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Survivor Story Part 1: I Told My Family I Had It Under Control

BreakTheSilenceDV

BreakTheSilenceDV

Written by: Kourtney, Survivor

CDL and I began dating when I was sixteen years old. We were together for seven years, having two girls – KL and LL. In late 2011, CDL became the non-custodial parent. The family abuse center and CPS advised I file for sole custody, but in the end it was my decision. I filed a basic joint custody agreement with the lowest child support payments possible. CDL was petitioned but did not come. An advocate from the family abuse center came with me just in case. A family violence caution was issued and we were to be met in separate offices in the child support division. CDL did not have contact with KL or LL for over six years.

There was no way to convince me I was a battered woman while it was happening. I shut out anyone who tried. I was eventually isolated from everyone I knew. I was sent home from work on a regular basis. I needed medical attention a few times. The hospital or Family Practice Center gave me the hotline papers every time I came in. I would even get them when I took KL and LL for checkups. I was used to the mental abuse. I always forgave the physical abuse. His guilt afterwards was so overwhelming, I mistook it for love.

CDL shot a guy in 2006. He got in a friend’s car who drove him to my grandparent’s house. I don’t know how long he was there before I got home from work. I had a timecard showing I had clocked out twenty minutes prior to police surrounding the house. I went to jail, felony hindering apprehension. I spent nine months on probation. The driver received the most severe punishment. CDL was charged with misdemeanor assault with a deadly weapon on a family member and spent four months at highway six. My charge was lowered to misdemeanor hindering apprehension once I finished my probation. The victim was shot point blank in his leg with a .22 caliber rifle.

CPS investigated me the first time in 2008. KL was a newborn. I had to drive CDL to the emergency room after he shot himself with a .38 caliber handgun.

The physical abuse started when I became pregnant with LL. My granny and CDL came with me to find out the sex of the baby. CDL threw a fit and stormed out of the room after we found out LL was a girl. A few months later, I went to the doctor after CDL grabbed my jaw and his finger punctured a hole under my tongue.

In 2010, I sustained a broken finger. I was regularly sent home from work for the way my face looked. CDL embarrassed me several times at my job and was arrested. He became angry at me because he was arrested early in the morning at a donut shop. Nobody calls the cops because they’re already around waiting to come in for breakfast. He was arrested one morning and his sister, C, picked him up from jail. I didn’t see him for three days. An officer came to my job one morning and instructed me to come into the station when I got off work. I forgot and went home for a nap before I had to get the girls from my granny. Every window in the house was busted, the doors were both in the yard, the TV’s missing and my laptop and desktop were smashed in the driveway. I went to the police station. I was issued a citation after CDL, C and C’s boyfriend came into the station claiming to have witnessed me beat up CDL. The officer knew it was bogus. He wasn’t the one who took the complaint, however, so it was filed and there was nothing he could do. He told me to just pay the ticket he wasn’t going to take me to jail or charge me with anything. C and her boyfriend did that to CDL and tried to file charges at me for it, I assume. I never said another word about it, because wasn’t worth picking a losing battle over.

I decided I was taking the girls and leaving. I began to prepare after my granny and my mom went ballistic after they witnessed CDL choke me until I was unconscious. I told them I had it under control, he does that all the time, and it’s no big deal. I now know it was and I could have died. My granny was in the middle of the floor crying. She kept saying over and over I was going to let him kill me and the girls would be next if they got stuck with him. My mom was frantic saying look what you’re doing to your kids and your granny. The girls were watching TV. They were used to it, and I knew it had to change.

I went to the district attorney’s office and filed for a protection order in late 2010. It was denied. The letter was sent to my address. CDL confronted me about it. I had to take off work for a few days and ignored my family after CDL held me down to make shallow cuts up and down my arms with his pocket knife. JS was a witness to this. CDL told me if I left with the girls he would call the cops and tell them I tried to kill myself.

I tried to leave a few weeks later. I had the girls at my granny’s and the car packed up to leave when CDL pulled up and blocked me in the driveway. I backed into his truck a few times begging him to please move. He is the most scary when he is calmly asking me to do something with a smile on his face. He was asking me to please get out of car so we could talk. I was terrified and hysterical. He started saying I could leave anytime I wanted, I just had to get out and walk away. I eventually got out. He choked me until I fell unconscious. I woke up in his truck bed. He was trying to sling me out. I picked up a trolley motor and started busting out the back windshield. I was crawling out the back window I smashed out when the cops showed up. I was maniacal. He was calm, cool and collective. I went to jail. CDL filed an emergency protection order against me for him and the girls.

