Friday, October 3, 2014

I Almost Didn't Live to Tell This Story - part 2

****TRIGGER WARNING**** Do NOT read this blog post if:

  • you cannot stand reading adverse stories about U.S. military personnel.
  • you cannot stomach accounts of attempted murder
  • you have not fully processed your own experience with abuse and are in the beginnings of the healing phase.
This is my story. it is your responsibility to stop yourself from reading the things you cannot bear to read. You know your own strengths and weaknesses and by reading beyond this point you acknowledge that you are capable of reading this story without occurring additional trauma in your own life.

I found new avenues to make money, including secret shopping and online writing, in which I could make money secretly and have it deposited into accounts he wouldn't know about. I was able to save around $2500 while he was gone. Little did I realize that his friends on the base told him I was working.

He came home from his first tour in Iraq and while I wasn't home one day he found the money. I had to come up with a reason I hadn't told him about it. Luckily he was a big spender and he believed me when I told him I kept it quiet so he didn't spend it all in Iraq. (He spent over $1000 a month in Iraq as it was.) Within 2 days, the money was completely gone.

As he was preparing to leave for Iraq again, I managed to convince him that I would be safer and better taken care of if I moved back home near our families. It didn't take much for him to agree and he even commented about his mother being able to watch me that way.

I moved back home and continued saving money. While he was gone I had yard sales and cleaned out a lot of household things I didn't really need. I put away money religiously and managed to amass a little over $10,000.

He came home for a respite visit the next summer and inquired about the missing items. I was honest about selling them but I lied about how the money was used. His behavior was noticeably different during that visit. I had set up an appointment for family photos and he was angry and abusive about how long it took to have the pictures taken. Then he snapped.

One morning we were all going over to his mother's house. There were two ways he could travel and I had something to mail so I asked him which direction he would go (thinking that if he went by the post office, I would ask him to stop there for a minute). He whipped his head around and I watched his eyes change color, his face took on an angered demeanor and he began talking to me in the tone a drill instructor would talk. I was terrified and began pressing myself as hard as I could against the car door. I literally felt like he was going to kill me.

The event was so traumatizing that I didn't speak for hours afterward. I was silent because my mind couldn't process what I had seen. I don't remember a single word he said but to this day I still remember his face and his eyes changing colors.

The remainder of his time at home I was fearful and silent. I walked on eggshells to make sure I didn't upset him any further. He came back home from the second tour in September and I thought I was finally going to be able to file for divorce (you can't file while the service member is deployed). I used the children being in school as an excuse for why we couldn't move back to the base with him at first but then we found out in October he was going back to Iraq so I got out of the moving discussions completely.

He came to visit us in December and that is when things took a turn for the worse. During a quiet, peaceful day I watched is face go blank as he put his hands around my neck and began to press down. I was able to free myself and instinctively asked what he was doing. His face again changed, back to normal, and he seemed bewildered as if he didn't know what he had done. I told him what happened and he looked at me in disbelief and swore he didn't know he had done it.

I did my best to move forward but was unable to make sense of the situation. Then it happened again. Again he argued with me that he hadn't put his hands around my throat and would never do something like that. That day I sent him back to the base and told him he had to see a doctor. Little did I know he wouldn't go and that wasn't the end of the abuse.

January came and he again left for Iraq. In a last ditch effort to see if our marriage could be saved I attempted to verify if there was anything positive left in his heart towards me. I sent a very emotional, sappy email. Three weeks went by without a response or even an acknowledgement that he had received it. Finally I asked him and he answered in a completely emotionless voice that he had read it. That's when I knew there was nothing left and I had to get out quickly. be continued...


  1. I have a question and please don't get offended. In india there is social pressure which keeps couples from breaking free of an abusive relation. What about western familes. How does domestic violence get any space in a society based on equlity and individual freedom. I mean there are no compulsions to carry on an abusive relation. It is not that divorce is looked down upon.

