#3-Fear

After being served and given a court date a temporary restraining order was put in place. In CA to get a domestic violence restraining order you have to have signs of abuse and the abuser needs to be a close person to you (not a roommate). A temporary one goes into place, then you go to court where the judge will have a final ruling.

I had to then find a family law attorney, which means hefty retainers. THANK GOD for my parents being how supportive they were, and continue to be in this nightmare. I could not have done it without them.

The first court date was set for 2/24/14. The judge decided to lump the restraining order hearing and restraining order hearing into one court date to save some time. I had never been to court in my life, I had no idea what to wear. I went to express to buy some nice slacks/skirts and button ups. I remember trying these clothes on looking in the mirror questioning what my life had come to. I pictured having a child, being married, you know the typical white picket fence life-this was not that. This was nightmares, tons of fear, surgeries, blood transfusions, beatings, threats, and court dates.

February 24, 2014 arrived way faster than I was prepared for. How am I supposed to go and face R? How am I supposed to go in there against someone who tried to kill me and put my child’s safety in a judge’s hands? How am I supposed to do this sitting in the same room with him? My attorney sat next to me waiting so that I wouldn’t have to see R, but I could feel him looking at me. My heart was pounding in my chest, I have never been so scared in my life. I had this huge lump in my throat, you want to run but you can’t, you want to believe this is all just a bad dream, but its not, you want to believe that the judge will have the sense to know that this man is not a good person, but sometimes they don’t. When they called our case and we went up to the stand I feel like I almost left my mind for a few seconds. I prayed, held myself together, and tried as hard as I could to not cry. I was not going to let him see another tear fall from my eyes. I couldn’t even speak when the clerk has you swear in. I tried but nothing came out. The judge issued my restraining order for 3 years, he sent R and I to mediation to work out a custody/visitation plan, which was enforced right away, twice weekly, 1 hour long supervised visits with a Child Protective Services supervisor and my mother present. Upon leaving I didn’t talk for a few hours. I just shook my head yes and no when asked questions-I was just frozen in fear.

The mediation date was 5/16/14. I requested separate rooms due to the circumstances, I also didn’t have my attorney with me. The mediator asked me a bunch of questions and I guess R was busy out of state and had to call in. We returned to court 5/21/14 in front of the same judge again. He stated he basically agrees with what the mediator says and puts that ruling into place, mind you I had NO idea what her decision was, continue with the plan already in place or give this monster more time? Can you imagine sitting there within 10 feet of your abuser, and thinking that he could possibly get custody of the most important and precious thing in your life:your child. Little did I know that R asked for more time with Beau, thankfully the mediator saw his game. She ordered me to go to mandatory counseling once a week(I still see my counselor weekly). R was granted twice weekly, hour long visitations with a CPS supervisor and my mother present. He also was instructed to enter in a batterer intervention program, twice weekly 10 panel drug/alcohol testing at random times, for two months any failed tests would result in him going to rehab, he needed to go to at least 12 AA/NA meetings for 3  months, and I was to be notified on all of his progress/drug test results. He saw Beau twice in one week, canceled the visitation and moved away. He never completed any classes, AA meetings, or drug/alcohol testing. When R was asked if he was in agreement with what was being put in place he repetitively said ” I don’t want to incriminate myself” “I want the baby to have my last name” “I don’t want to incriminate myself”, and my favorite line ” I don’t have time for this I need to go see my aunt” I am sitting there in complete shock thinking “ARE YOU KIDDING ME!? THIS IS YOUR CHILD!! I didn’t have time to apply makeup to cover bruises, i didn’t have time to clean up his vomit all the time, I didn’t have time to be attacked over and over, I didn’t have time to digest what hell I was put through and fought through, but I definitely have ALL the time in the world for my child.”The judge told R he could not give him legal advice, your son won’t have your last name yet until you show you are wanting to be a parent, and decided he couldn’t have more time with Beau until he showed some progress in his sobriety.

R last saw MY son march of 2014. He has never sent a card for any holiday, has never bought a single diaper, blanket, never asked to see my son since march of 2014. It stayed that way for two years. I still lived in fear everyday. I wouldn’t take my son out near where his parents worked in fear of retaliation. My family moved for our safety. Even with the restraining order weird things would happen around the house. I was terrified all the time in public, always looking over my shoulder, afraid of the dark(still am), nightmares, never going anywhere alone. I didn’t allow my son to sleep in his crib until we moved. I thought R would climb through my window and try to kidnap him. One night in particular my mom came into my room and saw that Beau was asleep in my arms, she went to go put him in his crib and I starting throwing punches at her to protect Beau. I was still hearing people telling me that I was keeping Beau from R, that they were hearing from his family that I was lying, the abuse never happened. They even had the audacity to say I told them no when asked to see Beau. I was never  asked. I was asked one time, the time i got served. After everything I had been through my name was continuing to be dragged through the mud. I already felt disgusting about myself, thought I was stupid, ashamed, everyone knew what happened in this small town I felt like everyone was starring at me everywhere we went.

You would think the battle would have ended there, but it didn’t.

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