I was told if I spoke up about what was happening to me I would be sorry....
If you have read this blog from the beginning, you know it is not the first time I have heard that threat. You also know that that would never stop me....
I have spent my entire life living under the threat of what would happen to me if I told...if I expressed the truth... Once I had escaped it I could never go back to that fear. I will not do that for anyone or under any threat. No.
So, an update on crazy:
If you live in Pierce County you have a right to know. You have become involved whether you wish to be or not. This journey into surreal happenings continued as I went through the process of divorce.
I appeared in Judge Stolz court room for pretrial. I had made a motion for a continuance so that I might retain counsel. My attorney had unexpectedly and without warning withdrawn for personal reasons having nothing to do with this matter. I was not given the 10 days that were required by law. Judge Stolz did not care. She immediately denied my motion, stating that she had already made her decision before ever taking the bench. I was not allowed to be heard and her attitude towards me was...aggressive and surprising. She was curt to the point of ruddiness and I had no idea as to why. She argued my estranged husband's case for him.... I was...well again, shocked. I have no history with her or the court. I have no police record of wrong doing. I came to the court an equal to any other, or so I thought. In retrospect I should have known. I tend to see each person I deal with, each department of Pierce County government as autonomous. This would prove an error on my part.
That Judge Stolz would hold such a negative impression of me based on no interactions and very little in the file before her was as telling as it was shocking. I was simply attacked out of hand. What is one to do?
Let me just say this here again...this is hard. It is brutal and punishing. I have lost so much that I love through all of this. I am harangued on social media. Threatened and bullied. I have had my finances and possessions plundered. Those who hold themselves out as supportive to domestic violence victims have turned their backs.... Everything has a price and telling the ugly truths carry the highest of all. This is not "fun" or exciting. It is scary and grueling and lonely.
That will not stop me though. Because I am not alone. This has happened before and it will happen again unless someone stands up and says "No more. This is wrong." And if I do not fight for myself who will? If I do not believe in me, I am lost. I have come too damned far to allow anyone else to take anything more from me with out a fight. No.
And so I made a motion to have Judge Stoltz recuse herself given her comments and ruling. When we came into court on the 4th of November I was ready to argue that motion. I was surprised to find that Judge Stolz had reassigned my case to another judge while upholding her motion. My family and I made our way to the third floor to a far off courtroom with no one but the players in this case present. I again asked that my motion for a continuance be heard, it was immediately denied by Judge Rumbaugh. He stated that the trial would go on immediately. I had nothing. No papers or documents I was empty handed. The Judge gave the opinion that justice needed to be swift, not just. I was made to represent myself while my abuser had full legal counsel, before a judge who actually inferred that I was a drug addict. Again, I did not know Judge Rumbaugh, had never appeared in his court and his disparaging remarks about my person where intimidating and false. I am not now, nor have I ever been a drug addict. To be so attacked by a Justice from the bench is incredibly brutal and cruel. That this man thought that it was allowable leaves me incredulous. After the Judge Rumbaugh's inappropriate words from the bench I asked HIM to recuse himself. He refused. I asked for a hearing on the matter, I was refused. I was forced to question my abuser on the stand with both Judge Rumbaugh and his counsel peppering verbal insults and innuendo at me. I can't express the fear this brought me. I was nauseas and at one time asked for a break, again Judge Rumbaugh denied even that.
How does this happen? Where is this okay? This is OUR county. Yours and mine and this effects you too. I am not safe in my own home, which by the way I was ordered out of by Judge Rumbaugh with less than 3 weeks notice and with no where to go and with no funds to move. I am homeless with $400.00 a month. I will have to go on assistance, which you will pay for while my abuser enjoys a healthy six figure income. My share of our finances has been denied me. Judge Rumbaugh even gave my personal property I came into the marriage with to my abuser... this was done by a Pierce County Superior County Judge. This was clearly punitive and beyond his Honor's authority.
This is what happens if you tell the truth. If you stand up, this is what you should expect. There is no justice here and nothing, NOTHING has changed. They can place all the hopeful names on buildings and convene summits and have fundraisers galore, but if they do not stop the rampant abuse of power in Pierce County nothing has changed. If you are not the "right" kind of victim....well, there is no help, no justice for you here at all. In a county where who you know and what you have is more important than what crimes are committed there is no justice for anyone. Least of all an abuse victim with no connections and few resources.
And if you point out the wrongs done by the Pierce County Sheriff's Department, Pierce County Prosecutor's Office and now the Pierce County Judicial System, woes be to you.
