This post is not one of pride or heroic achievement, but one of regret and shame. Judge me if you must, but I respectfully ask that you embrace my testimony with compassion and understanding. Moreover, to my children, I simply ask, forgive me.
Somewhere between sleep and consciousness, the precipitous footsteps of my daughter running down the hallway toward my bedroom accompanied by cries of terror rang in my ears, jolting me out of bed.
“Mama, mama, help me! He hit me with the truck.”
Barely comprehensible she conveyed the horrifying story as rage and fear consumed me.
Red faced and barely consolable, I implored her to tell me what happened.
“He wanted me to wait in the truck with him until my bus came to pick me up, but I didn’t want to, we argued and I got out of the truck. For some reason he got really mad and revved the motor driving the truck in my direction going really fast. I thought he was going to run me over! I moved forward and he revved the motor and came at me again, this time he actually knocked me off balance and I fell to the ground. He was screaming at me to get back into the truck, so I got up and ran back toward the house. He revved the motor again, put the truck in reverse and sped toward me as I ran toward the house. Mama, he was going to run over me!”
By this time, my son was standing in the doorway to my room sobbing uncontrollably and nodding his head in agreement to the events my daughter had described.
“I was in the truck with him mom. I tried to stop him, but he wouldn’t listen. He said over and over, “I’ll teach that little bitch not to listen to me. She is going to be sorry, she gets on my GD nerves and I can’t take it anymore”
“I was afraid he was going to kill her mom.” Tears flowing like a fountain down his cheeks. I’m scared mommy.”
Over the course of two months, following my tragic court appearance, I had been gathering information, making plans, squirreling away money and preparing emergency travel bags in anticipation of an event just like this one. Jon had never directed physical abuse toward my children before, he would have had to kill me first and he knew it. The only way to get away with abuse aimed at them would be to do it when I was unaware; however, he was spiraling out of control making the worst mistake he could have ever made. I am certain his recent victory in the court system gave him the sense that he was untouchable.
I deliberately walked slowly down the hall, in deep thought over how I was going to handle this and escape with my life to boot. Jon was standing in the foyer, his face stern and hardened. I pretended not to know what had just taken place for safety’s sake and coolly announced I would be taking the children to school that day.
“I have to go to my mother’s house to help get her meds organized after I drop the kids off for school. I won’t be long.”
Jon granted permission and the kids and I headed out the door.
Shamefully, I did not take immediate action that day. Although I felt somewhat prepared, fear continued to wrap about me like a poisonous vine. I sent my children to my mother’s after school to question Jon about the events that took place that morning.
He was so convincing, “that’s not the way it happened, your daughter is a drama queen, it was all her doing. Get her here and we’ll discuss it like adults.” Somewhere deep inside I wanted to believe him therefore I obliged and retrieved my daughter from my mother’s home. She strongly protested the entire time. “How could you betray me like this mom? How could you take me back there knowing what he did this morning?”
Thoughts of being a terrible mother swirled around me as I ignored her pleas. I desperately needing to believe Jon would never attack his own daughter and I proceeded to the house.
Jon, my daughter, my son and I sat in the den as we each described our version of the incident. Without fail, Jon became irate; insults ensued, objects flew, and mayhem ruled. Jon tackled my daughter, I tackled Jon, phone in hand to call 911 but he snatched it from my hand and threw it out the front door before I could make the call. My son ran after the phone, I grabbed my daughter’s hand and pried her from Jon’s grasp. In a mad dash, we ran to the neighbor’s home seeking refuge, but not before my daughter delivered a right hook to the cheek of the man, she once adored causing him to free us from his grasp.
I had failed my children once again and the agony was nearly more than I could bare. I had to do something. Abusing me was one thing, but my children. Well, that was a completely different ball of wax. Prior to this incident, the kids were wholeheartedly on their father’s side.
Acting as his punching bag kept the children safe and my presence gave me peace of mind. I knew that I could watch over them as long as I was present. I never took into account the effects observing domestic violence would have on them in the years to follow. At least not until I questioned them both in an interview of sorts, which I intend to post later.
The following day I took them to school then headed straight for the domestic violence center and conveyed every minute detail of the events of the day before. The caseworker provided her usual story concerning my situation, as I had been there on several other occasions, followed by the announcement that she would be contacting child protective services to make a report. She then handed me a stack of papers to sign for their records, which I gladly filled out.
Skeptical of their true intentions, (due to the last experience I had with them in court) I proceeded to inform my “advocate” that I would be present and accounted for with my daughter in short order so that she could recount the events in her own words. She assured me that it was not necessary. I ignored her somewhat dubious assurances and brought my daughter to the center.
This was the last time my babies witnessed or experienced domestic violence. I made a vow to them and to myself. From that day on survivor had become a permanent part of my vocabulary and it rings in my ears every other minute of every day. I will never betray my children or myself again. It is my promise to them. It is my promise to me. I love you J, R, H, C.