Law Enforcement & Domestic Violence

I am a part of a lot of different Domestic Violence support groups on Facebook and I have been noticing a constant trend-lack of a relationship/trust with police.

Now, let it be clear that I am a major supporter of law enforcement, I am in no way bashing them, but I think there needs to be some changes in our laws.

My personal experience with a Sheriff after my attack wasn’t the best. The sheriff  was parked on my street when I returned home from my first post op. This sheriff came up to me and was very rude. He wouldn’t look me in the eye. He made me feel as though I was waisting his time. Huffing and puffing. When I was asked to show him my arms I complied, he said the bruising was gone-of course it was, it had been at least 14 days since the attack. He went through my phone. I felt judged, looked down upon, and ashamed. I was re-victimized. When asked if I wanted to press charges I said yes. He informed me that its up to the DA if the charges stick or not, and that he would go and talk to R and get his side of the story. He had me sign a medical release form and handed me this pamphlet with domestic violence information. There was no compassion, he never asked me if I felt safe, or if I was okay. I called the officer repeatedly trying to see if he had ever received my medical records, that was where the abuse was noted the most and it wouldn’t be a case of “he said/she said”. That officer never returned my phone calls and never received my medical records resulting in R getting a misdemeanor charge and a probation violation. Thats a slap on the wrist for causing my child and I to almost die in my opinion.

I see in the support groups how these woman are already so fragile, we have had our world rocked, we are beaten down emotionally and physically so bad that we don’t know what to do, who to trust, what the next step should be. We call 911 in fear for our lives knowing the risk it puts us in if the abuser hears us doing so. 1/3 of female homicides are because of their partner.

Now on the law enforcement side of things, their hands are tied. I can only imagine the weight their jobs carry weigh on them. Seeing such horrible things. They are trained to not have an emotional reaction to the situations they are called to respond to, so at some point the compassion has to leave them. When we call for help its when we are frantic, in fear for our lives, its their job to stay calm and diffuse the situation at hand. We as DV survivors know how horrible DV situations are. These calls are one of the most dangerous calls police officers respond to-22% of in line of duty deaths were from DV calls.

In order for the police to do anything there needs to be signs of abuse (bruising, broken objects, fear for your life) or written/recorded threats. The officers will make an arrest if there are signs of physical abuse, however you can make a citizens arrest if the bruising is gone (this needs to be said more). There is a new law to remove all firearms from the home. They must make an arrest if there is any violation of  a protective order. They must offer an emergency protective order which lasts for 5 days, the victim receives it right then and there, it is then the victims responsibility to move forward and get a long term protective order in place. In the case of there being marks on both parties the police officer must identify the aggressor and arrest that person. They must carry out a full investigation (medical records, witness statements, 911 phone call, pictures of injuries/scene of crime).

Statistics show that a domestic violence victim goes back to the abuser on average 8 times. That breaks my heart. If you are abused on a daily basis, imagine how many punches will be thrown, how many more broken bones to be had, and how much more the abuser will beat down the victim emotionally. Completely crippling them. Not to mention the risk of retaliation resulting in the murder of the victim, because they called the police for help.

What needs to change is what steps are taken when the abuse starts-verbally. Most domestic violence survivors will tell you about the verbal abuse first. How the perfect man turned into a monster. These abuser tell us how amazing we are, start buying us things, being prince charming. Then slowly they beat us down, tell us how ugly we are, worthless, Bitches/Sluts, controlling us, taking our friends away, then our family until the only person we have left is them. Verbal abuse is a huge form of domestic violence. I can tell you the words and way R destroyed my self esteem was way worse than any physical abuse he did to me. Bruises heal, words stick with you forever.

Domestic Violence restraining orders/protective orders need to protect more than just physical abuse victims. The judges need to approve the cases of verbal abuse too.  If we can prevent the verbal abuse from continuing maybe we can prevent the future physical abuse from happening.

Peace.

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Peace is defined as freedom from disturbance, quiet or tranquility

It is something I never realized was taken from me.

When I was with R every day I walked on egg shells. Afraid to mess up. Afraid to of what I was walking into after work. I was terrified to mess up or upset him. When you are with an abusive man for a long period of time you start to get used to it. The knots in your stomach and weight on your chest becomes a part of you.

