Tired Is An Understatement

“You never know how strong you are, until being strong is your only choice”- Bob Marley

During a court ordered visit my son’s father Jhavier tricked our four-year-old son into showing him where I lived. For four years I tried my hardest never to let my son’s father know where I lived. I ended our relationship when I was three months pregnant and never looked back because of domestic violence reasons. I needed to be safe, and I never I could never truly be safe with Jhavier knowing where I lived. Jhavier made is clear that he could not control himself and he did not care if our son was present for his violent outburst last year when he punched me in the face and tried to hit myself and my son with a car in 2017.

The first call I made after I learned my location was compromised was to the House of Ruth Domestic Violence Center. I spoke with the representative who advised me to contact Jhavier’s probation officer and let her know that Jhavier violated his probation. I called LaSondra Michaels Jhavier’s probation officer April 19th 2019. She advised me to email her all the threatening correspondence between Jhavier and I, and she would forward that information to his judge. As soon as I hung up the phone with Jhavier’s probation officer I forwarded her all the correspondence between Jhaiver and I. I also explained to her how in November 2018 Jhavier called me and advised me that he was suicidal homeless and living in his car. I also explained to her that Jhavier advised me that he had a gun and would kill me before he went back to jail. His probation officer advised me she would follow up with me after she heard from the judge.

April 22th 2019 I followed back up with Jhavier’s probation officer because I did not hear anything from her.  She advised me that she submitted all the evidence to the judge and was waiting to hear back from the judge.  April 24th, April 29th, and May 6th I followed up with his probation officer and received the same response. She advised me each time she was just waiting for the judge to respond. This whole time I could barely sleep and was a nervous wreck. 

Finally, May 6th 2019 Lashondra emailed me to advise me that a VOP warrant was issued for Jhavier’s arrest. She told me would let me know when he was taken into custody. May 13th 2019 I received several calls from Jhavier’s phone. I screenshotted the calls and sent them to his probation officer. She advised me that Jhavier was taken into custody and she would follow up with me to let me know when trial was scheduled. 

June 12th 2019 my birthday I received an email from Jhavier’s probation officer advising me that Jhavier was being held no bail and his trail was set for 06/27/19. I cried when I read the email. I did not and still don’t understand how things got so bad between us. It was obvious that as much as I wanted things to change for the better, they would never. Jhavier’s birthday is at the end of May I’m not sure what the exact day is anymore, but I was sad thinking that he spent his 25th birthday behind bars. I was sad thinking about him being locked up around so many dangerous people.

June 26th 2019 4:48pm the state’s attorney Megan Bell emailed me and advised me she would be the prosecutor for my case. She advised me that she just found out about the case minutes before emailing me. She advised me it was important for me to call her back before 5:15pm that day in order to discuss the case. I didn’t check my emails until 6pm and by that time it was too late to speak with her. 

June 27th 2019 I showed up to court without being prepped for trail. I was so sure Jhavier would be released, because I had very little faith in the system. Jhavier was facing 10 years in prison for his probation violation, and had a court appointed public defender John Jameson. John was a middle age black mail who was so soft spoken and lost many of his previous cases. I could barely hear him when he spoke, and I figured my lawyer the state’s attorney would handle him well.

However, when it came time for my case to be heard John came alive. My lawyer asked for have the case postponed for until the end of the month because she needed more time to learn about the case. She asked to have Jhavier remain in jail no bail until the new court case. Jhavier’s lawyer flew into action.

“Your honor this is not a criminal case this is a custody case, and my client should be set free and at the very least granted bail. The plaintiff in this case is anger that my client has visitation and is doing anything in her power to stop my client from seeing his son. This is not a criminal case this is a case of a bitter baby momma” stated John.

I looked over at Jhavier to see him nodding and smiling with pleasure as his public defender spoke. I sat flabbergasted that Jhavier thought it was okay to ruin my character like that and attack me in open court. I would never ever lie to have anyone arrested. Instead of admitting guilt Jhavier smiled while his lawyer dragged my name through the mud. Even in handcuffs Jhavier found away to harass and belittle me.

