Navigating Like Captain Jack Sparrow
Captain Jack Sparrow’s compass appeared broken and useless. In reality, it had supernatural powers that directed the owner to what he or she most wanted.
Life might be a lot easier with a compass like that.
I found that navigating the criminal justice system and support systems for victims of domestic violence was a challenge too big without a supernatural compass.
If that is true for me, a woman with tremendous geographic luck, a good education, and strong support system, how difficult must it be for a woman, a person, without my good fortune.
Here’s my story.
A few years ago, Dr. Judy, a therapist, told me, “A narcissist can sniff a person like you out of a room of 3,000.”
In June, I met another one. He, according to the article 8 Undeniable Signs You’ve Fallen for a Narcissist “love-bombed” me. Before our third date, he gave me his St. Christopher’s medal, brought me flowers, gifts, and made other exaggerated displays of affection. I was hooked.
Three months later, the week of my birthday, he picked arguments and controlled my birth week, ensuring that I didn’t get to celebrate with my friends and family.
The next week, I caught him with his “ex-girlfriend,” the 60-year-old Mormon stylist who moved to Park City to cut hair at Great Clips to find a “rich man.” (Isn’t that an oxymormon? Really? Great Clips?)
I had a bad feeling so I drove to his home in Midway. Her car was in the driveway and she was sitting at the dining room table. He’d taken her to lunch, watched DVDs, and, even took her for a walk by the house we talked about buying. (Okay, I know. . . he was old. I do old. He was DVD and CD.)
But, it was easier to forgive and forget than let go.
On Thanksgiving night, we ate with his friends at a posh home in Park Meadows. After dinner, Brian was caught in a lie. His friends asked me if I was going to France in May. I hadn’t been invited.
Instead, after buying his rangefinder, shirt, books on Huntington Beach, Peeps and gloves because we were doing 4 Things for Christmas (something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read), I suggested we put money aside for our travels in 2016.
Realizing that he’d been lying, I returned to his house. I asked to see his phone.
Oddly, on our first date, he handed me his phone and said I could look at it anytime. But, after the oxymormon incident, he was careful. He was never transparent.
In addition to the vacation lie, I found that Becky, the oxymormon, had called him while I was in his kitchen chopping leeks, apples and celery for the stuffing I planned to make for his family the next day. Without saying “goodbye,” he left the house.
I called him. He was at the “grocery store.” He claimed he’d gone out to get the lemon peel I forgot.
But, that night, I saw that he left to speak with Becky.
That’s when he pushed me to the ground.
He shouted, “I’m going to choke you out.”
I tried to collect my things, but ended up on the hardwood floor in the kitchen and then, again, in the entrance hall.
With blood covering my cream-colored sweater, a cut under my eye, and bruising forming on my arms that matched his grip, I drove myself home.
My friend, the founder of our local women’s shelter, told me I had to call the police. She stayed on the phone with me until they arrived.
But, in the course of calling, my county transferred me to Wasatch County.
When I introduced myself, the Officer said, “Oh, I’ve dealt with you before.”
“No. No. I’m Julie Hooker. I live in Park City.”
He insisted, “No. I’ve dealt with you and Brian before at Stillwater.”
I replied, “No.”
The Officer seemed angry. Later, when I told him I was not pressing charges, he seemed even angrier. I explained, “You kept telling me you’d ‘dealt’ with me, but I’ve never had anything like this happen and I’ve never spoken to you.”
I called the local shelter. When I recounted what happened, she asked if I did anything to Brian.
I told her, “I bit him on the shoulder when he said he was going to choke me.”
She explained that if I left a mark, he could spin it.
When the Summit County Police Officer came to my door, he took pictures. He was nice to my dogs. He suggested I press charges.
I could see the hurt in his eyes. He’d seen other women like me.
The next day, I went to InstaCare. My friend, Emily, met me there.
I didn’t have to wait. They took my right back.
Shaking and crying, I apologized to the young x-ray technician. She told me, “It happened to me.”
The doctor wrote me a letter. She didn’t want me to go back to school for a week.
My friends took care of me. They made sure there were lesson plans and Brad taught my classes.
But, I couldn’t stay home for a whole week.
Anyway, I did not press charges because I was afraid.
I didn’t want to have to go to court.
I didn’t want to feel what it was like to have someone I trusted hurt me.
With tears dripping down my cheeks, I write. I write because Brian’s “ex-girlfriend” found my blog. I don’t want anyone else to get hurt.
Also, I want to call attention to the difficulty in navigating the system.
Since being assaulted, I refused to change. I will love unconditionally, be trustworthy and generous.
I worry about others. If I couldn’t navigate the system, press charges, and get him off the street, who can? What about women who have been in an abusive relationship for years, not just months? Who will help them?