What happened after the DV incident that ended our marriage
Listen while you read to “I’m on the Run”, a piece that we have wanted to properly record for quite some time and have it as one of the anchor tracks on a planned album of our rock pieces.
Late February, 2013
I spent the day after the incident (February 20) and the following day wading through the labyrinthine process of contacting various lawyers (this case involved three distinct legal specialties: domestic/family law, immigration law and criminal law, so three separate lawyers involved!) and other “resources”, i.e., safe housing for the cats, a secure and functional place for me to stay should the situation at home become intolerably hostile; Japanese counseling services to explore what options and assistance might be available to Chi (Japanese citizen with minimal English or basic life skills), etc., and feeling like I was working air traffic control at a busy landing strip. For some annoying reason the return calls kept either coming in when I was on another call, or had just run out for a couple minutes to relieve myself or photocopy/scan something, or Chi’s cell phone he had loaned me wouldn’t connect them when they came in. That was another typically weird, ironic twist: Chi got up early that morning when I did and suggested that I take his cell phone with me when I went to work.
Adding still more to the unbearable chaos, I’d forgot that since Monday was a holiday we didn’t get paid until Friday instead of Thursday as we normally do, so in my desperation to stop our whole life from getting shut down I hurriedly paid several overdue bills on Thursday when my bank account balance was close to zero, incurring several steep overdraft charges. This was insult to injury given that the filing fee for the divorce papers and kick-out order would cost in the range of $700, plus whatever legal fees I incur in the process of preparing them.
On Thursday after a quite frustrating back-and-forth I managed to set up a facilitated conversation to be mediated by a J-E bilingual counselor to ensure that Chi understood what was happening and what rights and options he had available, and to communicate my wishes to him and desire to help him avoid unnecessary damage if he cooperates with going about a divorce in an orderly fashion. I also got one computer at home working again and the internet connection re-established. The landline phone was still not working, and the modem appeared to have been damaged as well.
Friday was spent making more phone calls and doing more research and gathering more information. That was also the day that we had the facilitated conversation at a social services center in Little Tokyo mediated by two bilingual counselors. The conversation was more or less successful from the standpoint that some critical information was apparently communicated, but Chi pretty much hijacked the entire session, getting up on his soapbox and spieling on and on with his victim story, i.e., the one where he was just sitting there minding his own business and this martial arts-trained monster viciously attacked him; how I stole all his money and am now throwing him out penniless and with no prospects of finding employment, yada-yada-yada. During that conversation, Chi once again proved that he is totally out of touch with reality, is a master of manipulation, has a very overactive imagination and a highly selective interpretation of facts and events. All the more reasons why he has to go.
The weekend was peaceful and uneventful. On Sunday evening (24 Feb) we had a conversation about establishing a timeline for him moving out of the duplex we share (I pay all the rent and cover all of the household overhead except for the cost of operating his vehicle). He said something to the effect that he is going to call the police and tell them that I am violent and abusive toward him so that I will go to jail. I decided that conversation would have to wait until I could set up another facilitated session with bilingual people who are trained in conflict resolution and dealing with serious head cases.
On Monday, February 25 I reported the incident to the police in order to have an official record of it in case the divorce proceeding gets ugly, which it almost certainly will, given who we’re dealing with and his predilection for expensive drama. The process I went through to report the incident turned into a sketch comedy! From the information I was able to find online, I had determined that LAPD’s Victim Assistance Center would be the most appropriate place to start, so that morning I set out for the address listed on the LAPD website. It turned out to no longer be at that address, which also housed the City Attorney’s office. The person I spoke with gave me the number of LAPD’s Domestic Violence Unit.
I went in to work and tried that number and got a recorded message saying that that voicemail box is no longer taking calls. WTF?! I went back online and found a number for a Battered Women’s Hotline. I tried that, and after waiting a while for a counselor to become available, the person I spoke with told me to just go down to whatever police station I can identify near me and report the incident there. I knew there was some sort of administrative office of the LAPD on the way into Little Tokyo, so I walked there from my office. That was apparently an acceptable place to report the incident, but the gentleman at the front desk told me there would be about a 30-minute wait, suggesting that I could try their substation on 6th Street and gave me the address.
I set out for the address they gave me, and it turned out to be a MUCH longer walk than I’d expected AND the wrong address! I eventually found it in just about the seediest stretch of downtown L.A.’s notorious Skid Row, and they told me it would be at least an hour wait, if not longer. I walked all the way back to the administrative office on 1st Street, waited for a bit, and then made my report. Needless to say, the detective taking the report was quite perplexed at why I had not reported the incident in a more timely manner, and even more baffled still at why I would prefer to avoid having Chi prosecuted. I had handed him the timeline I had prepared immediately following the incident on which I explained my reasoning, which is the following:
1. I had attempted to call 911 during the incident, but was prevented from doing so when my husband (assailant) destroyed my phone and disabled the fixed line phone and computers also.
2. Since this is an extremely complicated situation with a lot of extenuating circumstances, and based on our past experience with domestic violence having police involvement, I knew this would be much worse, so I wanted to be clear and well-informed, and proceed with great caution.
3. My desire is to divorce my husband and get him out of my home while allowing him to preserve his (relatively) clean record and not unduly hinder him in being able to become viable (after being 100% dependent on me for everything for the past eight years that we have lived in the US), which having a felony criminal record and restraining order would critically impair.
The detective made a considerable effort to understand that and comply with my wishes, having a fairly lengthy conversation with his supervisor, and did his best to make a reasonable assessment of whether I would actually be safe going back home with Chi there.
I absolutely appreciate that my not immediately reporting the incident to the police as soon as physically possible and having Chi arrested and a restraining order put in place, and returning home with him still in the house is difficult for people to cognitively process. However, practically no one seems to be aware of what a big, expensive, convoluted, long-duration clusterfuck the last incident turned into when law enforcement got involved (he got bagged up for abusing me in 2005, just a few months after we relocated from Tokyo to California, and one would think he’d have learned his lesson from that, but then again, we’re dealing with Chi!), and not many appreciate that I am strong and fit with advanced martial arts training, while he is quite out of shape and not at all combat-trained, so physical contests are few and generally end in my favour. Nevertheless, this is obviously NOT a desirable situation by any rational estimate, and I am determined to put an end to it at long last.
It occurred to me that for someone who maintains that setting an “American” alarm clock is “too difficult” for him, it is nothing short of astonishing that Chi managed to successfully execute an operation of that scale, i.e., totally fuck up my whole night (and whole month, for that matter!) and systematically disable my entire communications infrastructure, causing an easy $1500 worth of property damage in the process. He seemed to have had the advantage of an extraordinary amount of luck though, since I am extremely hard-pressed to believe that he actually planned any of it at any stage, and not only did he pull it off, he even did so without earning a well-deserved criminal record that would have been incredibly difficult to get out from under and may well have resulted in the revocation of his green card and subsequent deportation.
One silver lining of this unfortunate incident was learning that I have much stronger support here in L.A. than I had previously thought. That’s a very good thing since most of my close friends and family are dispersed around the globe.
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