A little about me

Monday, April 11, 2011

A victim story...

If you are being abused, you may feel as though you are the only one, you may feel isolated, depressed, sad, as though there is no where to turn or to go. You may feel as though it is your fault you are where you are. You may feel as though there is no hope... There are countless women and children (some men too) that are victims each minute of Abuse, whether it is physical, mental, emotional, or sexual. You are not alone!

The following is a story of a woman that is a Survivor whose bravery and courage is what kept her alive today!
Reposted from Cafemom member-
Today is an anniversary for me.  But it’s not one of those anniversaries that you look forward to or celebrate, except that I survived it.  It was 11 years ago today that I was shot.  This will be the first time outside of the courtroom that I will tell the whole story, and there’s something I’m going to talk about that I didn’t talk about in court.  But in order to tell that part I have to give you some back-story first. 
My Daddy died in 1995, about a year and a half before I was shot and before I told my family and the world what had been going on in my marriage.  Daddy was a Navy man and had joined up when he was 17 with his parent’s approval during WWII.  He volunteered for hazardous duty just two days out of boot camp for a program that was unique at the time, the UDT or Underwater Demolition Teams.  They were in training to be the first Americans landing on the shores of Japan for the invasion they hoped would end the war when the atomic bombs fell and ended the war. 

In the 1950’s they called them the Frogmen, or the Naked Warriors since they did their work wearing only swim trunks and flippers.  They were the first of what would later be called the Special Forces.  My Daddy and other members of the UDT trained the first SEAL teams and the UDT then became part of that program. 

There was a mantra that was drilled into them while they were handling explosives, “If you panic, you’re lost.”  Since it had been drilled into Daddy, he drilled it into us.  I heard it thousands of times in my childhood and teenage years, warning me to think clearly during everything from a broken leg to a lost stuffed animal that was needed for bedtime.  Even his grandsons would learn to complete that phrase.  It’s one all of us here should remember.

Daddy was the most wonderful father any girl could dream of, Mom was equally great.  I often told my friends that Mom and Daddy made Ozzie and Harriett look like a dysfunctional family.
19 years of hell
My marriage was in shatters, but in truth it hadn’t been a marriage for a long time. We had only dated for three months, and it should have been an early warning to me that he rushed me into marriage so young and so quickly. 
Things had seemed fine at first, the first two years were mostly filled with the normal issues of getting a home set up and learning married life.  He was 10 years older than me, and since I had only been 19 a month when we married it seemed natural for him to take control of finances and decisions.  He was so controlling so early I often called him Master in a joking manner, I stopped when someone told me about BDSM, I was so naïve at the time I didn’t Master could refer to anything sexual.   It may seem odd to think that someone was that naïve at the end of the 1970’s at the age of 19, but we had been very sheltered.   
I became pregnant while taking the pill two years into our marriage and suddenly everything changed.  Despite the fact that we were married and had been for some time he claimed I had trapped him by intentionally not taking my pills  For the next 16 years I suffered from his abuse.  It started out with insults and put downs, I was ugly, I was fat, I was stupid, and I was spending “his” money foolishly.  As my son was growing up he was called lazy, stupid, irresponsible, Momma’s boy, and faggot.  I was controlled.  As things progressed the insults no longer satisfied him and he began to push me around, and finally to hit me.   He was always very careful where he’d hit me so it didn’t show.  I never said a thing to my family or friends, I was too embarrassed.   My family knew there was something wrong in our marriage but they thought it was a matter of simply not getting along.   I wore long sleeves and turtlenecks to cover the bruises
His insults directed at my son started to became threats of violence and I began to feel desperate.  We had just moved to a place in the country and we still had our old house, it needed work before it could be put on the market.  The fighting had become even worse. 
It was at this time that my Daddy died.  His heart had been bad for years   He had heart attacks and surgery but finally that amazingly large heart of his that brought home every stray animal he saw and loved us so much gave out.  Before he died he had slipped into a coma, and it was during this time that my family began to realize just how dangerous my ex was.  One night I had left work and was supposed to go to the hospital for visitation hours.  But it was storming badly and as I came down a hill headed for the interstate my car began to fishtail on me, my ex wouldn’t allow me to put decent tires on the car.  I thought to myself, Katherine if your Daddy could talk to you right now he’d tell you to get your butt home and out of this storm.  So I headed home.  