I will never forget my first birthday after leaving R. It was almost 7 months after Beau was born and ending of our relationship. For the first time in years I didn’t have to worry about him getting drunk. I didn’t have to worry about a fight breaking out and getting pushed around or told how worthless I was. I felt like I could finally breathe. Of course I always am in fear. I am in Hawaii with my family on vacation and I was still afraid to sleep with my window open. Over a thousand miles away from home and I still am afraid he will find me, or happen to be here on vacation. BUT as I sit here and watch that gorgeous sunset I feel at peace. I can be free to be who I am. I can laugh and relax.  Have fun with my son and make amazing memories. See my child with my grandmother and sisters. See him make memories with my mom and dad. He might not have a father of his own, but he sure as hell is surrounded by the most amazing family who loves him. He will never have to feel the stress or anxiety of being around his sperm donor. Beau will only know peace. And that is a trade off I’m more than willing to make.

Love from Hawaii,

Alyssa

 

A letter to my abusers family…

Dear _____,

When I first met you guys, I knew your family was different than mine. My family is very involved in each others lives, loving, and outgoing. I thought maybe the emotional disconnect was because R was your son, maybe it was the way some addicts keep a wall up before letting someone completely in, or maybe it was because you knew what your son was capable of.

I don’t blame you guys for the abuse. R’s mother has reached out to me and made her peace, which I completely respect and appreciate. She even told me that my speaking out is helping her heal from the damage that monster caused. She let me know “As the mother of your abuser, I believe you.” That for me was HUGE!  When she reached out to contact me, my parents were very hesitant on what she had to say. Her email couldn’t have been any better or more genuine. It meant the world to me to hear that someone from his family actually believed me and supports my mission. This letter isn’t for her. Its for the other two.

I do blame the two of you for so much more. I blame you for not trying to help your alcoholic son more. I know the addict needs to want the help, but with the two of you being sober I thought you would have tried harder. I blame you for treating him like a cash cow when he came home from Afghanistan, that made me pity him. I blame you for being the fakest people on the planet. You sat there and watched my mother and father sob after being told that their daughter was going to possibly die due to the abuse your son inflicted and you didn’t do a damn thing. You didn’t comfort them, you didn’t apologize, you didn’t try to help in anyway. You just stood there. My mother fought for you to be able to see my son in the NICU. My father gave up his opportunity to see Beau in the NICU in order to give you a spot to see him and that is how you repay her? I had the nurses caring for my premature son call me and let me know how uncomfortable you were making them feel. You made them feel unsafe because you were throwing fits over my child having my last name.

You then had the audacity to text me and ask to see my child. Against my better judgement I allowed you to. How did you thank me? By serving me custody papers. All I asked of your son was to be sober for a period of time longer than the usual 5 days. Then, in court while I sat there frozen in fear with my attorney, you sat up next to that monster of a child you raised as if you were his legal help. Last time I checked you have a cosmetology  certificate, not a law degree. You coached your son on all of the right things to do. Go start in parenting classes, go to AA, and use his PTSD as a way to make the judge pity him.

One would think that you would have caused enough damage, but you didn’t stop there. You decided to tell this whole town that I was a liar. I understood at first, who would want to admit their son was such a piece of crap, but at some point you should admit I am telling the truth. Its been 3 years. You say that I don’t allow you to see “your grandchild”.  You have never asked. I even asked you for R’s address to have him served and you responded with calling my son “drama” and “that mess”.

So don’t you dare try and tarnish my reputation or my families reputation. Unlike your family, mine is supportive. They welcomed me back after the alienation your son caused. They love Beau. They are extremely proud of everything I have accomplished and getting my story out. They are proud of how far I have come with healing from the damage R caused and most of all they are proud of the mother AND father I am.

The truth will always prevail. The good guy will always win. My family has won and most of all, Beau and I have won.

-Alyssa

Dating an Abusive Man.

I know I said I would be sharing the answers from my family this week, and I know this blog post is late. The truth is my family is still so hurt and affected by the abuse that it is hard for them to relive it. They need some more time so HOPEFULLY I will have their answers next week for you guys.

All of this has made me realize a few things, some I knew already and some I didn’t. I already knew how much this monster hurt and ruined the old me. I knew how I lived in fear everyday, how I walked on egg shells, and how I was always afraid for the next blow up. I didn’t realize how much what I went through hurt my friends, more so because I didn’t tell them.

When you are dating an abusive man you are manipulated to believe that every abusive incident is because of something you did. I am sorry I lied to all of you. I am sorry that I didn’t reach out and ask for help. I was in denial of my own life. I would walk into work and put a smile on. I would see my friends(when I was able to) and I would say everything was fine, they had no idea that the night before there was a huge blow up.

