Tuesday, 10 December 2013

My Story of Domestic Violence

Two years ago I made a life-changing decision.

On December 5, 2011 I called the local OPP detachment to file a police report and have charges pressed against my daughter's biological father for assault.

This wasn't an easy decision for me to make, in fact, it took me several months to summon the courage to do so.

On March 13th 2011 I was involved in an incident of domestic violence that left me with several bruised ribs and a broken nose.

It was shortly after the hockey game had finished, I was sitting in front of the television with my legs crossed doing some crafts and homework. Cadence was passed out in her vibrating chair with her soother loosely dangling from her mouth.

He was across from me in the living room about 7 paces away drinking a beer.

We were arguing about a girl that he had been messaging, I felt like the content of their messages was inappropriate and asked him if he could stop talking to her in that way. He told me I was being dramatic and controlling and to "shut the fuck up".

I started ignoring him and he began ranting at me, pointing out every flaw he felt I had. Complaining that I was on Social Assistance and not working (I didn't have enough hours to obtain EI for Maternity Leave so I went on OW for four months after giving birth); continually reiterating the fact that I was "useless" and a "drain on society". I blatantly told him to "shut up and watch the TV" then tossed my slipper at him.

Instantly I realized I had made a mistake.

As soon as I saw him move to get up I stood up to bolt to the bedroom and lock the door; this wasn't my first rodeo with his temper.

I got about half a foot before I remembered Cadence was sleeping in her chair beside me so I turned to reach back and pick her up.

Just as I was reaching for her he grabbed me in a headlock and dragged me two feet across the living room, crushing my nose with his bicep. I couldn't think to kick or scream, my entire body went limp and I went silent - I knew that there was no point fighting him.

He slammed me to the floor and held me for about thirty seconds; I felt like I was going to pass out. He got up and kicked me three times in the ribs with his bare foot, walked a few paces away and came back.

"That didn't feel good enough" he said as he kicked me twice more... then he spit in my face, walked back to the couch and continued drinking his beer.

My vision was blurry and I layed there for a few minutes.

I realized my nose was bleeding and started crying uncontrollably. As I sat up I noticed Cadence still sleeping quietly in her chair.

He was sitting unfazed on the couch watching some sporting event.

Still sobbing, I picked up my phone and walked to the bathroom. I noticed my nose was crooked and started crying harder.

I knew I'd need to come up with a solid story my family would believe so I quickly snapped a picture of my nose for reference later.

I grabbed a cloth and went to clean up the blood; he was still sitting on the couch completely unmoved by what had just happened. I asked if I could take his car to the hospital to get my nose x-rayed. He told me I could, so I packed up Cadence and went to Soldier's Memorial in Orillia.

I told the nurse I was wrestling with my dog and he smacked me in the face, I could tell she didn't believe me.

She put gauze under my nose and had me wait in the waiting room.

As I was waiting I saw her use the phone and could hear her talking quietly to someone on the other line, all the while she kept looking at me with this look of pity on her face. 

I waited until she was done on the phone and left the triage booth before I bolted for the door, just as I was pulling out of the parking lot I saw a police car with a female officer pull in. I knew the nurse didn't believe my story and had alerted authorities of a possible incident of domestic violence. I went home, put Cade to bed and fell asleep on the couch. 

The next morning I brought her to daycare and went to Barrie's Royal Victoria Hospital for an X-ray, I managed to convince the staff about our dog breaking my nose and they scheduled me for surgery for March 17. 

Since I am a pretty clumsy person, it wasn't difficult to convince my parents and friends that the dog broke my nose.

On the 17 I went in for surgery.

That night we got into another argument where he threw me off the bed and into my stand up mirror, smashing it. 

Two weeks later we were supposed to go out with our friends Derek and Amanda, a "couples night out" and his parents were going to watch over Miss Cadie.

When we got to their place everything seemed fine. Amanda and I were drinking some spiked slushies and doing our make-up in the bathroom and him and Derek were watching TV. I sat down on the couch beside him. I can't remember what we were all talking about, but he leaned over to smack me it in the face, in front of our friends, he tried brushing it off saying he was just trying to "move my hair" but I wasn't fooled. A few minutes later, while he was playing with their dog Maya's rubber ball, he got agitated with me again and threw it at my face. 

