Today, I ran across this video on YouTube: www.youtube.com/watch?v=z4Ko23cI6oQ&feature=related
There are two very interesting things about this video, how bone chilling it is to me as it is fairly identical to one of many incidents of DV in my relationship with my ex wife. But it is also interesting to watch the comments as people try to describe what the man in this video should've done, or would have been justified in doing.
This video is almost like someone put a video camera in my home one day in July of 2007. Here are the differences:
1) She wasn't drunk or intoxicated. Her displeasure was that she was not able to sleep until noon though, because she was hung over.
2) The crying baby in my case was a 3 year old toddler, and just like the man in this video I was trying to hold my daughter in one arm while fending off physical attacks with the other
3) There was no knife or weapon in my case
4) Just like in this video, there was a scuffle at the door by her trying to physically prevent me from leaving with our D, and in that scuffle sshe bit my hard and latched on with her teeth to my left tricep area. When she did that, my natural reaction was to jerk my arm away from her to break the bite, then I used enough force with that arm to push her back away from me.
Everything else is pretty much verbatim, except her punches and kicks to me happened in the house and not outside where anyone might have seen it.
I went directly to the PD to report the incident. They went to the house to arrest my then wife. She said I threw her on the floor so she got up and bit me. She was arrested for simple assault on me. I had a bite mark on my arm to substantiate that I was bitten, and she admitted to csuch in her statement, but in her statement said her bite was self defense after having been thrown to the ground. As a victim of DV, it is by law the process that the police explain I have a right ot request a restraining order, and I said I did want to request one.
Meanwhile, as they are writing up the report and teh paperwork on the TRO, another officer is in getting my wife's version, and of course they intend to arrest me for simple assualt for pushing her. They ask her if she wants a restraining order, and she says no. But then they tell her I have asked for one, so now she is asking too.
This is explained to me, and the police explain the process is that a hearing will be held with teh municipal judge on teh phone, and I will be sworn in and heard. About an hour later I was presented with the TRO against me and told the police will escort me to the home to get personal items and then I must leave. There was no hearing, and I certainly wasn't heard. At the time, I did not know the law, but this was absolutely mishandled by the police and the municipal court judge under NJSA 2C:25-17 et seq. Thsi statue is New Jersey's Prevention of Domestic Violence Act, and this statute defines how law enforcment and municipal judges are supposed to handle this type of situation, and they way it was handled was directly contrary to how the state law says it should have been handled -- I should have been heard.
The next day I went to family court and I also won a TRO against her. What I did not do, which I now know I should've but didn't know at the time, was within 24 hrs of being served the TRO, I should have appealed it in family court while I was there getting the TRO. And the appeal would have been decided in my favor since the municipal court judge didn't hold a proper hearing before deciding.
Ultimately, we both dropped the TRO's on thsi incident, and in court on the criminal charges of simple assault we both accepted reduced charges which is a municipal ordinance violation for "failure to exercise good judgment".
These types of incidents occured for about another year, and finally a very extreme incident occured and I decided to handle it a little differently. Instead of calling the police for a repeat of what happened the last time, I left the house and went to family court the next day where I won a TRO and she was served and removed from the house. Then it went to trial for a final hearing, which I won. In my experience, this was successful because I went directly to family court and circumvented the police and the municipal court judge. Municipal court judge hears and decides these matters after hours. In family court, I saw nothing but propoer handling of this in complete accordance with the law, and I saw judges that clearly have a lot of training and experience in DV. The matter was handled in a completely unbiased manner regarding gender.
My mistake was not knowing how to handle it better that first time.
Everyone on these boards know how psychologically difficult it is to get out of an abusive relationship. We all know how the abused tend to buy the promises of the abuser that it won't happen again, etc. Adn we all cling to the hope that he/she will change. This is what keeps us stuck emotionally. On top that emotional dimension, men also have the very real fear that the man will be treated as the abuser. Arrested, cuffs, court ordered away from the abuser, kids awarded to the abuser, etc. That is the reality in most areas, because the social attitude toward DV is that it is an offense commited by males and the female is the victim.
Here is some food for thought regarding social bias of DV... months after I won the final RO, and that RO was filed at the local police department, there was an incident. My wife decided she wanted to invoke her right under the RO to come to the house under police escort to get personal items, but what she was really doing was trying to get into the house and create commotion while my parents were visiting. So when the police called, I told them no. The police dispatcher said they were on the way, and I told him I would not open the door.
About 2 minutes later, I have 4 police cars, lights on, and an unmarked car with the chief of police in front of my house. If we had a SWAT team, I am sure they would've responded too.
As I am talking to the police officers explaining that she is just doing this to be a nuissance, I see my wifes car coming down the street, and the female police officer radio's to dispatch -- "the victim has arrived on scene."