Marking an anniversary: reporting my bullies to Social Services

My entire website needs revising yet again because of a recent Wordpress theme change.  It screwed up my quotes, so I have to go through every single post and page fixing them.  Again.  (I spent ALL LAST YEAR fixing formatting, and thought I was finished.  ARGH!)

While revising this post just now, on the first time I pondered reporting my abuser Tracy to CPS, I realized something:

As of several days ago, March 1, it has now been exactly four years since I did finally report her and Richard to CPS.

My, how time flies as you age.  I could swear these people only just moved into my house a couple of years ago, but now even that is 7 and a half years ago.

!!!!!

Anyway, I remember how frightened I was.  I remember I was scared even to let my husband know I did it, so I left off the return address of my letter, just in case it got returned for some reason.

I didn’t want him put in the position of having to lie for me if my abusers came around and gave him the shakedown.  (Richard is 6’5 and 400 pounds, and used to be a Mafia thug.  Tracy is also very large, bigger than me, and scary when she gets into a rage.)

I was scared that Tracy and Richard would find out I did it, and do something horrible to retaliate.  (See above.  Also, the fear of Tracy making a false report to CPS.)

I was so afraid that I didn’t even tell CPS who I was, though I did give them an e-mail address in case they had further questions.  I did not want to give them a phone number and have them call while my husband was home.

It was all done in secret, except for an e-mail I sent to an old college friend.  This friend has worked in this field for years, and lives right here in Wisconsin, so she could give me expert, experienced advice.

The e-mail described all the abuse I witnessed and that Richard told me about.  I later adapted it, first into an e-mail, then into a letter, sent to CPS.

She replied, “They both sound very abusive.”  “Your concerns are very valid.”  She urged me to PLEASE report them to CPS.

I sent the e-mail to CPS over the weekend before March 1, but heard nothing back.  So I sent the letter as follow-up.  (It was far too long and detailed for a phone call, which would require somebody typing or scribbling down everything and me trusting they get it accurate.)

I typed it late at night, printed it, addressed it, stamped it.

Then with shaking hands, I put it in my mailbox the following day, after my husband left and before the mailman came.

Then later, I found it gone.

It was done.

That same day, Tracy responded to the Facebook post of a mutual friend, “lol.”  This made me think she had no clue, that the e-mail or letter was not received, or was ignored.

Three months later, I checked via e-mail to make sure CPS received the letter.  Yes, they did.  Now I told them my name, so they wouldn’t dismiss the report as fake because it was anonymous.

A month after that, I checked the state’s free public website to see if any charges were filed.

YES.

I found more information the following September through a search of the local newspaper’s website.  On the exact same day I mailed the letter, Richard was formally charged with choking his step-daughter in 2010.

This was unrelated to my letter, but the results of an investigation into my letter probably helped bolster the state’s case, because it showed a pattern of abuse.

My report certainly must have been given more weight with CPS because of the court case.

I realized that CPS probably already knew at least some of what I wrote, from working with the police to investigate the choking incident.  Locally, CPS and the police work together on such things.

I also realized that Tracy wrote “lol” on the exact same day her husband was formally charged with child abuse.

Which blows my mind.  If I were in her place, I certainly wouldn’t be laughing at stuff on Facebook the very same day my husband was charged.  Was it a joke to her?

Four years later, I am glad I did it.

Obviously my instincts were correct: Richard and Tracy ARE child abusers.  The court case proved that beyond a shadow of a doubt.

I have never reported anyone before or since for child abuse.

The one time I did, I was proven correct because one of them was convicted of choking his child.

Because of this proof, I have the support of friends, family and even the web Forum where we all used to hang out.  This gave me added credibility, especially for Forum users who have never met me in person.  They all rallied around me in mutual disgust of child abuse.  My priest believed me because I had proof.

My husband often wonders if this child will run away and show up on our doorstep one of these days: On one hand is a deadbeat dad, and on the other is an abusive mother and a stepfather who nearly killed her.

I fought my fear and did what was right.

And I would do it again if I had to.

 

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I am out of danger from my abusers: Statute of limitations has run out

A quick check of Wisconsin laws tells me that the statute of limitations for libel/slander is two years.  I never libeled, defamed or slandered my abusive ex-friends, but when they found my blog, they threatened to sue me for this.

Even if Richard and Tracy were to still think they have a case, it has been between two and a half to four and a half years since I told friends, family, my priest and this blog about what happened, hoping for support, venting and help with healing.  It has also been more than two and a half years since they made this threat.

