They Could Never Ask Her
Too Often, The Victim Feels Shame, And That She Has Done Something To Deserve What Her Abuser Does To Her.
Melody stared at her reflection in the cracked bathroom mirror. Anymore, her face looked better to her split in two with fin cracks camouflaging the bruises to her left eye. They were beginning to turn yellow, instead of the deep purple that had manifested when it first happened.
The public story was that it had been an accident, due to her own clumsiness. She had told her brother, Teddy, and what few people Bull Dog let her talk to at the shop, that she was changing a light bulb when the ladder fell, and she had blacked her eye when she fell against it, trying to regain her balance.
Almost everyone she told believed her. Her clumsiness was legendary among Bull Dog’s customers. Everyone but Teddy agreed that Melody wouldn’t be able to get out of bed in the morning without injury if it wasn’t for Bull Dog taking care of her.
Teddy was the only one who couldn’t leave well enough alone. He would stop in to see her at work, and give her sad looks. Bull Dog let him hang out with her as long as they were in public. He didn’t like the “faggot” much. But, as long as Teddy stayed out of their apartment, and minded his own business, Bull Dog tolerated his visits to the shop. He would put up with Teddy as long as his visits were infrequent and short. After all, he had work to do, and he wasn’t about to spend time baby-sitting Melody and her nosey fag brother.
Melody sighed as she searched through her make-up bag for her concealer. When her eye was first hurt, no amount of make-up could hide the bruises. Bull Dog had given her a few days off to recover, even though the injury had been her own fault. If she could only learn not to set him off, he wouldn’t have to hit her to keep her in line. The fewer people who saw her the better.
Bull Dog hated to answer a lot of nosey questions. If there was anything he hated even worse, it was when people questioned Melody directly. He never knew what would come out of her big mouth, so he commanded her not to say anything to anybody unless he was around. As far as he knew, she complied with his orders.
“Look, stupid,” he had lectured her more than once, “it is bad enough that people can’t mind their own damned business in the first place. You’re going to get in real trouble if you don’t get that “woe is me” look off your puss.”
Melody supposed he was right. It seemed anymore that she couldn’t keep from choking up when people asked her why she had a red mark all around her neck, or why her lip was split or, as now, her eye was black. She tried not to blubber, and for the most part she succeeded. After all, she would have hell to pay if Bull Dog found out she was about to expose him. She wished she could talk about her pain to someone without getting him in trouble.
“Look, Dumb Ass,” he had often told her, “I’ll be damned if I’m going to jail just because I took pity on an idiot. How would you like to have to support your lame ass yourself? Who do you think would have you if you didn’t have me?”
Melody didn’t have an answer for that question. She knew she wasn’t very smart. She had gotten straight “As” in high school, but Bull Dog was right when he told her that, “Anyone with half a brain could be Val Victorian in that retarded school. Hell, all you had to do was show up for classes and suck up to the teachers.”
She was scared when she couldn’t find her concealer. She could have sworn it was in her make-up bag. She hadn’t used it since the last time – she didn’t let her thoughts go there. Did she dare ask Bull Dog if he had seen it? Would that set him off again? She had to hurry up and get ready for work. But, if she showed up without covering the remains of her last black eye, Bull Dog would take it as a sign that she was trying to make him look bad. She knew that if she made him look bad, he would make her look and feel even worse.
As if her thoughts had conjured him, she heard the front door crash open. The shop was right in the garage next to the house. Melody’s job was to clean up the chemical spills and equipment, fetch sandwiches and beer for Bull Dog, and generally look perfectly coifed and clean while she performed her duties.
Bull Dog liked to see her in pretty revealing clothes. He told her it was because he wanted her to make him proud. Sometimes, she thought it was so he could have an excuse to start fights with other men who dared to glance at her with any kind of appreciation or interest. That hadn’t happened near as often since she lost her front teeth.
Bull Dog didn’t start fights in the shop. It was bad for business. But, at night, when a would be admirer was walking down a dark street, or gazing at the stars in an out of the way place, Bull Dog would seek his revenge anonomysly and swiftly. “No one disrespects my woman and gets away with it,” he would tell her. No one but him, Melody often thought, but didn’t dare say.
