Friday, September 9, 2011

When the law works, it's a lovely thing.

It's been a few months since I've been here. I haven't been avoiding this blog, just my life has been so non-stop that it hasn't been in the forefront of my mind to come here and dish out my scars to the world. Somewhere along the way they not only healed, but some magical Mederma erased them completely. It almost feels like what happened to me was to a completely different person, because who I was even two months ago is nothing like the person I am today.

It's good to grow.

Unfortunately, my life hasn't been all roses and cupcakes. Back in late July I had to make a decision, a very difficult one that I knew would alter many people's view of me and put a lot of people at odds with one another. But in the end, I'm glad I stood up for what was right and tried to fight my abuser through the court of law.

As my loyal readers know, I had cut all contact with him back in April. Removed him from all social media networks, had my phone company block his number, put in place (what I thought) were fail safes to keep him from not only contacting me, but finding out about my day to day life. Apparently it wasn't enough. Some people when you ignore them, just grow all the more impatient to dig into your life. I found out that my personal email was being hacked and real and fake Gmail chat conversations and emails were being sent to professional and personal contacts alike.

The worse of it, how I discovered any of this was happening, is a (doctored) chat conversation that was sent to a person who had caused much grief in my life in the past... A person who had threatened to kill me on multiple occasions, harassed and stalked me, and made my life a living hell until I first moved out of my previous state of residence. It was during all this that the ex and I became friends, and he was the only person I opened up to about all of it, how it made me feel, and all the dark thoughts I had at the time. So of course, to receive a threatening email from said person's new wife, brought back a flood of memories that paralyzed me for a day. Until I realized that there is nothing these people could truly do to me. If they tried, I had an army of people by my side who would protect me, vouch for me, and otherwise stand up for me. The worse they managed to do was leak some semi-nude photos on a website, which I was able to obtain the IP addresses of those who posted them, and have them on file in case I need to use them in court again (see, always document everything. It helps your case!) And it also helps to have friends in powerful, internet places ;D.

Readers, you might remember me saying before that my email had been compromised back in April, and my friends and I suspected the ex had something to do with it, so I knew what measures to take to find out who had been in my email. Also, it doesn't hurt having a very tech savvy mother who's whole job details working in Internet security. I was able to obtain his IP address in my email and had two people independently verify it as the one from his house.

I was left with only one real option. Since ignoring him had done no good, I hired a lawyer. Within the day she had a Temporary Restraining Order in place, and I was shipped out of town until the trial date to get the full restraining order in effect. I would like to say everything worked in my favor and I am now free of that cancer, but the problem with abuse law, cyber crimes, and what I went through is there isn't a whole lot of precedent for it (especially in the county we took him to court in) and it's a very difficult thing to get to stick.

I had some pretty solid evidence. Screen captures with time and date stamps of his IP in my email, witnesses who could attest to him hacking previous exes emails and the horrors they saw of how he mentally abused them or the claims he would make as to what he would do to his exes if they crossed him, my own testimony which was compelling and not over the top.

He brought a circus. And the judge knew it. Unfortunately, at the end, she told me she could not grant me the restraining order, as much as she wanted to. But what I did get was just as good as any piece of paper (that probably still wouldn't keep him out of my life) - the judge warned him, in front of the entire court and both our accompanying circles, that if I brought another piece of evidence against him not only would I get my restraining order, but he would go to jail. She made it very clear that the evidence I had was criminal in nature, and if it was a criminal trial, I would have won.

It was a very difficult decision on my part. I knew I would lose friends over it, but more so, I knew the potential I had to ruin his life if things shook out in my favor - and even after everything, the idea of completely taking something away from a person was a hard idea to wrestle with. But in the end, I knew I had to protect myself and the people I love. And the strength my friends brought me helped me stand tall that day.

I wasn't surprised by the accusations he tried to make in court, what shocked me were the people he brought with him to try to testify against my character. People who willingly lied for him, despite swearing to do other wise. People I had barely known for a handful of months, but were the ones who I had first opened up to about the abuse. People, who for the most part are seen as respected in their circle, but to me, are now lower than dirt. I am sorry, but if you want to stand up for someone you know is abusive, lying, manipulative and otherwise a terrible person, when you ignore the words of  not just me, but a total of three ex-girlfriends, who are well respected and known in the community stand up with the same accusations and you dismiss them all as being crazy and liars, you don't deserve my time of day. And you need to take a serious look at your priorities in life if you would turn out an abuse victim and take the confidence she trusted in you and then stand against her when she is trying to stand up for herself.

These people might be able to fool the average person who wants to get in on whatever new project they are trying to sell, but more and more people have come to me and told me that what was done to me, not just by the ex, but by supposed friends, is shit. And I finally believe it. I have nothing to do with these people, or the people who want to ride the fence on this issue.

This wasn't a typical bad breakup. I understand not wanting to get involved. But when you cross a certain line, when you break into someone's personal, private world and disseminate it for all to see, when you support said person, stand up for them even when you have been shown evidence to the contrary, and when you choose to look the other way when abuse is happening - you are not a person. You are a shadow. You don't exist in this world, you exist only to serve yourself. And people know it.

So I may not have won my restraining order, but I won a bigger fight. I have myself, growing stronger every day. I have my amazing friends, and other people who continually come to me and say they are sorry for what I went through and that they will no longer have him in their lives. Because that's the thing, if you even continue a casual relationship with such a person, in a way you are supporting it. You are saying, "I'm looking the other way, because I don't want to get involved or create waves." Well how is change ever supposed to happen if you don't stick up for what is right?

So to the people who have heard my story, and the story of his other exes, and our friends who he has abused just as much, and have made a decision to cut him from your life - I love you and thank you.

To the people still on the fence about this, who want to play some game of placating us both, you can kindly pack up and get out of my life. I have no use for you anymore. I am tired of people causing needless drama, who tell me things I don't want to hear. I have cut him out of my life, he would be better off if he did the same, and I don't need monkeys in the middle trying to stir up things to make life more difficult for me.

This weekend proved something huge to me. I am strong. I have moved on. And that I have some amazing friends who will stand up for what is right and keep me safe and happy. It's a pretty good day when you feel like this.

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