Monday, March 28, 2011

Falling through the cracks of the system

In three days I am due to go home.

I am afraid to go home.

The kids and I will be returning to a house where we are not safe; to a house where I sleep lightly and wake to every sound, wondering if that night will be the night it all falls down around us.

In the beginning I was so naive. I thought the police would protect us. I thought it all worked the way it did on TV. I trusted in the system. I thought a restraining order meant something. I was calmed by the presence of badges and blue uniforms.

The more I discovered around the house, the more I came to realize that my husband was a man I didn’t know at all, the more frightened I became for our safety, the more vocal I became with the authorities. And the more disappointed I became with their lack of response.

Finally, I contacted a friend of mine who is a human rights attorney and former family law judge. He suggested I call the FBI and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, anyone who would listen. He said to list out all of my concerns. So I did. This is what I told them:

• My husband was currently under investigation for child pornography and his involvement was extensive enough to have his case passed up to the federal level for review.

• I had also found “horror porn” in his collection, which included hundreds of pictures of dead women, presumably taken from crime scenes.

• He had assaulted me in August of 2010 while the children were present and had been arrested and charged. He said the assault was my fault for “making him angry”.

• I had found a weapon resembling a tire iron tucked into the bed frame on his side of the bed. This was in addition to another weapon he kept under the bed for intruders.

• After my husband was ordered out of the house, our six year old son found a cache of weapons in the bottom of my husband’s office closet that I hadn’t known about. It included an axe, a studded flail and a dagger, which my son had unsheathed. I hadn't known he'd had any of these.

• My husband has a history of slipping in and out of psychosis when under stress.

• My husband has already violated the restraining order on several occasions. I have reported these violations to the police. He has not been arrested or charged.

• It is my understanding that my husband has focused all his rage over the investigation and assault charges on me. It is my understanding he is looking at a sentence of at least 12-15 years based on evidence collected as of October, 2010, and that he has stated he will commit suicide rather than going to prison.

• It is my fear that he will attempt to take my life and possibly the children’s at the time he attempts suicide.

The NCEC took a report but could not assist with safety concerns. They said to call the FBI. The FBI said that the case was still at the local level and they did not have the jurisdiction to interfere. They suggested I call the KBI. The KBI said that the case had not been shared with them either, but remained at the local level. They suggested I approach the court for permission to sell the house and move. When I spoke to my attorney about this he consulted with his colleagues and said that, barring any charges in the criminal case, he didn’t think I’d be granted permission to leave the state.

Why?

Because even though I have temporary sole custody of the children and a restraining order on their behalf, which I got at the urging of the detectives on his case, who would not even grant him supervised visits, I’m still not allowed to take the children more than 50 miles away from their father. Who has no right to see them. Who didn’t even bother showing up to the hearing to contest the restraining order.

How is it that the rights of a man with a history of violence and child exploitation take precedence over the safety of myself and my kids? How is this possible?

How can the federal and local police forces NOT act on the information I have provided, when their investigation has put our lives in danger? They have the power to intervene and get us to safety. Why have they not done this?

Why have they left us to spend month after month trying to navigate our way through the bureaucracy of the justice system, which won’t allow us to leave until he is charged? Until it hits the papers and he loses everything: his professional career of 25 years, his homes, his reputation. They must know that is the most dangerous time for us. When he has nothing left to lose. By then it will be too late.

I am a well-educated, articulate woman. I am able to advocate for myself. And still, brick walls. I think about the hundreds of thousands of women who live with domestic violence who aren't in a position to navigate their way through a complicated system. Is it any wonder so many go back to their abusers? End up in the hospital again and again?
Today, for the first time, I am publishing the words child pornography. I have said nothing about the case before because I've wanted to honor the integrity of the investigation. But all this begs the question, who is honoring the integrity of my family’s safety? What about us? We matter too. We deserve the attention and respect of the authorities on this case. They have put us in a very precarious situation. They need to deal with that reality.

Some may argue that by writing these words I'm placing myself in more danger. But the truth is that safety does not lie in silence. That is the great myth of domestic violence. That if we sit placidly with our hands in our laps and remain silent, that we will be safe. That is so far from the truth.