He was fairly intoxicated at this point, Derek took him outside to talk. He decided he was going downtown without us and I had his parents come get me and take me back to their house. 

A similar incident happened a week or so later where he got drunk and started being rude and violent towards me, kicking his car door as I was sitting in it. 

On April 12 after a ball hockey game we went back to his parents house because he wanted to have a few drinks and celebrate with them. I set myself and the kids up in the spare room above the garage. Cadence was being extremely fussy and I was becoming overwhelmed so I went to find him to see if he could help in any way. 

He was really ignorant and started insulting me, I gave up and went back to the room. About an hour later I went to ask him again, this time he was worse. I went to hug him and say sorry for irritating him and he pushed me into the couch, poured his beer on me and spit in my face. 

Then started yelling "you hit me get off me". 

His brother and his friends were in the adjoining room and didn't see anything, but took Mark's words at face value. 

I told him loudly I hated him and that I'd had it, I was calling the police and telling them the truth about my nose and everything else.  I went upstairs, packed the kids up and went to leave. After the kids were in the car I went back inside to talk to him, he grabbed a paintball gun from the garage and told me he was going to shoot me. 

I left. 

Partway home he called me saying he was calling the police because I "stole his car" and needed to come back right away. 

I called my friend Amanda because I wasn't sure what to do. 

She told me to call the police. 

I contacted them and they told me to go back to his parents. 

They went inside and spoke to him, his brother and friends. 

They managed to convince the police I had attacked him, and that they all witnessed it. 

The police told me to go home and come get him in the morning when he sobered up. 

He moved out a few days later. 

There were also several other incidents where he would come over to "talk" and things would escalate to violence. 

During the July long weekend in 2011 he came over on Thursday, June 28 to watch our daughter while I went to play an open mic with a friend in Barrie. 

When he found out the friend was a male, he snapped. Pushing me down in the hallway and kicking me in the ribs several times. 

At this point I had had enough. 

I overdosed on a bottle of Tylenol. 

I realized it was a bad decision and called my friend to bring me to the hospital. I co-operated with the nurses and committed myself to their psychiatric ward for three days to talk with the staff about what to do and to make sure I was in the right frame of mind. 

During this time I needed someone to watch our daughter. He refused to take her as he had plans to go to Ottawa with his friends for Canada Day. He left me several ignorant messages saying I was just trying to ruin his weekend. Told me I should have "ate more pills and washed them down with alcohol".

Over the next few months I received ignorant texts and voicemails almost daily. 

I was getting harassed by his friends at school and when I would go out with my friends. 

It got to the point where I stopped going to school because I couldn't handle the negativity. 

I decided I was going to move and have a fresh start. My close friends helped me set the plan in motion. 

As my moving date got closer his harassment increased. 

The gentleman I was seeing at the time and my two best friends told me I needed to come clean and contact the police. 

Brandie came over on the 5 of December and sat with me while the officer took my statement, copies of the pictures of my nose, text messages and voicemails. 

He was charged. 

I packed up my entire house and moved ten days later to Waterloo. I changed my phone number, my name and deleted my Facebook. 

I knew one person who lived in the area, my best friend Matt.

The hardest thing I think for me with this whole scenario was the sheer lack of support I received from whom I thought to be in my "core group" of best friends. For the longest time no one believed me, they thought I was over-exaggerating things or that I was just mad he left me. 

I feel so blessed for those who did stand by me from start to finish, and who are still here today. 

It took over a year until he plead guilty to the charge of domestic assault, the verdict processed in January 2013. 

I always get pretty moody when this date comes around. 

I don't regret charging him, but I can't help feeling guilty about it. I don't like hurting people, but what he did was wrong. I didn't charge him out of spite, I did it so he would leave me alone and hopefully realize that his actions had consequences. 

So that's the background of my "big move" with both children. 

I feel comfortable posting this now as all of the court-related dates are done. 

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