Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Domestic Violence Chronicles II

Dear B.C. Readers:

The story you will read below is graphic, and not for the squeamish. I'm glad to share it with you as it is my hope and intention that it will reach those that need it most.

When we last left off I shared a brutal account of a beating that I wish I could say was the last. The hitting and violence decreased during my pregnancy, but it never completely ceased. Rather than discuss anything that happened during my pregnancy I have decided to bypass it, and go to a beating that took place a couple of months after my daughter was born. Due to some of the graphic nature of these stories and the positive feedback from my readers I feel encouraged to organize them chronologically, and save most of them for my book.

My pregnancy with my 1st daughter went quite smoothly. Mostly because my abuser was in jail for at least six-months of that time. My outlook on life returned during that period as I enjoyed that Summer by spending most of my time outdoors. I was healthy, eating good, and I was able to make it through his threatening phone calls from jail with ease. "You better not be going outside!" "If anything happens to my baby I'll kill you." The minute we would hang up, back outside I went. My teenage years were passing me by quickly. I wanted my abuser to stay in jail forever. I lived blissfully that Summer, and friends that hadn't seen me in months were so happy to just be able to hangout and catch-up. I never shared my secret of abuse with anyone other than my two best friends that already knew. I hoped and prayed that my abuser would miss the birth of our daughter; she was due in mid-August of 1993. I received a random phone call one day in July, and to my surprise he was out! They even released him with tokens to take the bus!! He was on his way back, and it was back to nightmareville for me. It's still sketchy as to if my mom knew that I was being abused or not. Till this day she has neither confirmed nor denied that she knew. Shortly after being home he accused me of being in a relationship with his older brother. He knew how much time I spent outdoors due to my undeniable tan lines. Life went back to restriction and living under his lock and key. When I went into labor with my daughter he told me that if I was really in labor I would need to cook him breakfast and iron his clothes (crease in his pants and all) before he would take me serious enough to head out to the hospital. I knew as the baby came closer to making her debut into the world my days were doomed.

I was walking to the kitchen when he cornered me between the sofa and the stereo in my mother's living room. Our daughter was not even 3 months-old yet. My mother spent the majority of her day at work so the only ones there were one of my pregnant friend's that was living there at the time, my baby, him and I. "Shit!" was the only thought that came to my mine. I never knew when the beatings were coming, and I can't remember for the life of me what set him off that particular day. I was hit several times after my baby was born, but this beating would be by far worse than any other. When he got me off my feet he began biting me viciously like an animal. Then it was blow after blow to my rib cage until he decided to wrap his hands around my neck and squeeze until I was nearly lifeless. I remember thinking, "I'm not leaving the world like this," and I fought hard to survive. I managed to get one of my fingers in between my neck and his hands. It was only enough that I wouldn't lose consciousness, but I was still turning blue. My friend ran out of the apartment with my baby during the brawl. I don't think I screamed this time. I actually tried to get under the sofa bed so that he would stop. I laid there for some time after he left without a hint of remorse on his face. I was bitten and battered but in a way that I had never been before. This time I realized that he had the power to kill me with his bear hands. As I laid there it never crossed my mind not even once to call the police and I realize that this will bother many of you as you continue to read.

Battered women syndrome is a complex phenomenon, and many like to dismiss it as pure foolishness. I can tell you that psychologically I was immature, but I know that's not why we (my friend & I) didn't call the police. Code of the streets say if you're a participant in the game than you must play by the rules. Code of the streets could have also been the reason why I could have been dead today. In a perfect world we would have made that 3-digit call and an ambulance would have came and assisted me 12-hours before I ended up having to have emergency surgery, but my world was very cold and so far from perfect back then. My friend must have asked me a million times if I was ok. I just needed to lay down so that I could try to continue ignoring my life. I could barely pick my baby up because I was in so much pain. My mom would be home from work soon so I was going to have to put on my happy face. He didn't hit and or bite me anywhere that would be visible with clothes on so I just had to pretend like always that I was fine. For the first time I wasn't able to do that. I was vomiting after this beating as if something inside me wasn't right. I knew it was possible to have internal injuries because he was hitting me so damn hard. I wondered if he would hit a man as hard as he hit me and I didn't think that he would. He would hit me as if he wanted to kill me. I decided to bathe in Epsom salt to see what if any of the pain I could alleviate. My abuser came back with Domino's pizza and disgustingly enough bought it right into the bathroom. I remember the pizza having bell peppers on it, and I declined. I hadn't eaten all day, and I wasn't hungry at all just sore. He said I needed to eat because he didn't want a skinny girlfriend and he proceeded to shove the pizza into my mouth forcing me to chew and swallow. Amazing! It's amazing what we will do as humans when we feel threatened. When I started to violently vomit in the tub he got scared and left the bathroom. When I got out I knew I needed to go the the hospital, and of course he refused to take me because the evidence of the beating was still fresh. When I lifted my shirt the bruises on my rib cage had started to form. I broke his rules, went to my mother, and told her that I needed to go to the hospital.

