Monday, February 08, 2010

Whose failure is it

When you've done everything you, everything you are supposed to do, to protect yourself and your child from an abusive ex, and the system fails you at every turn.

First go read this story (triggers, triggers, triggers, peeps) from The Curvature

Then as a wee bit of a refresher, read this old post of mine- Getting Out is Never Easy (also- triggers triggers triggers)

Getting out of an abusive situation is never easy, and the help that is supposed to be available to protect us is not enough. I had to give up on the system and run away. Even after 12 years of no communication, I was afraid that the Kid or I would be hurt at his 8th Grade Graduation. We skipped the public ceremony and went out for Chinese tapas instead.

Katie Tagle did everything she was supposed to do. She left him, she filed police reports and applied for restraining orders. She tried to keep her son safe in every legal way possible.

That system failed her and her child. That system refused to acknowledge the evidence in front of its eyes and chose too rely on make-believe stereotypes of vindictive women and their hard-pressed male victims.

I got lucky, but I also had to leave a city I loved, drop all my friends and only communicate with people who had never met, talked to, or heard about my ex or who were related to me and were supposed to take my side. It's a big sacrifice. Could you pick up on a whim and leave everyone you know? Could you function without access to credit, or references from bosses who smoked pot with your ex every weekend? Without a bank account, or a cell phone, or a forwarding address? Or even a lease in your name? Would you even know how you go about getting a car loan without having it show up on your credit (try tote-your-note car lots. The cars will be crappy and old and the odometer will probably be rolled back, but it won't show up on a credit report). And this was all before Facebook and MySpace and Twitter and blogs. I got way too comfortable and assumed that a decade's worth of absence would make him disappear. I was wrong.

I still, fucking still, get startled by men who resemble my ex in even tiny ways. I still lose sleep when I hear noises, perfectly explainable tree or wind noises, outside my windows at night.

All that and I got lucky. The Kid is alive and safe. I am alive and safe. Any abuser apologists are on my permanent shit list (you know who you are) and don't get access to the Kid or me.

I think I know what Katie Tagle is experiencing right now. I think she is blaming herself for not breaking the law, keeping her son from his father, and running. But she shouldn't. Living in hiding should not be the only option for a woman protecting her child. That tiny family shouldn't have to be the ones terrified of every door knock or phone call or email. She did everything she was supposed to do to keep her child safe according to the Justice System. And the people that really failed her son, the judges and her ex, are free. The judges can hide behind their black robes and superiority and "justice" to avoid shouldering the blame for their accessory to murder. Her ex took the coward's way out.

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