I remember faces, many were strangers leaning over me as I laid helpless on the ground. I heard screaming, men barking orders, but everything was so fuzzy. Before I could get my bearings two male detectives arrived in my hospital room shortly after I had gotten out of surgery. They began questioning me and informed me that I was being accused of stalking and harassing my ex.

The age-old questions most victims of abuse face from officers who have no idea how to handle Domestic Violence cases are “what did you do to this guy to make him so mad”? Victims of violence learn very quickly the feeling of total disregard when they finally do reach out for help. Police officers have no idea how much trauma they inject to an already horrible situation. I have heard the words “well you both need to quit arguing or next time we are called out here we are going to arrest both of you!”

In my own case the Pennsylvania State Police officer who came to the neighbors house where I had fled after I was violently assaulted first words were, “Well, he doesn’t want to press charges”. The next were “I don’t have time for this because I am already late for a court hearing”. In shock, not knowing what was going on victims rely on officers for safety and professionalism. Instead of any sort of investigation, my ex stood in my driveway telling both officers that I had Bipolar Disorder which is not unusual. Victims of Domestic Violence are always deemed crazy by the perpetrator. This ensures the victim will not be heard or believed and the abuser is never held accountable. With this statement the investigation was over before it began.

When police do take someone out of the house it is just for a mere 24 to 48-hour period. Perpetrators are rarely arrested, never charged with Domestic Violence and instead if there is a charge it is usually the lesser such as harassment with physical contact. If it were a stranger on the street they would be charged with battery!

If I could have a sit-down with law enforcement officials I would tell them that this isn’t about two people arguing, it isn’t even about two people not getting along, it is not about anger management, it is about power and control. They should know this better than anyone because they must apply this tactic as soon as they enter onto a scene.

Over the years I have found that judges are just as bad. On the rare occasion that someone is arrested the court system seems to have no idea what they are up against! I recall two exceptionally horrendous cases that were on the docket. One man had held his pregnant girlfriend at gunpoint in front of her young son. The victim in the case was so afraid of the man she didn’t want to file for a Protection Order. The perpetrator was sentenced to a small amount of jail time and anger management. I sat there shaking my head wondering if the judge knew what Antisocial Personality Disorder was. These are the worst offenders there are! When someone crosses the line by putting their hands on someone else you are then dealing with a psychopath or sociopath. Now, enters extreme narcissism and sadistic behavior that never gets better.

The second case was a man that broke into another man’s home. Tied him up, robbed, and beat him then upon exiting he set the man’s house on fire leaving him to burn. The perpetrator was in his early to mid-twenties which meant that he had about sixty more years to terrorize other innocent people. His girlfriend sat in the courtroom for moral support. I wish I could have had a conversation with her about what she was supporting!

We know the abuser can control the rage. How many times has the culprit been screaming at the top of his or her lungs and there is a knock on the door? Everything goes silent as the abuser answers the door calmly with a smile and all sorts of pleasantries. In the back ground you’re trying to choke back tears and make sense of the rage that was just poured out against you trying not to show your devastation to the outside world.

There is no arguing with someone who is enraged! I would always sit quietly waiting for it to be over knowing, in the end, there would be a reprieve. Arguing also adds gasoline to the fire as your words are taken out of context and used against you. By this time, we know not to poke the bear or you will get your soul yanked out by words that are so damaging that you can’t imagine ever loving the person in front of you!

Law enforcement doesn’t understand that this is how we live. Our day to day lives is nothing more than walking on shards of glass while trying not to step on a bomb! We are not the instigators, we are the problem-solvers, the ones who take care of everyone’s needs with the exception of our own. We have been drained dry years previous from the grooming techniques taught by our own family as young children. Therefore we learned to survive in this type of environment. This grooming keeps us blinded to what abuse actually is.

When the phone was being twisted out of my hands or unplugged I would think it wasn’t that bad because at least he didn’t hit me. It was to easy for me to go to bed and wake up fresh as if nothing happened. It usually took a violent attack to get me moving and even then I would ask myself if I was overreacting because I didn’t have bruising or broken bones. Over the years I have built up a tolerance to abuse. I had no idea there was a whole reportare of emotional abuse that was being used against me from the very beginning. It wasn’t until I fled to the women’s shelter that I would finally find answers.

Sure, there are exceptional police officers out there but nowadays it seems to be a rarity. After dealing with the two male officers who tried to question me I told them I wanted them off the case and asked for a female detective. They argued with me until I told them I had a lawyer! This is when things changed, and I finally had someone who could see what I had been through. It wasn’t my words that had done the convincing, it was the evidence I had saved over the years up until the day of the shooting. She is the exception that we need and if anything, she has gotten a firsthand account of what psychopathic and Narcissistic Personality Disordered people not only look like but the damage they do to their victims.

If you are a survivor, you are an educator! Use this knowledge to inform your community and support other survivors coming into the fold.

Best Wishes, Kim and Angelina