“I can’t find my concealer,” she called down the stairs. “I don’t know why it isn’t in my make-up bag.”
“Because you left it in the truck, Dumb Ass. Can’t you keep track of anything?” he yelled back impatiently.
“I’ll grab it, and be right over,” she said, trying to put a note of cheer in her voice that she certainly didn’t feel.
“Make it snappy!” the front door slammed again. Bull Dog had put the missing concealer in the glove compartment of his truck last night after their fight. He loved to make Melody crazy by moving and hiding her possessions. He liked the way he felt when she depended on him for the smallest things, unless he was in a particularly bad mood. He would decide what kind of mood she put him in later. He loved to keep her guessing.
Violence Accelerates. It Quickly Goes From "I'm Sorry" to "911, I think I Killed Her
Even If You Think You Understand Him, He Doesn't Have The Right To Cause You Pain
It Is Hard For The Victim's Family To Intervene If He Or She Is An Adult
Tedd turned off the lawn mower and wiped the sweat from his face. He stuffed his bandana back into his jeans pocket, and smiled at the short figure who was trotting towards him. The dwarf returned his smile, and Tedd ran to meet him with open arms.
“When did you get home?” Tedd asked, lifting the heavy grocery bag from Craig’s arms.
“About an hour ago,” Craig smiled into Tedd’s face. They had been married for two years, but they still felt and acted like newlyweds. Grinning, Tedd surveyed his parent’s wide lawn. He was almost done. Soon, he could kiss his mother good-bye, and he and Craig could jump in the truck and go home.
“Have you seen Melody today?” Craig asked.
“Yeah,” Tedd said sadly. “The monster struck again.”
“What did he do this time?”
“I don’t know. She was limping, and she had a big shiner. She gave me some song and dance about falling off the back steps. That son of a bitch is going to kill her some day. It makes me sick the way he treats her.”
“Me too,” Craig agreed. “She was such a happy person when we were in school. She could have done a lot better for herself than that creep.”
Tedd wheeled his parent’s lawn mower back to its place in his father’s spotless tool shed. He wiped the grass clippings from its shell, and joined Craig in his mother’s kitchen. Janet Green smiled at her son and son-in-law, and placed sweating glasses of ice tea in front of both of them.
She never asked about her youngest daughter. Melody had made it clear that she didn’t want to see her mother, and Janet could only hope that Tedd would tell her if there was any news about her daughter that wasn’t the usual litany of bruises, burn marks or, Janet cringed to remember at least two times, broken bones. She didn’t dare show up at Bull Dog’s shop to make inquiry. The last time she had “nosed around where she didn’t belong”, Melody had landed in the emergency room. The cops had been called, but her daughter had denied that there was anything wrong, and because she was an adult, the authorities hadn’t inquired further. She didn’t know why Bull Dog tolerated Tedd’s weekly visits, but she was grateful he did.
“Does she ever tell you why she stays with him?” Janet asked more than once.
Tedd’s response was always the same. “Even if she knows, Mom, he stands two feet away and listens to everything we say. When 5 minutes is up, he looks at the clock, and makes it very clear that I’d better hit the road. For Mel’s sake, I do.”
Janet wiped her eyes. She hurt whenever Melody’s situation was brought to her attention. She wondered if she and Harold had done something wrong as parents. When her daughter was in high school, she was an independent, if somewhat willful, teen-ager. No matter how annoying and frustrating she was, Janet always thought her daughter could take care of herself. She wished she knew what happened to change all that. What could make such a strong woman fall so far?
Janet sighed as she watched Ted and Craig climb into their old truck. “Com’on Melly,” she said under her breath, “Get away from him while you still can.”
Although We Ladies Get The Brunt Of It, Men Get Abused, Too
Abusers Come In All Shapes And Sizes
Bull Dog scratched his bulging stomach and belched. He had sent his old lady out for smokes 15 minutes ago, and he was beginning to wonder why she wasn’t back. She certainly knew better than to stop and waste her time gabbing with someone. He thought he had taught her that much, but 16 minutes had gone by, and she hadn’t shown up yet.
