Hi! I'm Shira. I write stuff. Here's info on some of it.Poetry
* "Wool and Silk and Wood" in Electric Velocipede
#15/16, November 2008
* "Unruly Harvest" in Polu Texni
, December 2008
* "About a Girl" is a poem and a perfume; check it out at Violette Market
* "When Her Eyes Open" in Lone Star Stories
, February 2009; it was reprinted in the 2009 Eaton Science Fiction Conference's speculative poetry sampler, and was nominated for the Rhysling Award.
* "Twelve" in Cabinet des Fees
, March 2009
* "Nine Things About Oracles" in Electric Velocipede
* "The Library, After" in Mythic Delirium
#24; it won the Rhysling Award!
* "The Changeling's Lament
" in Stone Telling #5
; it has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, the Tiptree Award, and the Rhysling Award.
* "Mushroom Barley Soup: An Invocation
", in Stone Telling #8
", in Through the Gate
* "The Oracle Never Dances", in Mythic Delirium #27
* "Ereshkigal's Proposal to Hades", in Mythic Delirium #27
* "The Busker, Broke and Busted
", Apex Magazine #48, May 2013
* "And the War is Never Over
", Strange Horizons, May 2013
* "Where We Died
", Niteblade #24, June 2013
* "Not Too Bold", forthcoming in NitebladeShort Fiction
* "The Angel of Fremont Street" in ChiZine
, January 2009. It was shortlisted for the Million Writers Award
* "Fortune" in Ravens in the Library: Magic in the Bard's Name
, the s00j
* "Valentines" in Interfictions 2
, November 2009
* "And to My Wife" in Electric Velocipede
* "Salt Brides" in Abyss & Apex
, October 2010; it has been nominated for the Micro Award
* "Between Truth and Life" in Steam Powered: Lesbian Steampunk Stories
, January 2011; podcast at Toasted Cake in February 2013
* "The Portal to Heaven" in Electric Velocipede
" reprinted in ChiZine, May 2011
" reprinted in Apex Magazine, June 2011
* "I Am Thinking of You in the Spaces Between
" in Apex Magazine, October 2011; it's on Tangent Online's recommended reading list
and is a Million Writers Award Notable Story
", Apex Magazine, November 2012
* "Happy Hour at the Tooth and Claw", forthcoming in Clockwork Phoenix 4
* "Becca at the End of the World", forthcoming in Apex Magazine.
In process: Cicatrix is the seriously bent portal fantasy, Places You Haunt is the Vegas mythpunk, and Shayara is the political thriller urban fantasy.Conventions 2013
* I'll be at Arisia, Boskone, Wiscon, and Readercon.Where Else am I?
You can find me at Facebook
. You can be my fan
there, too. I'm also on Twitter
. Not on MySpace. :)
Originally posted by yendi
at Coffeemaker suggestions?
So our beloved coffeemaker of four+ years appears to be mostly dead*. It's a Cuisinart 12-cup Thermal coffeemaker
, and although we've got enough Amazon credit to just get a new one (it's actually gone up a whopping $1 since we bought it), I figured I'd poll the LJ hive mind for coffeemaker suggestions. We've liked the coffeemaker over the years, but did experience (about once every two months) the problems other folks cite in the reviews
We definitely want a "traditional" coffeemaker (not a french press, etc), and we want to go thermal (no constant heating element burning the coffee once it's brewed). We can probably go down to a ten-cup maker, but it's nice to have the flexibility of 12. We grind beans right before brewing, but I'm NOT a fan of the combo grind-and-brew units, as cleanup on these is awful.
Price-wise, I'd like to keep it around the $100 mark (and as I said, we're paying with Amazon credit and not cash, so things I can't buy at Amazon aren't really stuff I'd consider). We've got a little flexibility, though.
Brand-wise, I've had two Cuisinarts, and loved them, but am not fanatically loyal.
So, anyone got any personal experience with a good thermal carafe cofeemaker? Yes, I can read the reviews on Amazon, so I'm looking for anecdata here.
*This weekend, it finally brewed coffee after six tries. Today, it hasn't yet, but it might.
A lot of the stuff in my world is revolving around the aftermath of What Judah Did and Has Been Doing. But not everything! That's just the biggest, most pressing stuff. I'm meeting with my lawyer today, so that's good. I like forward motion. (There are two aspects here, criminal and civil. Both are slow.)
I tried out for a thing yesterday! I have no idea how I did. I haven't tried out for anything since high school. But doing new stuff is good. Not just with the shakeup of the Judah shit, but also, could help my impending empty nest syndrome.
I have fun plans with fun people!
And I have some very large, very positive things I'm working on that I can't talk about yet. Some soon, some less soon. I have a big shininess I'll get to talk about in July. <3
And today needs to be a getting-stuff-done day. So I should get to that. **nod**
Yes, still uncovering stuff about Judah.
