Its been a long week, but Boruch Hashem tomorrow is Shabbos.
I have to be back in court on Monday morning.
I was pleasantly surprised to see the article about Judge Esther Morgenstern in the Mishpacha magazine.
She happens to be the judge presiding on my case. I did not realize how emphatic she is towards women who are in violent marriages with frum husbands. During one of our early hearings in Judge Esthers court she told my husband in no uncertain terms that he had better stay well away from me,
He didnt listen to her (because he believes he is above the law) came back into the house and got into a fight with me. He grabbed my arm and twisted it and as a result was arrested.
This occured on Erev Shabbos during the winter- a few months ago. I had asked him nicely to please leave the house (he had already moved out, and decided on a whim to come back and spend shabbos terrorizing me and the children.
It was a few hours before Shabbos and someone called me to warn me that he had come back to "show me whose boss".
I panicked and I begged him to leave before shabbos otherwise I would be forced to call 911.
He laughed at me, and went upstairs to take a nap.
I had no choice, I was scared of his temper and i could not survive the whole shabbos under such conditions. I felt really bad doing this right before Shabbos, but he refused to listen to me, and he didnt believe I would actually call the cops. I gave him a chance to leave, but he didnt take it.
So I called 911.
Two cops arrived, one was a white guy and the other a black woman.
They marched into my dining room and asked me what was going on. At that moment my husband sauntered downstairs with a smile on his face.
He asked the male cop to come upstairs because he wanted to show him something. (To this day I don't know what he showed him)
In the meantime the woman officer asked to see the order of protection which I had from the court. She looked at it and asked what happened. I was just beginning to tell my story when the other officer together with my husband came downstairs. All of a sudden the officer started yelling at me. He then turned to his partner and said that he thinks I should be arrested because I changed the locks on my house which is against the law.
I responded that my lawyer had suggested i change the locks on my front door so that I would feel safer. But the cops refused to listen.
The situation rapidly deteriorated, both officers began shouting at me at once. They said I had done something illegal and they would have to take me down to the station.
I was shocked and horrified.
They were supposed to be helping me, not arresting me!
I was in such a weak state at that time that I began to shake and I couldnt stop the tears from running down my face.
My children were in the kitchen listening to all of this, so I ran into the kitchen, and gathered them to me and told them not to worry- but because I was sobbing uncontrollably I doubt they believed me.
All of a sudden the female officer came charging into the kitchen, and told me that I could not stay there with the children, and that I had to be in her sight at all times.
I was so scared by then that I followed meekly back into the dining room.
My husband was standing there, arms folded, smirking and offering the officers coffee.
I was in a state of panic.
My body was shaking and I couldnt control my fear. I wanted to call 911 but how could I if 911 were already there!
I relaized I should call my attorney.
I grabbed my cell phone and got my lawyer on the line. I tried to explain what was happening, but I dont think he could understand too much because I was crying and I could hardly pronounce the words.
As i was talking the male officer started shouting at me to get off the phone.
He said I had better hang up now....or else....
I was afraid to hang up, I needed my lawyer on the phone. At that moment I noticed that my phone was almost dead so I began to make my way upstairs to get my phone charger from my bedroom.
As I was walking up the stairs, the female officer told me to get back down, that I had to stay within her vision. I held onto my phone and repeated to my lawyer what she was saying.
He told me to tell the officer that I was just getting my phone charger. She then came right behind me and followed me upstairs, telling me that she doesnt know what kind of weapons I have in my bedroom, so she has to make sure Im not going to try and harm her.
I could not believe what was happening to me.
I felt as though I was in Nazi Germany.
But I wasnt! I was in New York, and the officers were not Nazis, they were from the New York Police Department!
I could not understand how the tables had turned on me.
We went back downstairs and I collapsed onto the couch curled up in a ball sobbing uncontrollably.
The female officer harassed and humiliated me for over an hour.
They were waiting for the Domestic Violence officer to arrive, and until she arrived they taunted me.
"You are just a cry baby, I know your type, trying to get your husband arrested for no reason"
You want everyone to feel sorry for you, thats why you needed your phone to call all your friends and tell them what a bad life you have"
Then she started threatening that she was going to haul my ass to the station and put my kids in foster care!
(my kids were in the other room huddled together in terror)
And all the time my husband was shmoozing with the male officer and offering him refreshments.
I soon realized that there was nothing I could do to protect myself.
I stayed on the couch rolled in a ball and waited.
The cops were on a roll. They couldnt stop what they had started. They told me that maybe they would just take me to a mental hospital instead of the station because obviously I was mentally ill.
After about an hour of sitting on the couch paralyzed with fear and listening to the officers lash out at me, the door suddenly opened and officer kaplan walked in.
She stood for a moment surveying the scene.
She then came over to me, and helped me up and asked me to come with her to another room. We went into my husbands office which is adjacent to the dining room and she turned to me and asked what is going on?
I looked at her, and instead of words coming out of my mouth, nineteen years worth of tears poured forth.
She took me into her arms and I cried on her shoulder in a way that I have never done at any time in my life.
For the first time I felt safe, and I instinctively knew she would help me.
She stroked my back and told me that she was here to help and that she knew what was going on, and that I would be ok, but that I had to stop crying.
I pulled myself together and we stepped back into the dining room where my husband was still joking around with his police -pals.
Officer Kaplan stepped forward looked my husband in the eye, and said "Sir- you are under arrest, you have the right to remain silent......."
My husband still did not comprehend.
He thought it was a joke.
Alas for him this was real.
Officer kaplan told the two nazi officers to handcuff him and get him into the squad car and try and get him booked before shabbos.
Needless to say my husband lost his smile very quickly.
He went pale, and tried to talk his way out of the situation.
He turned to her and stuttered ;"You cant arrest me, its nearly Shabbos!"
Officer Kaplan told him to shut up and behave and she would do everything she could to get him processed before Shabbos.
He was taken to the precinct where he was booked until he could see a judge. He stayed in a holding cell until Sunday night.
I found out later that his brother the Rosh Yeshivah drove to the jail to stay with him on Shabbos.
His family were very very angry with me, because I had made their brother be mechalel Shabbos!
It was a frightening experience, but I have officer Kaplan to thank for saving me.
Needless to say, my husband has not stepped foot near the house since this episode.
I felt bad doing it to him, but i had to protect myself and my children.
Officer Kaplan is an amazing officer. Her caring and compassion for victims of abuse is incredible. She still comes to my house to check up on me and make sure that we are safe.
I hope that this coming Monday we will have everything settled and he will give me my Get.
He is still holding onto the Get in case he "needs" to use it for something.
Im not going to fight for it- Hashem will get it for me when the time is right.