While the NCEC, FBI and KBI could not help me, they did all turn around and call the local detective on my husband's case and coincidentally, his case was offered up to the feds that same day. **Edit 5/12 - The KBI agent told me that the lead detective from Olathe P.D. reported curing their phone call that the case had been sent up to the Feds that day. I later learned, during court testimony in May 2011, that this was false. It was not sent to the feds at this time, per testimony of the forensics detective. One year and nine months after the case was opened, it still has not been sent to the Feds.**

The last few nights I've slept fitfully. I've lain in bed wondering whether or not I should put up this post. Should I speak? Remain silent? Once published, the words could not be taken back. I prayed for an answer.

Yesterday morning I opened my email and there was a message from a woman I didn’t know. She said she had found my site from reading Lori’s, and had found Lori’s site from reading an article about depression in her local Texas paper. She was writing to tell me that two years ago she thought she had the perfect life: a husband, a young daughter. One day she awoke to discover her husband had murdered her three-year-old daughter. She was shocked. Completely blind-sided.

Never. Saw. It. Coming.

She was writing to thank me for telling my story, because it made her feel less alone. I sat there for several minutes just staring out the window.

Three years old. Jesus.

And so I published this post.

I will not allow myself and my children to be the jetsam of an overworked, imperfect system. I will not have us sit in that crime-scene of a house with bulls-eyes on our backs and wait and wait and wait until we become another statistic to be swept under the carpet.

I want help. I want a real solution. I want the authorities to realize they have a responsibility to deal with the fallout this case has created. If I have to go to the media next, I will.

The other day I lay down and cried. I didn’t know what to do. I felt like I’d played every card I had. My hand was empty. I only have one thing left that I know to use. I have a voice.

I don’t have a lot.

But I have a voice.


* * * * *


• American women have more to fear from the men they know and once loved than from any stranger. (Jane Brody, New York Times)


• A third of all women's injuries coming into our emergency rooms are the result of deliberate, premeditated acts of violence. And frequently they occur over and over until the woman is killed. (Dr. Kevin Fullin, American Medical Association, public service ad, Time magazine)


• Thirty-four percent of women homicide victims are killed by their husbands, ex-husbands or boyfriends. (National Women Abuse Prevention Project)


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86 comments:

  1. Your story brought me to tears. I have never been in your situation, but my Mum was. She had a voice, but like yourself, kept hitting brick walls as far as the legal system went. There was loopholes to protect my sperm donor over her and myself. She did the only thing she could and she ran. It may seem weak, but it was the only way she saw out. Our safety meant that much to her she kept running for years. I pray, I pray so hard that you find another option. Running away is hard. For us it worked for the better. I am in no way encouraging you to do it, so I hope you find some other alternative to keep you and your babies safe xoxoxox

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  2. I wish I could offer some advice that would at least offer you comfort, if not assistance. Part of me wants to tell you to just stay here, miss your plane home, go into hiding, but that might cause more trouble than it solves.

    I hope that you find peace soon xox

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  3. Thank you to the woman who inspired you to write this post.
    Thank you for speaking out and showing the world you WON'T become another statistic.

    Your words will empower a lot of women.
    x

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  4. It makes me so mad that they take your exhusbands parental rights from him, they issue and AVO out on him for you and your children and yet you aren't allowed to move your children away from him?
    How does that make any sense? As long as you are still contactable by the police handling the investigation, and you remain contactable then i don't see why you need to be anywhere near your exhusband.
    I agree with you on everything you stated, that the police not allowing you guys to move away, to be close to family, to just be a hell of a lot more fucking safe, they are failing you. Failing to protect you, and actually putting you in harms way because OF COURSE your vulnerable now that you have spoken up.
    Can you not fight their decision on this? I don't see how a judge could possibly rule in his favour when even taking you out of the picture he is a danger to his children?!

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  5. Living in fear is no way to live... Congratulations on speaking out, on using the only weapon you have to keep yourself and your children safe.

    I hope that someone who has authority will take action to do something practical to protect you all!!!

