The knock on the door was a surprise. We have a gate by the road and a long lane to the house. I looked out and saw a young woman with a child on her hip. I thought maybe she ran out of gas. Her vehicle was parked outside the closed gate so she had to have climbed through the rail fence.
My wife, Sugar, came to the door. She recognized the visitor and greeted the little girl by name. Then I knew who was on our front porch. I remembered when the baby was born two years ago. She had grown.
“Can we talk? Something has happened.”
What happened is that her husband is in jail. It was a story of abuse. Now she is going through a divorce. She needs help. Sugar helped.
It reminded me of a paralegal who worked for me for several years. Her husband had been in prison for 16 years. She waited for him to get out. She was happy when he did. Her loyalty was not rewarded. He beat her. One night blood was coming out of her ear. This time she finally went to call the police, but her husband grabbed the phone and told the 911 operator that his wife had stabbed him and to please hurry. She had not stabbed him, but after reporting that he was in such peril (from a 5’2″ woman), he stabbed his own arm as she watched. When the police came, they arrested her, even after asking about her bloody ear, because she lied to cover for him by saying she fell off her bike. I represented her on the charges for assault with a deadly weapon.
I told the District Attorney what really happened, but my client did not want to testify against her no-good husband. Still, she was afraid of him. There was a restraining order to supposedly keep him away from the home. (You know, so she would not harm him again.) I urged her to go to the women’s shelter.
The very next day after we had gone to court, I drove past her home, which was on a busy street, as I was on an errand. I noticed that her car was parked in front of the house and she was in it and her husband was sitting in the front seat. I circled around the block. I stopped by the parked car. I got out of my truck. I went to the passenger door and confronted her 6’4″ ex-con husband.
“What are you doing here?” I asked. I reminded him of the restraining order.
The wife jumped out of the car, as if to restrain me. It was backwards. She was protecting him from me. She explained that they had just gone out for breakfast. I was now the enemy for interfering with a lovely morning date (the day after helping her in court).
Not long after, maybe a week, I got a call from her. “He tried to kill me,” she reported. She had to hide under the neighbor’s deck. The police took him away. Even then, she felt guilty that he would likely go back to prison. It is a parole violation, as well as a new crime, to try to kill one’s wife. She told me that he looked frightened laying on the ground with his arms cuffed behind his back. Poor guy! (I had difficulty empathizing).
I hope the young woman with the two year old daughter does not get back together with her abusive husband. I hope she takes advantage of the community resources to which Sugar directed her.
And I hope her husband takes advantage of the hospitality of the detention center for a long time. Back where I come from, boys are taught from an early age that it is wrong to hit girls. Some guys learn that the hard way.