Continued From Part 2
Part 3 of My Domestic Violence Story. I finally fell asleep for a few hours after looking at the bruises and cuts. I woke up I feeling as if I had been hit by a bus. I felt hungover but I had maybe 3 sips of wine so it wasn’t a hangover. My body ached, I wondered why it was hurting so bad, it hadn’t been that bad, right?
I called him, blocked, then emailed him, begged him to talk to me. I started to panic. What do I do? We were suppose to go to Los Angeles for my good friend’s son’s 1st Birthday in less than 2 weeks. The thought of admitting to my friends and family that my “amazing” boyfriend and I were over was something I couldn’t bear. I cared more about what people on Facebook would think seeing that I had a failed engagement at 24, then a failed marriage at 29, and now a boyfriend, that I had posted pictures of with my children, at 33.
Embarrassed that I had gushed about how amazing he had been, then it was over.
The reason is was over was not because he beat me up but because he didn’t want to be with me.
What Forgiveness Isn’t
I knew what he had done was wrong deep down, but I also believed in forgiveness. What I didn’t understand at the time was what forgiveness is. I would forgive people by allowing people to get away with something/ going unpunished/not being held responsible if I thought that it wouldn’t happen again. In other words, if The person said it would never happen again, to believe the person and “forgive” them.
That’s not what forgiveness is.
“Hey you made a terrible mistake this one time, so as long as you continue to be with me, we will pretend like it never happened,” is NOT forgiveness. That is having unhealthy boundaries.
The emails continued with no reply. I became angry, not because of what he had done to me but bc he was ruining our relationship. We were suppose to get married. He had started a war with my ex-husband and I had become the battleground. My emotions were trampled on. The two fired emotionally damaging bullets at each other constantly but I was the one being hit by them.
I became emotionally fragile. An inability to understand how to voice my emotions and feelings; an inability to decipher between what behavior is acceptable in a relationship and what is not. My self confidence had become almost non-existent and I didn’t even realize it was happening because my boyfriend was there to love bomb me after both he and my ex-husband beat me up mentally.
The anger continued for a few hours. I realized he wasn’t going to apologize. He wasn’t sorry for what he had done. In hindsight, I’m sure he was asleep from his drug and alcohol induced binge the night before but in my anxiety fueled mind, he was ignoring me.
Then the anger took over. Not for physically hurting me but for ruining our relationship aka my dream of being taken care of by a man. I decided it was time to call my friends to ask what to do.
Telling Friends & Family
My first call was to my work colleague I had known for 5 years. He was raised in a family and neighborhood where physical fighting was tolerated. I thought if anyone would validate my wanting to fix things with my boyfriend and know what to do, he would be the one.
He was furious. “You never hit a woman, there is no excuse, call the police.” I told him I was scared to and he told me not to be scared but if I wasn’t ready I should call my parents and see what they thought.
“Mom, I’m ok, everyone is alive, but I need to tell you something, my boyfriend beat me up last night.”
She loved my boyfriend, everyone minus my ex-husband loved my boyfriend. My kids, my friends, me. I told her what happened, I asked her what to do to which she replied:
“I just don’t know, people make mistakes and this would ruin his life.”
RUIN HIS LIFE. I WOULD BE RUINING HIS LIFE. How was is that I was taking into account his future and reputation when he didn’t give 2 shits about me.
But I didn’t think that.
I just cared about getting him back and there was no way he would get back with me if I ruined his life.
My dad gets on the line. He wasn’t overly angry like you would assume a father would be. He was in shock and sad. He told me I had to go to the police. I protested that it would ruin my chance of fixing our relationship . My father said “Then it ruins it.”
My father did the right thing telling me to go to the police but there was no mention of this being 100% unacceptable behavior in a relationship.
I believe that his lack of instilling in me that physical violence should never happen, not even once, lead me to believe it was ok to be with someone that had physically abused me, as long as it didn’t happen again.
After we hang up, I’m still undecided but after 30 minutes I realize I have to go to the Police.
I walked in to the station and told the officer I had been beaten up. Instead of comforting me, he scolds me for not calling the police when it happened. The officer asks me why I didn’t, I told the officer that I loved my boyfriend. Then he says beating someone isn’t love; I tell him it had never happened before and it wouldn’t happen again.
He asked why was I there if I was so sure it would never happen again. I shrug. He told me it was because I knew deep down it wouldn’t be the last time if I got back with him. I look up at the ceiling holding back the tears and said, “but I love him.”
“You have been with this guy for 4 months. He beat you 4 months in, you will be dead in a year.”
I looked at the officer in disgust, not because he was shaming me but because there was no way my boyfriend would ever get close to killing me. This was a one time thing and would never happen again.