When you are dating an abusive man you are constantly told how ugly and worthless you are. You’re groomed into believing that you are a horrible person. You start to believe that even if you did come forward, nobody would believe you, or that you would never have the chance to get help-he would kill you first. I can’t even begin to explain the brainwashing that goes on.  R made me into a different person. I probably will never go back to the girl I was before, which I am almost thankful for. I will never be a victim again, I will never be controlled again, and I will never lose myself again. I look back at pictures of me when I was with him and you can just see that there is no light behind my eyes. I was dead inside.

When you are dating an abusive man you are dating a coward. You don’t realize this because they gain control of you by taking away your self worth, self confidence, and self respect. I would never have been with someone who loved a bottle more than he loved me. I was abused multiple times over throwing out alcohol or getting caught pouring it out. I wouldn’t have ever stayed with someone who called me the horrible names he did. Someone who threatened my life, threatened my unborn child’s life, and someone who physically abused me on a regular basis. He felt like such a coward that he  had to ruin me to make him feel better.

When you are dating an abusive man you question everyone around you. I don’t trust very many people now. I don’t believe the words people tell me, only actions. I don’t put up with any crap from anyone, which is good and bad. Good because I know that I will never be hurt again. Bad because it can get exhausting, being so skeptical of every person that comes into your life. If you cross me once you wont get a second chance to. I look for red flags in any man I date. Any signs of addictive behaviors, I look at how they act when they are frustrated, how they treat others around them, how they treat their family.

However, dating an abusive man made me stronger. It made my family closer than ever. I lost a lot of friends, but realized who my true friends were. I have been in counseling for over 2 years, forced to relive the abuse I endured in order to overcome it. I had to build myself back up. I am getting me back. My smile, my happiness, my strength. Of course I am still afraid to go to certain restaurants and places in town, but every time I conquer those fears I feel empowered.

Because of that abusive man I realized what my reason for living is. I have a mission to change the stigma of who domestic violence victims are, change the laws and protocols there are on domestic violence, and a mission to change lives.

 

 

Domestic Violence effects more than just the survivor cont…

As I had spoke about last week, domestic violence effects way more than just the victim/survivor. It effects anyone who cares about them. They have to see you hurt, suffer, and continue to go back to the abuse.

I asked two of my other best friends to answer the same questions(listed below) and I am going to share their answers!! MM and DM.

  1. How did my experience effect how you approach relationships? If at all?
  2. Did you have any idea I was being abused?
  3. If you had any idea, what signs of abuse did I show?
  4. What would you tell the old me?
  5. Has my experience changed your life? Good or bad?
  6. What would you tell a family member/friend of a person currently being abused?
  7. If you could say anything to my abuser what would you say?

MM

  1. How did my experience effect how you approach relationships? If at all?

    MM: “It has made me think and understand if that ever is a situation I get into that there is help and was to get out before it is too late.”

  1. Did you have any idea I was being abused?

    MM:” I had no idea and that is the most heartbreaking part for me. You are one of my best friends, I should have known something wasn’t right.”

  2. If you had any idea, what signs of abuse did I show?

    MM:”Again, to me that is the most heartbreaking  because I didn’t see any signs. It’s one of the hardest things to grasp because I saw you everyday at work and didn’t think your sickness day after day was caused by the person you went home to every night.”

  3. What would you tell the old me?

    MM:”If I would have known what I know now I would have never dropped you off with him everyday after work. I would have done everything in my power to let you know you can get out.”

  4. Has my experience changed your life? Good or bad?

    MM:”The biggest way that your experience changed my life is that you are still with us today. I don’t know what I would have done if you or your sweet boy were taken from us because of this monster, but you were stronger and you are still here blessing this world every day.”

  5. What would you tell a family member/friend of someone who is currently being abused?

    MM:”Sadly, this isn’t the only time I have been faced with a friend in an abusive relationship and I know nothing will sink in until that person is ready for it to. If anything were to tap pen to these loved ones I would want to know I tried everything I could to let them know there is a way out before it is too late.”

  6. If you could say anything to my abuser, what would you say?

    MM: “To be honest I hope I never see you again in my life and ever if I do, I don’t know if there would be many words, if you know what I mean. Honestly, I don’t think anything I would say would do anything and thats why I would rather have it all speak for itself. You lost…You lost the best thing that could have ver happened to you for what? Look at her now, she was stronger than you, she fought for her life and has gained more than you will ever see in this lifetime.”

DM

  1. How did my my experience effect how you approach relationships? If at all?

    DM:”I always pay attention to how someone talks to me, how they talk to others. How they speak to me if they are upset. I want to know about their background a little bit. Really get to know someone and not fall for bullshit.”

