Editor’s note: October is a time to acknowledge domestic violence survivors and be a voice for victims. Domestic violence is widespread across every community, and affects all people regardless of age, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, gender, race, religion, or nationality. Physical violence is frequently accompanied by emotionally abusive and controlling behavior as part of a methodical pattern of dominance and control. Domestic violence can cause not only physical injury, but psychological trauma, or even death. The damaging consequences of domestic violence can cross generations and last a lifetime. The following article is an account of domestic violence from one of our very own Officers that has been published before but should be re-posted during this month to continue to help raise awareness in support of those who have suffered and continue to suffer from domestic violence, to encourage current victims to have their own voice and seek help.
Often times, we believe that monsters exist solely in movies or the shows we constantly watch. As children, we occasionally learn that monsters are hidden beneath our beds and in the corner of our closets. We protect ourselves as much as we can, we hide underneath the covers, lock our doors, leave our lights on at night, and go on living a life believing that monsters are make believe, a made-up mythical creature. But the real monsters are not make believe, they are the humans that exist amongst us, and from time to time they are the ones that we love most.
The monster I met was a man whom I thought loved me to the moon, a man that made me feel like the queen my father told me I was. He was everything I had imagined a prince charming would be, until he was not. The account of what occurred to me through those last few months will forever be ingrained in my memories. The trauma my assailant has caused me, and my daughters is something that will only heal with time and therapy. Telling this story is not for sympathy or even compassion, it is told in order to bring awareness to the realities of family violence and how it can occur to anyone, because often times, it is believed that police officers are immune to the realness of life. My hope is that if you or anyone you know is in an abusive relationship that you seek help and don’t be afraid to speak up, we are human too.
As previously stated, he was everything a woman ever wanted. A kind man, a good listener, a provider, a great communicator, and most of all, a respectable partner. He made sure flowers were delivered weekly, he made sure the coffee was always full, and that me and my children were always pleased and thriving. Often times I thought to myself that this was it, this was the man that I was going to spend the rest of my life with. What I did not know, was that he was a very narcissistic man disguised underneath it all. He had always been going the extra mile and buying my love so that when he ended up assaulting me using his words, I would look beyond that and be okay with it.
That was how it started.
He started out being verbally abusive. Using my past against me was his go to. His rants began about how I was so promiscuous in the past and it disgusted him at times. Then came the times he would tell me how I was never going to amount to anything and thought that every man on my social media wanted to be with me. There came a time I began cutting ties to any of my guy friends, for it became too stressful convincing him they were just friends to me. But it did not stop there, soon he had me spending less time with some of the girlfriends he did not care for.
By now you are probably wondering why I stayed and put up with even that, but I left him quite a few times, he just always crawled his way back promising me the world and buying my love once more.
Many days passed until one date night at a comedy club. Again, the arguing commenced over something insignificant. He told me I was never able to just shut the hell up and enjoy something nice. His words had so much power in them, and I felt hopeless. That man had me questioning whether or not I had been the problem this whole time. Why could I not just be thankful, shut my mouth, and enjoy the night? My way of coping was going silent. Silence has always helped me deal with trauma and this was no different. So, the night went on and we made up during the show, but it did not last long. On the way home he began belittling me and as I sat in the passenger seat I thought, “Please God let me make it to his home so I can leave him for good.” A recording from that night still remains in my phone. That night I tried to leave, and he cornered me in his closet until I promised I would not leave and go to bed. I fell asleep and later forgave him. What a pity.
Sometime later I remember being at my home in a closed-door room when I rolled my eyes at him because he was going on and on about social media and my past once again. The inevitable happened, and he slapped me across my face. The rage I felt when he physically assaulted me was something I had not experienced. “That will be the last time you put your hands on me motherfucker!” I stated. He knew he was wrong but continued yelling and at that point kept saying he knew I was going to leave him so what did it matter now. The psychopath slept in my bed with me, but I made sure I kept his daughter and mine in the bed because surely, he wouldn’t act crazy in front of the kids. The next day I told him we were done for good and that was that.
He was blocked from any contact with me moving forward. Later on I found out he began dating someone right after me, but him dating was not the issue, it was more so that he lacked any empathy and just moved right on without a care in the world of the damage he had done to me. Then an e-mail came though and soon after, more followed. December came, and it was my daughter’s birthday so he wanted to send her a gift. He spoke his jive and got me to meet him for coffee one day. That man knew I was a sucker for a good latte. However, I only agreed to meet in public.
My conscience knew it was not smart, but I did it anyway.
A week or so later we were back in action. Now because I had already spoken to people about how he verbally abused me and slapped me mid conversation, I had a ton of convincing to do. There were many who did not approve, but I was doing what I wanted anyway.