They have suffered no job losses.  If they even have jobs, I wouldn’t know who they work for, and wouldn’t contact their employers anyway.  That just isn’t the kind of thing I do.  We also do not run in the same circles except online, even though we live in the same city.  They have absolutely no financial losses to claim because of me.

This tells me their threats were just intimidation meant to keep me quiet, that they were all bluster, that they hoped I was easy to intimidate, that they were indeed intentionally trying to gaslight me into doubting what I knew was true.

Instead, I stayed strong and brave, continuing to tell my story, keeping my blog up, keeping my mind and memory strong and secure against the gaslighting.

This tells you, the reader, to be brave and tell your own story of abuse.  Don’t let your abusers silence you!

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When our abusers get honored: Dang newspaper tells me about my abusers

Recently, the newspaper told me Tracy graduated college, and her major.  I’ve also seen her back in town recently, right in the same parking lot I pulled into.

From various IPs linked conclusively to them, it looks like one of them has been in town this whole past year, even while she went to college on the other side of the state–even though her IP location came from a city near the college for much of the year.

Her main IP address is screwy, because the locations keep changing even though the IP does not.  Sometimes she’s in Eau Claire, or Madison, or Rochester MN….

And now the same IP shows up as Fond du Lac, then Madison, then Fond du Lac, then Madison…. Other local IPs from that Internet Service Provider, including mine, always show as Fond du Lac.

She recently used one other IP that showed Missouri, but it was identified by my stat trackers as her cell phone–and she used that same phone on my blog a short time later, from Fond du Lac.

And sometimes I get hits from Texas, someone who has used Richard and Tracy’s unique search terms.

I have no clue what’s going on.  All I know is that now she’s graduated and was in Fond du Lac again back in June.

I’ve heard of people leaving town to get away from their abusers, but that’s not possible here: We own this house, and were in this town long before they were.

The other day, I open up the newspaper and it tells me that Tracy got some kind of honor at her college.  A couple of years ago, it said she was in an honor society of some kind.

I did not want to see that.  She does not deserve honors after the way she has treated so many people over the years.

But unfortunately, academic-based honors often have little to do with the kind of person you are, and are based solely on grade point averages, so even sociopaths and various forms of abusers can get degrees and honors.

Abuse victims want justice.  We don’t want our abusers getting accolades.  Just ask the daughter of Woody Allen what that’s like:

After a custody hearing denied my father visitation rights, my mother declined to pursue criminal charges, despite findings of probable cause by the State of Connecticut – due to, in the words of the prosecutor, the fragility of the “child victim.” Woody Allen was never convicted of any crime.

That he got away with what he did to me haunted me as I grew up. I was stricken with guilt that I had allowed him to be near other little girls. I was terrified of being touched by men. I developed an eating disorder. I began cutting myself.

That torment was made worse by Hollywood. All but a precious few (my heroes) turned a blind eye. Most found it easier to accept the ambiguity, to say, “who can say what happened,” to pretend that nothing was wrong.

Actors praised him at awards shows. Networks put him on TV. Critics put him in magazines.

Each time I saw my abuser’s face – on a poster, on a t-shirt, on television – I could only hide my panic until I found a place to be alone and fall apart.

Last week, Woody Allen was nominated for his latest Oscar. But this time, I refuse to fall apart.

For so long, Woody Allen’s acceptance silenced me. It felt like a personal rebuke, like the awards and accolades were a way to tell me to shut up and go away.

But the survivors of sexual abuse who have reached out to me – to support me and to share their fears of coming forward, of being called a liar, of being told their memories aren’t their memories – have given me a reason to not be silent, if only so others know that they don’t have to be silent either.

Just ask any girl who’s been raped in college, but her abuser went on to get a degree.  Even a degree seems too good for our abusers.  This does actually happen, as a victim’s concerns are minimized and the rapist is allowed to graduate:

Woman is accused by college of harassing her rapist

A graduating senior at Central College who was found responsible for “non-consensual sex” with a fellow student was given a choice: be expelled a month before graduation or stay in school with the conditions that he not walk in the ceremony and allow the college to notify a future employer and other schools that he’d violated the code of conduct….

A year-long investigation by the Center for Public Integrity found that students deemed “responsible” for sexual assaults on campus often face little or no punishment from school judicial systems, while their victims’ lives are frequently turned upside down. –Lee Rood, Central College lets rape suspect select punishment

 

Scott is a graduating senior, so some people may wonder why I care anymore. He’ll be gone soon enough, so what if the school didn’t do anything?

When he was first found responsible, I was told that the purpose of these sanctions was to help him learn from this. It is clear to me he hasn’t learned anything, and that scares me.