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  6. Well done for having the strength to raise your voice. What a powerful role model to your children you are. I hope the authorities can start prioritising your family and their safety. If it were me I would just move. Damn the consequences my gut instinct would be flight when the fight is getting me nowhere

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  7. I applaud you speaking out, I can only imagine just how hard publishing this was for you but this was the right thing and oh-so-brave.
    I hope this raises awareness. I hope that this leads to somebody taking this much more seriously and doing what needs to be done to protect you and your babies.
    I wish I could just tell you to stay here.
    Love to you xo

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  8. You do have a voice, and its a powerful one. It got you here to Australia, be great if it could keep you here in Australia. I hope that it will be heard by the right people for the benefit of your family. xx

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  9. Oh, Kristin, I just want to wrap you and your family up and keep you here. You deserve the freedom of safety. I'll share this post in the hope that someone who can help does here. Love you.x

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  10. Oh hun can we just keep you here, somehow? :\

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  11. I'd hoped to be able to take you to the airport. As it is, I am tied up on Thursday pretty much all day. Wishing you safe travels, safe home, peaceful nights and days. Many people have you in mind. Sorry I couldn't meet your little ones. X

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  12. With all my heart I want to say something uplifting and inspirational, or at least helpful -- and all I can come up with is FUCK. And tears. Plenty of those.
    The law is indeed an ass.
    What can we do? How can we help? just say the word, babe.

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  13. Reading this all I could think was "contact the media" and then you said it down the bottom.
    I have no idea what I would do in the same situation but it's obvious you've exhausted all other avenues. Here's hoping that the media won't shy away from it because it's an ongoing investigation. Do you have somewhere safe to stay if you do alert the media?
    I send you all my love, which is in no way good enough or helpful, but I send it any way.

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  14. Oh Kristin my heart is so sad, sad that you have to face this. I suppose if you ran away, you would get into more trouble than he would - such is the idiot system that is justice.

    It is just ludicrous that you and your 2 children, who have no fault in this at all get nothing.

    I know this doesn't help, I wish I could in some way, but know that you are in my heart and hopefully that will lift your burden in some small way.

    Wish you could just stay here.

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  15. Can you not just STAY? I know this would be in breach of some red tape. But surely it would be a solution, for your safety?

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  16. I cannot find the right words to say something... except that I am shocked as to what you are going through...but I will keep you in my prayers and I applaud you for finding the courage to speak up...and may this post help you in some way for you to find guidance through the right people xxx

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  17. Is there any value in contacting whoever is your local political representative? I don't know who that would be in the US - in Australia it would be the local Member of Parliament.

    Also (and you have probably thought of this) Is there any Domestic Violence Support Associations to provide safe housing in your area?

    I apologise if you have thought of my suggestions - you sound very switched on.

    I am hoping so hard for you that this situation resolves.

    Take good care.

    AFW

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  18. Media.... all the way, make yourself and babies more than a statistic. Kristin you are one strong and capable woman and mama.

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  19. Your honesty and bravery are phenomenal. I can only hope to god that you and your children remain safe and that your ex is brought to the justice that he deserves. I wish we could just clasp you to our australian bosum and keep you here!

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  20. Oh fuck I am so glad you wrote that. I guess it would be hard, to seek asylum here?

    Fucking hell hon. You and your two wee bairns have been through too much. Too too much.

    XOX

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  21. Kristen I sincerely hope your post will help you get the protection you need to feel safe in your own home. I am horrified at the lack of support you are getting from the authorities and what others have experienced as a result of domestic violence.

    I can't believe how brave both you and Lori are. By writing about the truth of your lives you are helping others know they are not alone and bad things happen to other people too. I hope that you can sleep soundly again very soon with the knowledge you and your children are safe.

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  22. What a nightmare for you and your family. I am astounded by your bravery and strength in the face of all this. You seem to have done everything right, police reports and getting stuff on the record etc. But that won't mean a thing if your worst fears are realised unfortunately. God! Can you confide in a police or detective friend - maybe one who is working your case - and research the consequences of just getting the hell out...50 miles, more like 50,000 miles away?
    Luck and love to you.

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  23. I do not blame you, I would be scared shitless. Again I think you are an amazing woman, such courage. I feel bad as I don't know what to say or suggest. Sorry.

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  24. Oh, shit. All I hope is that you can get past this entire situation, with all of you safe. Have you considered a women's and children's refuge? They can help to hide you and provide so many helpful services. Obviously, just staying here sounds way better, but probably not an option. Frustrated right along with you

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  25. When I read your blog now, I can hear your voice - strong, clear, powerful and convincing. Use it. Nothing else has worked. If outstaying your visa is not an option, then you need to go back and find safety in a women's shelter or close friend's house and keep hassling the authorities and the media until they do something to ensure your safety. Your priority is your safety. But you already know that.

    I'm with you in spirit, all the way...

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  26. A voice is a lot. A lot.
    Your voice, that I now hear so clearly when I read your words, is strong and not defeated.
    Your voice has many voices behind it - mine and others.
    Use the media, use what you can to be heard and stay safe.

