What to do after domestic violence?
February 19, 2012 6:09 AM   Subscribe

My fiance hit me today. I called the police and he's in jail. What am I supposed to do now?

Nearly 24 hours after the assault I realize I have no idea what I'm supposed to be doing. Someone called shortly after I returned home to say that court will be held on Monday, and he'll be released after. Am I expected to attend that? Am I supposed to get an attorney?

Just FYI, I have no visible injuries, only some soreness and a lot of damaged property. The police seemed certain he wouldn't be convicted, which isn't very motivating.

I live in Mecklenburg county in NC, USA. I plan to call a more authoritative source eventually, but right now I can't talk about any of this without crying.
posted by anonymous to Law & Government (58 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
1. Let your relatives and friends know exactly what happened. Don't be embarrassed to do this...you need those close to you on your side.

2. Cancel the wedding. I'm not joking.

3. About getting an attorney, I'll let other posters address that.
posted by BostonTerrier at 6:18 AM on February 19, 2012 [61 favorites]

Change the locks on your apartment/house.
posted by Betelgeuse at 6:25 AM on February 19, 2012 [23 favorites]

This should never happen to anyone.

Whatever these more authoritative sources are, I wouldn't worry about composing yourself before contacting them. The fact that you're this vulnerable is actually a sign that you are really in need of their help right now.

In the short term, please protect yourself by getting as much distance as you can from him. The longer-term picture will become more clear to you as you put distance between yourself and your fiance.

Don't let him cajole you into giving up this distance.

It's the thing you need to guarantee your safety and your ability to think clearly.

If he tries to get you to give up your distance, it means it doesn't care about you feeling safe or being able to think clearly.

If you were my sister, and you were living with this guy, I would rent a van for your things and help you move out. Today. And they live four hours away.
posted by alphanerd at 6:27 AM on February 19, 2012 [28 favorites]

Find out if there's a domestic violence hotline or agency and give yourself permission to cry the entire time you talk to them.

Really. Cry and cry and cry. And talk and talk and talk.
posted by vitabellosi at 6:29 AM on February 19, 2012 [23 favorites]

Talk to a helpline first, just the way they are trained to deal with what you've been through and what the aftereffects are will help you reach the point of composure long enough to work through with them what you need to do next.

And nthing no second chances. Those of us who tried that didn't bother with a third.
posted by infini at 6:29 AM on February 19, 2012

North Carolina service provider phone numbers by county - use the crisis numbers if you need to, its sunday, and there's no need to apologize.
posted by infini at 6:32 AM on February 19, 2012 [3 favorites]

In Charlotte, United Family Services has a Victims' Services division.

UFS-Victim Assistance
720 East 4th Street, Room 204
Charlotte, NC 28202
Office: (704) 336-4126
Crisis: Shelter for Battered Women (704) 332-2513
Fax: (704) 336-4416

UFS Web site

I would make this my first phone call.
posted by Currer Belfry at 6:32 AM on February 19, 2012 [4 favorites]

Here's a someone to talk to in Mecklenburg County:
United Family Services , 704-332-2513. They are open 24/7.
posted by knile at 6:34 AM on February 19, 2012 [3 favorites]

Change the locks on your apartment/house.

If you live together, don't do this. Go stay with family. Get a restraining order. Good luck.
posted by spaltavian at 6:40 AM on February 19, 2012 [13 favorites]

You might already know this, but just in case:

Have you seen a doctor? Even just a quick visit to an urgent care may be able to document signs of the attack that otherwise would go unnoticed, and a visit to a physician strengthens your credibility.

Document document document, record exact times, photograph the damage, anything that might be evidence, contact anyone who might have heard sounds of the altercation, etc. Document.

Start working on that restraining order. A lawyer is a good thing if it's an option.

Do not, under any circumstances, second-guess or blame yourself in any way. There's NO excuse for his actions.
posted by Shane at 6:49 AM on February 19, 2012 [18 favorites]

It you have any pets, see if they can stay with a friend or family member for awhile. Move out as soon as you possibly can.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:51 AM on February 19, 2012 [3 favorites]

I would call a family law attorney in your jurisdiction immediately. You probably won't get an answer, but leave a message and request a call back. Call again first thing Monday morning and push hard to get an immediate appointment. ( I would call go two attorneys today and follow up with both Monday to get a better chance of getting an appointment).