I didn’t know my ex had gone to the hospital to make sure I was there.  It was a horrible 30 mile drive home; the rain was some of the heaviest I’d ever seen, I could barely see, the tires were in bad shape.  When I hit the country roads and got off the interstate the visibility was worse.  There were no street lights.  The night was black, the road was black, the water pooling on the side of the road was black.  I felt like I was driving through an inkwell.  When I finally walked into the house, shaking like a leaf, the phone was ringing off the hook.  It was my ex screaming at me that I’d lied to him and that I’d been seeing my (nonexistent) boyfriend instead of coming to see my Daddy.  I found out later from Mom that he’d made such a scene in the CIC waiting room that male friends and family of other patients got in-between my Mom and he and then called hospital security.  While Daddy was dying she had to hear him screaming at her that I was a whore and a slut.  Despite everything Sid did to me I really think the worst is knowing that Daddy died worrying about me.

For some reason I still didn’t think I could divorce him, I don’t know why.  I had a good job, matter of fact I supported him.  The insurance was through my work, I had a car in my own name (he refused to be responsible for it you see).  One night when on the phone with my younger sister I was crying about something he’d done and Karen said well I’d do --- I don’t even remember what it was she suggested.  I said Karen; you don’t have to live with Sid.  Her answer shocked me, well neither do you she said. There it was, I didn’t have to live with him.  It was so simple, but so shocking to me to realize.  I *didn’t* have to live with him!!!

The next day I called a couple of lawyers in town and got some idea of the cost.  I called Mom and asked her if I could borrow $2,500, she came a bit unglued and then asked me why I wanted the money.  Even though she and Daddy had insurance his medical bills had still been through the roof and the insurance didn’t cover everything.  When I told her I wanted a divorce  right away she asked me for my checking account number and she went and deposited the money directly in my account (my ex had separated our money, he refused to have my foolish hands in “his” disability money, but I had to write him checks frequently from my account as punishment for bad behavior like being late getting home or him catching me smoking).

I had all the problems y’all are familiar with, CPS showed up, lies were told to the Judge, and threats were made against me and my family.  He’d come into the house while I was at work and rummage about looking for indications that I’d had men over, I told my brother I was tempted to hang men’s underwear from the ceiling fan.  My family knew there was mental abuse but I still didn’t tell anyone the truth about the physical abuse except my lawyer.  I’d never called the police or filed a report.  I had no history to use. 

Friday, June 13, 1997 4:30 a.m.
I was sleeping; it had been a nice night.  I had taken my son up and dropped him off at his father’s for a weekend visit per the initial court decision and Sid had been very nice and polite to me.  Great, I thought, we can have a calm divorce after all.  This illusion was shattered though when I woke to feel something cold and hard pressed against my forehead and heard him saying, “Wake up bitch.”  My eyes opened and the sight of his gun, a 9mm Beretta that I knew he always kept loaded with hollow points,  filled my vision, behind it was his face, grinning.  He grabbed my hair with his other hand and pulled me from the bed and dragged me to the foot of it.  Still holding the gun to my forehead he started to pull rope pieces from his pockets and toss them on the bed, he fished out some rags he’d brought and tried to shove them into my mouth to gag me.  I fought him as best I could and tried to keep my tongue rolled up to stop the rags from going in. 

Then he saw my gun, a 22 long barrel revolver, the only kind of gun I could figure out how to operate on a bedside table.  Thinking I was cowed his walked over to the bedside table, shoving his gun into his belt holster and picked up mine.  I knew then he was as far away from me as he was going to get and I took off running.  I ran out of the bedroom into the living room and headed for the front door.  I didn’t make it.  He shot me from behind, with the sound of the shot screaming in the air (or maybe it was me screaming) I went down and I didn’t get up.  The bullet had broken my hip and lodged in my nerves. 

He was furious with me, he screamed something about his plan and he grabbed my hair, kicked me onto my back and dragged me towards the door.  He wanted to drag me outside to his truck but he couldn’t.  Manic with his anger at me for ruining his plans to get me out of the house, kill me, and dump me somewhere, he sat down on my chest and pinned my arms to the floor with his knees and shoved the barrel of the gun down my throat.  I panicked.  His finger was on the trigger of the gun.  I managed to drag my arms out from under his knees and I wrapped my hands around his and fought him for control of it.  I’d pull the gun out, he’d force it back down my throat.  All his finger had to do was tighten just a little bit and it was over for me. 

We fought over the gun like this for a few minutes and then I heard my Daddy’s voice, “Katherine, if you panic you’re lost”  I was so shocked that even in this circumstance I tried to turn my head towards the voice.  I heard him, at least in my mind and I calmed down.  Despite the gun my mouth I began to try to talk to him, I took my hands off his, I talked about our son and how if he did this our son would have one parent dead and the other in prison.  Finally, he got off me.

I rolled back over onto my stomach and began to cough up blood.  He laughed.  He left me laying there and began to rummage through the house.  I kept looking around trying to find something, anything, that I could use as a weapon but I couldn’t get up.  Every time I tried to pull myself up the pain in my hip would overwhelm me and my right leg didn’t seem to work right anymore and I’d collapse back down. 

