OOP Survivor Blog

Four women and five children die every day in the U.S. due to domestic violence. Read President Barack Obama's Presidential Proclamation announcing his commitment to reducing the prevalence of domestic violence in our country.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

How do you decide to file an order of protection?

To get to the point where you have to call 911 to have the police remove your husband from your home is an awful place to be. I never saw it coming, that terrifying night in February when I found myself curled up in a ball, trembling and sobbing on my front patio, looking up into the faces of two police officers peering over me. When one officer suggested that I go straight to the county superior court the next morning to file an Order of Protection against my husband, I didn't even know what that was.

How could this be me? I wasn't one of "those" women who ends up a victim of abuse. I'm an Ivy League-educated, 40-something mom of three, busy executive of a health care organization, and supposedly fairly intelligent. Domestic Violence wasn't supposed to be part of my life in any way, shape or form, other than the remote articles I occasionally glanced at in the newspaper of some silly woman getting beat up by her boyfriend.

But this is me. I'm right alongside the silly women getting beat up. I'm here, in this realm -- one that I know aboslutely nothing of. There's no instruction manual for this kind of situation. I'd never ever called 911 before in my life, and yet here I was, my teeth chattering and hands shaking with fear, staring at my wide open front door that completely exposed my home while police officers carefully walked inside to approach my angry husband. The inside of my house would never look the same after this. The warm oriental rugs and cozy furniture would now only remind me of this night of overwhelming fear and panic. And violation and humiliation. Things would never be the same.

Days later, after peeling myself off the floor and spending hours and hours talking with my newly found friend and advocate at the local police department's victim services program, I made it all the way to court and sat before a judge to file an Order of Protection against my husband. I had thought that act would mark an end. I had already filed for divorce, ending our brief 10-month marriage as quickly as I could, and I figured that the Order of Protection would add an additional seal to the closure -- ensuring that I'd never have to live through another terrifying night again.

But, it turned out that simply filing the Order of Protection was merely the beginning of yet another ordeal, continuing with the actual serving of the order and a subsequent very stressful court hearing. You see it's not so easy filing an Order of Protection against a federal agent.

But that's another story yet to be shared.

No comments:

Post a Comment