The following is my Impact Statement and summary of my lived experience that inspired my founding of Right to Protect. I have redacted identifying information to protect myself, but all details herein are absolutely factual. I read my Impact Statement in open court and the printed copy that I read from was given to the Deputy District Attorney to include in the case file. My reasons for sharing here are no different from my reasons for making my Impact Statement in open court, listed in the bullet points below. I hope you are blessed by reading what I wrote.
If you are being abused, know that there is hope.
-------------------------------- IMPACT STATEMENT --------------------------------
I want to open by thanking the court for allowing me the time and opportunity to speak, on the record, of the abuse I endured at the hands of the defendant. As a victim and survivor, my voice is important for several reasons.
My name is [NAME REDACTED] and I am the named victim and survivor of the defendant in case #[REDACTED], [DEFENDANTS NAME REDACTED]. I escaped domestic violence, spousal rape, and stalking from a law enforcement family, and the following is my Victim Impact Statement.
The defendant and I began dating in [MONTH REDACTED] of [YEAR REDACTED] and we were only together for 3 long tumultuous years. In the beginning, our relationship was intense and fast tracked, and in [MONTH REDACTED] of [YEAR REDACTED] we were married, without the knowledge or attendance of any of our family or friends. I was fortunate enough to find the strength and opportunity to escape in [MONTH REDACTED] of [YEAR REDACTED], but not before giving birth to my now 12 year old son in [DATE REDACTED].
In [MONTH REDACTED] of [YEAR REDACTED], almost immediately after I escaped, the defendant began stalking me; and in [MONTH REDACTED] of [YEAR REDACTED], after repeated violations of probation and restraining orders issued under case number [REDACTED], he was charged with Felony Domestic Violence Stalking, case number [REDACTED]. The defendant plead to the charges and a 10-year Criminal Protective Order was issued. In [MONTH REDACTED] of [YEAR REDACTED] the defendant was sentenced to 4 years in prison after repeated violations of probation and the 10-year Criminal Protective Order. The same day that I testified, the Deputy District Attorney prosecuting the case, [NAME REDACTED], strongly cautioned myself and the judge that she anticipated my situation escalating to a murder suicide and it was not a matter of if, but when.
At the start of my relationship with the defendant, he shared with me that he had been addicted to methamphetamine's since the age of 12 but had been clean and sober for some months when we met. He told of his story of childhood abuse and years of addiction with pride of triumph, and an unwavering commitment to his newfound lifestyle of sobriety with hope, confidence, and conviction. He managed to sell me on grandiose promises of a beautiful life together, one where he lived as a man of God that loves his wife the way Christ loves the church, as commanded of husbands in the Bible. A life where he loved and accepted my children from previous relationships the way he would love his own when God saw fit to bless us with one or more of our own. A life where he protected and provided for our family and supported me in my endeavor to find and live out my purpose because God promises to give beauty for ashes, and the pain and devastation of my life before him was something that God was causing to work together for my good; what he claimed was evidenced by our love and God ordained relationship together. But I was naive to the hold that a drug addiction, let alone one that spanned so many years of one’s life, had on a person and I found myself blindsided by the depravity that awaited me as I eagerly and wholeheartedly walked into what I can only describe as an intimate relationship with the devil.
Shortly after we began our relationship he moved back in with his father, the home where he was born and raised, the home where he was forced to endure the abuse of his childhood, which he would share in great detail with me throughout our relationship. Little did I know, as soon as he moved back into his childhood home with his father, he began smoking methamphetamine's again. Though I would encourage one to question most everything that their abuser tells them, especially about their life before the relationship, a lot of what the defendant shared with me about his abusive childhood was corroborated by both his late mother, sister and friends who knew him growing up.
Up until my relationship with the defendant, I had no knowledge of, or experience with, methamphetamine use or addiction and the devastation it has on a person. I successfully completed D.A.R.E. in elementary school, but that had already been so many years passed and the information that was provided was nothing compared to the real-life experience of living with, or being married to, a methamphetamine addict.
As is typical of abusers and abusive relationships, the worst of what I endured isn’t how the relationship began. In order to successfully sell me on the dream and all of his empty promises, the defendant was seemingly amazing. He had me convinced that he was truly one of a kind, the man I had dreamed of ever since I was a little girl, and that we were meant to be together. He was patient, loving, attentive, and not just with me but my other children as well. He was affectionate, reasonable, agreeable, accommodating, funny, and a whole lot of fun. He was incredibly talented, both musically and artistically, and had a strong natural aptitude for what seemed like anything mechanical and carpentry related. He was fiercely protective, but I would later come to realize and understand that he was not protective of me as someone of value in his life but rather as a piece of property, an object, something that he owned. Though the good times together are a long and distant memory, they were nothing more than a fantasy of a person that never actually existed.
