. After twenty year of dodging, drifting, and disappearing in the effort to avoid and hide from him, I decided that I was tired of running, tired of taking his punches and paying his bills. This time, I turned and fought.
He is, in my mind and in my life, an embodiment of evil, a soulless beast who lends credence to the idea of the devil’s existence. He is also the only person I fear.
I took my fear, organized it, trained it, and took it to court. Alone. (It’s worth noting that a Protection Order is just paper, but it does give the police bigger teeth when they come to get someone. You do, however, still need to figure out how to stay safe in the minutes between dialing 911 and their arrival.)
For an hour, I sat on the stand, testifying and tolerating cross-examination. It is the only day in my life on which I can confidently say, I was brilliant. I stayed calm, stuck with the facts, and let the defense defeat themselves (which they did very well, even using my own blog to bury themselves. It was beautiful and funny, in a Seth MacFarlane kind of way.).
And the stars realigned.
He sat at his table, red faced, pudgy and sweating, in his brand new fancy suit, light brown shiny wool with a cream colored plaid design – you know, that “new” regurgitated look from the ’70s and Chris Berman’s closet? (Gentlemen, please, it was a bad, unflattering idea, then. It still is.) He sighed and groaned and heaved in his chair. His eyes are still black pits of void…. But I looked at that clown suit and I dissociated enough to observe what was being said, and I lost my fear.
Clowns are scary until you remember that they are just fat sweaty idiot men-children in paint and costume. They can still set the circus tent on fire, so it’s wise to keep an eye on them. But, they’re just clowns. Only important in their own circus.
As long as I had continued to run, he still had power. Facing him, confronting him, was terrifying, and still nothing is settled. He still roams the earth and I still have nightmares.
However, the stuff of my nightmares is in my past. My present and future became free once I finally found enough faith in myself to announce that I am no longer willing to be someone else’s whipping boy.
Many have written about domestic violence, with better information and better words. I describe this scene to you, though, for this purpose:
I am one who survived. The idea of a safe life with kind friends isn’t just an idea — it does exist. If I can find it, so can you.
My story is not unique.
Many are tormented by those who claim to love them.
Leaving is terrifying. It’s hard to find a safe place to go, to get money to leave, or to know who to trust. But, use this story as proof:
You can leave.
(Go ahead and message me through this site if you want me to help you find resources. It will be kept private.)
There are people ready to help you and they have safe places you can go to, even without a dime or a coat. Bring your children and pets. They are ready to keep you safe and help you rebuild. CHANCES ARE, IF YOU THINK THIS MIGHT APPLY TO YOU, IT DOES.
*******CHILDREN AND MINORS********
THIS APPLIES TO YOU, TOO.
Not all parents are kind. If your home is not safe, you can find another one.