This is the only way to get correct advice about what legal options are available to you where you live. (criminal vs. civil, restraining order, dealing with shared property, etc.) Don't rely on the police to act in your best interest here.

Don't worry about crying. Attorneys have seen their clients cry before. They won't judge you for it, just try to be as effective a communicator as you can, despite having to cry though it.

(I agree with the others about the extra-legal stuff, but wanted to focus on getting someone involved in the process who knows your options and is an advocate for you.)
posted by mercredi at 6:52 AM on February 19, 2012 [3 favorites]

The hotlines listed above will help you figure out what you need to do legally.

Do not accept any excuse from him about why it happened. In fact, the best thing for you to do is to change your phone number immediately, or block his number. Block him in email, too. If you live together, move out today. The fact that you had him arrested is likely to make him furious. And if he's hit you once, then he will do it again if given the opportunity. He already thinks it's acceptable to hit you. He may promise you he'll never do it again, but then he'll get mad at you and decide you deserve it. You pushed him into doing it. It's your fault. Etc. He doesn't have the internal voice telling him that there is NEVER a reason to hit someone outside of self defense, so his promises mean shit.

I'm so, so sorry - I know you must feel awful, to be engaged one minute, and the next minute you have to leave everything you've known. It's embarrassing, it's lonely, and it's scary. But you can do this. You were already strong enough to call the police on someone you loved; draw on that same inner strength and use it to help yourself get to a new beginning just as fast as you can. And know that I'm proud of you for doing what you did. Any hotline you call will also be proud of you.

Please feel free to memail me if you want to. I've been there, and I've helped other women through it. (Although I'm by no means a professional counselor. But I listen good :) )
posted by MexicanYenta at 6:59 AM on February 19, 2012 [28 favorites]

The hearing on Monday is most likely an arraignment, where he will be asked how he pleads and bond will be set. Then he will be released if he can post the bond.

The most important point from there is where he will go and what he will do. Be protected when that happens by following the advice above.
posted by megatherium at 7:00 AM on February 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

Just FYI, I have no visible injuries, only some soreness and a lot of damaged property. The police seemed certain he wouldn't be convicted, which isn't very motivating.

Where I live, it's true that domestic assault defendants usually aren't convicted, but that's because they usually reconcile with the victim before trial and the victim doesn't show up at the trial, resulting in a dismissal.

My experience is that it's much harder to get an acquittal when the victim continues to cooperate with the district attorney's office, continues to say that the assault occurred, and shows up at the trial.
posted by jayder at 7:09 AM on February 19, 2012 [37 favorites]

The advice given in The Gift of Fear about severing contact is to get a new phone number and email address, but keep the old ones active and give someone you trust access to them to periodically check up on them for signs of threatening contact from the ex.

This sends the unmistakable message to the ex that you want him out of your life, it keeps you from having to deal with him, and it provides documentation of his attempts to contact you further.

A restraining order should be something you consider very carefully.
posted by alphanerd at 7:17 AM on February 19, 2012 [7 favorites]

'My fiance hit me today.' Please, make him your ex-fiance as of now. Ask friends and family to come over to pack up either his things or yours. Preferably yours. You need to get as far away as possible.

A terrible thing happened to you. It was not your fault. He was already broken when you got him. Get away as quickly as possible. Do not seek closure. Cut off all ties.

Let the police handle the legal part of it. Just go.
posted by myselfasme at 7:25 AM on February 19, 2012 [10 favorites]

I live in Mecklenburg County. United Family Services and the Shelter for Battered Women are staffed by amazingly compassionate and competant people. Please contact them. They will be able to assist you with finding an attorney. Don't try to get through this on your own.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 7:46 AM on February 19, 2012 [7 favorites]

I'm very sorry this happened to you.

My experience is that it's much harder to get an acquittal when the victim continues to cooperate with the district attorney's office, continues to say that the assault occurred, and shows up at the trial.

This is important. Please consider continuing to press this and cooperating with the DA's office. At times, it may feel like a lot of extra work for nothing, especially when you'd rather not be around anyone or when you feel ashamed to talk about being abused by someone you trusted. But remember that the work you put in now will make it harder for your ex to get away with this in future relationships.

Even if it seems like a huge burden and you'd rather just forget about the whole thing, please make sure this person's actions are not ignored or forgotten by the system.