As stupid as I’m afraid it sounds; I believed his lies and empty promises, all of them, and held onto the fantasy, for years, of who I was deceived into believing that he was. It had taken me a number of years since my escape to come to the best terms possible of who or what it was that I had actually found myself with. To this day, I still struggle with feelings of shame over what it is that I believed, even after coming to learn about the true nature of someone like the defendant. That the cruel deception is methodical, intended to shake a victim at their core; annihilating their confidence in themselves, their own moral compass and convictions, and especially their sense of reality.
Abuse isn’t something that a victim walks into with knowledge and expectation of, it’s a dynamic that is gradually introduced into the relationship by subtly eroding boundaries and perverting expectations. Something that one cannot possibly prepare themselves for. What starts out as a loving relationship sprinkled with seemingly benign conflict gradually escalate into something toxic; followed by apologies, professions of love and remorse, and excuses cleverly dressed as reasonable explanations for the abuser’s behavior. The relationship, following these incidents of toxic conflict and abuse, is made to feel just as good as it was in the beginning if not better, as the intensity of both the conflict and reconciliation increases. This cycle of positive reinforcement, known as love bombing, after intense conflicts creates an addiction within the victim to both their abuser and the abusive cycle, known as trauma bonding. As addicted as the defendant was, and I suspect he still is, to methamphetamine, I was even more addicted to him and the abusive cycle of our relationship. I was trauma bonded. The more dramatic the highs and lows, the more intense the cycle of conflict and reconciliation, and the longer one finds themselves within it, the stronger the trauma bond. Some trauma bonds are so strong that they are never broken. Couple that with the fear of severe harm or death, of ourselves and our children, even our friends and families in many cases, a victim has what they often believe is no hope of ever escaping.
My relationship and marriage to the defendant was no different as I endured things that I am still to this day, almost 12 years later, healing from. Including contending with the trauma bonds created during that time, as mine are bonds that will never be broken.
During our relationship the defendant was abusive in any and every way that one could possibly imagine; physically, sexually, emotionally, psychologically, spiritually, financially. I lived under constant threat that if I had ever spoken out about the abuse that I was enduring that the defendant and his family would use their careers, connections, and reputation in law enforcement to fabricate charges against me and I would be the one to end up in prison, never seeing my children again. I wanted to leave, and tried to many times, but I was afraid; and I believed that the defendant would make good on his promise and at least if I was still there, I would be better able to protect my children.
I struggled with severe cognitive dissonance during the 3 years that the defendant and I were together. I struggled with how my husband, the man I thought I loved so passionately and deeply, could be as seemingly perfect as he was evil. He would often talk about the different ways that he fantasized about killing someone. One of the methods he would say was his favorite was to force his fingers down a person’s throat, causing them to vomit; with his hands still in their mouth the vomit would have nowhere to go except back down the persons throat causing them to aspirate and drown on their own vomit. Another of his favorites that he would talk about was to grab the person by the face with his middle and ring fingers of one hand in either of their eye sockets while he used his other hand to rip their jaw clean off their face.
Later in our relationship, following the tragedy of [NAME REDACTED], he told me that he could see himself doing that same thing and promised me that if I ever left him he would disappear with our son and I would never know what happened to them, unless or until their dead bodies were found. There was a time, when the court had granted the defendant visitation, that I was so scared that he would make good on his promise that I shopped around what it would cost to turn my sons’ ashes into diamonds.
Our arguments would often escalate to him physically assaulting me. I remember many times, while I was pregnant, I would end up pinned to the ground with him sitting on my stomach and his hands around my throat, strangling me. Though it would be reasonable for one to consider each of those instances as an attempt on my life there was one, in particular, that stands out in my mind as him having clear intention to kill me. I was pregnant with our son and we had gotten into an argument. It escalated to a physical assault on me by the defendant. In a violent rage, with his hand around my throat strangling me, he put the back of my head through the bedroom wall before throwing me down to the ground and coming down on top of me. While on the ground the defendant tried to force his hand in my mouth and fingers down my throat the same way he would often describe in his fantasies of murder. I bit the fingers that he was attempting to force down my throat and was able to get away. I ran and grabbed the phone and dialed 9-1-1. I had every intention of reporting the assault to the police but as I ran outside the defendant’s father pulled up to the house so instead of requesting police response, out of fear of the threats made to me should I report the abuse to the police, I only requested an ambulance because when he threw me down to the ground, the impact of his body on top of my pregnant belly caused a gush of fluid to rush out from between my legs and I was afraid that my water had broken. I was transported to the hospital by ambulance and after some testing it had been determined that the impact had merely caused me to empty my bladder. Upon returning home I was met with adoration and affection from the defendant. He greeted me with a smack on my bottom before throwing his arm around my shoulder and giving me a passionate wet kiss and telling me “That’s my girl,” for the way that I had defended myself when he had me on the ground before being taken to the hospital by ambulance.