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  27. I cannot begin to imagine what you must be going through, but thank you for finding the words - and the voice - and sharing it with us.

    Whatever decisions you make, know that the human spirit is way more resilient than we give it credit for. You will find the strength to take whatever actions you need to take.

    My thoughts are with you and your children.

    Take very good care.

    Oz.
    xox

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  28. Stay stay stay. It couldn't get any worse.

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  29. I just don't know what to say.

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  30. What a voice you have. Amazing. And if people power can help in any way, you have a whole lot of willing recruitees here.

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  31. I feel inadequate commenting as I can not help you out of this situation. I wish I could offer up a solution with my words, but all my words can do is offer support and love. Keep strong and when you can't remember we can be strong for you xx

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  32. And we're all listening and praying for you and wishing we could do a whole lot more than just listen. Especially when those that have the power to do something are not listening. Keep talking. And if that doesn't work. Start shouting.

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  33. "... the truth is that safety does not lie in silence"

    Wow. Such a powerful statement! So true!

    Good luck.

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  34. Just "forget" to go back. Just disappear from your husband. You can surely find something to do in Australia, right???

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  35. So, so proud of you for sharing your story and finding your voice. I think of all the women who can't or aren't strong enough and I wish they would read this and understand the power they have once they share their story and take their care of their family and themselves into their hands.
    With support, and unending perseverance, you can succeed. Stay safe and protect yourself and your kids. God bless!

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  36. I wish I could come up with any kind of solution - asylum? We do it for refugees who will be tortured if they go back to their home country - why would this not work for you? Someone, somewhere in some kind of power read this and make it stop. This is wrong. This. Is. Wrong. Keep speaking. Keep shouting. and we will join the chorus.

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  37. From the other side of the world, I will be thinking of you and your children. I'm so glad you have that voice and all women have the right to scream until we are heard.

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  38. I'm so sorry. So, so sorry. I feel helpless, and can only imagine how much more so you must feel. I hope they wake up. This is appalling.

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  39. Even if it feels like your voice is the only thing you have left, know that it holds power of its own. My heart breaks for you and your kids; that our system chooses to punish the victims and protect their abusers instead of the other way around makes me ill.

    I wish I could do something more than send you an Internet hug (although, I *do* have a couple of big, scary-looking dogs to spare ...). Really though, I'm lighting a candle and praying for change for you. Keep talking.

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  40. Hopefully those FBI people are reading this. Am praying for you and your kids, K.xxx

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  41. Maddening and frustrating!!!!! I am so sorry you are dealing with this. I will be praying for you and your children's safety.

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  42. Kristin. Do not go back. Whatever bureaucracy you may encounter in Australia (and there is plenty) it is far less daunting than compared to the reality - and danger - of you returning to unsafe quarters.
    There are means and ways of remaining in Australia with indefinite leave to stay, ultimately allowing you to apply for residency.
    Amidst all of us there are people who can help guide you. It is time-consuming, but worth the effort.
    At worst, if you need to apply for another permit from outside Australia, then at least do it from somewhere other than your former 'home'.

    Always here if you need help, albeit in the UK.

    LCM x

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  43. You do have a voice - and what a voice it is. Wonderfully written Kristin, and i dare inspiring for any woman who is finding herself in a similar situation...

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  44. Hell yes, what a voice! Watching you find your voice — and raise it on behalf of yourself, your children, and everyone else who is on your situation — blows my mind and reduces me to tears of admiration and frustration.

    You are an incredible woman, in an incredible situation. Trust your instincts. Do not go 'home'.

    You, and I, and many others know the fear, the reality, that desperate people do desperate things. What your ex will do when he has nowhere to turn...well, if your gut tells you you're not safe, believe it. Better to be safe, and proved wrong, than not safe and proved right. We, your friends, do NOT want to be telling the authorities 'But she TOLD you...'

    Sending you hugs, and wishing we could all surround you in an impregnable bubble of light... xx

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  45. My mom always taught me that "two wrongs don't make a right" but even my mom would stand behind me when I say, Kristen: screw the authorities. If you are right where he left you, making noise won't change that. Making noise will have more eyes on you. If there are more eyes on you, it will make it harder for him to hurt you. Make noise, make so much noise that it's impossible NOT to hear you. Enough that the media is at your doorstep and questioning the authorities.

