[Potential Abuse Trigger] YANML, yes I know. But can you hope me stave off a bad situation with a man that's abused my sister and other members of my family BEFORE it happens again?
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (36 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Here's the back story: About 10 years my little sister got involved with the man that was her future husband. Their relationship was shit and we attempted, as a family, to help her out of it but he was incredibly verbally abusive and she was compelled time and time again to stay. She had her first child about 7 years ago and his abuse got worse from then on. He began abusing meth. Things were awful for her then and in a bid to keep things civil between us and him, she kept things from us. Things he was doing, like cutting the phone wires to the house and then taking the car so she was stuck at home with no transportation or way to communicate. He repeatedly threatened to kill her and told her he would bury her where she'd never be found if she told.
When she was 6 months pregnant with their second child, he disappeared...for a few weeks. When she discovered he was living just across town with his new girlfriend, she confronted him there which was, yes, less than smart. That day he chased her at high speeds as she left down residential roads and blocked her in the road, pounding on her hood, attempting to break the windows, and demanding she give him their child. She refused and he chased her to their house. At that point, his parents, who completely enable every bit of his behavior (his mother said in court once that her son beat my sister because she was a bitch that deserved it), were at the house. She ran out of the house to get away from him and he shoved her down while she held my 2 year old niece and proceeded to beat the shit out of her. When she made it to a car he jumped in another and rammed the one she was in repeatedly.
When that situation ended, she was left with nothing. His family kept everything of hers, her daughters, and her coming childs, so my sister had to start over with nothing.
My sister got a restraining order of course and he repeatedly broke that order. The cops were of no help -- we were told that if they didn't see him doing it, then they could not help. We gathered witnesses each time but they refused to help in that manner. We all moved in to my parents house together for the time being because we were genuinely frightened he was going to kill one of us. We traveled no where alone and the one time my brother and I left the house without my father in those months, this crazy dude stood in the middle of the street in our tiny town, in front of the window of a busy restaurant, and attempted to get us to stop. My brother kept driving and dude punched the rear view which swung back and busted out the window. At that point, my brother got a restraining order against him.
He went to jail for various things because his being arrested for domestic assault and child endangerment meant that he had violated his probation, which he was on for felony theft. He was sentenced to 4 years for each charge, to serve concurrent. He would serve a small amount of time, get paroled, and then be sent back because he could not stay clean. In that time he was still with the girlfriend, who had also developed and been incarcerated for a meth problem.
When my sister divorced him she was given sole physical and legal custody and he has no visitation rights. His parents, however, filed as intervenors and they were granted visits with my nieces every other weekend. They are to supervise the visits between their son and their nieces.
The ex is out of jail for good now and off any sort of probation. And lo and behold, he's raising cane for the whole family again. We believe that he is back to abusing drugs and alcohol. We live in a very small town so he gets by with this because of the dreaded Good Ol' Boy Network around here. He repeatedly talks poorly of my sister to the girls, insists that they treat his girlfriend like a mother, and takes them without his parents in their presence. This isn't just a case of a jealous ex like he believes -- there is very good reason and quite a bit of evidence to assume that he is a danger to them and to my sister.
I'm curious and I'm hoping that this is where AskMefi can help. The are my questions:
-Is it reasonable for my sister to seek a no contact order? He repeatedly calls her and asks to have the girls unsupervised and then flies off the handle when she denies. Keep in mind, he has no legal visitation with the girls but insists that she's a poor mother for not allowing it. He is to see the girls every other weekend but frequently blows that off in favor of hanging with his other family because it's not on his terms. Would a no contact order state that he is not to call or come to her house (which he does frequently as well)?
-I'm assuming that a restraining order would be out of the question here because he hasn't physically harmed her since his most release prison release. Is this correct?
-Can you give me some things to say to her, maybe some techniques that you've used, to deal with his constant calling and freaking out? She has a very hard time not feeling guilty for whatever reason and she still buys into the argument he makes that she's keeping him from his kids. I know this is ludicrous but I want to help her see that too.
-This is a tough question that perhaps cannot be answered by anyone here, but if we had proof that his parents were not properly supervising visits, what could be done with that evidence? Might a court take away any access he has to the girls at all?
-Are there any other legal routes that might help protect us that we're not seeing?
-I know this is potentially a shitty way to deal with this, but he is behind on his child support and if the law were to call him on it, it would be a felony. This has not been pursued because no one wants to infuriate and provoke this dude. Is that right on or are we letting him skate by, if that makes sense?
-Would it be a bad idea to see if there can't be something done to keep the nieces away from his girlfriend? As mentioned, she has two very serious meth charges she's plead guilty and served time for but the state has let her keep her own kids so perhaps that's not something to bring up. However, my sister knows that her young daughters have been allowed to sleep in a bed with the girlfriends two boys, older than 12, and that bothers all of us, considering the trouble the boys have been in.
I know these issues are often more nuanced that one can explain on the internet to strangers, but I thought someone here might have some experience to relate to help me cope with the fear and help my family any way I can. This man is 6"6' and over 300 pounds, dwarfing everyone in my family. He is physically frightening. He has recently been coming into my work which frightens me. He follows her and I'm worried for her safety but after all this time, it seems no one can help us do anything to feel safe.
We've been through this so frequently with him that it's not hard to tell anymore when he's using or when the situation is about to escalate horribly and we all sense that coming. I wish it were possible to do something about that before it actually happens but our only option seems to be to wait for things to go south...
PS -- You are not our lawyer, I know. We have no plans to see one yet but will if it might be helpful.