He continues to lecture me, more about how if a police beat someone up would I want that cop to go to jail? I say yes and that’s different because I love my boyfriend not the cop. He shakes his head at me and says sit here and they will come get you for processing.
A female cop comes, she takes picture after picture after picture. She writes my story down and asks if I want to press charges. I say no. She tries to persuade me to. I say no again.
She asks then why did I even bother making a report. I told her I wasnt sure and starting to ask myself the same question.
When I got home, I checked my email. His name appeared. I was excited. He’s going to apologize and everything is going to be ok because I didn’t press charges. I open the email.
He Contacts Me
He denies everything.
I call the police station back out of anger. This time the anger was for beating me and denying it not for ruining our future. I tell the police I want to press charges. He tells me that charges aren’t up to me; they ask that to see if it will be a good case to prosecute, if I want to make sure it gets prosecuted to go to the Family Violence Station in a few days, so they could get the paperwork by then, and talk to them.
I freaked a little but it was out of my hands.
Between the numerous emails through out the next two days he would say everything but he was sorry. He said it never happened, that I had given myself the bruises, that I had refused to leave and I was lucky I wasn’t arrested, and that he hadn’t even seen me that night.
I was angry. Angry at what had happened, angry at him for denying it, angry at him for turning it around on me, angry at him ruining our “what could have been” family.
The Family Violence Center
An officer escorted me into the The Family Violence Center waiting room. Two other women were in there, one crying.
I was scared.
No one would explain to me what exactly was happening or what the process was, only that someone would speak to me shortly. I signed in. A woman calls my name, she looked confused, hadn’t I been there earlier she asks, because she recognized my name. No, I hadn’t, I tell her. I think to myself she probably saw my name on my report from the other day, she tells me to have a seat.
An hour past before I hear my name again. A very thin tall female investigator brings me into a room and asks me why I was there. I told her how the other police officer had told me to come there too but I wasn’t sure of the exact reason.
She asks me to go through everything again, intake all over again. She asks me if I want to press charges. Once again, I hesitate. If I do my relationship is over. No one will ever want to be with me, even my ex husband who would have taken me back in a heartbeat before that wouldn’t, after all the problems he and my boyfriend had been through…oh the codependency I had.
I was going to be alone. She asked why I was hesitant. I told her it was because people make mistakes; that I had done some shitty stuff in my life and I was forgiven. I didn’t realize that forgiveness doesn’t mean going unpunished, it doesn’t mean pretend like it didn’t happen.
“Had he slammed you in the door and realized what he had done and stopped, that would have been one thing, but you endured hours of abuse because he didn’t want to forgive you for lying about your sex life before you met him? You forgive him for beating you but he wouldn’t forgive you.”
I agreed with her statement. She shook her head and told me that she would leave me in the room to think about it. I sat there. I have no idea how long but she came back in and tells me
“By the way, your little boyfriend had a his lawyer call up this morning to say that it was lies. Then he came up here just a little while ago, before you even got here and said you were lying about everything.”
I didn’t believe her.
I asked who was the lawyer then? She tells me a name. It was the name of his good friend who is a domestic violence/assault attorney. I realize that’s why the front desk looked at me weird when I said my name. I was so angry for him making me look like a liar that I agreed to press charges. I write it out and sign it. I leave.
The next day I call my ex-husband, a criminal defense attorney, and tell him everything. He was angry, he had been emotionally abusive since our separation and divorce but never touched me. He said I should go talk to the main Domestic Violence department downtown.
The Main Family Violence Center
The woman at the front desk informed me that my case had been assigned to an investigator that was not in the office at the time.
Why hadn’t he been arrested, I was upset because I didn’t understand the process, I had given the proof twice, I wanted charges pressed, yet nothing. I asked if there was another police officer I could speak to, the front desk said she would see.
A short, pudgy, jolly man came out and asked me to follow him. We sit down in a tiny office. He says I read your file real fast even though I’m not the investigator what were your questions? I asked him what the process of everything is. He tells me that because I didn’t call the police that night, then hesitated to press charges, that my case gets put into a pile to be investigated then the DA would decide to press charges or not. It could be 6 months.
I was angry. My thought was not only had the cops pressured me into pressing charges which in essence ruined any future with my boyfriend, they aren’t even going to do anything about it. I was heartbroken.
The cop tells me how I’m doing the right thing, he understands how I feel, why I was hesitant. Finally, a cop that understood me, that wasn’t shaming me.
We talk for an hour. He tells me stories, personal and about other cases. He tells me if I’m not going to do this for myself at least do it to protect any other women that date him. I realized then, if he would do this to me, someone he loved, he would do it again. The cop continues to make me feel good about my decision, he made the shame go away, made me feel that I was protecting other women from him. He told me that I should go to Protective Services to get a protective order from him bc he would do it again to me. I agreed to go and left feeling positive that I was doing the right thing.