As we all know domestic violence is a subject that is still taboo and that is usually not a news worthy story. I was blessed to be asked to be part of a story in the local newspaper. Below is a story that was featured on the front page of the Asbury Park Press Sunday paper. I have also included the link so you can read the story from the source itself
Domestic violence is not as easy to recognize as a punch in the face — and even then it isn’t always so apparent.
Abby, a 36-year-old woman from Monmouth County, knows this well. The Asbury Park Press is withholding Abby’s full name and certain details of her experience for safety purposes.
Abby said she would get beaten by her boyfriend and father of one of her children once a week. Her boyfriend controlled her money, she said, and he would allow her to see her family on his terms. She had no friends and no cell phone. At a holiday party several years ago, with her infant child in her arms, Abby’s boyfriend beat her in front of a group of friends.
But her “a-ha” moment, when she recognized she was in a dangerous situation and should leave for good — she’d left four times before — came when she was pregnant. She had asked her boyfriend to not drink all the juice in the refrigerator. Her boyfriend in turn yelled at her, then punched her in the side of the head repeatedly, she said. She lost hearing in her left ear for two weeks, she said.
The obvious question is: What took her so long to leave?
Abby said that in her situation, with a family and a life together, the abuse and threats “broke me down so bad emotionally.” She doubted her own ability to leave and survive on her own, and worried that her family would be in danger if she ever did.
This is common, experts say. Domestic violence tends to build up over time, and often isn’t recognized by the victim until it has escalated to the point of physical abuse.
“It puts you on your butt,” Abby said. “What’s normal is not normal.”
Domestic violence comes in many forms: not just physical abuse, but sexual, emotional and financial, said Janet Lee, a counselor at 180 Turning Lives Around in Hazlet.
“It’s not just a push, a shove or a hit,” she said. “What it is, is it’s a pattern of behavior that exists over time where the abuser uses a range of abuse to exert power and control over their partner.”
By New Jersey law there are 14 crimes of domestic violence, according to Legal Services of New Jersey. They range from harassment to stalking, lewdness to homicide. One in four women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
“I think that’s pretty well established across the country how prevalent it is,” Lee said. “At this point, we see it as a public health emergency.”
Being that I have been working two jobs it has been a busy summer for me and a somewhat boring summer for the two little ones. My oldest is in the local recreation camp so at least he gets out for a few hours during the day, but besides for the pool in the backyard, its been boring for #2 and # 3. They have been begging to go here or there, but unfortunately it has been tight in the money department, and this will be another summer of Netflix and the free local spray-grounds. I feel bad, but I would feel worse if we had no lights or central air. Since I accidentally lit my grill on fire, all bbq’s have been postponed so there is another hit to this years summer vacation. That being said we were all looking forward to a lazy July 4th weekend. We had a movie day all planned out since the forecast said rain. 9am, the phone rings, and the plans are all changed around. The diner needs another waitress so in a matter of 15 minutes I was dressed and was out the door. Movie day (at least with me participating) had been cancelled. Moans and groans from the kids, but I have to go. I got home at 5 and was trashed. I literally could not feel my legs. I spent a few hours with the kids (translated-they snuggled with me watching tv while I fell into a dead sleep). Phone call at 8pm, they need me on Saturday as well.
My heart was breaking as I was getting dressed Saturday morning, knowing that this was going to be a beautiful day and that I was going to spend it inside the diner. I kissed the kids and went on my way. Thank goodness it was slower due to the nice weather and I had more energy when I got home. We played legos, and my daughter helped cut my coupons (translation- I cut she threw away scrap paper) and it was bath time. As we were about to put the kids into bed, we heard the bangs. When we looked outside, over the trees in the front yard we saw them. The fireworks that were cancelled the night before we going off. My man and I looked at each other and smiled. We quickly gathered the kids-pjs and no shoes and put them into the car. We pulled into a side street a few blocks from the house and parked.