It sounds like you've done all the right things in response to this situation so far. The advice in this thread so far is great.
posted by voltairemodern at 8:02 AM on February 19, 2012 [8 favorites]

Not to mention that's its better to find out today than an expensive wedding and a some children later. I wish I'd known as a fiance and not found out as a wife.
posted by infini at 8:13 AM on February 19, 2012 [12 favorites]

When my daughter went through a similar incident two years ago in Buncombe County, NC, here is what happened. First, we moved as much of her stuff as we could into my house. Second, we went down to the courthouse and got restraining orders. Third, we called the domestic violence hotline and she went in immediately for counseling - this was free, by the way. When it finally came up in court for the first time, which was several days later, the Helpmate people met us at the courthouse and sat there with us, or, well, they would have but there are only two of them and lots of people like my daughter and you. Remember that - this isn't, sadly, uncommon and there is a process in place to deal with it and to help you. The whole thing wasn't over then, though - there were several court hearings that my daughter had to attend. Yes, he was in the courtroom with her - this is a North Carolina thing that I hear more enlightened states don't do and it was rough. There were tears. It was okay eventually, though and we got through it. She moved in with me and next year she's moving out again to go to grad school. Her life didn't end at that point - in fact, it began. You will be okay and you will get through this.

So. My advice is call your mother. If you're not close to your mom, call your best friend, your sister, your cousin - someone who can help you through this. And call the shelter for battered women and go talk to them right away. They won't be horrified or blame you - they've seen it all and that is what they're there for. Take all the help you can get right now because you need it. It's okay to need help sometimes; we all do. If that's a hard pill to swallow - I know it is to me - remember that the help you get today will make you strong enough in the future to help others.
posted by mygothlaundry at 8:14 AM on February 19, 2012 [66 favorites]

Time for walkies, just realized its almost the anniversary of that wedding in a couple of days. Where did 14 years go?

You know, I don't like to bring in personal baggage here, but I do want to share something. Right now, everything is confusing and hurtful and you're calling him your fiance. We are all telling you to DTMFA and you have not had that further experience yet of the crying and reconciliation and the softening and the compassion that allows for that second chance. On one hand its easy to say that everyone must need learn from their own experience, but in this case, ONCE IS ENOUGH (and if that's not a headline yet, it should be one). So, in the days to come, once you're over the shock, think about what we are all saying from a place of understanding and compassion, those of us who have been where you are. I don't know where your family is, mine was on a different continent, but put people around you, put your needs first and the best gift you could give yourself would be to not turn around to take a look back. Because the future will not get any better, if this step has already occurred. I had no visible injuries but it just struck me how many years of my life this experience stole from me along with my innocence and hopes and dreams and wishes.

Take care. Good care of your self. This is a silver lining.
posted by infini at 8:20 AM on February 19, 2012 [20 favorites]

"What am I supposed to do now?"

This is a hard question to answer here. One of the crisis lines can help you sort out the legal questions you have, and others have posted some contact info for them.

But the bigger question of what you do can only be answered by you. Moving out is one thing you might do, if that's what you want. Getting a protection order is another, if your relationship is over and you're worried that he's going to come after you.

With respect to that, it looks like Mecklenberg has a victim-notification program that you can call to get custody status, and that might help you plan your next steps. You were told he'd be released Monday, but it might be worth it to check that for yourself (for example, is there court on President's day?). At the bottom of this page is information about the notification program.

Lots of people look at your situation from the outside, and have suggestions for how you should behave or what you should want. But ultimately you have to figure out what you want to happen next, and the crisis lines available to you can help you work through what options are available to you.
posted by Gorgik at 8:20 AM on February 19, 2012

I would call a family law attorney in your jurisdiction immediately. ...This is the only way to get correct advice about what legal options are available to you where you live.

This is well-meant and seemingly sensible, but unfortunately bad, advice. Call the domestic violence resources, not a private family law attorney that you found on your own. The domestic violence advocates are much more likely to know what your legal options are and how to access them than any given family law attorney. They can also recommend you an attorney who has expertise in and commitment to this specific aspect of family law.

Stay strong. You are strong. My grandmother is 91 years old and lived the first half of her life in Southern Asia, through the turbulence of WWII. She's seen a lot. She has always told her daughter and granddaughters, "If a man hits you once, he'll hit you again." She is right.
posted by palliser at 8:39 AM on February 19, 2012 [15 favorites]

"If a man hits you once, he'll hit you again."

