By Teresa G D’vall
Domestic Violence Awareness month is in October which means spouse killers, beatings & disfigurement will once again get all of the attention while those of us being slaughtered on the installment plan continue to die slowly, unnoticed.
“Help! Someone’s trying to kill me!”
Usually doesn’t fall on deaf ears, but if you are a victim of emotional and mental abuse, you’re better off shouting:
“Trump is the best president Ever!”
Any of the above will gather more attention than this story.
I’m going to tell it anyway though, because somewhere out there in social media land there is a person who’ll get it.
If one male, female, or gender neutral person reads this and it resonates…if it helps you hang on for one more round of the game…then score one for Silent Domestic Violence, the interminable abuse no one ever thinks about.
Earlier this year I wrote “Why I’m Raising Your Next School Shooters” a story about the long term effects of domestic violence on children.
Five years ago, I wrote “How I Almost Became a Convicted Felon” the story of how I escaped my abusive marriage with 6 kids and no source of income.
Both were written to send one simple message:
Never give up, because things always get better.
For the past 5 years, I’ve clinged to the notion they couldn’t get worse.
My most recent story,
“Dear Suicidal, Die Trying Instead” was a happy one, a tale of suffering and torment finally laid to rest.
I proudly announced to all you readers I will never know that I had finally reached the end of my Domestic Violence nightmare.
Here’s the Epilogue to that story:
On June 21, 2018 I bought my first house; a foreclosure that sat vacant for 6 years with a defunct heating system & not one single working light bulb.
On June 23rd, I surprised my kids with it & saw my 12 year old smile at me for the first time in almost a year.
“I remember this house mommy. We’ve been here before.”
He was right. I had the contract on it in 2015, then I lost my job.
It was the happiest moment of my life, driving my kids up to our new front lawn decorated with a sign I made myself that said:
Surprise! We have a home.
The next day, I dropped them off to visit their Dad.
They came back home late June 25th.
On the morning of June 26, my 12 year old, who had been happy enough to smile just 2 days prior, threw me into a wall & punched me in the face.
My 11 year old committed grand larceny, stealing a USB device that contained over $15k from his older brother. He’d stolen cash, an Iphone replacement screen and an Amazon package over the previous 2 months.
I called school when the iPhone screen disappeared and asked if the in house policeman could give him a lecture but it did nothing to deter him against felony theft.
I told both boys that there would be no electronics, no TV, nothing until the USB was found.
Instead of looking for it, my 12 year old decided to fight me for his phone. I struggled to pry it out of his hands with no success at all. Moments later, I was knocked into a wall & then the floor by him. Shortly after that, he punched me in the jaw.
My 25 year old son had been yelling at the 11 year old to find his “missing” USB, which contained a year’s worth of work, for almost a half hour by then.
Until that day, I’d never heard my oldest son raise his voice or swear.
Anthony was my babysitter so I could work. He earned his accounting degree in 2015 but put off getting a ‘real job’ because childcare for 4 young children costs more than any job I could get.
Instead, he had a home office where he programmed computers that mined cryptocurrency. His income was stored on the USB.
Anthony changed diapers, made dinners, did homework & played ball in the yard with his siblings. Every few weeks, he’d host a “boys night” during which they were allowed to eat snacks, (that he bought for them) & play on his xbox.
After I fell to the floor, Anthony managed to get the phone away from my 12 year old.
Suddenly, my 11 year old appeared with a crow bar and came towards him. As he turned to disarm the crow bar wielder, my 12 year old hit him with a wooden birdhouse, causing him to bleed heavily because that’s what head wounds do.
As my 9 year old son stood watching his oldest brother bleed, the mom puncher & thief left out the front door, refusing to look for anything or clean up the blood.
I called Warwick Police for help that day.
For the last 6 months, I have needed to call Warwick PD almost every week after they returned from a visitation. The last time an officer left he said,
“I don’t know what to tell you anymore, they don’t respect anyone.”
Again, there was nothing they could do to help except make a report. The report stated that no harm had been done to the boys and that there had been an alleged theft of a USB device. Anyone can FOIL it and read every detail.
During the birdhouse scuffle, my 12 year old’s track phone broke.
About an hour or so later, he asked to use my phone to call his dad. While on the phone with him, he announced:
“Daddy says he wants $80 for my phone or he’s pressing charges against Anthony.”
Not a word about our 12 year punching me. Not a word about our 11 year old stealing.
My 12 year old asked if they could go with his father that day.
The prospect of moving, making the house livable and breaking up fights between my mom puncher & thief was overwhelming, so I said that they could go with him until I got the house ready.
The next day, police arrived at my door and arrested my 25 year old son. The charges were:
Harassment; for yelling too loud about his stolen property.
And criminal mischief for the broken phone.
The day after that, Child Protective Services showed up to investigate me & my oldest son for about the 10th time this year. That’s almost 2 reports for every month since January.
I have not seen or heard from either of my younger boys since, even though I’ve sent texts and made phone calls to them. Even when our dog died unexpectedly, their father would not let them come back. They got to be in the house I worked so hard to buy for them less than half a day. Their room sits empty. Their summer clothes, never used. The last image I have of my 12 year old is of him in the tree outside our new home, smiling.
