Please Help, Frustrated and Scared - (A letter we received from a reader.)
Family violence is still not taken seriously by this country. I see lots of fancy colorful brochures informing people of all the resources that are "available" to help them out of situations, but there are no consequences to professionals turning a blind eye to it all. There are also no consequences and accountability to the abuser unless there is documented proof. This proof is extremely difficult to obtain due to intimidation, secrecy and lack of professional support. In my experience, SSRT, Social Services Response Team, was phoned in to our home.
My son had bruises up and down his neck. The police officer responding to the issue refused to see or speak to my son. He also chose to speak to me in front of my abusive partner making it very difficult to express my fears. In turn, he told me that since I wasn't "black and blue all over," that I was an intelligent enough person to find myself a job, save my money and get my own apartment. This was all said in front of my abusive partner giving him even more power and control. Considering I had a 6-month old baby, and had lost another one to SIDS five months previous, I found this a difficult situation. Even after my abusive partner admitted to having crossed the line with my older son, the police officer told him that it was inappropriate behaviour and not to do it again. He then walked out the door leaving us there to deal with the situation at hand and increasing the danger. I would not be allowed to get a job after he mentioned that I might save up money to leave. I don't think it really mattered to him. Since then, I have left and finally gotten on my feet. Very difficult to do when you have been cut off from any support systems, dismissed by police and shelters, and no financial supports at all.
I have been fighting for custody of my daughter for a year now. In the meantime, I am trying to protect my new born son from this situation. I find it strange that a judge sees fit to give unsupervised access to an angry violent man to a 3-month old baby that has no connection to him or a way to familiarize himself with this man in a safe environment. The judge that ordered this stated that "just because a man beats his dog and roughs up his stepson, does not mean that he will harm his biological children." In the meantime, my son has stated that he witnessed my ex-partner throwing our daughter when she wouldn't stop crying. His statements are not being taken seriously either. What protection do I have? How do I protect my children? How do I explain to my 13-year old that manipulating, lying and intimidation are not the way to get ahead in life? How do I teach him consequences? This man has also promised to put a bullet in me if I get in between he and my daughter. Do I have to live with this for the rest of my life? The courts ordered that I give him my new address, and now he knows where I live. Who really takes domestic violence seriously in this country? When will they, the abusers, be accountable? When will the cycle really stop?