Bringing together scattered thoughts from elsenet:
The morning after Judah Sher raped me, he packed up his laptop, clothes, and insulin before he left the house. Yeah, he knew. I noticed that the entire stash of insulin was gone from the fridge that Friday afternoon, post assault-and-battery. 100% premeditated. He planned to do things that would preclude him returning to the house. (He wasn't in the kitchen the day of the assault & battery. Had to have taken the insulin the previous day.)
I've been trying to figure out why the escalation to assault and battery when he had to know that would be the end - he could have kept emotionally abusing me for god knows how long, but the minute it got physical, boom. What I've arrived at is that it was the police report of the rape that triggered it. Once he knew I'd reported, that he'd failed to play it off, that I'd realized what he'd done - he knew that the minute I said the words aloud to a cop, it was all over. I e-mailed him after I made the report. He came over the next morning, lured me to the smallest room in the house (because it didn't make sense for him to go there - he only had two things in that room, neither of which he ever used), and beat me up. He knew he'd lost my trust for good, and he knew I was going to end it.
So he decided to get a few punches in on the way out.
And then he was surprised when I called the cops. I think he thought he'd leave me in a puddle of fear and shame, triggered and alone. It's remarkable how well he copied a domestic violence scene I wrote in my novel-in-progress, actually. He studied. But I am not my novel's protagonist. So he did not get the desired result.( Trigger warning for animal abuse (Judah broke Victoria's leg, is what actually happened).Collapse )
I know I said she fell. I know I never lie. My code is that I can lie only to protect others. I was protecting him. There have been a lot of omissions to protect him, but I believe this was the only outright lie.
The vet knew. And probably also knew that I was in a DV situation before I did. "She fell" sounds a lot like "I walked into a door" or "I fell down the stairs".
There are so many little things. Like he wouldn't let me go to dinner with mangosteen
alone when we were in a rough patch, he insisted on accompanying us. Like changing his mind on driving me to ConBust and to an October writer event last-minute, leaving me breaking professional commitments. So many things.
"Wait!" I said, wobbly-voiced, and Michael stopped, just in time for me to burst into tears - full-body awful face-hiding trembling sobs. "I'm sorry," I gasped over and over. "I'm sorry I'm sorry I'm sorry."
And he held me, and waited with me, and - only when he was sure I wanted him to - began again.
It was important for me to reclaim my body, to not have the last sex act be that. I didn't know if I was ready. He knew that my responses would be unpredictable. We were slow. Patient.
Later that evening, I had a smaller reaction. But we got me to the point when I didn't anymore.
We erased Judah from my body. We overwrote him. We did everything I had ever done with Judah and more, farther. New things.
We have overwritten him.
My sleep has been massively disrupted lately, which throws everything off. Stumbling through this week. I need to get my brain to stop dreaming of him, because all of those dreams are Very Bad.
Various realizations harvested from my Twitter:
...going back through old stuff, it's amazing how much I stifled myself due to Judah's need to be the prettiest person in the room. "Judah needs the affirmation of people being into him more than I do (I have long since cultivated the Art of Not Giving a Fuck), and it's not worth fooling around if it makes him sad, so we stay closed." From a chat back in September. Welp. Seriously, god forbid people were flirting with me and not him; he had an Episode in January when a particular woman seemed more interested in me than in him. I dimmed my light a lot. I had a constant spotlight on him.
Isolating the victim from their communities is textbook DV behavior. The particular hell that's gettng me today? Had he not isolated me from my BARCC community, it wouldn't have gone this far. People would've recognized what was going on. People with experience. But I was traumatized and took leave, and then there was always a reason he gave not to go back. Every Peer Supe night, there was something else we should be doing.
It's also been pointed out to me that he didn't just passively keep me from writing, he actively did so by not leaving the house on time or at all.
Observations of others: He kept bringing "friends" around who would stomp on your boundaries, big time. Of course, you never talked about the actual cheating, so I didn't know about that. But I've been thinking, "You know, a loving partner wouldn't keep bringing nasty people into YOUR life and letting them trash you." And then you two would have a big talk and get your boundaries all re-defined again, and things would be better for a while. Until the next time.
From a person who's been through a relationship like this: My bet is that Judah has been a guy who just needed a break & some time to get things moving & whatever since you met him. His compliments at the beginning were some of the most amazing things anyone ever said to you. And then they got less sweet, but not actually cruel. And you questioned yourself over whether or not you were holding up your end. Then there was the flirting that was harmless but not, and okay you were busy & he wasn't breaking any rules until he was & that was your fault too. Because you weren't supportive enough or nice enough or whatever the line was & someone else was there for him. And sex was an issue in one way or another, along with money. And yeah, you were arguing with him so it wasn't his fault that he said mean things or hurt you or whatever. It was still all your fault. I know that whole song. Hell I think I used to sing it to myself. And I'm certain you weren't perfect GF & knew it so you ran around trying to be perfect through all of this so you could get back the guy you fell in love with who was so amazing.