    I'm wishing for nothing but your safety and the safety of your children.

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  46. Take your children and run. Move away. I know the law states you can not, but the law also states they need to protect you and they are not. I was in the same situation. I have full sole legal and medical(this is important for you to have) custody of my children. I moved to another state. You have to protect yourself and your children when no one else will. My prayers go out for you and your children.

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  47. hun i do feel for you :-( ((HUGS)) far out thats right farkin red tape ! Please DONT GET ON THAT PLANE bugger just stay here you will be safer anyway xxxxxxxxxxxx

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  48. Kristin, I agree with the people who said you should stay in Australia. There is no reason you need to go back. Please email me if there is ANYTHING I can do to help.

    I applaud you for speaking on behalf of the voiceless.

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  49. I have no solutions to offer. It sounds like the american system is different to the one over here.

    All I can say is that I am offereing courage and safety on your return back to the states.

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  50. F. U. C. K. E. D.

    God speed, K.

    x

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  51. Girl, I shall be your advocate to the Universe.

    "Universe, give this wonderful woman and her children a break. Give Kristin strength and even stronger friends to see her through this. Please.”

    Love you.

    -Cab

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  52. Hi Kristin, I applaud you on breaking the silence. There's too much of it... too little done to help women in your situation.

    I've been wanting to ask you this for some time and this blog has fired me into action, I'm hoping to write an article on women's voices on the internet to send out to the group of newspapers I work for (failing that, other magazine publications). Would you consider doing a phone interview with me at some stage?

    If you're interested, you can email me on petajo@mail.com

    And if not, I won't be offended. I really hope you get offered some real, actual help very soon...x

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  53. I want to write about how much I admire you, how i find you inspirational, strong, brave. But all i can think is - but she doesn't want to have to be all those things. she wants a "normal" life, a quiet, safe haven for her and her beautiful childen. There are no words my darling Kristin. I cannot tell you how much I have loved seeing the photos of you smiling - really really smiling, relaxed for the first time in months. God we all wish we could do something.

    xx

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  54. I'm putting my rational head on cos my emotional one is a bit fucked reading this.

    Asylum.

    The UN definition of a refugee includes someone who "is unable or unwilling to return or to seek the protection of their country due to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion."

    As a victim of domestic abuse you belong to a social group.

    However, "protection obligations may also not be owed to a person who already has effective protection in another country, through citizenship or some other right to enter and remain safe in that country"

    That there is a restraining order in place, that it has been violated and that no action has been taken... I'd say your rights as a US citizen to remain safe in the US are not being enforced.

    If you apply for asylum there's a 90 day process time, giving you plenty opportunity to contact the media in both the US and Australia.

    It sounds drastic but so is your situation. I always associate asylum seekers with politically persecuted or racially persecuted and displaced persons but apparently there are around 100 people a year form the UK who seek asylum in the USA, so I'm wrong.

    Don't get on the plane. Get on Oprah.

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  55. Sweetie, for some reason, I thought you had an open visa. There must be something we can do. What about getting an extended visa because your life and your kids' lives are in danger? (I know nothing about the law, but I have a good lawyer). If you can get yourself to Brisbane, you can stay with me until you get on your feet; the kids too. I'll pick you up from the airport; contact media on your behalf (I have great contacts in the media as an ex journo). This is a serious offer. I'll DM you with me address, phone number. If you can buy at least a little longer ... (and I may be able to help with flights too, but you'll probably have to pay taxes).
    I'm serious, let me know what I can do.

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  56. Sweetie, for some reason, I thought you had an open visa. There must be something we can do. What about getting an extended visa because your life and your kids' lives are in danger? (I know nothing about the law, but I have a good lawyer). If you can get yourself to Brisbane, you can stay with me until you get on your feet; the kids too. I'll pick you up from the airport; contact media on your behalf (I have great contacts in the media as an ex journo). This is a serious offer. I'll DM you with me address, phone number. If you can buy at least a little longer ... (and I may be able to help with flights too, but you'll probably have to pay taxes).
    I'm serious, let me know what I can do.

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  57. I am thinking of you Kristen and your children. What you said about your voice - SHOUT LOUD and LONG !!!! We will shout with you.

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  58. Thank you all for your wonderfully encouraging comments. I've written the FBI again just now and asked them to contact me. Praying they can help.

