September 18, 2008
(Post #3 of 4)
The day after discovering the best (or should I say only?) option for getting rid of my husband, I took Baby Bear to my sister’s house 40 minutes away. I dropped him off, then came right back into town and went directly to the courthouse. I waited in lines and filled out paperwork. When I finally met with someone one-on-one, she reviewed my written statement and asked me a few pointed questions. “Has he ever actually hit you?” “No. He pushed me down once, but he has never actually hit me.”
She told me that she could submit my statement to the judge for review, but it was unlikely the judge would order a personal protection order against my husband. There had to be more concrete evidence of physical abuse. She said she would go ahead and submit it today, or I could come back if anything happened.
So, I went home to see if I could “make something happen.” I tried to open the front door, but it was locked. He (I guess I’ll have to give him a name – Mark) came to the door. He was more intoxicated than I’d ever seen him. He normally held himself together pretty well despite drinking beer like it was water, but he was disoriented. He thought I had been gone for 2 days…and he was disgruntled about it…and he wasn’t about to let me in the house. (The house for which I had paid rent for 12 out of the last 14 months.) I saw my opportunity. I knew he wouldn’t let me past the front door, but I started to walk in the front door anyway. He physically blocked me and I kept forging ahead. Finally, Mark shoved me (really hard) backwards into the doorway. Ouch…but victory!
For having my first official experience with domestic violence, I was pretty content with myself. It was too late in the day to go back to the courthouse, so I went back to my sister’s house and spent the night there. The next morning, I went straight to court and successfully got my very own personal protection order.
September 17, 2008
(Post #2 of 4)
I actually used to have a book by this name, Life Without Father. I still have a book called The Way We Never Were: American Families and the Nostalgia Trap. They were books from a graduate class on family policy in the US.
I think that life without a father is supposed to be a bad thing. The books explored the notion of the nuclear family and how it is idealized, for better…and worse. The Way We Never Were deconstructs the idealized “American” family and illustrates how this idea of family has never existed at any single point in American history. Life Without Father presented a lot of data to support the idea that fathers are a good thing. That’s fine and great…except for when they are really, really bad fathers.
Once I told Baby Bear’s father that he had to move out, he seemed to go deaf. I told him this a number of times. “You need to move out.” “You need to find a place to live.” The more I pushed, the more defiant he became. I hadn’t seen him pissed off too many times before, but I had given up on predicting what he was capable of (oh, let’s say something like giving an infant beer). One day, when he was at work, I started flipping through the phone book. This was before the days of wireless internet and Google. It was so surreal…what was I looking for? Pest management? Not exactly. Pizza delivery? Nope.
How do you get rid of a useless husband and father? I finally came across the number for the local domestic violence shelter. This wasn’t a direct hit, but I figured it was as close of a hit as I was going to get from this phone book. I called the number and proceeded to explain the situation to the counselor on the other end of the phone. She wasn’t sure what to tell me. My relationship had signs of trouble, but no clear history of physical abuse.
Her only suggestion was to go court to request a personal protection order. That would legally force him to stay away from me (the net result being he would have to move out). She was not sure if I could get a personal protection order without clear evidence of physical abuse, but I tried anyway. I couldn’t think of anything else.