He came back.  Laughing and screaming insults at me he circled me as I lay on the floor, kicking me in the side, the head, the butt,  kicking my legs apart he kicked my pubic area.  I was trying to roll and dodge his kicks but I wasn’t very effective.  He got tired and sat down on the floor beside me to rest.

For hours he took turns resting and hitting me, resting and kicking me, resting and dragging me around.  Then finally with his hand holding the gun he stroked my hair, I love you Katherine he whispered and then put the gun to my temple and pulled the trigger.  It fell on an empty cartridge.  I swear I came off the ground five feet into the air while still laying flat.  He thought this was the funniest thing he’d ever seen.  Chuckling he put the gun to my temple again, and the phone rang.

Shocked, he got up and walked over to it and stared at it as it rang.  “Stop ringing!!” he screamed.  We both knew who it had to be; only my Mom would call at that time of the morning.  He knew that when I didn’t answer my Mom would call the police.  He had called so many people in my family by then and threatening them if they supported me in this divorce that he knew her next call would be the police.

He figured his time was short, he ran around the house and gathered up all the phones, and even took the microphone from my computer so I couldn’t use the phone dialing program to call for help.  Grabbing my hair again he pulled my face up and grinned at me, “you’re spitting blood bitch, you’re getting what’s coming to you.” And he left, with both of us thinking I was dying of bleeding internally.

Laying there, I racked my brain trying to think of what to do I had to get help.  My purse was on the table next to where I was and the strap was dangling down.  I grabbed it and pulled it down and got my keys out.  I crawled and slithered my way to the door and waited to make sure he was gone.  When I felt sure I crawled out the door, rolled down the front stairs and managed to drag myself to my car.  I honestly don’t know how but I managed to get into the driver’s seat and drive to my neighbor’s house.  I hit the horn and didn’t stop until they came out. 

The next two to three hours were filled with my family being notified, my Mother risking her own life by going to Sid’s house and banging on the door trying to find my son.  We were all afraid that Sid had shot him and then come after me.  Calls from to and from my lawyer arranging for a restraining order, arrest warrants, police arriving at the hospital and positioning themselves at my door in case he decided to try again.  We discovered that he’d left the truck he drove to my house at a local gas station and had a get away car parked there which he left the area in.  I was not supposed to survive this attack, it was a planned murder attempt.

After being stabilized at the small town hospital I was taken to first sent me by ambulance to a larger hospital where I stayed for the next few days and began to learn about the damage that was done to my nerves that will stay with me for the rest of my days.

Finally, the pictures of my injuries were finished, the police reports were done, the damn hospital was satisfied that I had insurance (that’s a story for another day, remember I only took my keys when I left the house) and so I asked Mom what made her call me at so early in the morning.  She told me, I heard your Daddy’s voice Katherine telling me to wake up that you needed help. 

My family knows about the involvement of my Daddy in that day, and the court and the police I told about the attack and the shooting.  But this is the first time I’ve told the whole story.  I was afraid the jury would think I was crazy if I told the part about Daddy.

I want all of you ladies who are still with your abusers to read this and remember how foolish I was.  I should have left my house.  My lawyer warned me, she told me the danger.  But I thought it couldn’t happen to me, Even though I’d been hit and abused for years I didn’t think he would go that far.  I didn’t fully realize how he’d react when the control was taken from him, I’d never taken control before. 

I was told that due to the location of the bullet, which lodged itself in my nervous system.  That even if I found a surgeon who would be willing to remove it that they would almost have to cut me in half to get it out.  But no surgeon has ever been willing to go into the nerve bundle and try to remove the bullet.  I carry it with me still today.
Due to the location of the bullet in my nerves I have sciatica, peripheral neuropathy, interstitial cystitis, arthritis (my hip was broken by the bullet), and involuntary painful muscle spasms.  My nerves are misfiring constantly sending wrong signals to muscles and organs.  Some of my medical problems, like the interstitial cystitis, are caused by the misfiring of these nerves.  It actually destroyed the lining of my bladder; over the course of my life it can cause other serious and painful damage to my organs.  I have pain when walking, pain when sitting, and pain when standing.  I can no longer work, I can barely walk.

To understand the level of the pain let me relate the results of a medical experiment.  A researcher managed to figure out how to create interstitial cystitis in a lab mouse.  The researchers gathered around as the mouse awoke to see what its reaction would be.  The mouse made whimpering noises, then began to curl itself up, finally unable to deal with the pain any longer the mouse tried to chew its bladder out.

Now I’m not saying, of course, that if you don’t get out safely that this will happen to you.  But the odds are stacked high against you that your abuser will try to attack you when you take back your control.  In the long run of your life a short time spent in a shelter or another safe place will not amount to much.  But not taking these precautions leaves you open to an attack that can kill you or damage you forever. 

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