    @ Bronnie - can't get Twitter to work (my internet is spotty - up and down). Will try to EM you. Thanks so much. You are incredible. xo

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  59. I am gobsmacked. It's like there is no such thing as crime prevention.

    I don't think I would go home. But then I realise there's a financial issue here too. I really hope someone in authority helps you out soon.

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  60. Honey can I suggest that you go ahead and see if you can stay with Bronnie. I think there must be some legal channel you can go through via the American consul in Australia? I agree with M2M you are doing a brilliant job in keeping it all together and in speaking out. I learnt many years ago that the only way to fight abusive behaviour was to shine a light on it. I have never met you Kristin but would love to meet you, your story, your writing and you (crazy ole you!) has really touched me. You will get through this. I know that is the first fear. But you will. You and your children will not be a statistic. Much love, email me anytime Vxx

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  61. Lay down and cry Kristin, but make sure you always get back up again - and don't give him the satisfaction of winning!
    Right now all I can do is ask the universe to protect you and your children and give you the strength to get through this.

    In New Zealand we have a saying 'Kia Kaha' - Be Strong

    Lx

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  62. In the end, you are the only one who can protect yourself and your children. No one else can do a better job of it than you can or be there 24/7.

    You're thinking like a survivor, like someone who intends to walk away from this with her life and her children intact.

    Listen to your instincts. You know better than to return to that house- it isn't safe.

    There will be Life on the other side of this colossal nightmare. There isn't any way around this, though. Just straight through. Do what you know you have to do. Be strong.

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  63. OMG. Go to Bronnie.

    There are not enough emotive words to say how WRONG the system is that such a violent and volatile individual still has access to you. Go with the hairs that raise on the back of your head. They are never wrong. Use your instinct as your guide, it is strong in you. Please be safe. Even better, please just stay the eff here!! xx

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  64. You can - even at this late hour - apply for an extension of your tourist visa. You can - and should - apply for an extension of your visa every three months for up to a year.

    You can stay up to a year in Australia on a tourist visa.

    It will cost money to reapply every three months, but one word from you and your Australian pals will kick in to your kitty and stump up the fees for you.

    DO NOT GET ON THAT PLANE.

    You can appply for your visa over the internet and even if you don't get an answer straight away, the fact you have applied means you can legally remain here.

    Once you have more time, go to the media, get consular and legal help and fight like hell to keep your family safe.

    Do. It. NOW.

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  65. Yes!!! What Sandra said! Do not get on that plane until you can be sure you will be safe.
    Take care beautiful lady xoxox

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  66. Why is such simple logioc so wrong, that you are not allowed to leave. I have no words to offer comfort. But praying that you are safe. You are such a strong person.

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  67. Kristen, You are an amazing & courageous woman. I am deeply shocked at your situation & the lack of support you have received from the authorities. Sending love & light & keeping you & your children in my thoughts & prays .xx

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  68. That is...horrifying. I don't pray, but I wish you and your children nothing but safety and peace. Take care.

    -Kim

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  69. I wish you could stay. My heart breaks for you and your children. It's devastating... It seems to me in so many of these cases that the victims don't have rights...only the perpetrator. It should not be so. It should not be so. Wish there was somthing I could do. Keep using your voice Lovely one. Keep using your voice.

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  70. *HUGS* I don't have words, but wanted you to know that I am thinking of you.

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  71. Kristen,

    I had a court hearing today and I was wallowing in my own self pity before reading this. I'm fighting for free speech rights and you are fighting for survival. I'm humbled. I am so furious at the state of our justice system. This is outrageous. I started out crying while reading your post, then I got sick to my stomach, then furious at the system, and now completely concerned with simply your well being. This blog post is a start - I think it was the right thing to do - but it will not protect you. If he is going to attack you or your children that is what he will do. No blog, restraining order or public knowledge will stop that. He needs to not be able to have or get access to you. If they cannot put him in custody you need to either hide or protect yourself. Can you rent the house out and stay with friends? Rent another place? A big dog is a good tool to deter someone from entering your home and an awesome warning if someone tries. Think about getting a gun and learning how to use it. Look into security systems - get someone out there to do an inspection of your home. I wonder if a battered women group can assist with this? Any security professionals that do this pro bono or can offer a free or discounted system? I'm sure there are many other ideas to keep him from getting to you. PLEASE explore them all. This is a problem that cannot be fixed after the fact. There is no justice that could ever make up for any harm he could cause you or your children. Praying for you, Kristen.