I have a lot more stuff from a lot more people, including several of his exes, but it's all identifiable.
*sigh* He told the people who helped him last week that he intended to have his stuff out of here within the week. Well, it's a full week later, and I have yet to hear from the cops or the courts that he's attempted to set up a day and time for that. Which is what I expected, because I ran his entire life, and I knew he wouldn't be able to get anything done without me. We're coming up on a point where he'll need to pay July rent as well, so at least his laziness is delaying our financial setback.
Today I have writer-work to do, and cleaning, if I can shake this exhaustion.
The big ask: Elayna has a mandatory college orientation in Longmeadow, MA July 14-15. (Yes, Readercon Sunday and the Monday after.) Judah was going to drive us; obviously that's not happening now. Adam will be in Chicago on a business trip. I can't drive due to my epilepsy.
Is anyone willing and able to get us there and back?
My parents are on their way home as we speak. Phew. Everyone was here Thursday through this morning, and that gets clusterfucky at the best of times. I did the smartest thing I could do for myself and pled (legitimate) exhaustion instead of accompanying them on yesterday's full-day tourism spree.
Other self-care: went to a lovely party Saturday night, then out dancing. Judah never would go dancing, you see. It's one of my big three grounding things, and I was trying to write a book that needed me to be going out dancing, but he wouldn't. Except for the few times he would, then get pissy at me and make me go home when I was only two, three songs in. So. I went out dancing. Took me a while to get into dancing headspace, but I got there. Going out again on Wednesday, if I can find anything to wear.
I am waiting for phone calls: the DA, the lawyer.
I sent out my resume and am meeting someone about a job opportunity tomorrow. I will be copyediting this afternoon.
I have requested copies of the police reports. I have a copy of the lease.
There is much to do. I am breathing through it. I am eating three meals a day, taking one long walk a day, and dancing.
Realized last night that I am, in fact, not going to have another baby.
Judah and I had talked about children, you see. A lot. Because Judah really, really wanted kids. Judah was baby-crazy, I'd joke to everyone. Rarely did a week pass that he didn't talk about impregnating me.
And I'm 39, you know. And my body is not best suited to pregnancy at this point of disability. So there was a timecrunch factor, and some leeriness on my part. But Judah had to have a baby
So I was thinking about that this morning, about the realization that I was definitely not having a baby now, about how it was a relief to have that pressure to breed anew off me...
...oh yeah.Reproductive coercion
is totally a thing.
...I expect these things to keep occurring to me as time passes. I expect to keep recording them here as they do.
* He came over last night to grab some of his stuff. What was supposed to be a 5-10 minute visit started late and stretched, of course. Highlights: He lied to the person he'd scheduled to help, telling him he wasn't allowed to have help. (I think this was an attempt to make me sound unreasonable. In fact, I specifically told the police that the person in question and several other people would be just fine, forbidding only the people who are actively harassing me.) And he decided that, despite being told that everything of his was in his room, he needed to get into the craft room - a room where he has never stored anything and has rarely set foot in, but the room that I happened to be standing in front of. Took a lot of raised voices, et cetera, to get him to stop storming in my direction with the steely death glares that have become his everyday face. I am... slightly grateful that he is doing the worst things to me at every available opportunity, I guess, because it reinforces that this is the real Judah, and it strengthens my resolve. I have not had that what-if-I-did-something-wrong feeling since.
* Didn't sleep much last night, but got a solid midmorning nap.
* Went to Target with my parents; finally got the curtain hardware he'd been promising to get/install since December, plus a full-length mirror ("ours" is his). Getting a drill tomorrow and finally hanging the curtains in my bedroom, which should be a good alteration.
* Elayna is graduating tonight! We leave for the school in about an hour.
* Still feeling overloaded. Too much to do. I'm in the place beyond kernel-thrash, though. I cannot brain.
My entire family is descending upon the house today for Elayna's graduation!
And Judah is coming over this evening to get some of his stuff.
One of the big frustrations is not knowing when he's going to get the *rest* of his stuff and therefore when we'll have the room back and available to rent. He has not paid his June rent.
The people he's been staying with are big-time gun people. He will be searched before he comes over.
I am so tired, y'all. I want this to be over. I want to fast-forward to the point when he's gone, where I can write again, where I don't have to spend all day on the phone with cops or lawyers or whatever.
This whole process is incredibly hard and confusing for me, and I know my resources. Imagine how much harder it is for someone who doesn't.