I took the keys out of the car, and sat all three kids in the front seats of the car. There they had a wonderful show. The firework display went on for about 20 minutes. There were the cries of ooh’s and ahh’s, and excited giggles. It was my daughters first time seeing fireworks, and instead of being afraid, she was mesmerized. Her big brown eyes were as large as saucers and I doubt she blinked even once. It was in that one moment that I truly realized that all the vacations and trips didn’t matter not even one bit. It was moments like these, the kids will remember. The day that Mommy and Daddy took them out of bed in their pj’s to watch the fireworks-and that my friends makes all the long hard days worth every second.
For as long as I can remember I wanted a dog. When I was single, I had 2 pit bulls. As a mom living in apartments, it was never possible. I just was not allowed to have a dog. I snuck my 2 cats into my apartment, but it’s not the same. Cats are well, cats. They want to be loved when THEY decide and I just wanted that excited barking and jumping that a dog gives you. When I moved into my house one of the first adventures we went on as a family was to find that perfect family dog. The man wanted a bull dog but when we looked into them, the amount of health problems scared us away. So, it was to my advantage that we were able to decide on a a pit bull. Contrary to popular belief, pit bulls are ideal family dogs. When raised the right way, they are amazing family dogs. They are wonderful with kids, adore their owners, and protect the family and the house.
We looked and looked and looked. We contacted a few rescues, and went to the local animal shelters, however, they would not give us a dog. They had all different reasons for not allowing us to adopt. The kids were to young. The dogs are unpredictable. But at the last shelter we got lucky. This man needed to surrender his pit bull and told us that if we wanted to come to his house we could meet the dog. It was love at first sight. This blue nosed pure breed American Bully was perfect. He was loving, and sweet, and just amazing. His name fit him-Capone. We took him home that day.
This dog is amazing. He is now 90 pounds and still thinks he is a lap dog. He is a snuggler. He is gentle with the kids. He loves the baby the most. I came out of the shower one morning and look what I found:
He is playful and patient. He loves to give us kisses and is happy to sit on the floor at our feet and watch tv with us. He lets me bathe him, clean him, and never gives me a problem. He is also a wonderful teaching tool for the kids. They help us to feed him, walk him, and clean up after him. They know that the dog needs to be fed before we are fed. They know how to play with him and how not to tease him. We loved him so much we got him a friend. Yes, because I am a glutton for chaos we got our Capone a girlfriend. A puppy named Josephine. We got her at 3 months and now at 5 months she is 50 pounds and a more energetic version of our older dog.
These dogs have taught our family so much. They bring us together, and we are all full of puppy love.
This past week has been
interesting chaotic. My oldest sons father was released from prison and although I never had any major issues with him in the past, I was interested on how this would change the dynamic of my family. I was open to being nice, and cooperative. I never told my son that his father was in Jailmaica, but explained that he has 2 daddies. 1 that lives at home, and 1 that is in school. I know lying isn’t good but I did not want my son to think that his sperm donor biological father was a total piece of shit bad. So me and said “dad” met up so I could talk to him. I wanted to know where his head was at. I wanted to let him know that I was raising MY son a certain way and I would appreciate he would be on the same page as I was.
I had a few set of rules:
- Decide to be either in or out of your sons life-and stick to that decision
- Get a real job and please do not sell drugs anymore
- Do not bring MY son around your shitty Latin King friends
- Start to help me or I will put you on child support.
- Please stay out of prison
I’m a real bitch huh? So on Sunday I set up a time and place and decided to let this happen. Joshua was so excited to meet his other dad. Truth be told, I was happy as well. I wanted this to work. I wanted this man to do the right thing and be a dad. All was going well. I let them go off and play and talk and then it happened. Sperm donor got too comfortable. He questioned my son. Behind my back. The first opportunity he had. He questioned my 6 year old about adult topics. The question was not a big deal-I would have told sperm donor what he wanted to know. I have nothing to hide, but he questioned my son. I let them finish the visit but I was angry.