He didn’t know why he kept the bitch around. She was dumb as a box of rocks. She couldn’t take direction, and she cried like a damned baby a lot of the time. She was damned lucky he planned ahead. At least he still had a couple of smokes left to last him until she returned. He opened the fridge he kept in the shop and popped the tab on another can of beer. “Come on, Mel,” he growled under his breath, “Get a move on it if you don’t want to get in trouble.”
Bull Dog chuckled to himself as he saw Melody running up the driveway. Her clothes were sweat soaked from the summer heat. Tendrils of hair escaped the rubber band she had used to keep her long blonde tresses from hanging down her back. Bull Dog didn’t like it when she put her hair up, but when she was working, he supposed it made sense not to risk getting it in his chemicals. “Where the f*k have you been? Can’t you even do a simple errand like buying cigarettes without messing up?”
“The gas station was out of your brand,” she panted. “I had to go to the store 4 blocks away.”
“I had to go to the store 4 blocks away,” Bull Dog mimicked her. “After all, there aren’t any good looking men at the gas station.”
Melody knew it wouldn't do any good to dispute Bull Dog’s accusation. He wouldn’t believe her, and he would only get angrier if she contradicted him, intentionally or otherwise. She didn’t say anything, but stood before him, trying to look as humble as possible. “Well, aren’t you going to say anything to me, Bitch?” he asked as he popped the top on his third beer of the morning.
“No, Sweetheart,” she tried. Then, looking at his face, she took another tack, “I’m sorry it took so long, Honey. Please don’t be too angry.”
“That’s more like it,” he snarled. “Now, go take a shower and change your clothes. You look like hell.”
Melody shivered even though the outside temperature threatened to be a record high. She almost fainted when the man at the gas station told her they were out of Bull Dog’s brand. He suggested his competitor down the road. Melody busied herself trying to estimate whether the other gas station or the 7 11 was closer. As she walked into the bathroom to follow Bull Dog‘s command, she hoped she had chosen the right one, or that Bull Dog drank enough beer to fall asleep before he worked himself into a rage.
Need Help? Call 1-800-799-7233 | 1-800-787-3224 (TTY)
The Abuser Hurts The Whole Family, Including Children, Parents And Friends
The Victim Can Be Slapped, Punched, Whipped, Burned Or Outright Killed
Penelope Lane rubbed her eyes. It was time to go home. In fact, it was several hours past time, but she had had a lot of paper work to catch up since she and Hank had gotten back from vacation.
Penny had considered taking Hank Sanders last name more than once when they married. She had been named by her grandfather after an old song. She smiled at the memory that she had thought Pop had made up the song himself until one night when she had heard it on the radio. Well, it could have been worse. Her own parents had wanted to call her Sunshine, which would have sounded more like a street address than a name.
She locked her office door and turned around to make her way to the parking lot. A tall man was leaning against her car. She was startled at first, but soon realized that it was her husband. Hank worried about her safety when she worked late, and would often take a cab to her office just so he could meet her and they could drive home together. Tonight, she was especially glad to see him.
“We need to pick up Craig on our way home,” Hank said so softly that Penny could barely hear him. “His husband was shot, and they don’t think he’s going to make it through the night.”
“Teddy?” Penny asked, although she already knew. “What the hell happened?” Craig’s husband Ted was one of Penny’s favorite people. He was kind, charming and always available to lend a hand. The day Craig announced their wedding had been one of the happiest for both her and Hank. Craig deserved a good partner, and they agreed that he couldn’t have found a better one in Teddy.
“That Neanderthal Tedd’s sister lives with. Ted was visiting her, and I guess he out stayed his welcome.”
“Doberman?” Penny sank into the driver’s seat of her economy car and stared out the wind shield.
“Something like that,” Hank squeezed his 6 foot frame into his seat. “I think it is another breed of dog, but even if he is called Chihuahua it doesn’t matter. He probably killed Teddy.”
“I wonder if that’s the case Will Tucker wants to discuss with me,” Penny mused. “He mentioned wanting me to consult on a gunshot death he was defending. I’m going over to his office tomorrow, but I won’t be able to tell him much until the lab results come back.”