CDL lost the house, everything in the house, and totaled his truck within a matter of a few months. I would not answer his phone calls. He eventually dropped the girls off at my granny’s. A week later he threatened to call the police if I didn’t bring them back to him. I had my mom take them to him. He called me all night long on my birthday and well into the next morning. I finally answered at about five or six in the morning to make sure it wasn’t about KL or LL. CDL pleaded and begged and cried asking me to keep the girls and take him to work. I caved. I pulled up and got out of the car to go get the girls’ carseats ready. CDL snatched my phone and keys. My phone was smashed and my keys were thrown. He kept telling me the ball is in his court and I was playing a game I could never win. He promised me that. Over and over again he repeated himself. He had the house phone in his hand waving it around. His terminally ill grandfather was sitting on the porch trying to talk to him. His grandpa started to cry and tell me he was sorry he couldn’t help me. I knew that because he wasn’t physically able to. I was on the ground curled up and CDL was kicking me with his steel toed boot. He called the cops. I had to go to the hospital before I spent three days in jail. The police report said what CDL had told them. I showed up and he called the police, then I fell down trying to run away, I must have twisted my ankle. My foot was five times the size it was normally.

The officer told hospital staff I needed my foot x-rayed and that it was probably a twisted ankle because I tried to run. I insisted it was my knee. It felt like it was going to bend backwards when I stood up. I stated I was kicked with a steel toed boot. There were deep indentations up and down my shin. They x-rayed my foot. Nothing. They x-rayed my knee. My right proximal tibia was smashed into 5 different pieces and my ACL was torn. The cop said I shouldn’t have run. The doctor said unless I fell out of a four story window, I didn’t get that injury from a fall. I was told the injury is consistent with having been in a high speed car accident. I was given a CVC form, but refused to fill it out. I was scared. I went to jail and was charged with violation of a protection order.

Three days later, my mom picked me up. My cousin’s wife, H, called my granny that day. I answered the phone and H told me that CDL left the girls with her three days ago and she didn’t know what to do. She didn’t have any carseats or clothes. They came in a diaper and that’s it. My mom went and got them.

A couple weeks go by before there is a social worker knocking on the door. CDL had called SWI as well as went up to the office in person in his grandpa’s suit and tie. It was alleged that I was drunk when I showed up and demanded I have the kids. I forcefully shoved them in the car kicking and screaming. He didn’t want me to get into any more trouble than I was already in. He loves me and just prays that I will get the help I need so we can be a family. He is concerned for the kids’ safety on the count of my drug and sex addiction, and he didn’t want that kind of stuff going on in front of his children.

I couldn’t walk, much less drive. My leg was broken. CPS made the girls and me relocate for our safety. We lived at the family abuse center for seven months. A judge dropped my charges, but left the protection order in place, taking the girls off of it. He stated he didn’t want to see me back in his courtroom with any matter involving CDL. But, here I am.

CPS closed my case and opened another just as quickly. CPS documented we needed to be monitored to ensure our safety due to threat of harm by CDL, who made yet another false report. The next day he destroyed my granny’s yard. This happened a few times as well as vandalism of my vehicle. In 2013, Granny and I ended up having to press charges against him for destruction of property and burglary of a motor vehicle. When police came to inform us they had arrested him, I was given back my driver’s license. It was in his wallet. He sent me text and Facebook messages promising he would have his revenge.

In November 2013, the CPS case that went on for two years closed. I had been dating RL for about a year. The girls and I moved in with him. Everything was great. We were happy. It was natural and we became a family. We had game night, movie night, and picnics. We would go to the park, to the movies, and vacation every summer. We had awesome birthday parties, packed lunches for school every day, a bedroom they designed themselves, nice clothes and shoes everyone complimented, and the newest PS4 games. Now their room is empty.

In March 2015, baby CML was born. LL told everyone she got a baby brother for her birthday. I scheduled my cesarean for the Monday of spring break so I could stay a week with CML before I went back to school the following Monday. NB, who works for CPS, came to the house. I took a parenting class. The first night I went to the class there was a girl taking my picture. CDL showed up at the class. CR is now CDL’s wife. The instructor sent me home and set up one on one special class time for me after the incident. I finished quickly and life went on.

**If you or someone you know is in an abusive relationship, there is help. You can visit the Break the Silence website at www.breakthesilencedv.org, chat with one of our helpline advocates at 855-287-1777, or send a private message through our Facebook page.

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