When I got home I talked it over with my sons real father (ya know the one that has actually been raising him EVERY DAY SINCE HE WAS 2) and we were both pissed. So I called sperm donor-to be nice and ask him in the future that if he has questions about what goes on in my house that he should just please ask me and keep my son out of it. Well my friends as you can imagine, that did not go over well. He yelled and screamed and threatened. Ya see, in his opinion he has the right to make some rules. He can ask his son and do anything he wants. SIDE NOTE- THIS IS WHY YOU DO NOT HAVE KIDS WITH GHETTO ASS PEOPLE. But I digress. It turned into a all out massive argument where he basically told me that if he ever heard anything that IN HIS OPINION was not right he was going to call the cops and DYFS. YES YOU READ THAT CORRECTLY. This man-child who has spent a total of 3 hours and $0.00 raising my son has decided that he wants to make the rules. He has decided that it is irrelevant of what has gone on, in the last 6 years because as he says “I’m home now and I have a say in what happens.” He has also decided that I am too strict with my 6 year old and that I am hurting him by not exposing him to things like BET, and what happens on the streets. Because it is important for my 6 year old to know what it means to “make it rain” and “drop it like its hot”. Sperm Donor thinks my innocent child should be able to curse and not follow basic playground rules. Sperm Donor also was upset that I did not take my child to PRISON to visit his dad.
Am I totally surprised? Nah, not really. I mean, it would have been nice to see a little maturity, and real concern and not a display of male ego and chest puffing, but I am not surprised at all. When he brought up DYFS, the conversation was over. I do not deal well with threats. I have nothing to hide. I am raising my son to be a smart and respectful person. I do not need him to curse, spit, or act like an animal. He does not need to be around people that smoke weed or that are gang members. I want my child to be better than I am. I need him to be surrounded by people that are positive, and productive. Laywers, doctors, businessman. NOT drug dealers, Latin Kings, or jailbirds.
If that’s wrong, well I don’t think I want to be right.
April is a hard time of the year for me. April 9, 2009 I, along with my abuser was arrested. That arrest started a very long fight with the legal system as well as with the family court system. Fights, I might sadly add that are not over. April 14, 2009 was the birth of my middle child. Yes, five days after being arrested, my son was born and then taken from me. So it goes unsaid that April while a happy month because of my son, is also a reflective and sad month. This year it also turned into a joyful month.
In a past post, I mentioned that my abuser was up for parole. Well last Friday, among hectic party preparation I got an email.
This e-mail is to inform you that ANTHONY MUNIZ, with SBI Number 000470175B, has been denied parole as of 4/22/2014.
For more information, contact the New Jersey State Parole Board at (609) 292-4257.
This notification is sponsored by the New Jersey Statewide VINE Service. It is our hope that this information has been helpful to you.
The VINE Service
Finally, I can breathe. Although, I know that he will not be there forever, I at least have until Auguest of 2015 to know where he is at all times. The news could not have come at a better time. You see on Saturday I was throwing my son who was born from this animal his first birthday party. A pirate party to be exact. My favorite troublemaker picked out the theme. He wanted pirates. I was all for it. I ordered all the accessories online and even got my nails done in the theme
All I wanted was to make this little guy smile. He is a middle child and I know that he sometimes feels invisible. He’s not the oldest so he was to wait to do things, and he is no longer the baby so he again sometimes has to wait to do things. So, we decided that he would have one day that it was all about him. We got a face painter, cake, and cooked for 2 days. Even the weather held out. The rain didn’t dare come down from the sky until the last guest left.
That night, I slept. Fully. Without dreams. Five years have gone by since the abuse has stopped. Five years have gone by since my miracle child, the child that literally saved my and his brothers lives, was born. That Friday I was given a gift. Peace of mind for at least another 15 months. And a full restful nights sleep