Thursday, April 21, 2011

Day 4: The cost of Domestic Violence

Day 4: I was so sure he was going to have to dig deep into the wallet and sacrifice weeks/months/ years of his life to pay for the spirit he took from me. Turns out if you want to beat someone, threaten their life, and take every once of security they ever possessed it's only going to cost you $800.00.

That is all he was fined, $800.00. That was to cover the ambulance, the police, and the country attorney's fees and misc filing fees. What about my fee?!
What compensation was I going to get for my time, my bills, my loss of freedom and sense of self?. I couldn't believe that our American court system placed a value on a person's life for less than the average monthly rent.

Oh sure he also had to do 30 days of anger management classes and his jail time was set at "time served" which was 3 days, and that was only because he chose to beat me on a Friday night and a judge was not available until Monday. Later he was ordered to serve 10 days of "house arrest". Really?....10 days in an environment where you have access to televisions, computers, all the snacks you desire, your friends/family are free to visit and you can sleep all day for a week if you so desire. That's punishment? Sounds like a vacation to me.

I was on house arrest too. Once discharged from the hospital I couldn't leave my home, no because some judge ordered me to stay, but because my injuries prevented me from driving for over 35 days. My face was so badly bruised and battered that I wouldn't dare show it in public. Fear of him lurking around every corner paralyzed me from ever giving him the chance to strike again. My jaw was broken, eating snacks was out of the question. Soup and mushy foods were all I tolerated before the pain got to be unbearable. The only social interaction I had was police officers coming and going, taking photographs daily of the cuts and bruises. Life went on around me as if nothing had happened and I was missing out on all of it.

His $800 fine was change in comparison to the the thousands of dollars that have been spent by myself and the insurance companies. To fix my jaw cost me over $500 in out of pocket expenses. co-pays added up month after month until deductibles were met, and what wasn't covered well... being a college student and unemployed I had to apply for a high interest credit card and put the charges on it, only to accrue 28% interest. I had to pay hand over fist in gasoline to get me all over the cities from clinic to clinic for all the services I needed; dental surgery, psychotherapy, physical therapy, lawyers, and doctors. My time was being robbed from me! I had no time for school and studies or taking care of my family I was too busy cleaning up the path of destruction he left behind.

For 4 years this cycle has continued. Doctors, Therapists, Physical Therapy, Oral Surgeons...meanwhile he continues on as if it had never happened, never missing a beat. When do I get time for a vacation, or a simple picnic in the park? Perhaps I could schedule it in between a therapy session so that I am not afraid he or anyone else will lunge at me from behind a tree. Or perhaps I can schedule it after my physical therapy session so I can have the mobility to actually eat that Jimmy John's sandwich while on a picnic; with out dislocating my jaw another time. When do I get a moment to enjoy life with out the pain, with out the fear, with out the anticipation of it happening again?...I'd gladly pay $800 for that!

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