* Some people have been sending me, at my request, their observations of his behavior patterns. If you have observations, please do that. It helps to have corroborating evidence of his behaviors. Because gaslighting. I am also speaking to some people who've known him far longer than I, with interesting results. If you've had this sort of issue with Judah in the past, please let me know; I want your story. I am creating a map here.
* My mood is all over the place. I get what I call "a creepy feeling" that's not easy for me do describe, other than me feeling horribly unsafe. It passes eventually. But also I still feel guilty for speaking up sometimes, because it is All the Everything, and... I don't know. I'm tired. I did not want any of this.
* But, of course, one of the reasons I had to speak up is that he's shown that he's very good at manipulating me into believing that he wants to change and get better and that he really needs my help. I'm vulnerable to that. I need the evidence and I need the witnessing to keep myself from going back to him. I knew once I posted the words, I never could. If I hadn't, I still might have found some brain-twisty way to take him back.
* I was reminded last night that he'd followed the fuck a stranger/bully me/have an epiphany about how wrong he was and promise to be a better man pattern as far back as May 2011. So there's that. He did it days before moving to Boston to be with me. At the time, I wrote it off as "he must not have understood my boundaries and our agreements", but in retrospect - it matches behaviors since too precisely, and yes, I had been clear.
* My parents, sister and brother-in-law, and birthfamily will all be here this weekend for Elayna's graduation! They all fly in tomorrow, and will be here when Judah comes to collect some of his stuff.
* This means that today is a serious housecleaning day! None of them are staying here, but, y'know. Perhaps I will finish the laundry cycle that started with my Wiscon clothes and has expanded to include the sheets he did that to me on, the duvet cover, the towels rescued from his room, et cetera. I really should, because Elayna needs to do her laundry. Cleaning is good for this sort of thing anyway.
* I'm looking to change my webhosting - Dreamhost is being weird about letting me change from a $190 two-year lump sum (I do not have that money right now) to a $10.95 monthly payment. Anyone have recommendations? Can anyone talk me through the process of switching? Also, all my domains are still registered through GoDaddy, and in for a penny, in for a pound - what are to good domain registrars, and how do I switch that?
Now I will sit down and make the great big list of all the stuff I gotta do. Whee?
Judah's portion of the rent was $600/month. (And he was supposed to be paying 1/4 of the utilities, but he hasn't been doing that.)
The small inheritance from my grandmother earlier this year cleared debt out of our monthly expenses to the tune of $600/month.
Guess how much we need to pay for Elayna's college, after scholarships and grants?
All the plans were based on our financial situation remaining stable. Judah had promised to go from 1/4 of rent and utilities to 1/3 when Elayna moved out, which would have made it manageable. Barely manageable. We were already looking at some lean times.
With a sudden $600/month hole in our budget, and no idea if Judah will pay while he's leaving his stuff here and no idea when he's going to clear it out - thus meaning that we have no idea when we'll be able to look for a roommate - things are dire and up in the air.
We need to be bringing in more money, so I need to get a job.
My health is too variable for me to have a regular day job. We had big problems at BARCC when I'd have to be out for a week or two due to respiratory infections, or the three weeks I needed each for pneumonia and norovirus. Plus my sleep schedule is weird, and I definitely do not have the spoons for anything full-time.
What I can absolutely do is part-time work from home. I am a badass copyeditor. I am a badass admin. I make things go! I am happy and non-bored doing data entry. I can promise 20 hours a week. I just can't promise that they'll be the same 20 hours, and I can't promise that they'll all be outside my house.
If you hear about anything that fits that description, please let me know.
Michael has been marvelous at keeping me busy and getting me through this, but he is leaving this morning, and soon I will just be back to bleakly figuring this out.
Where the practicalities stand:
Thursday at 6, Judah is coming with the police to pick some of his stuff up. This is supposed to be a 5-10 minute trip to grab essentials. In order to pack up all of his stuff and get it out, he needs to hire a police escort for several hours - off-duty cops at time and a half. I expect he's weighing the costs of just leaving everything here and continuing to pay rent vs. paying for the police escort. Obviously having the rent paid up is good for us, but I want this to be over. I want his stuff out.
To answer the question many people have asked: I think us packing his stuff up for him is a bad idea. He's already shown that he's a liar, and I don't put it past him to claim that things are missing, or to break things himself and tell people we did it. I believe it's in everyone's best interest to not give him the opportunity to do that.
One of the problems with the pickup: "He's going to bring some friends with him." I told the police wait, no, because his "friends", the ones who goaded him into that hideous spiral of behavior the week I was gone, the ones who continue to harass me - those people cannot be here. I gave a list, and I'll be talking to the detective investigating the sexual assault portion of this today regarding the harassment (I told her about it as part of the history leading up to the rape and assault, but there's new stuff). The cops were very interested in that.