When he gets his diploma, he will officially be a representative of what Macalester stands for, and I fear that he will represent my school as a place that protects rapists at the expense of the people they victimize.

If I return to Macalester for my senior year in the fall and get my diploma next year, I will also be representative of Macalester.

For better or worse, I will be tied to Scott forever. I will also be tied to what I see as a pattern of survivors of sexual assault who are forced to watch their school choose to protect the future of criminals over their own safety.

My fear is that if I stay, I will become a silent accomplice to rape. Not just to my own rape, but to the future people I believe Scott will victimize. –Anna Binkovitz, Sharing a degree with your rapist

Just finding out that my ex Phil is a math teacher or professor, makes me cringe.  Him, molding young minds?  The guy who psychologically abused me and even tried to sexually assault me several times?  And of course, to be a math teacher, he had to get a couple of degrees.

Years ago, I told people I hoped he would become a monk, so he could not hurt more women or, as a priest, advise married couples.  Instead, he went on to marry, have two kids, and get divorced, making me wonder how that woman and her children have been abused.

My bullies, Richard and Tracy, denied the truth of what I wrote in this blog about their many abuses of me and others.  I had already told Social Services about the abuse in their home.  They threatened to sue, and began to stalk me at church for a while, then by keeping tabs on my blog.

And that’s despite the fact–or maybe because–Richard had been convicted of choking one of his kids, proving I wrote the truth.  I kept my blog up despite all the hell they put me through, because the truth needed to be told.  I told my friends and family about it, too.

The Forum we all used to belong to, was convinced of my credibility when they saw the facts of Richard’s case on the state’s and newspaper’s websites.

Yet still Richard and Tracy imagined they could somehow threaten and scare me into believing I was a liar.  Apparently they were the only ones who did not see Richard’s conviction as proof I was telling the truth about domestic violence in their household.

Yet I opened up the paper yesterday and read that Tracy had received some sort of honor at college this past school year.

I previously learned that Richard, while convicted, plea-bargained and got merely a fine and year’s probation.

So he’s out walking free despite nearly killing a 9-year-old girl, and I still see the kids with them both despite Tracy’s verbal (and sometimes physical) abuse, despite my detailed report describing how Tracy had been tormenting the children and exposing them to her domestic violence against Richard.

I want these people in jail for abusing their kids and terrorizing me.

I want Richard to have gotten the sentence he deserved: many years in prison, which he would’ve received if he hadn’t plea-bargained.

I want Tracy put in jail for punching Richard.

I want them to either shape up or get their kids put with better parents.

I want them to apologize to me on their knees.

I do NOT want them moving on with life, getting honors, manipulating and abusing other people, being told how wonderful they are, continuing to physically abuse and psychologically torture and scar their children.  (They have hurt a lot of other people besides me.)

One consolation is, while Richard wanted to become an Orthodox priest, my priest tells me that’s impossible because of the child abuse conviction.  And a friend who sometimes has to help hire people, was directed to screen out anyone with domestic abuse on their record, because of the nature of the job.

It boggles my mind (and my husband’s) that Tracy got a degree in business management.  HER, a MANAGER?  She can’t even manage her own household or temper!  I fear for anyone who, in the future, is put under her supervision–just as I fear for her children under her supervision.  I pray for her children’s safety nearly every day.

And I’m not the only one who has to deal with this.  I see the same frustrations, anger at the injustice of it all, permeating other abuse blogs.  For example, this one, because this woman, a PTSD sufferer, was spiritually abused by a predatory pastor, then reported him–yet now he’s been made senior pastor at a new church:

Just found out that Pastor Andrew Allison has been promoted to Singleton Baptist Church

I am really angry and I have a right to be. It is righteous anger.

Allison also occasionally checks up on her LinkedIn profile, which is creepy.  Yes, those of us who have been abused know how creepy it is to be “checked up on” by our abusers!  I get “checked up on” every week or so by mine!  Keeping my blog up has required a lot of courage, and has earned me a strength I did not have before.

This kind of thing happens in our churches, and it should not.  It’s not just a Catholic problem.

It’s also not just a Christian problem:

Narrow Bridge, movie addressing problem of Jewish leaders who are predators

Hopefully the more we spread awareness of these things, through our blogs or other means, the more things will begin to change.

Already there is an outcry about abusive pastors going on to other churches, or keeping their current posts.

Abuse victims of all kinds are spreading the word that this evil exists, so that hopefully society can begin to stamp it out.

“Narcissist” is becoming a household word, and Cluster B (abusive) personality disorders are becoming better-known.

Talk hard!

 

 

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