My abuser was furious, but he knew there was no turning back once I told my mom. My mother is one of those adamant individuals that once you say something needs to be done she will get it done! She called my uncle and he came quickly. My mom figured I was pregnant again and I didn't have the energy to let her know how way off base she was. When the doctors at Kings County Hospital ruled out pregnancy my mom jumped to saying I had PID she figured I had some type of sexually transmitted disease, and as I listened to her tell the doctors this I wondered where the hell her loyalty was to her child. My mother was always quick to condemn me and it took me many years to understand why. A surgeon came to my bedside and notified me that due to severe internal injuries conclusive with trauma to my body I was being rushed to the O.R. My appendix was about to burst and if I didn't have the surgery right there on the spot I was going to die. All I thought about was my baby who was at home with my abuser. I'm guessing my mom called him at some point because he showed up while the nurses were removing my nail polish and prepping me for surgery. As always he was sorry, begged me not to tell, and promised he would marry me. In what fucking fairytale does the princess marry a fucking monster? I was relieved when the nurse told him to go. He snapped at her and she looked at me. Through the cold doors I went. Unaware of what the recovery process ahead of me would be like.

The surgery was successful but I woke up in recovery throwing up. A nurse kept tapping me and she asked me if I wanted to die. "What?" Secretly I think she was right on point. She said it took me way longer than the average person to wake up from the anesthesia. She also said,"If you don't stop vomiting they are going to put the tube in." Again I thought, "Shit, not the fucking tube". I couldn't stop vomiting and therefore the medical staff decided to insert an NG tube down my throat, through my nose and into my stomach to sort of vacuum all that I was vomiting. You can't talk with a tube down your throat and it's the type of feeling I wouldn't wish on anyone. I was finally transferred to the Surgical I.C.U., and I was greeted there by a social worker who was advised by my doctors that I was being abused. She said,"Are your parents beating you up?" and I stared back at her so blankly? At my age she didn't even realize that I had a child or that I was being abused by my boyfriend. I didn't have the heart to say a word and so I just said I hurt myself moving furniture. She didn't believe me but she didn't push and I wish she would have. She reminded me of Michael Landon in "Highway to Heaven". Social workers have this angelic appeal that makes you want to open up, and run to them for refuge. She left me a bunch of pamphlets, and said I could call her if I changed my mind and if wanted to talk. My abuser would visit frequently and the question was always the same, "When they letting you out of here mami?" If it wasn't for my baby at home I never wanted to be released. The thought of going back to be around him disgusted me. Discharge day finally came about a week after my surgery and I was released with a cane to help me walk. His phony act would only last until I got home.

"Take care of your fucking daughter", was the first of many lewd and offensive remarks that I can remember. He blamed me for leaving her alone and offered all sorts of other twisted remarks. Once she was bathe and dressed he reminded me that my welfare check was sitting in the system and because he needed it I was going to have to walk nearly two blocks to the check cashing spot to get it. I was released from the hospital with a cane indicating how difficult it was to walk and this asshole was letting me know that I would have to get my money that he needed. In the cold chill of November I walked with him as my escort to the check cashing place which seemed like a two mile walk. I remember the walk being so painful and he didn't care one bit. The money went from my hand to his pocket. When we got back he knew all I wanted to do was spend time with my babygirl and so he made it his business to let me know that wouldn't be the plan. Thanksgiving was approaching and he said he was taking her to his Aunt's house. I knew in my heart it was his twisted way of hurting me and pay back for going to the hospital in the first place. I kissed my baby goodbye and took the opportunity to rest.

The Domestic Violence Chronicles can extend from Part II to Part XX, but the message will always be the same. If you or someone you know is in a Domestic Violence relationship, the violence will only escalate. It gets worse before it ever gets better, and the victim can end up dead as an end result. I never realized how much help was within my reach, and today with the Domestic Violence Hotline here in NYC (800-621-4673) you and your children can get out safely. In NYC, Safe Horizon is working diligently to protect victims and children of Domestic Violence. You owe it to yourself and your children to get out and away from your abuser. No matter what State you live in please contact me anytime you are in doubt or need advice and I promise that I will link you to the right people. Domestic Violence hurts and it can happen to anyone. I didn't have any children the first time my abuser hit me. If your boyfriend or girlfriend is hitting you or verbally abusing you please don't be afraid to seek help. If you are too ashamed to tell your family please seek outside help. I love you all and wish you all the best!

Much Luv

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