However, the judge granted the state’s attorney request for a postponement and held Jhavier without bail. The new trail was set for July 29, 2019.

July 26th 2019 I spoke with the states attorney Megan again she advised me she would do everything in her power to help me. She advised me that she could not guarantee Jhavier would remain in jail. She told me that I would have to move as soon as possible. She referred my case to the House of Ruth relocation department. After the conversation with the state’s attorney I knew Jhavier would be released.

July 29, 2019 the state’s attorney advised me that Jhavier had already been in jail for 90 days, and she couldn’t guarantee that the judge would give Jhavier 10 years in prison. The state attorney advised me that she would offer Jhavier one additional year supervised probation. In December 2017 Jhavier was sentenced to 2 years supervised probation that would have ended December 2019, but now his probation won’t end until December 2020. Jhavier took the plea and like that he was free.

July 30th, 2019 my son and I where moved to a safe house in the middle of nowhere. I was alone in a strange town and advised to stay hidden until I was able to find new housing. I stayed in the safe house for 2 weeks, and then I was able to find new housing through the House of Ruth. I am thankful to the House of Ruth for helping me find housing and helping to keep me safe through this whole ordeal.

Tiger Stripes

” Behavior never lies” – Gary Blair

I was admitted to the hospital 12/14/2014 to start the labor process for my son. Jhavier showed up to the hospital 12/17/14. Jhavier and I hadn’t spoken since about July 2014 around the time I was six months pregnant. There was so much turmoil between Jhavier and I during my pregnancy that I decided it was best that we didn’t speak. When I was admitted to the hospital I didn’t call Jhavier to tell him. 

When Jhavier walked into the hospital room I was shocked. However if I’m going to be honest I was also happy. Even after everything we went through I was excited to know Jhavier wanted to see our son be born. When Jhavier walked through the door nothing matter not the domestic violence, not him beating my dog, not the Craigslist sex scandal nothing matter. 

December 19 2014 I had a emergency C section and gave birth to my son Joshua. I named him Joshua because Joshua means savior. Joshua my son my savior. 

Joshua weighed 9.8 pounds when he was born. He was rushed to the NICU because he was barely breathing. I was so scared for my son, and although my mother was by my side I wanted to see Jhavier. Our son was being rushed to the NICU and I didn’t know what to think. I blamed myself, and I blamed Jhavier. I blamed him for putting me through so much negativity while I was pregnant. I blamed myself for putting up with the drama for so long. Once again I was broken my son was hurting and I couldn’t do anything to fix that. The only person who could’ve imagined what I was going through was Jhavier. No one else could feel the pain, or understand my anxiety other than Jhavier. Joshua was our child our flesh and blood. 

However after I gave birth to our son Jhavier was kicked out of the hospital due to his behavior. I watched the hospital security drag him out the hospital. That was the most painful and embarrassing moment of my life. I understood Jhavier probably was nervous about Joshua, but that didn’t excuse his behavior. The nurses and the doctors advised Jhavier’s behavior was unacceptable. 

“Typical Jhavier” I thought to myself. 

“Why couldn’t he hold it together for our son? Why couldn’t he hold it together for me” I thought as I began to cry out loud. 

The next day I would spend all day running back and forth to the NICU bringing breast milk to my son. I decided that I would breast feed, and it was very hard. My son wouldn’t latch onto my breast so I had to pump my milk. Pumping milk was also difficult because I wasn’t producing a lot of breast milk. Not being able to breast feed my son made me feel extremely inadequate and sad. I felt like a horrible mom because of my breast feeding issues. No one told me how normal it is for women to have issues breastfeeding and because of that I felt sad. I felt guilty like maybe I wasn’t supposed to be a mother or I wasn’t fit to be a mother. 

Jhavier finally came back to the hospital around 5:30 pm to finally meet his son. He came with a card with a handwritten note thanking me for choosing life and given birth to his first born son. He apologized for everything he put me through and promised to be the best father ever. He also came with a cloth flower from the gift shop.