  2. Did you have any idea I was being abused?

    DM:”No and it seriously breaks my heart. I can’t believe that for two years she went through this and I had NO idea. I warned her before they started dating of his past and when they did have fights I just tried to be here for her and let her vent. I remember the day Momma D called me and told me what was going on. I lived in sacramento at the time and asked her if I should come to the hospital and she told me no. I need to try to talk to Alyssa and help her realize what a monster R is. She was in complete denial. I remember asking her what she thought was going on and Alyssa just being devastated that she couldn’t talk to R. We texted and she finally opened up and let me know what was going on. And the only thing I could do was be there for her and pray she didn’t go back.”

  3. If you had any idea, what signs of abuse did I show?

    DM: “I really had NO idea.”

  4. What would you tell me old me?

    DM:”Honestly, Ive always known you to never put up with shit so I am surprised you did. But I am shocked that you never spoke up because we tell each other everything, good and bad.”

  5. Has my experience changed your life? Good or bad?

    DM:”It has had a huge impact on my outlook with relationships. You made me realize what I was going through and that I was in a verbal/emotionally abusive relationship. That a man should never scream or talk at me, or talk down on me because he is mad. But also vice versa. It goes both ways. I realized I was in a toxic relationship, everyone told me for months but it took me realizing it my self to see it and take initiative to end it and remove all negativity from my life. Since then I know what I deserve and what I will stand for and what I want in a man. People should never curse at each other and should always treat each other with respect, once you lose that boundary your relationship means nothing.”

  6. What would you tell a family member/friend of a person currently being abused?

    DM: “I would be here for them and help them in any way I could. You can’t just tell someone to leave a person…you push that person away and it leaves open doors for them to go back to their abuser because you were too hard on them.”

  7. If you could say anything to my abuser, what would you say?

    DM:”You know…he reached out to me a few months ago and I flat out told him I had nothing to say to him. He knows what he did was wrong and he has to live with it for the rest of his life. He can say anything but I know who he is and what he did to my best friend. I have seen how much it has effected her. She had also grown so much and is so strong to be telling her story in order to change the world. R you suck, you ignited Alyssa’s fire…she is going to do great things.”

Next week will be my families answers, it should be a really great one to read!!

Domestic violence effects more than just the survivor…

I can tell you for a fact that I have the most amazing support system. My family is extremely encouraging, uplifting, and understanding of my experience with domestic violence, but that doesn’t mean it was always that way. After getting out of the abusive relationship with R I was still so broken and weak. I wanted to go back to him. I wanted my relationship to work. I wanted a father for my son. I was not in the right mind, emotional state, or mentally strong enough to make any decisions. I became extremely angry, confrontational, and at first I was definitely in denial that I was even abused. I thought that if I just kept pushing those horrible memories and feelings down that they would eventually just go away.

Domestic Violence didn’t just effect me. It hurt my family and friends. Very often you hear of these amazing stories of the survivors, but you don’t ever hear how the people around  the domestic violence survivors were effected. I couldn’t imagine what I put my family and friends through. The constant worry, pushing them away, the fake smiles and stories I gave them. I will always be changed because of what happened to me. I didn’t walk out in the driveway alone for over 2 years, I still sleep with my lights on, I still have major fears and anxiety. I won’t go to certain parts of town. I am always looking over my shoulder. All of these things effect my support system as well. They all almost lost a daughter, sister, and best friend because of domestic violence. They all had to see me unresponsive, getting blood transfusions, after multiple surgeries. They had to be told that I may not survive. They saw me at the weakest point I have ever been in my life. They are victims in this mess also.  I had my closure the minute that R’s parental rights were taken away. I think my loved ones are more than deserving of a chance to get their own closure with what happened not only to me, but to THEM. That is what I am going to be sharing with you guys for the next few weeks. I asked my family and 3 of my best friends to answer 7 questions.

  1. How did my experience effect how you approach relationships? If at all?
  2. Did you have any idea I was being abused?
  3. If you had any idea, what signs of abuse did I show?
  4. What would you tell the old me?
  5. Has my experience changed your life? Good or bad?
  6. What would you tell a family member/friend of a person currently being abused?
  7. If you could say anything to my abuser what would you say?

Tonight I will be sharing my friend KM’s response.

  1. How did my experience effect how you approach relationships? If at all?

    KM: “I think that it makes me look at how I escalate fights in my own relationships and it makes me want better. I am more aware of unhealthy relationships and how to deal with them.”

