My fear and my guilt played with my otherwise confident, outgoing and confident self. I had seen the worst in humanity and was put in the category of
Not a good person
I have always tried to live and let live. I was raised with manners. I was raised to be civil even in anger. I have a temper, but who does not? The only times I have ever let that anger express itself is when I have been pushed to the very limits and I dare anyone to say I have an “anger problem” who has had to deal with what I have had to deal with.
After everything that happened that day at the beach with a madman. My husband still wanted me. Can you believe that? My guilt and my fear of what would happen to me and him- with his family? I could not go back to him. I felt that it would be better to let him find someone whom he could be proud of. So, for two years we enjoyed fifty-fifty custody of our daughter and my son would often go and visit with her during some of these times too. (My son is not his).
Two years of sharing everything to do with my baby-girl with him. To nothing.
I worked, but then I didn’t. I moved to the house in a different city eighty-nine miles away from where we used to live to live in a house my mother owned. We continued the shared parenting time. I put her in daycare, he paid for that mostly, but the daycare/preschool was with me always.
Then everything changed. He said if I would not come home we would have to do something about our daughter because she would soon begin kindergarten and she would have to be with one of us the bulk of the week and she would need to be with one of us more than the other. I knew this, yet I could not bring myself to go back. To allow him to make everything alright after everything I had went through with this other man”ster” (monster). What kind of woman would I be if I went back and let my husband make it all better? His family would hate him and I would be the disgraceful wife to all of his friends. How could I let him face all of that? He deserved better.
I kept putting the brakes on it. What I did not know was that his mother and aunt had got him paired up with a lawyer that “took no prisoners”. My husband had convinced my mother that I did not need a lawyer because he would never do anything to hurt me.
She believed him. Why wouldn’t she? I was the one that did him wrong. He had never hurt me like I did him.
They were busy little bees, and I was trying to navigate a legal world to whit I had no clue how it operated. I was so naive about the process that I did not even know when my mom and I showed up to a court hearing one day that that was the day I was to be getting a divorce and custody would be established. I had always thought of myself and pretty smart, but the legal jargon and the names of the hearing not at all usual or clearly stated to it’s meaning by word. I was bereft.
Then when in that court by myself and my husband and his family with the “in” within the legal world in our county showed me just how biased and unethical the legal system can be when you know people. I was condescended to, unfairly persecuted and the hearing had barely begun. I begged for an extension to acquire legal help and the magistrate denied me at every turn even though I had proof I had been trying to get free legal representation. I tried to ask for a few things. Denied. Every time. I was humble and respectful and the magistrate talked to me like I was a dog.
It was a setup. And we walked right in.
Rather than lose all sense of self and tightly reigned in anger and astonishment I begged the court for a recess and went to the bathroom to have a near breakdown. I spoke to my mother in the bathroom and then out in the hallway and told her, “we need to leave, we have to leave. There is no way I know how to fight this fight and the magistrate is in his aunt’s pocket somehow, because this is not RIGHT!” The Bailiff came out and condescendingly told me that if I go back in then I will be able to tell my side of the story, at least. He said much more than that, but his tone, his words were dripping with sarcasm and barely held censure and negativity.
I have never been spoken to by professionals in that manner before. From the magistrate, to the bailiff and all the rest of them. They would speak to dogs better. Telling me to my face that I was lying without proof. The magistrate herself introduced evidence against me as if that was her job. Passing judgement before we had even begun. It was all rigged.
So we left. I have never been more upset. Angry that my mom believed my husband in that he would never hurt me and I did not need a lawyer. Hurt that his aunt whom worked in the legal realm in Sarasota County had pulled strings to have me put in a position where the magistrate and all the Kings Court Jesters would unethically and illegally abandon their oaths and responsibilities because I had no one to turn to.
Perfect for them; and absolutely the worst for me.
Later that day, my mom came over to tell me the news. I would only get to see my daughter for fourteen hours a month with supervised visitation. In Sarasota county only. And only after six months would I be able to petition the court for a change.
From 50/50 time to 14 hours a month.
In that moment, I was broken. Death could take me. I felt as if my daughter had died everyday I couldn’t see her. I re-lived this grief daily. I could not think straight for the pain. Screaming in pain as if I had watched it all through a lens. And my pain was just beginning.
All the struggles, rape, false accusations and threats from a madman and nothing compared to the pain of this moment. My baby girl was lost to me. How would she handle it? Would she be okay? Two years had passed since the incident and she didn’t recall a thing. We shared her and she was with me every week 3 to 4 nights a week. Now? Never would I smell her neck in the morning, or dress her for school, or comb her hair out or… anything.
The deck was so big against me from every turn and every place I turned, I thought surely God has forsaken me. Because this was too much. Really, I did not handle any of this in anyway. I shut down. Literally.
The ultimate price being paid for not by me, but my daughter. Whom went from seeing her mommy for several days in a row and over night for two years to fourteen hours a month. All due to a system that was manipulated and used to hurt a woman not caring that the child they sought to protect was abused in the process.