I came to the justice system looking for protection. I received a red couch and a car payment that is what I was awarded. With just under 7 figures in net worth, I am left to a life on food stamps. My support will be less than $400.00 a month. This is clearly a punishment. If you do not know already, my medical condition prevents me from working, something Judge rumbaugh was well aware of and dismissed breezily as predating the marriage. This is not even an error, it is a lie. I was married in 2008 and my condition was diagnosed in 2013. Facts matter little if you find yourself on the wrong side of the Pierce County System.
Why am I treated differently than other victims? Because I dare to expect Pierce County to do it's job? I am bold enough to demand they act in accordance with our laws and policies? Because I will not be quiet and sit in the corner? Because I know that I am just as valuable and just as worthy as anyone else?
Is it because Pierce County likes its domestic violence victims dead?
I mean a dead victim gets all the right treatment. Too little, too late...but still. If you live in Pierce County and you want Deputies to protect you, if you want the Prosecutor to press charges or a judge to actually follow the laws they are all sworn to uphold...be dead. If your abuser kills you, now you have value. That is something they can get behind. There will be news conferences and speeches. Passionate proclamations of fighting the good fight and justice.......if you are breathing, you are an inconvenience.
I made mistakes. I married a man believing he was one thing, when he was another. I loved that he gave to my adult children things that they had done without growing up. The cars and trips, money and time...I was so thankful. Every mother wants these things for their children. I should have walked away. I did not. After the marriage, things came up...things that did not make sense or that left me alarmed, I held firm. I was married in the church and not believing in divorce, I stood fast.
He had a temper. He had secrets. He did not have the same moral compass or belief system that I did... He spoke of women, minorities actually, anyone that was not him, in a derogatory manner...I thought I could change that...yes, I realize how stupid that was...now. I made excuses and allowances.
When I was hospitalized and diagnosed with several chronic illnesses his wandering eye came to the forefront. This lead to the violence of July 9th 2013 and me reporting it on the 10th.
Several things have caused me to wonder about all that came after that first call.
Firstly was Deputy Larson's comments. He was the one who came out when I finally got the courage to call for help. Let me state here that my abuser knew I was calling. I told him so. He was several states away and I had told him exactly what I was going to do on the phone the evening of the 9th. I wanted to be honest, to be upfront. I didn't want him surprised and I didn't want him coming home while I was still there.
It never occurred to me that HE might call first. That in telling him what I was planning on doing the next day, I was setting about my own downfall. He spoke to the sheriff's office first. Who does that? You are going to be reported for your own actions and so you call the Sheriff's office to undercut your victim's statements? This is an abuser on a level I cannot comprehend. That Pierce County could be so duped by him is frightening.
Deputy Larson's remarks that "those aren't too bad" when photographing my bruises was shocking. That The Pierce County Sheriff's Department would ignore physical evidence of an assault, bury the photographs and then the prosecutor, who by the way has her office at the Crystal Judson Justice Center, would state in a meeting that I insisted on that "for the record, I am not looking at any evidence you provide" is staggering. There is no help. Who stands a chance when Pierce County officials refuse to do their jobs with such passion? How much fight do you have when the doors are slammed in your face and not only is justice denied you, it is turned against you? How do you think you would fair? I will give you an insight, it is frightening. It is lonely and powerless and at times feels hopeless. And it is where I am now.
My abuser has influential connections. He has money and power and the way that this case has been handled by Pierce County shows that out. When else could an abuse break a restraining order over ten times and have no consequences? His friends train Deputies on firearms, they go to the right meetings and give in the right amounts. I had hidden all that was done to me out of shame, embarrassed that I had found myself once again in an abusive relationship and now, I am alone, with nothing. Even I was used against me.
I am not going to stop. I am going to appeal this matter. I will speak to it until words fail me and I will fight until I can no longer battle. Because I matter, victims matter. Because this is wrong and if it has happened to me, it has happened to others. This is not okay. Abusing victims by proxy is not okay and no one is blameless. If you say nothing when you know something is wrong that makes you complacent. Giving safe harbor to abusive behaviors because you have a relationship with the abuser is furthering their abuse.
When Pierce County Deputies take to social media to mock and bully a victim it is wrong. When their friends and family pile on it is worse. When their command condones it, it is criminal. This is not okay. It is never going to be okay and I refuse to shut up or hide.
Please, take a moment and tell Pierce County that intimidating victims of abuse who stand up to bullying and use their voice is not acceptable.
Pierce County Sheriff's Department
6006 133rd St NW, Gig Harbor, WA 98332
|Crystal Judson Justice Center|
718 Court E, Tacoma, WA 98402
Pierce County Superior Court
Also, because lawyers want money...lots of it....if you can help please do. I will be completely transparent in all financial matters. I thank you and humbly admit I can't do this by myself. I do not ask for help often....ever....but this is beyond me and my own means. Thank you for your time.