The defendant wasn’t just physically abusive during our relationship, he was also sexually abusive. He brutalized me sexually and would boast to me about how his father bragged that it sounded like he was murdering me when we were having sex. After sex I would go into the bathroom by myself and cry, not only due to the physical pain but the heartbreak his sexual abuse caused me. The physical injuries inflicted on me were so severe that I suffered many infections, both vaginal and urinary tract. At their worst my doctor expressed concern that I would have to bear the burden of permanent damage as he thought the defendant had ruptured the fibrous membrane between my front and back orifices. At which time my doctor discussed with me the possibility of having to refer me for surgery if the injuries did not heal on their own.
The defendant would use the scriptures to justify his abuse and tell me that I had no choice and could not leave because God hates divorce. He used the scripture about husbands and wives’ bodies no longer being their own to fuel his sense of entitlement to my body and justify his sexual deviance. I was so convinced by his lies and perversion of the scriptures that I told my doctor that my husband and I had simply gotten a little too rough by accident.
When we were together the defendant compared us to Romeo and Juliet, saying that he can’t be held responsible for what he does to me because he can’t control himself, he just loves me that much. He would tell me how any restraining order is nothing more than a piece of paper and he would find me and hide up in the trees, in bushes, underneath cars, underneath my bed, in my closet, in the attic, anywhere to get to me and there would be nothing that I, the court, or the police could do to stop him.
In the years since my relationship with the defendant, I have not only been fighting him in various court arenas to protect myself and my son, but I have also thrown myself into intensive therapy to heal and recover from the depravity that I endured at the hands of the defendant. I have come a long way and God has truly given me beauty for ashes, just as He promises He will. I not only stand before this court as the named victim, and survivor, but a certified professional and specialist in the area of victim advocacy:
I say all of that to say: I cannot stress to this court enough, personally or professionally, the real, legitimate, and credible threat that the defendant poses to my life and safety. In the defendant’s message to me on Instagram on [DATE REDACTED], in violation of the 10-year CPO that is the reason for the case that is being sentenced today, he declared that he still loves me “regardless” after all these years. After almost 11 years, the defendant violated the CPO when he went diligently searching for me and found me, on social media, under an alias; a nickname that had been given to me years after my escape, and he had already been serving time in prison. It is clear that the defendant is still fixated on me, and this is only the violation of which I am aware. In light of everything that I have endured at the hands of the defendant, some of which I have outlined for you in my victim impact statement today, the threats the defendant has made to me, and the previous Deputy District Attorney’s strong words of warning regarding the urgency of my situation as it pertains to the defendant, I wish that it be entered into court record that I live in fear for my life and safety, and that of my son. I wish to have absolutely no contact or communication with the defendant, and neither does my son. I also want to bring to the courts attention that on [DATE REDACTED] [COUNTY REDACTED] County Family Court terminated the defendants parental rights to my son on both the grounds of abandonment and his fitness as a parent. I have provided Deputy District Attorney [NAME REDACTED] with a copy of said judgement so that this county has record of it in the event that the defendant violates again, which I anticipate he will if history is any indication. I want there to be no confusion as it pertains to the stipulation in the Criminal Protective Order that references peaceful contact regarding mutual children; as of [DATE REDACTED] that stipulation no longer applies.
To the defendant: I do not hate you; I have forgiven you, and I pray for you regularly. But do NOT play with me! This is not a game. I am not playing hard to get. NO MEANS NO! So let today be a clear and resounding NO!
In closing I would like to remind you that we have a son and I ask only one thing of you as it pertains to him. Use this time wisely. Get the necessary help from a trauma informed specialist. Heal from the things you never deserved to endure as a child. Be prepared that it’s only going to get worse before it gets better but if you remain committed and diligent, I promise you, the healing will come. Understand that one day, when our son is a man, he is going to want answers. And if he seeks you out for those answers, no answer that you give for why you are the way you are, now, will ever be good enough. They will only sound like excuses. So at least give him the satisfaction of seeing that you did not allow his childhood years to go to waste. Just know that he is safe with me, and it is because I found the strength to leave when I did and go to the lengths that I have to protect myself and my children, that he will be the first in your line to break the cycle that is responsible for what you are today! You’re welcome!