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Brook, IN, United States
Abuse doesn't stop at the court room. Melinda has shared her battles in her life and through the court room as she navigates through the legal system Bringing encouragement, insight and empowerment to those that are in a abusive relationship. She is in the process of creating a new life, speaking engagements to "Break the Silence" of abuse, while putting a face to abuse. She is currently working on writing a book about her experiences as a Survivor.View short Bio here- https://www.patheos.com/blogs/ahappymedium/2013/02/notbrokenbutbrave/

Monday, April 4, 2011

Document! Document! Document!


I have learned many lessons during this whole tangled mess! I had a friend that told me to think about the things I learned from leaving my husband. I have been thinking a little bit here and there about this. I can rightful say so far I have a small list of things:

1) I should have documented everything related to the abuse. Took pictures, described the assault, what he said to me during the assault, and what the results after were. Calling the police! Now anytime I make a call, receive an email or a text message I save it. Technically you are not to record any calls and so on. But I would be lying if I say I have not.

2) I can not trust my husband

3) I CAN make it without him, despite his opinions about needing him

4) His shortcomings are not my fault

5) I DID try and there is no reason to keep blaming myself for any demise and eventually breakdown of our marriage

6) I CAN accomplish anything I set my mind to

7) I should have told someone!

8) Share my story

That's what I have for now!

During the divorce process documenting everything is of the uptmost importance. From acts of violence to accounting for finances. Not being left in the dark about accounts, important documents and so on.

I can not leave physically to pick up and move more then 100 miles away from our abuser. It is really stinky and frustrating for myself as well as countless others that have children with they're abuser. In most states, if you have children together, regardless if he/she is still abusive, there is still visits with this person.

As outraged as I was after finding this out, I was told that there has to be something dramatic and tragic in order for a judge to rule otherwise. There are programs available for Social Security number changes and address changes that can be implemented to protect the victim. BUT, if you can not do these things, you can scratch your head, yell, shout and get really aggravated about the situation. Or you can remain proactive for your own safety by:

1) If you are meeting your abuser for visitation exchange, court, meetings, your whereabouts, etc... Make sure you have a person that can be a emergency contact and is aware of any meetings, that you can call before and after. This person should know to call the police if they have gotten in touch with you by a certain time. You may even consider a special password so if you say it they know you are in trouble!

2) Set up a phone number, email address P.O. Box just for your abuser to reach you at. I know from personal experience that finding  20+ emails or text messages can be a real downer. I was upset and dreaded opening my email box or hearing the buzz going off in my phone, knowing it was my husband. Providing him with an alternate way of reaching me has been a challenge but rewarding for my peace of mind, I make sure I check the mail at least every few days or so and once I do receive it I was told by my old attorney to return messages and so on within 24 hours of receiving.

3) This goes with #1- Meet in a PUBLIC PLACE! Do not be afraid to let the police know that this meeting is happening, I had an incident prior to my Order of Protection, that I felt threatened and before the meeting 2 police men were eating lunch, I briefly explained the situation and they stood outside casually while we did the exchange, unbeknownst to my husband. OR meet at the police station!

4) Make sure your cell phone is charged at all times! Keep a car charger available with you as well.

5) Do not be afraid to carry mace or a horn with you to scare or to protect yourself! If you can take a self defense course. Youtube has many videos on self defense protection! I'm going to check some out myself. Terry and I had went through some planned attacks just to see if I could handle myself if need be.

6) Don't show fear! Oh! this is a hard one! Your spirit has been wounded from this person and you may have never fought back before. Do not show fear! Do not allow your abuser know you are scared.

7) Keep those windows rolled up! Everytime my dropped off or picked up my kids my abuser was in my window quicker then you can blink. For what? To intimidate me, to attack me, to take my purse or keys out of the ignition, anything he could do to scare me or get me out of the car. Keeping the windows rolled up did help alot, though he still pounded on them and it ticked him off, I remained as safe as I could be. I also made sure the kids got in the van on the passenger side in the back and not anywhere near the drivers seat. Oh, yes, my abuser tried to get me from the back seat!

8) Be aware of your surroundings! Keep an eye out for his/her can at all time. It is a crappy way to live but surviving is what it is all about! Don't let your guard down!

9) Remember you can do it! Don't let those promises of not doing it again fool ya! If he/she is able to make a change that is excellent! I am all for keeping a family together! Just be careful, make sure you notice any subtle changes in your children. In the last year my abuser and I were together he began to be more forceful and used mental games on the kids while I was not home. And he threatened them not to tell!

10) Deactivate GPS on your phone! If you take pics from cell phone and post them on the web they too can give away your location! Do not tweet or Facebook where you are, who you are going with or where you are heading to.

I guess I have learned alot while I have been away from my husband. It has been well over 2 years and sadly he still believes I am coming back...

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