And to this I would add - and the next time, he'll hit you harder. It always, always escalates.
posted by MexicanYenta at 8:48 AM on February 19, 2012 [31 favorites]

I'm a defense attorney. In my perspective, most cases of alleged domestic violence are very provable if 1) the victim doesn't have motivation to lie, 2) the victim wasn't drinking, 3) the victim stays consistent with her story from the initial account to police to her testimony at trial, and 4) if the injuries match the described confrontation.

I don't know why the cops seemed certain he wouldn't be convicted. That's callous and cruel, and probably incorrect.

For the most part, victims don't need attorneys of their own - you're not the one on trial. But that shouldn't preclude you from seeking legal advice if you want civil redress for your injuries. Consult an attorney in your jurisdiction for that.

You should know that most states and most counties have some sort of victim's assistance group set up, either through the court system or through the prosecutor's office. You might even be entitled to financial relief through them.
posted by Happydaz at 8:48 AM on February 19, 2012 [5 favorites]

I agree that your first contact should not be with a family law atty that you find on your own. Whatever domestic violence resource that you contact and work with will most likely have recommendations for legal representation and possibly the funds to help you offset the cost. Maybe you will need a lawyer, but your first call should be to a domestic violence resource, in my opinion and experience.
posted by lakersfan1222 at 8:59 AM on February 19, 2012

get an attorney
posted by pakora1 at 9:14 AM on February 19, 2012 [3 favorites]

Take photos of the property he damaged and bring them with you to court.
posted by Carol Anne at 9:18 AM on February 19, 2012 [9 favorites]

Nthing an immediate call to your local women's shelter or domestic violence hotline, and follow their directions. I married a man who was emotionally abusive, and the marriage ended nearly two decades later with a restraining order and our children being exposed to his abuse the whole time. Do NOT marry this man... it will only get worse.

This is the time to rely on your friends and family to help you follow the advice of the shelter. They can go with you to court to get a permanent restraining order, and can help you relocate in a safe place. There IS a better life ahead of you.

Please please please don't minimize the danger you are in. I found it hard to believe when a judge, my doctor, and my lawyer all told me I needed to be carrying a concealed weapon, but in hindsight I think I was blinded by the shame and distress of what I saw as the pending implosion of my marriage.

You're so fortunate that you are not married to him. The adjustment will be hard, but not long into the future you'll see things from a different vantage point. Make good decisions one day at a time, listen to the experts, and let your friends and family help you right now. There will be a time in the future that you'll be able to pay it forward with someone else, I promise.

Memail me if you'd like to visit.
posted by summerstorm at 9:49 AM on February 19, 2012

Do you have a friend or family member close by? Have them come over and be an advocate for you. They can help you get your thoughts in order, support your crying, bring you food, talk on the phone when you can't and in general be a support that you really need right now. You are probably too upset and shocked to be able to handle everything, so allowing someone to come and help you will go far.
posted by Vaike at 10:52 AM on February 19, 2012 [2 favorites]

Monday is a Federal holiday, is it not? It might be worth double-checking whether the courts will actually be operating on Monday, just so that you know what is going on.

This is the time to activate your support network. Call family and friends, tell them what happened. It can be hard to say those words, because once you tell your parents he hit you, that will make it clear that the relationship is over. As it must be. Burn that bridge, burn it now. It may seem scary but for the healing to begin, you need to be honest about what happened.

You have a golden window of time to get all of your stuff out of wherever you are living while he is in jail. Take it. Your friends will help you move, and if they won't they aren't your friends.

It is okay to cry. Cry as much as you need.
posted by ambrosia at 11:21 AM on February 19, 2012 [2 favorites]

I was asked to be the cameraman for a DV documentary. Having no experience with the topic it was quite an education.

One of the things that the women had in common was a remarkable ability to rationalize the man's behavior. The result was to merely extend their time in hell and increase the risk of the violence escalating.

These were smart, capable women under any other circumstance. (Said one, "I'm smart, educated, so this can't be happening to me!")

Be aware that this is strong tendency.
posted by trinity8-director at 11:44 AM on February 19, 2012 [5 favorites]

Been there, done that, and bought the T-shirt.