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  72. Oh Kristin, I'm sitting here with goosebumps, tears in my eyes and a large ball of frustration in my throat. How the justice system fails the people who need it most is beyond my understanding.

    Thank GOD for your voice, your beautiful, strong and articulate voice - you will save and empower so many other women and families.

    I pray for so much peace to come back into your world as I can see from your spirit you are a beautiful soul, who deserves nothing but the best. May God grant you this soon xxx

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  73. Dear me, This sounds like a freaking nightmare, I pray that it will be resolved soon and that your life can settle on the ground and not be up in the air like it seems to be, what horror, to discover all this.
    Please take care, please take extra precautions, can you rent out your house and live elsewhere while it is being resolved? My best wishes for you, and hope you can stay strong through this..

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  74. The law is indeed an ass and your husband is seriously cracked.

    Listen to MaidinAustralia and stay here in Aus by any means you can. Go to the media, get an extended visa, go bush and hide. Stay here.
    Hopefully this finds you still in Australia.....

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  75. Fucking hell. Red tape sucks ass.

    Seriously, get into contact with media - any media. Come hide at my house. Anything. Do not go home.

    I hope the next time I read your blog you will have the answers to your questions.

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  76. Use your voice. Contact the media. Let us all know if you need us to use our voices too. Be strong.

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  77. I am so gobsmacked by this. Why aren't the innocent protected. Yes, the system is inperfect. And then some. Thank you for using your voice. But I worry for your safety. Praying for you, your children and your horrible situation. xx

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  78. Holding you and your children up in my thoughts and prayers x

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  79. I can't even begin to imagine how it is to cope with such a situation. My gut would tell me to run, find somewhere safe. Protect you and your kids, they need you and you need them. Do anything to stay safe. And good on you for using your voice. I am sure it will be helping many others.

    Love and prayers

    Penny

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  80. I too found your blog through Lori's.

    There's a system here, that's nice. Imperfect, convoluted, corrupt, inefficient...whatever the term may be. But there IS one.

    I feel scared for you.

    In third world Africa, I had no one, NO ONE to turn to. No battered women's shelter. No police to go to, what a farce. A patriarchal society and one that was undergoing the all encompassing devastatingly awful thing called GENOCIDE. My issues with my abusive Iranian husband wouldn't have had an 'ear of compassion' or anything....I held on to my sanity and concocted a lie to be able to flee the country with only a suitcase to my name. No treasured possessions, jewelry, laptop, nothing so as not to arouse suspicion that I would never return to him.

    I was close to losing my life...I knew the next fight would probably make him finish me off.

    No system in place, nothing is worse than having an imperfect system to deal with. You have to try to find a loophole, a way, something ...don't give up. Your life and your children's depends on it.

    I wish you well xx

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  81. Correction: No system in place, nothing is worse than that.
    Sorry I didn't express myself clearly there.
    A system, albeit imperfect, is something you CAN work with. Somehow.

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  82. Karen, your situation sounds horrifying. I am so glad you got out and found your way to safety, even though you had to leave everything behind. I agree with you completely, that an imperfect system is better than none at all. I wrote a post about that -- about Afghan women facing abuse -- and how at least I have a structure to work with (albeit imperfect) and the backing of society.

    http://www.wanderlustlust.com/2011/01/to-have-voice.html

    My situation has deepened my compassion and concern for women worldwide. Even in the midst of what I'm going through, I ache for others who are caught in their own silent prisons. It's all so wrong.

    Thanks for your support. x

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  83. despite it being 90 degrees and humid, I literally have goosebumps all over me.
    I wish I could help you somehow.
    I thought the goosebumps came from the terror of your situation, and the woman whose husband killed their child -
    but no. I think they are coming from seeing the power and bravery in your words, no matter how scared you may be.
    thank you.

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  84. And then the fear generated by the shock and the confusion resulting from the fear and life begins to feel like a maze you try to work your way through.. One notice is you are putting your fears and thoughts out there, a good idea. The system might be overloaded so maybe take extra precautions to look out for self. No trespass signs, change phone numbers, change passwords, put a note on your door not to ring the bell but rather call for a time, try to find someone to stay overnight, get a barking dog if possible, an alarm on your keyring, mace, make sure people are around when you come and go from your car, put schools on high alert, install devices to make your lamp go on at times, put your neighbors on alert... Just think of every possible way to protect yourself.

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