So they said I can refuse to let in anyone I'm not comfortable with. But I'm pretty sure they're still planning to show up as a cheap intimidation tactic - but my entire family will be here. And my tough-guy BARCC colleague Bobby. And if other people want to be here, we can do a dinner party later.
So there's that. That's Thursday. And we've already swept the house and put everything he owns into his room, so he shouldn't need to be here too long, and Adam will accompany him and the police to make sure he doesn't try to steal anything from my room while he's upstairs.
Today I'll be talking to the SA detective about the harassment and about my decision to push forward with this case. It will be a tough one to prosecute - intimate partner violence always is. But I actually have video of me sleeping while on Lunesta - sleep study last year. Near-comatose. Immobile. His "she wanted it" defense will not stand in the sight of the video of drugged, immobile me, a doctor testifying as to what effect Lunesta has on a person, and a parade of character witnesses who've slept beside me or been told when sleeping in the same house how I am on Lunesta.
I'll also be doing my phone intake with the Victim Rights Law Center. And looking into organizations that do domestic violence counseling - I haven't been in this situation in 13 years, and what happened with my ex-husband was barely anything compared to this. I have no frame of reference.
Accompanying Michael to the airport soon via T (unless a last-minute ride materializes). Then a lot of terrible phone calls, after which I may need some Gchat, and I'll try to deal with backlogged comments and e-mails on the topic. Then I don't know. I don't know how to relax anymore. The horrible rapid escalation of May took that from me. I will have to learn again.
I will have to learn how to not live in crisis.
Because this has brought up a *lot* of the worst stuff from my past, stuff I fought through and conquered, and now I have to do it again.
For now, coffee and breakfast. One thing at a time.
I went to a party Saturday night! I was up and down all night, moodwise, but the party had wonderful people at it who talked me through stuff when I needed or changed the subject to ridiculous things when I needed. I have very good people.
And today, michaeldthomas
took me to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
, which I had never been to! I'd always wanted to go, and it's one of his favorite places in Boston.
This was an excellent choice. And now I want to write a story or something about Isabella Stewart Gardner because wow. Go read about her and the museum
And the center courtyard was so amazing; reader, I gasped. And then had to just sit there a while in the quiet and the beauty.
Perfect. I will go back at my earliest opportunity.
We took the #1 bus back to Central Square and had iced coffee, then walked down to Harvard Square, ducking into Follow the Honey
on the way and having a weird-honey tasting with surprise!Talis, who apparently works there now! Got a treat: Aseda Wild Honey from Ghana. I am a honey junkie.
Oona's, too, to see if their wormhole to the 1950s was currently open (it's not), and Cardullo's (which had puppies in it!) and Curious George's to get a new stuffed animal to replace the shared teddy bear that obviously will no longer do as a sleeping-alone comfort object! I have an incredibly soft stuffed bunny now with the longest ears.
We have been dating for some time, but due to distance/life, this was our actual First Date, and it is now my best first date ever. We've ordered GF pizza and will soon be going to a show
, so things continue! He has been of tremendous assistance in helping me connect the dots and get to a point where I'm not flailing still trying to make stuff work in the face of all of this hell, and where I can see clearly.
I haven't told the whole story here because I kept waiting for there to be a time when I could do a post that was only good news! And that time didn't come, because stuff. >.< More soon. Pizza sooner.
Speaking of social! I want to go to the RuPaul's Drag Race Tour
on Wednesday! Who's with me?
I have had it clarified for me that Judah's behavior is actually not new. That it did not suddenly emerge. That it had been in evidence since at least September; that this was merely the first two eruptions of violence, but that he's already established a classic domestic violence cycle. ( descriptions of domestic abuse cycleCollapse )
In our case, the tension was about his inability to launch his business or find any way to stay afloat financially (thus owing us thousands of dollars in back utilities), and he lashed out by stomping on my boundaries.
"September," people reminded me. Yes
, there was September
The backstory there is that Judah cheated on me in September while I was in Florida visiting my dying grandmother.
He made out with someone he knew I didn't want in my world, repeatedly, and did not tell me. Didn't tell me at the time, despite the fact that we were talking daily. Didn't tell me when I got back. How did I find out? She grabbed him and started making out with him at my Autumn Solstice party. This is why I had to disappear upstairs. This is why my boundaries were stomped. This is why I was exiled at my own party, because I found out that Judah had been cheating on me.
That, and everything after, followed a pattern.
1. Cheat on me
2. Get angry and try to bully or intimidate me
3. "Have an epiphany" about how wrong he was and how he understands now why I was hurt and he'll never do it again, he swears.
Lather, rinse, repeat.
