A Day In The Life by Jennifer Ziemann
Posted in on August 15th, 2007 7:52 am by HL
A Day in the Life
By: Jennifer Lynne Ziemann
Woke up, got out of bed
Dragged a comb across my head
Found my way downstairs, and drank a cup
And looking up, I noticed I was late…(The Beatles)
And the similarities end there to a victim of domestic violence. Here is how the rest of the day went.
Noticing she was late, she woke him up so he could take a shower. She knew she had about ten minutes before preparing his breakfast in order to have it on the table and to make sure it was still hot when he was finished. He had the same thing every morning; two eggs over easy – don’t break the yolks, cream of wheat – not instant and no lumps, toast light brown with grape jelly and butter, three pieces of bacon, orange juice and coffee. She took her coffee into the living room and put it down on the end table. She lay down on the couch on her stomach and dozed off.
She awoke to a fist striking the back of her head over and over. Oh, no, she thinks, I fell asleep!! Confusion sets in as her husband continues to punch her in the head and then down her back and into her kidneys. She tries to turn over and he breaks her nose. She slides off the couch to the floor. Keeping low, she tries to slither across the floor and escape without too much of a noise. He follows, now driving his steel-toed boots into her back and her ribs as she continues to pull herself across the floor. He is yelling, but she cannot understand what he is saying, her terror is too great. He pauses; she manages to pull her self onto all fours and scurries down the hall to her youngest son’s room and locks the door.
He pounds and pounds on the door, but for some reason this morning he walks away and announces he hasn’t the time for her games. She debates, her older son is still out there, she must get him in here with her, and she must get the phone. This time, although the police had failed her in the past, she would ask for their help again after remaining silent for too long.
She swings the door open, darts across the hall to her other son’s bedroom and picks him up carrying him back to the room she was in. She hears her husband’s steps behind her; she barely makes it, he grabs for her but only grabs thin air. She was unable to get the phone.
He again begins pounding on the door. It is a mystery to her why he does not just break it down. Three of the five doors in the house have had their frames busted by him so he could get to her. He continues to berate her but the words mean nothing. He calls her a warthog; he always calls her this. It makes her feel so ugly. He suddenly announces that he is leaving. She waits; knowing this can be a trick. He has done it before. She hears his truck pull out of the drive. She slowly opens the door and peers out.
The boys have fallen asleep on the floor so she covers them with a blanket. Her mind is a fog as she moves to the phone, thinking this time it will be different. She dials 911.
The police arrive. They take their pictures, their reports and assure her that he will be arrested. She provides them with info where he can be picked up during the day.
She must now get her oldest son ready for school. She moves through the day as if she is a ghost. She hides her bruises; so skilled at doing this it is like second nature.
That evening, she returns home from her son’s football practice only to find her husband passed out on the couch from whatever he is high on. She is enraged, the police have failed to protect her and her boys again. She calls them and tells them that he is in the home. They ask her to leave it they are on their way and fear for her safety. Her rage blinds her she refuses to leave and will only go to the end of the driveway with her boys. She is so sick of running.
The police finally arrive and arrest him. They ask her not to post his bail, she agrees. She is exhausted.
This was not over for this woman. I know… because this woman was me. This day belonged to me and I carry it with me each and every day of my life, just as I carry everything else he did to me.
An assistant district attorney that truly cared about victims of domestic violence was assigned to case. He had me write a narrative of the abuse I had experienced over the years at the hands of this man. I testified in front of a grand jury that indicted him with one count of terroristic threats, two counts of battery, two counts of rape, two counts of sodomy, and one count of aggravated assault.
Although evidence at his trial showed a steady, deliberate pattern of emotional, physical and sexual abuse that happened over a seven year period, a jury only convicted him of aggravated assault and two counts of battery. All too often citizens on a jury do not understand that a man raping and sodomizing his wife is a crime too. He was sentenced to six years in prison and fourteen years probation. He was ordered to never come near me and my boys again.
I was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder and battered women’s syndrome during the trial. Afterwards I refused any counseling. I moved away and lived in denial. I later married another abuser that was an alcoholic. My boys and I left him last year. I no longer live in denial. I want and need support. I am tired of trying to do this on my own — being alone.
I attend individual counseling and group for victims of domestic violence provided by Safe Harbor. I have my own place, I have my boys, and I have my freedom. I finally have my voice. I will never be silent again.
My journey has only just begun and I want so much more.