You did so good to call the police, my dear. That needed to happen, it's not an easy thing to do, but you did it. Abused people all over the planet are very proud of you. You did it, and you can get through this.

Call the hotlines, ask for and accept help from your friends and family. They want to help you, and they have concrete help to give.

Don't get caught up in "but I LOOOOVE him, and he LOOOOVES me". This isn't the time for those feelings. You will need to be able to think clearly here, without the rose-colored glasses on. They need to come off. Rose colored glasses must come OFF. If not, you WILL get sucked back in, you will go through this again, it can go on forever. The disappointment, the hurt, can go on forever if you don't take those glasses off.

So, my best CONCRETE advice for this moment in time: DETACH, DETACH, DETACH.

Detach from him emotionally.

Imagine him like disgusting slime on the bottom of your shoe, who not only smashed up your stuff (totally fucking unacceptable all by itself), but had the gall and lack of self-control to hit you. He has now disqualified himself from being your fiance, because you don't need a partner that terrorizes and hurts you. He did it, he disqualified HIMSELF, not you. You did not MAKE him do anything, you got that?

It's hard, because I know you feel so alone, even with your support system around you, and what was once up, is now down. What was once left, is now right. I know how that feels.

Detach, detach, detach, one foot in front of the other. Get your papers together, get the stuff that is most important to you, the pets, your phone, whatever you can, and get out of there.

This is a defining moment here. It's gonna hurt, but nothing like the hurt of years of wasted time, injured body and mind, messed-up self-image, and disappointment. Do what you gotta do, lady. Do for you in the here and now, let him worry about what he did. You have nothing to be ashamed of, whatsoever. It's time to love you more than you love him.
posted by Grlnxtdr at 11:54 AM on February 19, 2012 [10 favorites]

Please don't spend the next few days by yourself. You need kind people around you. Call the numbers people above have given you. Don't self-medicate with alcohol or anything else, it'll just make it worse.
posted by mareli at 1:13 PM on February 19, 2012 [3 favorites]

i am so sorry this happened to you.

i was once able to procure an emergency restraining order, so that once he was arraigned and released, i had about 3 days or so in which to file for the "official" RO. this might be something to ask UFS when you call, if they don't bring it up.
posted by unlucky.lisp at 1:20 PM on February 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

Wonderful words of wisdom above, so all I would add is this: be as kind to yourself as you would be to your best friend, if she was in this situation. You wouldn't blame her, you wouldn't excuse or rationalize his behavior, you would let her cry and hug her and help her move. I wish you peace and a much better future. You will be ok.
posted by purenitrous at 1:25 PM on February 19, 2012 [5 favorites]

Please, please, PLEASE listen to the voices of sanity above. Don't be one of those women that get seduced into thinking that this was a one time only thing. Don't believe that you did something wrong to 'make' him hit you. Don't believe the lies he will tell you about how sorry he is and that it will never happen again. And he will lie, believe me, oh he will lie. He'll even lie to himself, which makes it so sincere. But then he'll have a 'momentary' lapse, and then another, and another, and you will be trapped deeper and deeper in the cycle of abuse.

Please don't be one of those women.
posted by BlueHorse at 1:49 PM on February 19, 2012 [2 favorites]

Make sure you are not alone with him from now on. Not because he is likely to attack you (though you never know) but so that you have a rational voice there to remind you of what is best for you. He's going to say he's sorry and he's going to mean it (to himself at least) but that has nothing to do with this happening again in the future.

Also, good for you for taking action so quickly, few do.
posted by Cosine at 1:52 PM on February 19, 2012 [6 favorites]

You may not have injuries that are visible to the naked eye, but have you considered having photos taken using UV/IR light? They can capture damage that's not visible to the naked eye and may help your case. If you're going to do this, you'll need to do is ASAP so that the injuries don't fade too much. I suggest contacting a local domestic violence shelter to ask who in your area can do this in a way that can be legally documented for use against your ex.

