Tuesday, October 11, 2005

False Sense of Security

I grew up with a girl named LeeAnne. We went to the same church. Her mom sat me in the summertime one year while school was out. LeeAnne was a tomboy as a kid and never really outgrew it – even when dressing formally, preferring business-type fashion above fancy frocks and lace. She was an honor student, was athletic and had an earthy beauty. She was passionate about her faith. God’s love shone through her and everyone liked her.

She married a man who planned to go to seminary after a stint in the military. They started a family.

But something went wrong somewhere. As time went on, he became abusive in their marriage. It started out small, as it usually does, but in time he was grossly mistreating her. Her friends and family tried to convince her to leave. LeeAnne stayed, feeling it was her duty to hold her family together and if she prayed earnestly enough, God would heal her marriage and calm the trouble in her husband. Her family and friends continued to plead. Her husband moved them out of state in attempt to squelch the voices against him.

After one particularly bad episode of abuse, LeeAnne finally decided it was time to leave. She made arrangements to live with her church pastor’s family for the time being and filed a restraining order. Then she took her children and left their house forever.

LeeAnne began putting her life back together. Some time passed and she and the children began to gain a little normalcy without her stronghanded husband around.

One morning the pastor and his wife left the house to tend to errands. LeeAnne enjoyed a few moments of quiet contemplation over coffee as her boys played upstairs. And then suddenly, she was ambushed. Her husband, who had been casing the house for weeks, had broken in and snuck up on her. He grabbed her and led her through the house by her throat. He sent the boys outside. The older boy later said that he heard his dad say something to his mom about if she wouldn’t live with him, she wouldn’t live with anyone.

He took LeeAnne into the bedroom and shot her in the head. He then shot himself.

A restraining order is little more than a piece of paper. The biggest false sense of security there is. A lot can happen in the time between the order violation and the time that the law arrives to escort the offender away.

Women who suffer domestic violence aren’t always stupid or weak. They aren’t always poor or without education or prospects. They’re just trying to hold their commitments made and keep their lives and the lives of their children together. Trying to do what’s right and trying to determine when splitting up their family is better than trying to make it work. Trying to hear God’s voice amid the chaos.

Harder than it seems when you're in the thick of it.

It’s a terrible shame that such a strong and gifted woman had to die like a dog and have her children orphaned at the hands of a crazy man she once trusted – a man who vowed to God to love and protect her.


Martie said...

This kind of thing happens more often than we realize and it shouldn't happen at all! It is a terrible shame and waste of human lives....and this woman's children may never emotionally recover from what they have been forced to witness.

Michelle said...

Clew, you have experienced way too many bad things in your lifetime. Hugs to you my dear friend for having the willingness to keep your heart open. XO

Cheryl said...

I'm so sorry to hear about your friend. I was married to a violent man, and while the physical violence did not get too very high, it would have had I not left. The verbal and emotional abuse was frightening. Restraining orders do not protect us, and like many mothers I am forced by our broken court system to send my son back into that house every other weekend. And I am a normal, well-educated woman who had not experienced this kind of evil until I had known this man for some time- he was so kind and charming at first. I can not talk about it on my own site, because the courts are not kind to moms who make such "accusations." Bless you for talking about it here. We should be screaming about this in the streets. Instead, we are threatened into deeper silence.

Rebecca said...

It is staggering to know the statistics regarding husband to wife violence. Abuse isn't only physical, it's psychological and emotional as well - and you're absolutely right that women who suffer from it shouldn't be stereotyped. It can happen to anyone. Anyone at all who has the capacity of loving another human being has the capacity of being emotionally manipulated and abused on all levels. It's so scary because you marry someone who is supposed to be your partner for life, your shelter from the storm...and when they're the one you need shelter from, it's difficult to know where to turn, or to make the move to do it. I'm so sorry for the loss of your friend. And I'm even sorrier for her children who not only don't have a father or a mother - but who will have scars internally that will alter them forever.

Cheryl said...

And in the telling of my own story, I hope it didn't get lost how very sorry I am for your friend, for her children, and for the many, many families who face this terrible thing.

Pirate said...

Man that is terrible. Other then Satan what could possibly possess these guys that want another person so bad they surrender their sanity?

I was divorced after 5 years when I was in my twenties and was hurt badly but could not even imagine wanting to possess the other person in the divorce.

I have told my friends over the years who have went through break ups that its best to move on and the other side spells freedom. So get over her and find your freedom.

Emit-Flesti said...

I've been thinking a lot. I suppose that you might think that abandoned you. But not. Here I am again!
I was clearing my mind, about life. In all my years I've been through a lot -some people might consider that maybe to much- and I could end up like a mad man, a bad person. But in the end God was always there, watching me, protecting me. He's the only certainty and you can hear it -or not, that's a choice-, that inner voice, that intuition -you may call it- but he's always there. Probably I'm gonna contradict you on this one. But is our responsibility to look out carefully who you are marrying to. I know, Who wouldn't know he might become a bad person?
God will help you that's undeniable, but you have to look yourself from evil.
God be with you in all your paths,

Harry Yak said...

this story make me sad, naturally. i'm concerned about the children. what has happened to them?

Nicole said...

Thank you for sharing this story of your friend so openly. I hope that someone takes away the lesson of the trajedy.

You sound like a beautiful person.

Twisted Cinderella said...

Wow. What a sad story. People are too quick sometimes to judge that they "would never let that happen to them." When in reality it is never as simple and easy as it seems looking in on the outside. Her poor children.

Lori said...

I've been thinking about this so much since I read it. I can't really articulate all that I'm feeling...

I'm so sorry for your loss...and for her beautiful children.