Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Impregnated As I Was Passed Out, Raped and Filmed by My Husband, I Now Fight For My Son, by "Sarah"

Sometimes I feel like I am the person who fell between the cracks -- the lost and forgotten.  I struggle in silence.  I'm sharing my story here because I want to raise awareness regarding spousal rape and how serious it is.  Laws have been passed here in Florida and elsewhere to terminate the parental rights of rapists -- without a marital exception.  However, the judge in my particular case acknowledged the rape, but justified giving him visitation, saying, "Well, he didn't hurt the child."  

It not just the courts who lack compassion either.  When I tell someone that I was raped, they'll say, "Oh, that's terrible."  But when I say it was by my husband, their tone quickly changes, as if it's not as serious of an offense.  From older generations, I'll hear things like, "Oh, I didn't know it's possible that your husband could rape you."  It makes me realize the misconceptions people have.  I want people to know that it's at least as bad as being raped by a stranger.  This was very personal -- someone I chose and trusted, and the ultimate betrayal.

My husband and I had separated for a few months because my ex-husband was worried about him being around our daughter and there were a lot of complicated issues which led to the separation.  On weekends that my ex-husband had our daughter, I did see my husband a few times.  When I found out I was pregnant, I kind of thought the timing was off, and maybe I was further than the doctor was calculating, but I didn't really give it a lot of thought.  Not wanting my child to be raised with divorced parents, we got back together and rented a house.

About four or five months into my pregnancy, I was using my husband's computer, and saw a file labelled "star-porn."  My curiosity was definitely piqued, wondering what my husband was up to.  I clicked on it, and my mind could barely comprehend what I was seeing.  I was in a state of shock and absolutely mortified by the images on the screen.  Despite what felt like having an out-of-body experience, I somehow had the clarity of mind to make a copy, as my entire being was shaking in terror.

In the three different videos, which were filmed on my husband's mobile phone, it was clear that I was either completely unconscious, or semi-conscious in one of them as I uttered the word "rape," and that my husband was clearly raping me.  To my horror, he used household objects to assault me (an iPhone and a brush).

As I viewed these unimaginable scenes, I felt a sense of humiliation that I've never felt before.  My heart was racing and I was in a cold sweat.  The videos had the dates they were filmed.  When I calculated the doctor's estimated date of conception, it coincided with the date of the videos, and that's when I realized that my child was conceived in rape.

I sent him a text message saying, "You raped me."  In a panic, he came rushing home from work, knowing I'd discovered the videos.  He actually had the audacity to tell me I was nosy.  I asked him why he did it, and he said he was angry with me, but that he couldn't remember why.

He told me that if I turned in the video. the police would have to see me like that, and lots of people would see me like that.  Because he was my husband, he said, "No one will believe you," and warned me, "You know how vindictive I can be.  I will fight for custody." Scared, humiliated, and confused, I remained silent.

On top of that, I was a stay-at-home mom with a daughter from a prior marriage, along with being pregnant.  It wasn't like I could go job hunting with a baby showing.  Who would want to hire me?  I was incredibly vulnerable with nowhere to go, so I stayed in the home we had just moved into.  I'd hope he would have some remorse and leave me alone.

Things just got worse.  I would wake up to him masturbating over my face. I could no longer sleep out of fear -- fear he would rape me, film me or otherwise violate me.  He knew that I was terrified, and started threatening to kill me. He would make comments like, "You never know when you might not wake up."

As I was in labor for my son, my husband was flirting with the mid-wife, and singing.  It was awkward.  Since I was delivering without pain medication, I didn't even have the energy to say anything.  I wished so much he wasn't there.  

When my son was born, all I felt was love.  He was amazing.  I'd had an abortion when I was younger, and suffered greatly from it, so I felt like my son was a second chance.  It never crossed my mind that my son is the child of my rapist.  He's my child, and he didn't do anything wrong.  

My husband had no interest in my son.  If someone was watching, he'd act like he's superdad.  At times, he was even sadistic, putting hot sauce in the baby's food to laugh at his reaction, or putting a bottle of alcohol under the baby's nose.  To this day, my son won't eat anything red because he's afraid it will be hot.