My ex didn’t bring them to their counselors all summer, even though I obtained a court order in March that prohibited him from interfering with their mental health.
Anthony’s “harrassment trial” was scheduled for August 21 but was adjourned. The judge noted, for the second time, that there appeared to be more going on than what was written by his accuser, my ex husband.
On August 22nd, my ex husband walked into Sussex County NJ Family Court and tried telling our long suffering judge, Franzblau, that the boys were afraid of me & didn’t want to come home Labor Day Weekend as planned.
His request was denied.
Later that day, he went to Orange County NY and told better lies.
On August 23rd, a sheriff showed up in my driveway and told me that my ex husband had retained a stay away order. I wasn’t allowed within 1,000 feet of either boy because I was a danger to them and they were afraid to come home.
On October 18, 2018, I’ll get to tell a NY judge the story I just wrote after which my mom puncher & thief will be returned to me. Until then, I am a mom who has done nothing wrong who can not see her children. I’m exaggerating a little, I have my youngest 2 kids. Apparently I’m not a danger to the 5 or 9 year old.
It would be easier for me to let my ex keep them. My family and 3 police officers have all said I should give up, turn them loose and move on because they are ruined; hopeless.
And they may be. Even inmates on death row frown upon punching their Mom in the face.
No one has damaged property all summer, called me a whore or tried stabbing a younger sibling since they have been gone.
My boys have been poisoned by an accomplished domestic abuser. He has spent the last 5 years manipulating the police, child protective services, the courts and now, his own children, to circumvent my order of protection and torment me for divorcing him. I am the only person on this earth who knows what he is capable of. I survived 15 years of hell with him.
I’ll never give up and sentence my children to that same hell.
This latest stunt, however, has convinced me that I was wrong, reader I will never know.
Things do not always get better.
I am trapped between jurisdictions, having lived in NJ for 20 years and divorced there, NY says it doesn’t have the authority to make decisions in my case. Safehomes, the Orange County Domestic Violence Advocates in my area have tried, twice, to have their attorney transfer my case to NY.
Both times the judge said our NJ judge retained jurisdiction.
This means NY Child Protective Services can’t order a psych evaluation or supervised visits for my ex. Neither can NJ because my kids live in NY.
The NY judge who issued my ex a temporary stay away order to keep my kids away from me doesn’t know that I have been to court 6 times over the last year begging my ex to take the kids for an extra hour on Sundays. Each time he refused saying he had laundry to do & errands to run. That hearing is also a matter of public record.
Judge Klein of NY isn’t aware that I spent 6 months fighting to get my kids counseling back after he removed them, arguing my case, pro se, all the way to the Supreme Court in NJ.
She has not seen the court order I won that prohibits my ex from sending police to my house every week for nonsense .
All she knows is that my ex husband signed a sworn statement claiming my boys; who punched me & stole $15k from their brother, were afraid of me and didn’t want to come home.
My ex did mention the incident that occurred June 26, but only to illustrate the danger my oldest son was. He forgot to mention that our 12 year old punched me. Or that our 11 year old stole $15,000.
Yes, it is possible to lie in court, embellish half a story, and temporarily take children from their mother.
I spoke to an attorney who actually told me that.
Any man or woman can walk into their local family court & claim their children are afraid to go home.
If you are narcissistic enough and can cherry pick the information that will get what you want, it is shockingly easy to wreak havoc on an ex.
If you’re reading this and thinking:
There must more to this story??
There has to be??
Nope. There’s not.
The truth never changes, even if we wish we could change it.
I left my marriage 5 years ago and not one single day has gone by that I haven’t been punished for it.
Yesterday I found out he managed to register them in the Vernon Township School System, despite the fact that I sent them our custody agreement showing that I have primary residential custody, & we reside in NY, where they are already registered at Warwick Central School District.
They were supposed to start receiving counseling again at school in NY this week.
Today, I have left work to file yet another order to show cause so I can explain to our NJ judge what he’s done this time. I am finishing this story on a bench outside family court where I have wasted countless hours since 2013.
My ex husband is killing me.
Every day, I die a little more and no one, not the court system, child protective services or the police can stop him.
So you see, reader I will never know,
It gets REALLY worse before it gets better.
Or maybe it just keeps getting worse until you’re dead and not keeping track anymore.
Until there are better safeguards in place, Silent Domestic Violence is losing.
Vindictiveness and revenge is winning.
It won’t get better for me. All I can do is hang on for worse, because it will always be coming.
In about 2 hours a law clerk will emerge from chambers and tell me my request to have the boys put back into their schools was denied.
She’ll instruct me to file a motion and I will tell her I already have, that it was scheduled for 9/14, then postponed till 9/28, & postponed again until 10/29/18.
I’ll cry all the way back home.
I’ll ask myself how much longer I can keep doing this.
If you know anyone being tormented by emotional and verbal abuse, share this. Tell that person to hang on and fight. Don’t waste time waiting for things to get better. Just keep fighting.
Shatter the silence.
Win the war.