    I have heard that if a parent slaps his child and the child calls up 911 the parent is promptly arrested for child abuse which means the society respects the rights of a child as well. A little over the top for an indian. No offence meant but kind of curious.

    It is as if socities are facing the same problems in different forms.

  2. I'm not offended. Actually, the laws are so convoluted here that they can easily be dodged. Yes, parents can be arrested for abuse however, I know from first hand experience (my mother being a foster parent) that it's extremely rare for parents to be put in jail for anything as small as a spanking. My mother has had children who's parents locked them in their room and refused to feed them for days, children who's parents let people rape them and those parents were not in jail. That alone sickens me.

    As for spousal abuse, most of the time the woman either doesn't know that she can or doesn't know how to document the abuse. When she tries to escape, the courts won't help her. This is what happened to me. I was naive and thought things would get better, or that he didn't mean these things so I didn't pursue police action. When I went to court, they told me that because I was able to run away from him, I must not need the protection of the courts. Domestic Violence services told me unfortunately they see this a lot because without those calls to police, the courts can't just take your word for it. BUT, if a woman does call police and doesn't get out of the home, what is going to happen to her next? The abuse won't get better.

    There are a lot of societal pressures here to stay married. I had a very good friend tell me (after I told her about the abuse) that I needed to do everything I could to try and work things out so that I would at least know I tried. In the divorce, I lost friends who thought it was wrong for me to leave when he got emotionally unstable and dangerous because he couldn't help it.

    There's actually a fair amount of social pressure to stay married. I think it's just as equal as the pressure to get divorced though. I hear many people encourage their friends to leave husbands for silly reasons. I think we're confused over here as to what we should and shouldn't do most of the time. We're not given the support and resources (or sometimes we don't look for them) to maintain strong relationships. This is one area, America needs some serious help on.

  3. In India we are facing the problem of misuse of dowry laws. Dowry laws were made stringent to empower women but it has been going the other way. I am not a legal expert but I found this.

  4. I've read quite a bit of the news stories on India's struggles with the dowry laws. Even though it seems rough now, I think the country is on the right track for straightening things out. It's just going to take time.

  5. These laws were made tough given the position of women in India. More about being sensitive to the cause of women. However, the law makers forgot that a lopsided law can cause more damage than good. Like other laws they are prone to misuse. There have been several cases of misuse of dowry laws, but there is an ambivalent attitude towards it, as if these never happen.

    I will give you an example. This was a very famous case in India. A girl accused a boy's family for asking for dowry on the the wedding day. The boy family was promptly arrested. The girl was hailed for his bravery in the media. The boy lost his job and had to fight the case for nine years. Recently, he was acquitted by the court. The whole case was false. The girl did not want to marry for some reason.

    This boy was called to a news channel when he was acquitted. He narrated what his entire family had to go through after this case was highlighted by media. The news anchor a women, grilled him, as if he was the culprit. The girl meanwhile is happily married, the boy does not want to press any charges against her. He is happy to be free at last. Was this some kind of joke? taking away nine productive years of a person's life. This is happening with some married men as well. There several cases to vouch for this fact.

    These cases are reported as small snippets tucked into the third and fourth page and there is no report about what action was taken against the accused women. I admit that dowry is a big issue in India, women are harassed and there is need for stronger laws. We have a cultural baggage of mistreating women which we need to demolish. However, this cultural baggage sometimes turns into preconceived bias against men. They are designated as aggressors instantly. I believe that true gender equality is not about setting historical wrongs right, but about ensuring justice to both the genders. The mistreatment of women in India rightfully enrages all like minded people. I admit that I may not be able to put my ideas into words articulately. I am still searching for the right words. It was something in my mind for along time.

  6. That's the problem with new laws. People quickly find ways to abuse them. The victims (in this case women) quickly turn into the culprits. They don't realize the damage they are doing. But, over time the law will catch on and update until you finally get something that is right and works.