I waited for this day for seven months. Well, actually more than that if you start counting from the day I first realized I was in an abusive relationship. Let me tell you, this wasn’t easy by any means. With no constitutional rights in the state the charges were being filed, I found myself in seven months of confusion and hell as to how the system works, why I had no rights as a victim, and what all of this court language meant (continuances, motions, status hearings, probable cause hearings, etc.). I now know more about the court system than I ever wanted to. But let me get into how difficult it was to actually get to court and my experience reading my victim impact statement at my ex boyfriend’s sentencing.
The prosecutor decided to move forward with two of four domestic violence charges, using an additional felony charge as leverage to get my ex boyfriend to plead guilty to these charges. Throughout this process, the prosecutor kept me in the dark. I emailed her over and over again to get either no response or a couple of words. Her responses implied I was bothering her. But you know what? I didn’t back down. I wanted to understand what was happening with this case, since NO ONE had an answer for me. When you’re a victim of domestic violence, the prosecutor asks you what you want to see happen as part of probation. I was very clear on everything (although she only asked me ONCE and there were FOUR charges and three different arrests), including BATTERERS CLASSES. Abusers don’t need anger management classes, as they aren’t ANGRY. They CHOOSE to abuse certain people, including their partners. We discussed this several times how important it was to me that he get batterers classes as part of his sentencing. Keep this in mind for when I get into what happened in court. Anyway, after showing up to court multiple times just to be re-victimized because the wrong dates were given to me and I was never informed of any changes in hearing dates, finally, his plea date was set and I was ready to go with my victim impact statement.
The whole court hearing was a blur. I sat there and listened to his attorney say my ex was pleading guilty to two domestic violence charges and then when the judge asked what the state’s recommendation for sentencing was, it was all stuff I had NEVER heard before, except for the no contact part. The prosecutor went on to tell the judge she and I agreed to this and then she and the defense attorney agreed to it. She recommended ANGER MANAGEMENT CLASSES, two years of good behavior, and the two domestic violence charges could be dropped to a violation after a year. At this point I was BOILING. But, in court you can’t show expression, so I sat there staring at the floor.
Then it was my turn to be heard. I got up and read my victim impact statement. You could hear a pin drop as I read my statement out loud. I worked on this for three months and it couldn’t have turned out any better, considering the circumstances. The judge was very moved by it and continuously told me what a great job I did. He then turned to my ex and scolded him because apparently he was rolling his eyes in disgust the entire time I was reading it. He continued to tell my ex that he “just didn’t get it,” and that “no one deserves to be treated that way.” He also kept telling him he wouldn’t hesitate to throw him in jail if he messed up. Then the judge asked me about sentencing, because in my victim impact statement I included what I wanted to see happen, and it didn’t match up with what the state and defense were asking for. There I was, in front of the judge, telling him I completely disagreed with the prosecutor and defense attorney regarding anger management classes and that I felt VERY strongly about batterers classes. I had come too far to not be heard. The judge questioned the prosecutor about this and said my victim impact statement really made it sound like my ex needed batterers classes, not anger management. The judge was on MY side! I stood up. I had a voice. My feelings were FINALLY being validated. Because of this, the judge ordered a mental evaluation and said he’d leave it up to the professionals, but really felt strongly that his evaluation would end him up in batterers classes. I was no longer a weak and abused girlfriend. I was a strong woman standing up in front of a judge for myself. And let me tell you, it was empowering.
After I read my victim impact statement, the defense attorney couldn’t defend against it. He tried to paint a picture of a lovely man who has been punished enough by having his name in the police log several times. He tried to make me look like the bad guy. The judge wasn’t having it and it was making it worse for my ex.
Additionally, we’re still waiting on my ex’s evaluation to happen. But at this point I don’t even care, that’s just the icing on the cake. I won this battle. My abusive ex boyfriend lost control of me and an entire courtroom got to hear the details and impact of his abuse over two years.
Here’s the kicker though… Do I miss him? Yes, of course I do. And before I add in the mess up on my part, we were no contact for seven months (all my doing) as all this court stuff was going on. However, if you’re a victim or survivor of domestic violence/domestic abuse, you know how hard it is to break free. I actually met up with him the other night (in public for safety reasons). He’s a narcissist. He doesn’t care that he can be thrown in jail for violating probation or that he could bring a new charge on for violating a restraining order. This was mutual, so I’m not turning him in for it (although I’m not the one with a restraining order against me or on probation, so I can’t get in legal trouble). But I’m hoping someone out there has some tips on how they finally broke away for good from an abusive ex boyfriend or husband. I went no contact for so long – it seems like an eternity in my eyes. I just can’t get him out of my head or off of my mind. Please share how you escaped in the comments. I could use some support or help.