“Would you be willing to testify for him?” Hank’s startled voice reached Penny through the darkness.
“No,” Penny said slowly. “I’ll probably recommend that he hire Jack Gates if he needs an expert. But, I will keep my appointment with Will. He is good about keeping me in the loop, and this is one time we’ll all want to keep tabs on what’s happening.
Tips On Taming Your Anger Before It Controls Your Reaction To A Loved One
Sticks And Stones May Break Your Bones, But Names Can Hurt, Too
The Victim May Go To Great Lengths To Help Her Abuser Escape Punishment
The Defense Attorney
Will Tucker stared incredulously at the woman sitting across from him at his desk. She was stick thin. Her face was the color of chalk. Her voice was so soft that it was almost inaudible. Will had trouble hiding his astonishment.
“So, you want me to defend the guy who killed your brother?” he asked. He looked at her injuries, and tried to keep his voice steady. “Did your brother, well, do something to you? I mean, was your boyfriend defending himself or you?”
“No, Teddy was one of the best people you could know,” the woman said as a tear rolled down her cheek. “He would have done anything for me. I loved him with all my heart and soul. It was just a misunderstanding. He and Bull Dog never saw eye to eye.”
“Your boyfriend killed your brother, and you want me to defend your boyfriend?” Tucker let his gaze stray to his open window. He had wanted to welcome in some fresh spring air, but the glowering clouds he saw promised a soaking the town sorely needed. A breeze played with the papers on his desk. Still, the young woman in front of him remained silent.
“Defending a murder case is an expensive proposition,” he said finally. “The court will appoint a lawyer to represent him. It won’t cost you anything, --. “
“He was my fiancé!” Tucker was startled at the defensive anger in her voice. “And, there is plenty of money. Bull Dog is a very rich man!” She said this last with a voice filled with reverence. “It was just a misunderstanding. He didn’t do anything wrong.”
Will sighed. He had had stranger cases in his 40 year law practice. Criminal law guaranteed a steady flow of bizarre stories. He had been first chair on a case just recently where a woman had killed her husband, his lover, and the lover’s 3 young children. When he had first started his practice, these kinds of stories would keep him up at night. Now, he rarely gave them more than cursory mental energy. There were just too many weird events in his life as a defense lawyer to contemplate with anything but passing horror.
The blonde woman regained her composure. She was emaciated, Will noticed for the first time. Her wrist was in a cast, and her cheek was deeply bruised. “What happened to your face?” he hazarded.
“Oh,” she was taken aback. “I tripped over my fiancé’s – ah – boots.”
Will Tucker doubted Melody’s story. He knew, however that it wouldn’t do any good to question her further. She had already told him what she was willing to tell him, and he had no way to prove she was lying.
“Well, I’m glad he’s rich. My retainer is $10,000.00, and it will cost a lot more than that by the time the jury renders its verdic.”
Legal Help And Volunteer Information Can Be Found Here
Abusive Relationships Can Happen So Gradually That The Victim Doesn't Believe It Until It Is Too Late
Parents, Children, Friends And People In The Helping Professions Are All Effected By Domestic Violence
Harold And Janet
Janet sobbed into her husband’s chest. Teddy had always been her favorite child. She had tried to treat her children equally, but Teddy’s even temper and calm demeanor had made her life easier more than once. Life with her daughter hadn’t been nearly so sanguine.
Harold had spoiled Melody from the day she was born. He had adored his “Baby Girl” to the point that Janet hesitated to instill discipline in her for fear of the temper tantrum and recriminations that were sure to follow. Now, she had the unwelcome thought that Melody was hiding information about Teddy’s death, even though she hadn’t been anywhere near the shop when he had been killed. She shook her head, hoping to clear it, but only nominally succeeding.
“We’ve lost both of our children, Harold” she said to her husband’s chest. “They’re both gone for good.”
Harold wanted to tell his wife that Melody would come back to them, but he stopped himself. Janet might never forgive their daughter for siding with her brother’s killer.
