The Worst Step-Father EVER, the END

The worst was over.  Mom told me she had filed the police report after the cooling off period.  I felt safe at my aunt and uncle’s home. 

A few weeks went by and mom drove up to my uncle’s house in the station wagon.  Les’ station wagon.  My heart sank. 
She told me she was going to get groceries but instead she was lured into a bullshit…  “I’m so sorry baby… I swear I will never hurt you again baby… please take me back and let me prove it…” rendezvous.
Sadly this is so typical.  You can free your body long before you can free your mind from an abusive relationship.  The mind keeps reeling you back in.  You don’t want to believe he was, perhaps, trying to kill you.  No one ever wants to believe anything so heinous about someone they want to love.
I freaked out.  I told her I wasn’t going back and I wouldn’t let her take the kids.  It was quickly pointed out I had no right to prevent her from taking the kids.  I had to go to protect them.
My uncle drove back with us.  He had a message for Les and it was actually fun to watch.  My uncle was a big guy.  Les was about 5’10” and weighed about 140lb.  As Les sat in a kitchen chair with his skinny legs twisted in a knot, the conversation went something like this…

“You want a fight?”

“No sir.”

“Of course you don’t want to fight a man, you cowardly son of a bitch, you prefer to beat up on women and children!”

“No, sir I don’t.”

“But you did.”

“I lost my mind and I apologized and will never lay a hand…”

“If you EVER even think about touching anyone in this house again I will personally come here and beat you within an inch of your miserable life.”

“I swear…”

“Do you understand me?!”

“Yes sir.”
As with most reconciliation there is a very short honeymoon period.  Within a week the head games were starting all over again.  I alerted my uncle.
With some outside help we were able to convince mom she was living with a ticking time bomb.  We finally made the permanent move.
As I mentioned in the beginning of this series, I have no degree in psychology but life has made me an expert on Battered Woman Syndrome.  Ironically that term didn’t even exist in the ‘60’s.
Research shows that violence begets violence.  I’m certain my grandfather was beaten as a child and raised with the mantra ‘spare the rod, spoil the child’.  He, in turn, carried that tradition forward.  He never laid a hand on my grandmother but the kids got severe beatings.
As a female child, being beaten by her father, mom believed it was ok to beat your kids.  She also believed if you were being mistreated by a man it must be your fault.

Here are the four stages of BWS:
1) Denial.  Making excuses for the abuser’s behavior.

2) Guilt.    The victim blames themselves… if I try harder, etc.

3) Enlightenment.  The light bulb begins to flicker… recognize it’s his fault but hope he’ll change.

4) Responsibility.  Begin to take steps to leave.  Realize only he can fix it.
Battered Woman Syndrome is a form of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.  I’m sure it’s because living in a violent home feels like living in a war zone.
It astounds me how society and the laws governing society look at this type of violence differently than someone beaten up in a bar fight.
We had an incident recently in my city of a young man leaving a bar, hailing a cab, the cab didn’t stop and he yelled an obscenity, another car came up and three men got out and beat the guy to death.  A reward for tips leading to those responsible was posted immediately.  The men were brought in and now will face trial.
On any given night in our fair city, or yours, a woman is beaten within a breath of her life by her significant other and then left with the onus of proving it.
Republicans in the state of New Hampshire have proposed legislation that would require a warrant be issued in domestic abuse cases unless the police officer called to the scene witnesses the act of abuse.  Welcome back to 1967.  I thought this post on The Frisky blog explained it in real terms.
If that law had been in place there would have been no point in me trying to call the police at 3am.  No judge is getting out of bed to issue a warrant in the middle of the night for a ‘domestic dispute’. 
As mom and I sat in front of a police officer the morning after, stitched and patched back together, it wouldn’t have mattered because he didn’t witness anything.  This proposed law is worse than having a waiting period.  It destroys what little hope an abused woman has of anyone coming to her aid.

We, here in the U.S., have no solid national laws governing domestic violence so I feel we must all take a good hard look at this and bring the ugliness into the light.  New Hampshire isn’t the only state out of touch with this issue.  Find out where your state stands. This site may help.
I’ll explore this further in future posts and welcome your input.  Thanks for all your support throughout this uncomfortable series.  I truly appreciate it.

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7 comments

  1. Le Anne Lindsay

    Well, this is enlightening. I thought by now domestic abuse had all kinds of protection for women. There's been so much talk about it in the last decade.

    On a blogging note: I read the entire series and it's like a movie playing out in my mind. You broke it up perfectly. So scary and involving.

    On a personal note: As always, I'm continually amazed at your sunny disposition and the normality of your life now, after having lived this crazy existence growing up.

  2. hammondart

    Enlightenment is exactly where I intend to go with this LeAnne! We, as women, can't sit back and assume the establishment has our back.
    Thank you for your kind words about the series. I'm actually going to share a guest post next week on being a cock-eyed optimist.
    b

  3. Lambeck

    It's difficult for men as well. Try explaining to CPS that you have been battered physically and emotionally by a woman when you are a man. Good luck!

  4. hammondart

    I am sure. I must admit I was surprised to learn that as many as 20% of domestic abuse cases were women abusing men. Either way it is unacceptable how law enforcement handles this so differently.
    Thanks for adding to this conversation!
    b

  5. ElizOF

    What a story… I'm glad your mom saw the light. Many don't reach that stage before the abuser snuffs their light out. More information, education, prosecution and intervention is needed to help the abused… Thank you for shedding some light on this dark subject.

  6. Jottergirl

    Barbara, I am so glad you included the information about domestic abuse. It is hard to imagine how little progress has been made regarding laws to protect women in their own homes.

  7. hammondart

    It really breaks my heart JG. We have miles to go before we can sleep soundly.