Self advocacy 

In December, a portion of the court order sent me through Domestic Violence classes.  As a victim of domestic violence, it was interesting to me to learn about all the different forms of domestic violence there really are.  Domestic violence doesn’t have to always be physical.  Often times there are numerous ways the abuser uses to keep their victim in line before they ever resort to physical violence. 

What they don’t teach you is that there’s no real way to combat being abused.  The counties are so different one “advocacy” group is unable to assist in another county.  You have no idea how frustrating this is.  

I took my classes in Sedgwick county.  They seem to have a real grasp on what it takes to assist victims.  Unfortunately, dealing with a different county, they referred me to their sister agency in my home county. What a joke. 

These people schedule meetings with a person, who has to take off work and they aren’t even there.  I waited two weeks for this meeting with this specific individual.  Someone else said they had a little time to talk with me and at the end told me in the most demeaning tone they could muster “I believe you” and told me I should start journaling (hence this page…). I was promised this person I was originally supposed to meet with would call me back the following day.  A month later, I still never got that phone call. 

I called. And I left messages. At one point, a person with the same name answered the phone and I was told “sorry, your name isn’t familiar to me and I can’t help you.”  Seriously? What name is a good name to use for assistance?  

I’ve reached out to yet another county that works closely with my home county.  Again, I was referred to the “best” person. I called, left a message and two weeks later, I’ve still gotten no phone call back.  

I went back to Sedgwick county, desperate for some help and was referred to the agency that is in charge of all domestic violence centers across the state and they tried to get some answers to me.  Two weeks of communication between us, and their answer was, “the person you were trying to reach has been out sick.”   This person must have been sick for two full months and apparently all cases could not be worked on by someone else.  Ridiculous.  

The Governer just signed a new law into effect within the last few weeks.  This new law mandates that all courts must take into consideration when prior domestic violence has been reported in custody cases.  This must be considered when determining custody and visitation between parties.  We are scheduled to go back in June, and I am curious if anything will be done with this.

In the mean time, my batterer, the father of my child, is continuing to refuse to go through his batterers intervention program that is also court ordered.  Will this be considered when he seeks more visitation, unsupervised? 

Recently, at two of the visits he’s had with our son, he has attempted to get me to go behind the supervisors garage with him.  I don’t know what his intentions are but I have refused and avoided confrontation. There are no windows behind the garage, and the meeting location is in a sparsely populated area, and I’m not willing to weigh the risks of his requests.  

I’m continuously being told to be a self advocate. Without knowledge and information about what to expect or do regarding the courts, what I have done for myself is got a great therapist.  I document everything. Religiously. I’ve searched for 4 months, and finally found a therapist who will work with a 17 month old. (He’s been diagnosed with severe separation anxiety, and an adjustment disorder, thank you father’s rights).  I’ve started journaling.  I’ve researched. I’ve got a great group of supporters. 

This fight isn’t over, my light hasn’t been extinguished. I will always fight for the safety of my child, and only God himself can stop me.