After the baby was born, My husband's disdain for me seemed to grow, since he resented the attention I gave to the children, and the bond I had with them.  He also resented my family.  

He also did a lot of little things that to most people wouldn't make much sense.  He threatened to kill himself all the time.  On several occasions, he would take my son for a bike ride to lull him to sleep, but then wouldn't come home until one in the morning, not answering his phone the whole time.  I was terrified he would commit a murder-suicide.  I always tried not to leave my son alone with him.

The abuse toward me went on, and I began getting counseling. I was diagnosed as suffering from PTSD.  My therapist said I needed to get out of there, regardless of the financial devastation. By this time, my son was two years old.  My father helped me to move out with my daughter and son.  

With courage and counseling, on the day I was planning to leave, I went to the police with the video evidence of the rapes on my external hard drive.  Initially, the police detective told me I didn't have a case.  Feeling defeated, I returned home, but the next day, I went back to the police station and demanded to see her superior, and I was told that they would take my case.

I returned home to load up my vehicle, but somehow, my husband must have known I was planning to leave and he came home from work.   He tried to get me into the garage with him, which is where he kept his gun.  I called my father, who was right down street, and he left.  

The detective who was hostile toward me was kept on the case.  She actually said to me, "Maybe you're into that sort of thing."  What kind of a woman would be "into" having objects brutally forced into her?!  Then the detective interviewed him, and the report she issued was extremely biased.  

However, it still went to a state attorney who explained to me that a jury wouldn't understand because he's my husband and because I didn't leave sooner. I was also told that it's very rare for juries to convict in rape cases.

Terrified for the safety of me and my children, I fled the state and went to stay with family.  On Skype, my husband was waiving a gun, so I got a photo of that.  But my husband had divorce papers prepared a month before I left, and I was quickly ordered to return.  

With nowhere to go, I stayed at a domestic violence shelter, where they helped me to file for a restraining order, which was granted.  I was hoping my battle to protect myself and my children was over, but the legal battle has gone on for over two years now.

At the last hearing, the judge actually watched the videos and said that he's not an expert in rape, but that it sure looks like rape, and denied my husband's request to terminate the restraining order.  However, the judge is still allowing supervised visitation every other weekend, with mandatory Skyping bi-weekly.  His mom, who tried to get me to delete the videos, is doing the supervision.

Florida actually passed a law several years ago to terminate the parental rights of rapists, without requiring a rape conviction, and without a marital exception.  However, I can't find an attorney who is willing to file a case for me to terminate his parental rights, saying I could somehow risk losing custody because of something called "the friendly parent" provision, which requires parents to facilitate a good relationship with the other parent.  I don't understand the culture of attorneys in my county, and it's hard to know who to trust.

I am on the verge of homelessness. I live in an RV now.  I'm still not divorced because the court won't grant it until custody is settled.  I had to arrange for my daughter from a previous marriage to stay with her father during the school year while I get on my feet. 

The Brevard County Family Court judge found that my husband raped me and threatened our lives with a gun.  Despite that, I cannot be more than 50 miles from my rapist.  I'm required by this court to find a way to be the "friendly parent" so I can "co-parent" -- all the while in fear he will kill me and/or my son to punish me for telling.

Despite a restraining order and his past criminal record, he is now a teacher at a public middle school in Florida.  If the police had done their job, he'd be a registered sex offender.  

To anyone who believes that being raped by your spouse isn't as bad as stranger rape, I'm here to say it's worse.  This is someone who I loved enough to say "I do."  Now I see that I made a horrible judgment-call.  I can no longer trust myself or anyone else.  Everyone is a potential predator.

BIO:  "Sarah" is a mother of two, has been an active member of Save The 1's group for mothers who became pregnant by rape, and is now a blogger for Save The 1.  She hopes to one day be an advocate for other rape victim mothers and their children.  If you are able to assist "Sarah" on her case, please contact Rebecca Kiessling (an attorney only licensed to practice in Michigan, President of Save The 1.)