  2. Did you have any idea I was being abused?

    KM: “I didn’t know how far it has went but I knew he lied a lot and drank way too much. “

  3. If you had any idea, what signs of abuse did I show?

    KM: “You definitely made a lot of excuses as to why he wasn’t helping you more financially/emotionally and all of a sudden you were never available to hangout.”

  4. What would you tell the old me?

    KM: “You deserve better, I would have done anything to help you leave sooner. “

  5. Has my experience changed your life? Good or bad?

    KM: “Well it brought Beau into all of our lives and he’s such a happy kid! I can’t imagine life without him.”

  6. What would you tell a family member/friend of a person currently being abused?

    KM: “Leave, get out. It can’t be worse than what you are going through. Then I’d give them your number as a tool to help them get through it.”

  7. If you could say anything to my abuser what would you say?

    KM: “F**k you, you could have had it all. I hope it was worth it.”

Next week I will be sharing another friend’s answers!! Please if anyone you know is going through any abuse urge them to get help or at the very least talk to someone about it. I was extremely good at putting on the happy face and covering up the bruises. You NEVER know who is being abused. If you are being abused you can contact me on here or on my website http://www.lovedoesnthurt.org and it emails me directly! I will ALWAYS answer and be there to talk to you. You are never alone.

Life after Domestic Violence…

Life after domestic violence is almost as scary as being in the abusive relationship. I am not sure of where all my readers are from but I live in a very small town of roughly around 5,000 people. Everyone knows everyone else’s business. That means everyone in this town has probably heard what happened to me. Let’s not forget that my abusers family lives 4 miles away. I have seen them out at the grocery store, I bank right across the street from their business, and we also used have some mutual friends. Since we live in such a small town it is extremely hard to keep my son’s life private as well. I have had someone I considered family take pictures of Beau and send them to my abusers family, against a court order.

There are so many rumors I have heard about myself that you wouldn’t believe. I have heard that I lied about my abuse, sorry but medical records, text messages, and pictures do not lie. I have also heard that I keep my son away from his “grandparents”. The only time I have ever heard from my abusers parents was when I was being served in my home, and when his actual mother emailed me. I have also heard that I kept Beau from his father. I wouldn’t have ever done that, even with the abuse. That is his father, I can not change that. I didn’t file a motion for abandonment until a little over a year after ZERO contact. Then R decided to give up his parental rights after numerous no shows in court. He never sent Beau a birthday card, never called to check on him, and never paid a dime in child support.

If you have ever been in an abusive relationship you more than likely have PTSD from the situation. I, to this day, am constantly looking over my shoulder, sit facing any entrance to the restaurant I am in, and even do laps around the parking lot before I enter a place to lessen the chance of running into them or him. In the times that I have run into them I get a death stare, not an apology. Which then brings the guilt right back. Feeling as though what happened was my fault.

Dating after domestic violence is a whole other story. It is terrifying. I have been in counseling for over 2 years to try and learn the behaviors an abuser has but you can still never be 100% sure. You have to worry about the motives of the man you are seeing. Is he seeing me out of pity? Is he seeing me to say he went out with me? Is he actually interested in a meaningful relationship, not just sex? If you have been abused you have had your heart and brain completely wrecked, your trust level is the lowest it can possibly be, and you have extremely low self-esteem. That makes you easy pray for any man to take advantage of you. Knowing that I have my walls up so high it’d take an olympic pole vaulter to even reach them. I really have to think if this man is worth me putting my heart out there again. I can tell you one thing, if you are dating a girl who has been abused in any way (emotionally, verbally, physically) and she actually likes you, its the best kind of love you will ever find. We know what its like to be torn down so we will always be lifting you up. We know what its like to have your trust broken so we will never lie. We know what its like to be treated like dirt so we will treat you like gold. Domestic Violence Survivor’s are the strongest and most courageous human beings I know. They had the strength to leave a situation that crippled them, built themselves back up, and came back stronger than ever before. They need to feel respected and loved, appreciated, and communicated with.

Life after domestic violence is definitely scary, but at least you are safe. You have one life to live. Do you want to spend it living in fear every day? Worrying about how long the next bruise will take to heal? What lie you are going to tell your family when they ask why you can’t come over, Or do you want to spend your life owning it. I am so proud of my journey and my scars. I took something that should have killed me and turned it into my mission. A Survivor’s Mission. I am going to change how this world views domestic violence victims, I am going to give every girl the chances I had to have a career, education, and counseling services, and I am going to try my hardest to change the domestic violence laws here in CA. For anyone who doubts me, sit back and watch.