Harold wasn’t sure how he felt. He hadn’t seen his daughter for 3 years, although she only lived across town. Even that time she was in the hospital, the nurses had been under strict orders not to let anyone in to see her.
He missed his daughter. Still, Melody was an adult, and the only thing he could do was pray every night that she would come home to them. His attorney had assured him that he was powerless to force his daughter to talk to him and her mother
The doorbell rang. Janet and Harold broke apart. Harold was tempted to ignore the summons, but what if it was the police or even possibly, Melody. His heart filled with dread, he walked to the front of the house.
A man who he identified as Craig’s brother stood on the porch. He had a strange woman with him. Harold hadn’t ever seen her before, but her sad countenance told him that somehow she was connected with his dead son. He looked down, and finally noticed Craig’s tear streaked face. Sadly, he opened the door and called his wife. When Janet saw the small man, her tears flowed afresh. She held him tight, nearly lifting him from the ground in her anxiety to share her grief.
Neither of them spoke. Both were unaware of anyone else being in the room. Awkwardly, Harold gestured Penny and Hank to the worn leather couch.
“Can I get you something to drink?” Harold hoped they would want something. Going to the kitchen would give him an excuse to be busy and be an opportunity to catch a mental breath. He wanted to be alone for a while to process what had happened to his son. These strangers would normally be welcome in his home, but tonight – he didn’t want to be rude, but he wished they would leave.
“No, thank you,” Penny said softly. “We’ll only be here for a minute.”
Harold wasn’t sure whether to be relieved that he wouldn’t have to supply entertainment, or whether the young couple’s presence might help him keep Janet from going off the deep end. He would have to postpone his own lonely vigil, but giving Teddy’s mother some time to catch her breath would be good for both of them.
In the end, Penny made the decision for him. “Would it be all right if we leave Craig here for a couple of hours. The police want to talk to us, and we hate to take him with us. He’s way too upset to drive, and we hate for him to be alone.”
“I think it might be good for him—“, Harold sucked in a wet breath, “and my wife as well.”
Keeping Victims Calm Is Necessary To Get Help There Quickly
The Phone Call Will Ignored
Will Tucker tried to have the many charges against Bull Dog considered separately. In lay man’s terms, he knew he didn’t have a snowball’s chance in the Celestial Barbecue Pit of winning an acquittal for his client if he couldn’t get the meth lab charges separated from the murder indictment. He knew he was wasting his time when he filed the motion, but it was one more thing to give Bull Dog’s appeals lawyers to chew on.
After 2 weeks of boring technical testimony, and a lot of side bar wrangling, the jury was allowed to deliberate the many counts formally designated “ The People v. Mitchell Lee Raymond.” Will hadn’t expected to win, but he left the courtroom knowing he had preserved every possible error he could for appeal. Despite his client’s invectives and threats, his next job would be to try to convince the judge not to impose the 60 year maximum sentence for second degree murder. Since the judge had been present for the entire proceeding, Will doubted that anything he could say could lessen Bull Dog’s penalty. Nevertheless, it was still his duty to go through the motions.
Melody’s howl of despair filled the courtroom when the verdict was read. She tried to get to Bull Dog to lend him comfort, but two burly guards prevented her from getting near him. Harold and Janet tried to convince her to come away with them, but Melody was too hysterical to acknowledge her parents’ existence, let alone their wise counsel.
Somehow in Melody’s mind, the gentle Teddy had provoked her lover. She didn’t think he deserved to die, but if he had left Bull Dog alone, he would still be alive, and her poor misunderstood fiancée would not be in jail. Despite her testimony to the contrary, she had been present at the time Teddy was shot, and knew exactly what happened. She had been devastated at the time, but the calls from the jail alternating between threats against her and her whole family, and professions of undying love, had skewed her perceptions of the event, and her fear for the consequences of betraying bull Dog softened her memory of what had really happened.
Melody had been in the emergency room the night Teddy died. Bull Dog had taken a swing at her, and because she had stupidly backed away, she had tripped over his boots and fallen to the cement floor. This did not stop him from punching her in the jaw, which is how she sustained the other injuries that Will had noticed the first time she had come to his office.