Besides the above info for United Family Services, I also found these resources listed online:

Shelter For Battered Women
24 Hour crisis line, counseling, referrals, and emergency shelter for women and children
Phone: (704) 332-2513
Fax: (704) 332-5403

Victim Assistance
court assistance and counseling
Phone: (704) 336-4126

Mecklenburg County Women’s Commission
counseling, support groups, and referrals for women's children
Phone: (704) 336-3210

Department of Health and Human Services

District Attorney’s Office
700 E. Trade Street
Charlotte, NC 28202
Phone: (704) 347-7891

Legal Aid of North Carolina
1431 Elizabeth Avenue
Charlotte, NC 28204
Monday – Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Phone: (704) 376-1600
Fax: (704) 971-0180

Mecklenburg County Bar Lawyer Referral Service
Phone: (704) 375-0120

North Carolina Lawyer Referral Service
Phone: 1-800-662-7660

Sheriff’s Office
700 E. Fourth Street
Charlotte, NC 28202
Monday – Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Information (704) 336-2543
Civil Process (704) 336-2543

Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Department

Victim Information: Mecklenburg County Sheriff's Department
posted by i feel possessed at 3:31 PM on February 19, 2012 [3 favorites]

I wanted to get the infodump out of the way first, but let me say that you don't deserve to be treated this way. I'm sorry it happened, you deserve to be happy and unafraid. If you need someone to talk to, feel free to memail me.

Maybe the cops who took your statement and/or arrested him weren't very hopeful of a conviction, but don't let that sap your motivation. Call someone now - one of the 24 hour DV hotlines listed above - and find out what you need to do to document what happened. Don't rely on the police as your sole source of information for the court. You need to get your injuries documented and photographed - go to the ER or a walk-in clinic. Even if photographic evidence can't be obtained, a doctor can document that you have real injuries and pain. You also need photos of the property damage he caused, which can be used to show his violent behavior. Get the names of all the cops and any witnesses. If this is too much for you, enlist friends or family to help out. I'm sure they'd love to help you and have a burning desire to see this guy in jail. They can be motivated for you if you're still too shaken up and upset.

Be safe, know that people care about you.
posted by i feel possessed at 3:50 PM on February 19, 2012

If you leave the house (which you should) make sure the police have the phone number of wherever you are.

Also, it's really awesome that you called the police. A lot of women don't and the cycle keeps going.
posted by desjardins at 3:54 PM on February 19, 2012

Mod note: From the OP:
Thank you all so much. Here are the steps I've taken so far:

1) I told my closest friends and family. I'd forgotten how amazing these people are.

2) Some people expressed concern that I'd continue the relationship. That's a huge nope. I told his family that we're no longer together, and that he's in jail. They were shocked and heard me out, then requested that I not talk to them.

3) I briefly spoke with the leasing manager, who said that an officer had already notified her. She seems willing to evict him for the damage to the apartment's doors, walls, and counters. Until that happens, most of my friends have offered me a spare bedroom, and I'll be meeting with a group of them on Monday to talk things over.

4) I took extra pictures. I hadn't noticed the dried blood on my arm or knee before, most likely from shattered glass. I also backed up his text messages on the phone I bought him. I did this because he talked about possibly hurting me to another woman, mere minutes before he actually did. I feel guilty for reading those messages, but he completely destoyed my own phone and curosity got the better of me.

>> I don't know why the cops seemed certain he wouldn't be convicted. That's callous and cruel, and probably incorrect.

I hope so, but it's his first offense. He has no history of violence. It'll probably help that he's white and from a rich family who, by the way, has offered to pay me off, which is incredibly insulting.

I wish I had the energy to reply to everyone. I promise to continue reading (and probably rereading) and taking your advice.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 4:44 PM on February 19, 2012 [23 favorites]

Thank you for updating us, OP. I am so sorry you had this experience, and I really want to celebrate you for being so active in your own protection and so on top of things. Go, you! Glad to know your friends have your back so strongly, too.
posted by Sidhedevil at 4:49 PM on February 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

It's great that the leasing manager is willing to evict him, but he will still know where you are! I would tell you to move out regardless, but the fact that he planned this in advance and told someone he planned to do it tells me that he's extremely dangerous! You need to get out of there. Seriously, this scares the hell out of me for you. Please, please move out!

And please keep us updated when you can. I'm going to be worrying about you, and I'm sure I'm not the only one.
posted by MexicanYenta at 5:06 PM on February 19, 2012 [2 favorites]

but the fact that he planned this in advance and told someone he planned to do it tells me that he's extremely dangerous!