Two months passed and though verbal abuse existed in those months, I sucked it up because I was embarrassed that I accepted him back and he had not changed his behavior. Often times, I believed I was stuck.
Then came the night of February 3, 2022.
Him and I were already angry form the night prior, but we went along with our day plans. We got tattooed, had a beer at a bar, went to have a martini at the place we had our first date at, and ended the night at my home. The night was quiet, and my daughters were ready for bed.
While we got ready for bed, he wanted to be intimate. Though I rejected him at first, he was adamant and so, I gave in. There we were in the nude. An argument ensued and my past came up again. Then came what I never imagined. Blow after blow to my head. Naked and vulnerable I lay there being assaulted by the man I fell in love with. My daughter was what stopped him. She heard me screaming and began banging on my door and screaming herself. I managed to put on a robe after I pushed him off of me and he got up. What happened next is still a bit of a distortion. Come to find out later I had suffered a concussion, therefore, things get blurry from here on. My daughter called 911 after I stated he had hit me. Both my daughter and I were terrified and at that point and I begged her to go to her room and lock the door while I waited for the police to arrive.
Though I was out of it, I waited at the front door with it wide open in case he decided he wanted to hit me again. But where were the police? Had they not heard me say it was a family violence and he was still here? Was I not important? What is going on?
The monster wanted to talk more and though I told him no several times, I finally went to my closet to shut him up because I did not want my children to be exposed to that anymore. Besides, the police were en route, it was going to be okay.
Another argument followed in the closet, and I screamed at him to leave and began pulling his clothes off the hangers. That is when I saw the devil that existed inside him. He grabbed me with both hands around my neck and I remember falling backwards. That is the last thing I remember before waking up to my daughter’s face. Something I will never forget is the pure evil in his eyes. He was no longer there, only darkness existed where his eyes had been.
My daughter said she found me laying in the closet with him next to me. She stated that he told her he was just laying down with me because I wanted to lay down.
My daughter and I managed to get to her room, lock the door, and call 911 again.
Police arrived a while later and I lead them to the last place I saw him after they saw the swelling and redness that began showing on my face. We found him passed out on our bed. He was arrested that night, and I was photographed, questioned, and recorded.
My father showed up that night on a rage and the next day, so did my mother. For days I lay in bed feeling like death was coming for me. The sadness in my heart was overtaken by the inability to turn my head from the pain and stiffness as well as the constant headaches, aches, pains, and nausea. What was he doing at this time? Calling me. That man called me every hour on the hour and as soon as he got out, he texted again. He ended up driving out to see the woman he dated in the month we broke up two days after he was released and I know this because we had shared our locations and since that was the last thing on my mind, it was still on. I turned it off but was disgusted at how he could do such a thing. Again, my therapist had some words to say about that- Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
Two to three days later I ended up at the doctor who stated she could still see bruising and swelling on my scalp. A concussion from the blows is what I suffered that night. Along with strangulation and the lifelong trauma I live with day-to-day.
These days I am managing as best as I can, but it does not come without days in which I struggle. Justice has not come, and I have learned that being on the other side is a totally different entity. I now get to see from a victim’s side, though I hate thinking of myself as one. It has been a little over a year and the triggers remain, the memories exist in my home, and I have realized that the department really takes care of its people when it is needed. My gratitude for the officers, sergeants, and commanders that have helped me through it all is something I will forever hold near and dear to my heart.
Trial begins soon, as he has denied it all as well as the plea deal. The evidence against him is profound but he is taking his chance with a jury. My therapist is sure he is a textbook narcissist, and that justice will prevail, I pray he is right.
Monsters exist amongst us, and often times they are the people closest to us. I tell my story today to not only help my healing but to be the voice for all those that are too afraid to speak up. Family violence and homicides are at an all-time high, check on your friends and loved ones.
We, as officers are not safe from violence, we are only human! Listen to your higher self, get help, don’t ignore the red flags, and get out!
Trial has come and gone. Though I was prepped to take the stand and tell my truth to a jury, I was unfortunately never given the chance to do so. The case was dismissed and disposed of, and I was never even given a courtesy call to say one, that I did not need to show up on the day of trial, or two, that it was dismissed completely. Insufficient evidence was the reasoning.
Though I feel a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders because I am no longer anticipating a court date that constantly gets reset, I am disgusted by the whole ordeal. The system has failed me as it fails so many others. Family Violence numbers only keep growing and getting worse according to statistics. Family Violence is a cycle and the chances of him doing this again is almost positive, though the next woman may not be so lucky.
Originally Published March 6, 2023
Author Jennifer Ayala, HPD