Obviously, I knew better than to take a life — but that was before. Before him.
The day we met in October of 1997, I was working at the District Court in Traverse City, Michigan as a Deputy Clerk. It was like most other days with arraignments, sentencings, civil case hearings and the like. People shuffling in and out, everyone taking care of their important business with court appearances, document filings, paying tickets, fines and bonding loved ones out of jail.
I loved my job. It was extremely satisfying and interesting with constant interaction with all walks of life, including people on either end of the judicial spectrum and many in between. Suddenly, there he was. Tall, handsome, and looking so impressive and important in his Michigan State Police uniform with his hat, gun belt and badge. A powerful man who had chosen a profession to serve and protect. He was extremely friendly and upbeat, smiling profusely. Best of all, he, too, was unattached.
What could go wrong? He was like a dream man. We clicked, immediately, and began dating exclusively. But he was not a dream man. He was a nightmare … as I learned over the next twelve years.
Twelve years of enduring domestic violence at its absolute worse. Constant abuse, control, manipulation, and threats. Sadistic sexual deviance and sexual violence. It was only going to end one way: someone would die in our bed and someone would go to prison for murder.
This is my story about domestic violence, resilience, reckoning and survival.