No shit! Up til I read that, this seemed like run of the mill domestic violence. Now he's coming across as scary.
posted by small_ruminant at 5:31 PM on February 19, 2012 [2 favorites]

You have evidence that he planned to harm you, and he tried to pay you off to silence you?!?! That strengthens the case against him hugely, and don't listen to the hearsay of anyone who is not a lawyer who says he will get off. Everyone has already said this, but PLEASE, lawyer now, press charges.
posted by slow graffiti at 5:36 PM on February 19, 2012 [2 favorites]

[I]t's his first offense. He has no history of violence.

I forget whether I read this in Crucial Confrontations or The Gift of Fear, but a LOT of people incarcerated for violent acts had no prior history, and just all of a sudden "snapped."

If I were to get conspiratorial here, I'd suspect the cops were discouraging because they want to avoid adding to their crime statistics.

If you have the strength to press this issue, and you want to press this issue, please don't let your presuppositions discourage you and find a good advocate who knows how to take this guy to the mat for you, as others have suggested above.

Good luck. You've already shown an incredible amount of strength.
posted by alphanerd at 7:01 PM on February 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

The family wanting to pay you off sounds highly suspicious - perhaps this isn't the first time he's done something like this.

Please move out and leave him to deal with the mess and put yourself in a safe place. Take advantage of all that you friends and family have to offer.
posted by dawkins_7 at 8:50 PM on February 19, 2012 [2 favorites]

The attack was premeditated? If you were my sister I would insist that you get trained and equipped with a Taser today. If you had experience with firearms, maybe that would be better, but a Taser is simple to use. It also has numerous practical advantages such as avoiding existential questions about what it means to take a life, not to mention the fact that it can't be used lethally against you if something goes wrong.

Start calling gun shops until you find one that is open, this sort of self-defense is their bread and butter. Do your absolute best to stay away from this guy, but please don't leave yourself vulnerable.
posted by wnissen at 9:17 PM on February 19, 2012

If at all possible record calls related to him - get a Google Voice number and record the calls that way. If his family offers to pay you off, and you have that recorded, you have that to bring to the table if his family tries other shenanigans. (And North Carolina is a one-party consent state, which means you can legally record a call if one party in the call agrees (and you can give yourself consent).)
posted by mephron at 10:00 PM on February 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

I think it would be really good idea to take up your friends on their offer of a spare room. Once he is released the first thing he is going to do is return to your apartment. If you are there, you'll either have to let him in, which is obviously bad, or lock him out, which is going to start a whole new fight. Either way, it's going to be traumatic for you - best thing would be if you and all your stuff is just gone. You'll also benefit from having people around you for saftey, support and comfort. And really, do you want to be in that apartment after this has happened? leave it and the bad memories behind.

you have all my sympathy, and I totally respect the strength you are showing while dealing with this.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 11:28 PM on February 19, 2012

The family knows the truth, this is not the first time, be careful, press on with lots of support and constant communication with your network -- as others have said, this proclivity escalates. But yeah, you sound strong. Keep on!
posted by thinkpiece at 4:26 AM on February 20, 2012

Would it be possible to take his phone to the police? I wonder if the text messages in the phone might not be more convincing than backed-up texts (however you collected them). Hell, maybe the police could just hold his phone as evidence.
posted by feets at 5:30 AM on February 20, 2012 [1 favorite]

He has no history of violence.

You are now his previous history.
posted by Orchestra at 6:49 AM on February 20, 2012 [3 favorites]

He has no history of violence.

You are now his previous history.

If his family came up with the idea of paying you off in the first phone call, I bet this isn't the first time they've felt compelled to bail him out of a nasty situation.
posted by small_ruminant at 10:38 AM on February 20, 2012 [11 favorites]

I just wanted to add my voice of support and admiration. You are, sadly, a shining and courageous exception to the rule in your quick action to call the police and get out of the relationship. BRAVA!
posted by Pax at 8:19 AM on February 21, 2012

Take the phone to the police. Ask that they keep it. Tell them that he left it in the apartment. You want a clear trail to the fact that he premeditated this attack. (To another woman??? Who the heck would listen to something like this without calling the police?) Also, if the phone could in any way be construed as his, you don't want him to come back on you and say that you stole his property.

Don't go back to that apartment. Move out, and make sure you go someplace safe. Don't let him have your new address.

If he's got money behind him and parents that have covered his miserable ass before, he feels like he can do whatever he wants with little or no repercussion. You are now just fodder for his rage and hatefulness. Stay safe!
posted by BlueHorse at 8:46 PM on February 21, 2012

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