"The fake epiphany is part of the abuse cycle", I was reminded. >.< Yes. Yes, it is. Each time I allowed myself to be convinced that he really meant it. He was good at that.
So it's not just medical. It was an existing pattern that escalated. His flipping over into violence was sudden and awful, and could have had some medical trigger, BUT. Numerous people who have diabetes and depression have assured me that even on the worst days, they still knew where the lines where. Even on their worst days, they would not have been capable of anything like this.
He was already on a textbook DV path.
I've been struggling because I didn't understand how this happened. I didn't see the pattern. I didn't realize that the pattern of boundary violation and bullying was what led to this, and now I do. I was looking for more data - because I actually was able to step back and take action after the second episode of violence.
But I've been hearing some stories and putting things together. And so far, it's looking like the lying, the cheating, and the vicious cold nastiness when called on it is a pattern that stretches back at least eight years
. I just got to be the first person he raped and the first person he hit.
This is what this is. It is very clear now.
I'm not able to thank everyone individually; I get overwhelmed when I try. But thank you.
No, Seriously, Thank You.
Special thanks to those who noted that a break with reality this sudden and severe is likely to be a medical issue and immediately reiterated that this does not excuse any of it or absolve him in any way. I agree with you, and I appreciate your reiterations.
Thank You, But
We have gotten many offers of financial help; I'm overwhelmed and sorting things out, and we haven't gotten to any of the financials yet. I hope that we can find a way to not need help. We're just dealing wit the more immediate concerns first, and probably won't get to sit down and talk about financial planning for another few days. I greatly appreciate all of you, but don't want to take money unless I know we need it, and don't want to take more than we need.
Why I Used the Words I Did
Copying and pasting from FB, where someone tried "but it's not rape-rape": I used the word rape very deliberately. The definition of rape in MA:
"Rape is a legal term that is defined in Massachusetts by three elements:
Penetration of ANY orifice by ANY object,
Force or threat of force, or
Sexual contact against the will of the victim.
Consent cannot be given (legally) if a person is impaired, intoxicated, drugged, underage, mentally challenged, unconscious, or asleep."
As Judah penetrated me with his fingers when I was impaired, drugged, unconscious, and asleep, this does meet the state's definition of rape. And the federal definition of rape used by the FBI is “The penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.”
I am a writer and know what words mean!
I also found it important to name it as what it was because, in our society, many people turn a blind eye to spousal and intimate partner rape. It is important to speak up about these things that are very common and are very commonly silenced.
We're looking for recommendations of good lawyers who are friendly to our community; I'm assuming I'll need to file a civil suit in order to collect the several thousand dollars he owes us for back utilities/rent/groceries. Any recommendations?
I have heard that he's saying the accusations against him are untrue. This is interesting, given that he confessed to all of them in the courtroom - no questioning, just the judge saying "what's your side of the story" and him giving a detailed list of everything he did with no prompting. Which is why I was given a restraining order. Restraining orders are actually not that easy to get, particularly for a first offense... but when the perpetrator is glaring and giving the list of every action in detail ("and then I grabbed her right wrist and twisted it", etc.) in a cold, threatening tone of voice and with no remorse, the judge will grant a restraining order. And, y'know, this is all public record. So.
Our landlord is being very understanding. We have assured him that we love this house and want to stay here! He's given us permission to seek out another roommate, and asked if we still wanted a dog or if that was just Judah. YES WE WANT A DOG. Judah claimed before assaulting me that he would pay his share of the rent that's due today, but. Y'know. If he doesn't, the landlord will work with us on this. I am very thankful for that. There are protections in MA for victims of violent crime regarding housing, but obviously the ideal situation is one where the landlord doesn't even need to be told that and just does the right thing, and thankfully, that's what we have.
Apparently the magic words are "We have a 209A restraining order", because that gets emergency service at cost. Last time I had to get a lock changed it was over $100 (when Elayna tried picking a lock with a piece of wood back in middle school). This time? $39 outcall fee and $30 per lock. (Which we'll get reimbursed for.)
I am incredibly lucky that I knew about the resources available to me - that BARCC can help me not only with counseling, but with negotiating housing and safety. That the Victim Rights Law Center is available to me as I go forward. That, if necessary, I can get reimbursed for expenses incurred due to this mess from the MA victim compensation fund. This has strengthened my commitment to make sure everyone knows that these resources are available to them.
I have been feeling very isolated from my community, due to the chaos of his depression and flailing about his work/financial situation and then his sudden break from reality and abuse, the latter of which I was trying my best to hide in order to protect him -
Yes. I know. But when you're in the situation, it is hideously confusing and gaslighty and you can't look at it objectively and say "Oh! This is clearly abuse and it is clearly escalating", not when you're thinking "I don't understand what's wrong and we just need some time to figure it out."
(So much gaslighting.)
ANYWAY. Yay people!
