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.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Letting the Venom Fly: The Marking of a Crazy Anniversary

Today, February 5th, marks the one-year anniversary of the terrifying evening when I actually had to call the police to keep me safe from my then-husband, Neil Zucconi. This was a turning point for me, when I realized that my short-lived marriage to my second husband was definitely, absolutely, undeniably over. And when I realized how far, far, far down he had brought me - down to the point where I had to dial 911 for the very first time in my life and ask for police intervention. (Yes, my house became known in the neighborhood as "the" house where the police came due to domestic violence, thanks to Neil.)

Even though I've worked my way through the overwhelming shock, denial, pain, grief, anger, and every other emotion that wreaked havoc on my mind during the hellish 10 months that I was married to Neil, I'm going to give myself permission on this one day - this one-year anniversary marking a nightmarish evening - to LET THE VENOM FLY.

And yes, I repeat, I HAD TO CALL THE POLICE TO PROTECT MYSELF FROM MY H-U-S-B-A-N-D. How pathetic is that?!? What kind of man would terrify his wife to the point where she had to call the police to have him removed from her house - a house that he did not even own?? (Yes, obviously a rhetorical question.) But still.....let's explore this question, rhetorical or not....

Would this kind of man be:

1) An absolute jerk?
2) A man without even a half an ounce of pride?
3) Maybe some kind of psycho?(ie: see my blog post dated January 14)
4) Merely another law enforcement dude with a seriously major ego that keeps him feeling he's above the law?
5) All of the above? None of the above? I'm open to suggestions because I honestly cannot figure out what someone like that could possibly be thinking.

What I do know without a doubt is that I'd never been more terrified than I was on that night of February 5, 2010. I have the 7-minute 911 tape to prove it. And that call came after roughly 40 minutes or so (it seemed like hours) of drama, when Neil had spent time pacing through my house talking incoherently and at times angrily, his eyes flashing. And he wouldn't leave. (Again, I ask: What kind of man...?!?....hmm. See #4 above)

At one point, he and I were standing in the laundry room, in between the cat litter box and the back door to the garage. Yes, ironically,...we were very near a box containing shit. (See my post dated October 8, A Shit Hole of a Marriage.) And I was hoping that he would suddenly, magically, leave through the door so that I would never have to see him again. But, instead, he turned to me and said that I should give him a blow job. Really, Neil?!? Nice. (And what kind of man...?!...See #1 above.)

The fear that had started as a ball in my stomach the minute he'd forced his way through my front door earlier that evening, swiftly rose up to my throat at that point and I somehow made it to the phone in the next room, managing through the wave of nausea to then run into my bathroom where I felt safe enough to dial 911. He obviously knew that I was calling for help (my house isn't that big), and yet he still refused to leave and continued pacing through my house, from the kitchen to my bedroom to my closet and back, at times yelling at me. (What kind of man does this?!?....See #3 above.) As I clutched the phone, crying and shaking and trying to listen to the 911 operator, I wondered if he was going to pull one of his guns on me. I wondered if I would see my children again.

So... back to the present, one year later, when I occasionally look back on that night, incredulous that it even happened to me. Still somewhat stunned that I actually had a man like that in my life at all. A man who not only terrified me on that night and on other occasions as well, but who also had an affair with a married woman the entire time he was with me. So....what kind of man would DO something like that?!? (See #2 above.)

And, yes, this blog post is not my typical - yes, it is spewing anger and not at all pretty - but you know, it's all indicative of that horrible, hellish, nightmare of an evening when I was frightened to death by a SHIT of a man who doesn't deserve the above analysis or even another millisecond of my time and brain energy. You've just got to get angry, scream out and let the venom fly in order to release it all and move on.

So I'm done here. I've expressed what I wanted to mark this insane anniversary, and for the rest of my life I won't give it another thought, other than to use my story to help advocate for others who may find themselves in a similar situation. Because as much as I'd like to believe that there are no other bad men in the world, I know well that there are other men like Neil out there who are frightening and abusing women -- simply because they can.


  1. I am so sorry to hear your story! I also dated Neil when I was young in San Diego. I won't go into details. But thank god I listened to the little voice in my head and broke up with him. When I started dating my current husband he used to sit outside my apartment and this really scared me because he was a US Marshall and I was in the military. I was very embarrassed yet had very little control. You and your children our in my thoughts and prayers.

  2. Anonymous, thank you so much for your comment!

    It's really amazing to hear from other women who have unfortunately had Neil in their lives - believe me, there are several others who have contacted me, you're not the only one - and I'm so glad for your sake that you got out of your relationship with him.

    I really appreciate your thoughts and prayers for me and my children - that truly means a lot. It's been one hell of a year for us, but we've put it behind us as a challenging learning experience and are very grateful to be in a very happy and healthy place now. Thank you again for sharing part of your story with me.

    Warmest regards,

  3. Hi Kristin,

    I'm just stopping by your blog to see how you are doing. Your work here is so important.- As I look back on my own experience, (became most extreme back in the 80's) remember how terribly alone I felt in my desperation and despair.

    It was before we all had computers, and shelters for women were rare.-- One night I was so desperate, I left my home (with my young child in tow)went to a pay phone and called a women's shelter. A woman answered and I explained my situation, that I was afraid to stay at home due to my then husband's increasingly aggressive, drunken behavior. She told me there was no counselor available. She was just another desperate woman staying there, and couldn't help me.

    To this day,I remember the hopelessness I felt. I ended up at a $25 per night slum hotel, where my child and I didn't sleep a wink and listened to drunken fighting going on all night, right outside our room.

    Of course, after that night, my options seemed more limited than ever.--I'm proud to say I survived that horrible time in my life, but the memories linger. So keep on speaking the truth on domestic violence. There is so much comfort in knowing there is support here!

    I wish you and all women, peace, safety and happiness.

  4. Hi, Charlene,

    You are so nice to stop by.

    I really can't imagine what you went through - your story about the slum hotel experience is shocking. I know how fortunate my kids and I are that we had such amazing resources through our local police department. And even then, there were plenty of times when I felt completely alone and terrified. It's especially hard when you personally don't know anyone who's been through a domestic violence experience. It's so unbelievably isolating.

    I've been helping a young woman overseas, who has a very young child, get the help and resources she needs to be safe and recover. This particular country where she lives lacks sufficient women's shelters, (probably very similar to your situation back in the 80's), so it has been a real challenge for her. But she has persevered and remains strong. Somehow we get through this, even when things seem hopeless.

    I'm at a point where I won't be as active with this blog simply because I need to move on from this piece for my own well-being. For me, it has served its purpose. I started this as a place for me to "vomit" Neil and what he did to me out of my system. I was glad when it evolved into an advocacy piece.

    And I feel good about the fact that women have found, and continue to find the content and links on this blog helpful. It's important that others benefit from my story. I imagine you feel the same way about your experience.

    I wish you much peace, too, Charlene!! Thank you again for stopping by, and most importantly, for sharing your powerful story.

    Warmest regards,

  5. Hello again Kristin,

    I just "stopped by" again, and am touched by your response to my latest comment- You are such an inspiration to me!

    I understand your thoughts about not posting as often in order to "move on." But I will look forward to the times when you do post, as all your readers will be interested in your progress and recovery.

    I haven't been posting as often on my blog about combat-related PTSD. I had to take a mini-break too. -But I'm always compelled to come back to it, as I know the need for my experience and knowledge is out there.

    I commend you for helping that woman overseas. Awesome!! You shine a bright light of hope for all of us who have "been there." I wish you peace, joy and love. Words cannot really express how much I admire you, as a woman, and as a courageous, compassionate human being.