Teddy had happened to walk into the shop just after she got hurt. He had shoved Bull Dog aside and rushed his sister to the hospital. Later, when he had brought her home after her medical treatment, Bull Dog had met them at the door with a shot gun. “No little faggot is going to get between me and my woman,” he roared. And, before Teddy or Melody could react, Bull Dog pulled the trigger.
Will had tried to convince Bull Dog to stay off the witness stand, but Bull Dog wanted the jury to hear what he had to say. Despite Will’s advice, his client seemed to think that killing an unarmed man for a perceived insult was something a jury would excuse if they only understood the circumstances. In Bull Dog’s world, killing “faggots” was a public service. He just couldn’t imagine that a cross section of the community wouldn’t agree with him.
Will’s phone rang several times before he could unlock his office door and pick it up. “Will you accept a collect call from Morton County Correctional Center?” a mechanical female voice asked. Will sighed, and took the call.
“I want a retrial!” Bull Dog’s voice came angrily from the other end. “This time, I want someone who will really defend me!”
Will stared at the clock above the office coffee pot. It was 10:00, and he was tired. “Look,” he said. “It’s late. If you have a complaint, take it up with your appeals lawyer. You have the best record I could make for you. Maybe he or she can find something-“.
“Look, Counselor,” Bull Dog gritted. “I want a new trial, and I want it NOW! Not 10 years from now when one of you pansy lawyers fined my case convenient. Tell the judge to start over or else!”
Will hung up the phone without asking “or else what?” After all, Bull Dog was the sheriff’s problem now, and Will had earned every penny of what Melody had paid him. Besides, he knew for a fact that the jail boasted a state of the art security system, and he doubted that Bull Dog would have a chance to interfere with his well deserved sleep tonight.
A Narcissist Can't See Beyond His Immediate Comfort
A Narcissist cannot fathom that those around him have anything on their mind but him, his needs, his comforts and desires. Abusers are notorious for not feeling the pain and discomfort of others. They can't imagine why they are not in complete control of everyone and everything that touches their lives. The more control they can assert, the more pain they will inflict. After all, everyone and everything in the world is there for their convenience, and for no other purpose.
Learn When To Fear, Know How And When To Try To Escape
It Starts With Disrespect And Ends In Tragedy Too Many Times
Janet and Harold held each other close. They wondered if there would come a time in either of their lives when they could stop crying. Melody might recover, but she wasn’t out of the woods yet. In the year since Bull Dog had been escorted to the maximum security prison, Melody’s parents had begun to have a little hope for their daughter.
Melody had eventually admitted that she had been present when Teddy was killed. She was receiving counseling for her part in the affair. She had been under Bull Dog’s thumb for so long, she realized that she was no longer in her right mind. She and Teddy had always been close, and she couldn’t forgive herself for refusing to testify against her murderous lover.
Now, she was strapped to a gurney in the intensive care unit of the local hospital. The doctors were hoping to stabilize her enough to endure the half hour helicopter ride to
The trauma center in the capital city. So far, her blood pressure hadn’t responded to the intravenous drugs that were steadily being dripped into her veins. If she could live through the night, her parents were told, she stood a fair chance of recovering from her many injuries.
Janet felt like she had been on an emotional roller coaster with Melody since her daughter had been in high school. Harold, too regretted the many times he had overlooked their daughter’s bad behavior. She had always been a good student in school, and had been very popular, so he was sure that she would eventually marry a nice man and provide him and Janet with perfect grandchildren.
Then, Bull Dog had come along. At first, Melody hadn’t taken him too seriously, but eventually his gifts of flowers, candy and jewelry had convinced her that she had met her Prince Charming. Soon after she had moved in with him, she began to avoid her friends and family. Her brother, Teddy had been the only one Bull Dog allowed her to see, but he insisted that her “faggot” brother’s visits be infrequent and short.
Once Melody was convinced that Bull Dog would be gone for a very long time, she began to come out of the spell he had cast on her. She had started taking classes at the community college. She had put on some weight, and began to resemble the beautiful, fun loving girl that Janet and Harold had known before. They were hopeful that she was on the mend, and ready to live a happy, normal life. Then, she met Rex.