I am going to make a commitment to reconnect. This will probably go slowly and awkwardly, as I'm not used to being at gatherings or being able to actually talk about what's going on in my life. And I may veer into overscheduling myself and have to back off. I've never been through something quite like this, so I can't predict what the next few weeks will be like. I know that I will be going to a party tonight and hot tubbing tomorrow with some wonderful people. If you wish to invite me to things, please do, and I will try to be there.
Okay. Breakfast! Breakfast is a thing.
No okay a few more things.
Last night was hard.
I had friends over and that was good and helpful. But when I went to bed alone, it all crashed in on me, that my love, my heart, my "future contract spouse", had become this hideous unrecognizable thing.
And I hadn't been hit by a partner in 13 years. Not until yesterday.
And I can't be touched right now, I don't think. I am not safe in my body. And I don't know how long it'll take for me to get that back, and I hate that he stole that from me. I know it will be temporary. But still.
Okay so here is the beginning of the story.
Judah and I have been dating for two and a half years. We've been living together for a year and three months. (We can't afford the rent here without him. This is a thing on the List to deal with.)
Last year, he became depressed over financial/work stuff, and then the depression continued when he was sick and didn't have the diabetes diagnosis yet. During that time, everything was totally okay with us.
About a month ago, that changed. The following things cascaded:
May 13: Judah cheated on me - engaged in sexual activity below the waist with someone before she'd gotten STI tests run. (Her tests were 5 years old.) He initially lied about the extent of the cheating. This was amazingly painful. I spent the following week trying to counsel him
through this, especially because the person he cheated with decided to be childish and irresponsible and hurt him. I worked hard on this, because I was going on a weeklong trip 5/21-5/28 and needed us to be stable before I left. We worked out a very specific agreement of what we wanted and the rules we were operating under.
I left on my trip 5/21. On 5/22, Judah violated the agreement by making out with a stranger. I was upset about this, but tried to deal with it quietly - until it turned out that he then spent the entire evening with the stranger Saturday 5/26 whilst texting me that he was with two other people, deliberately not mentioning his makeout buddy.
This was the point at which I asked him about the HPV test results of the person he'd full-on cheated with, to the degree that if she did have HPV, he could have it and pass it to me. He claimed that she had not gotten her results back. I expressed that this was improbable, given that she was tested on 5/17. He insisted. He also slipped up at this time and admitted that the two of them had been texting all week, despite previously telling me that he'd had no contact with her.
I was squeamish about him going to a deliberately-hedonistic party on 5/26, given all this. He swore I could trust him. He engaged in sexual activity with multiple people at the party. He then texted me to say he was sad that he couldn't make out with people. This, Wisconners, is when I had to walk out of Genderfloomp. I talked to him and gave him permission to make out with a particular person.
Because at that point I didn't know that he'd already been sexual with people and he'd lied about those test results. The woman I gave him permission to make out with? She
knew. So that's shitty.
On Monday 5/27, he told me all about the sex stuff he hadn't told me about previously. And when I was upset, he dropped the bomb that he had those HPV results, and that the person he cheated on me with did in fact have high-risk, cancer-causing HPV.
So Monday was a horrible night. Not just because of that. But because my Judah had become a stranger, a monster. He spat out vicious sadistic nastiness. He shot to wound, he shot to maim. He said and did things I hadn't thought he was capable of.
And - desperate, horrified, confused - I was still trying to make it work
. Because this wasn't him. I didn't understand. I still don't understand. I can blame the new friends he'd spent the week with for part of it maybe? I don't know. I genuinely don't know.
I flew home Tuesday still hoping that this could work. We talked. Talked past each other, mostly - when Judah is wound up, he is incapable of listening. I thought if we just kept trying, he'd hear me. He'd listen.
And on Wednesday afternoon, I thought he had. We had what I thought was a breakthrough. We cried, we held each other. He promised to go to therapy.
And then Wednesday evening, his mood turned. He became Judah the Sadist again, this monster wearing my love's face. He attacked viciously. For hours.
And eventually we went to bed, when I thought we were as stable as we were going to be.
This is where it could get triggery.
For the past six years, I have taken Lunesta to sleep every night. I literally cannot sleep without it, and stress and sleep dep are my two big seizure triggers. So I take the maximum legal dose of a strong sedative.
When I am on Lunesta, I am so unconscious that it takes half an hour to even partially revive me. It is worse than being blackout drunk. I am 100% incapacitated. Everyone I sleep in the same bed with knows that. Everyone.
I slowly gradually Lunesta-woke to find Judah's fingers inside me.
This continued for a bit, because I was too incapacitated to react. I was aware, but I couldn't make my body respond or my voice work. He may tell you I wanted it because my unconscious body responded in an encouraging way. Key phrase there: My unconscious body.
I communicated a no. He withdrew. I conked back to sleep because Lunesta.
He was in a Mood the next morning. I decided to wait to address it til he got home. But then I took a nap, and had a nightmare about his friend who's been encouraging him to cheat and lie doing the exact same thing to me. So I knew my brain needed to deal with this, and I Gchatted him.
His response was along the lines of "sorry you feel that way".
We talked about other things. He later told me that everything following that statement was a lie, but at the time, I believed that he was negotiating with me in good faith.
And then he surprise did not come home. He'd fled to a mutual friend's and gotten drunk, and he became Judah the Sadist on the phone and in chat. I thought he was going to come home and talk about what must surely have been a horrible misunderstanding.
But he excorciated me. Vicious. Cruel. The nightmare wearing my lover's face.
And I hadn't been talking about any of what he'd been doing, and the trauma I'd been going through - because I didn't want to make him seem like a monster. I was protecting
him. This whole time. I was scared and confused and fucked over and fucked up and protecting him.
But he hung up on me, and wouldn't respond, and I was triggered and traumatized and terrified.
So I called michaeldthomas
, who is my Person and also has crisis-line experience. And he reminded me that if anyone told me what I was telling him, I'd be saying "Yes, that's rape. That was not a misunderstanding. It was rape, and you know your options."
And I would. But augh, people. He broke me. Judah. Broke. Me. Shattered. I was curled up on the kitchen floor weeping and desperate and begging for there to be some way Judah was not doing these things to me on purpose.
But we can't find a way. We can't.
I called and made a police report.
And then told him via e-mail that I'd done so.
And I actually had to keep myself from typing "I'm sorry."
Actually had to do that.
Is how much I love him and how much he broke me.
So just so you know what it takes to make me give up on you if I love you? Apparently rape is not enough. I don't know what this says about me and I can't really think about it right now.
Judah came over today, ostensibly to talk and work on things but really to grab stuff and rub. When he cold-voice told me this, I was upset; I followed him downstairs asking him why and what happened. I followed him into the storage room, where he then decided he didn't like me being between him and the door.
And so he grabbed my left arm and threw me against the wall.
I got up - he was looming, yelling, too close, and I pushed at his chest with my open hands, and he did it again. He twisted my wrist. He stomped on my foot. I don't know what else. It's a blur. I know those because those were the parts there were reddened or had abrasions. When he was done, he went upstairs.
I followed, grabbed the phone, and called the police.
They arrived almost instantly and interviewed us both, and I got to talk to the Sexual Assault Unit sergeant. I decided to file for a restraining order. So did Judah. Just because? I don't know. We went to the courthouse. There was a long interview process with multiple people. They finally found us a judge, and we told our stores. I told the truth. He claimed a bunch of physically impossible stuff.
The judge believed me. He granted me a three-month restraining order against Judah. Because I am genuinely afraid. This monster wearing his face is not the person I know. I don't know what happened
, and I cannot predict his actions, and I am afraid.
He did not grant Judah a restraining order against me. He deemed the potential threat of violence from me to Judah highly unlikely.
So this is where we are. Judah will come to the house accompanied by police at a time that's convenient for me to retrieve the rest of his belongings. He said this morning, before he hit me, that he would keep paying rent; I'm not assuming that he will, and we can't afford this house on our own, so I don't know what we're going to do. I've called Case Management at BARCC and will be working with them to figure out my options. Locks need to be changed. Rent needs to be covered. Judah owes us several thousand dollars for his share of utilities and groceries for the past ~8 months; I'm assuming a civil suit will be what I'll have to do to get that. I'm losing my mobility here, too. I'm losing a lot. I'm losing almost everything.
I didn't want any of this. I just want my partner back. I don't understand anything. I don't know what happened. I don't understand. That's what I keep saying, "I don't understand." And "I'm so sorry."
Everyone we know says the same thing - this isn't Judah
. Something is very wrong. Very horribly wrong. And the hell is I want to help
. Yes. Still. But I can't. I can't take any more.
This is where we are.
I appreciate all of the offers of help and crashspace and phone calls. I can't respond to them all individually at this time, but I'm reading them all, and I thank you.
What I need:
* To be in my house and start making it feel safe again.
* Social interaction when I'm ready - the events of recent months had me hermitting hard because I was scared and uncertain. Small-group social to start with.
* I don't do telephones if I can possibly avoid it. I do Gchat and Twitter and e-mail, but I'm pretty overwhelmed right now and I won't respond quickly and may not have the spoons to respond at that time.
Um, I don't know what else. I am dazed. I have emilytheslayer
with me now. Tonight is Elayna's prom. Emily's doing her nails. Tomorrow I will go to a party. I don't know what then.
But hey. I can finally blog about my life again.