“Maybe just maybe being a father will make him grow up” I thought to myself as I accepted the gifts.

Our son was in the NICU for 5 days. I stayed in the hospital everyday with him and so did Jhavier. We both slept in the same small hospital bed together every night. If I needed help with dressing Jhavier helped me. If I was hungry he would get me food and it felt like the old times were back. The old times when we were young and in love with no drama, no violence, just love. Jhavier was sweet, he was my protector. He was so in love with our son he held him whenever he could. My perfect family was coming together I thought to myself. I was happy even if it was just for the moment.

December 24th Christmas Eve 2014 Joshua was released from the NICU. I went home with my mother, and Jhavier went home to wherever he lived. Our time as a family was over. Reality kicked in as soon as we left the hospital. My little family was no more. 

After I left the hospital Jhavier would call every couple of days to check on our son. I couldn’t understand why he didn’t call everyday but I realized our son couldn’t talk. 

February 04 2015 I brought Josh to see Jhavier. Jhavier finally had time to spend with Joshua and I was happy to bring him. Jhavier was renting out a small bedroom in a boarding house for men. He lived on the top floor and had a small twin size bed. His bedroom door didn’t lock and there was one shared bathroom. Being the only woman in a house full of men made me uncomfortable. I didn’t want to be there, but I wanted to make sure Jhavier could spend time with his son. 

Jhavier asked me if we could have sex. I declined. He seemed like he was okay with the rejection as long he still could be with his son. I was at Jhaviers house for about two hours and I asked him to pop some popcorn. He said no and told me to pop my own popcorn. The microwave was in the kitchen and I didn’t want to go into the kitchen with the men. The strange men in the boarding house who I did not know. I explained that to Jhavier and he became enraged. 

“You think your better than me. Your too good to go to my kitchen.” Jhavier said as he snatched the popcorn from me and threw it out his third floor window. I realized at that moment that Jhavier did not change. He was still the same evil women beater and I felt dumb. 

I started gathering my stuff and my son to leave. I had my son in one arm and his diaper bag in the other arm and I started walking to the door. 

“Bitch you can leave but leave my son” Jhavier said as he pushed me. I feel onto the bed with my son in my arms. Josh was barely three months old. I felt like I failed as a mother again. I knew Jhavier was unstable and still I came to his room with the hopes of being a family. It was my fault that my infant son was subjected to the foolery.

Jhavier apologized and begged me so stay. I left with our son and told Jhavier I would never come back. I told him he could still see our son but I would not bring our son to him. He would need to make the arrangements. I left his room that day, and Jhavier didn’t see Josh again until Josh’s dedication on June 14 2015.

I learned that day that Jhavier would never ever change. No matter how much I wished he would change. My heart was broken. Jhavier showed me who he was and I should’ve believed him.

To Blog or Not to Blog

The brighter the rainbow, the badder the weather

-Lil Wayne

I haven’t made a blog post in almost two months for a slew of different reasons. The main reason is because I wasn’t sure if I was doing the right thing by blogging. Don’t get me wrong I felt and I still feel like by sharing my stories I can help other women. I know I’m not the only woman who has dealt with domestic violence and I want women to know that they’re not alone in their fight for justice. I want women to know that they don’t deserve abuse and that they can walk away.

However writing about my experience opens the door for unwanted opinions. I knew that their would be backlash with me sharing my story and I thought I was ready to deal with it, but I would be lying if I said ignoring the hate is easy. My blog is not like Facebook it’s public and I can’t block unwanted people from coming to my page leaving rude comments or screenshotting my post. It’s an exhausting fight, but a fight that I’m willing to fight.

Writing about my struggles with anxiety and postpartum depression is also not easy. Sharing my struggle with anxiety and postpartum depression made me nervous because I did not want to be labeled crazy. My blog post Mind Games is about my struggle with panic attacks and anxiety. Recently someone took a screenshot of my post and shared it on social media with a caption that said “I knew this girl was mentally ill. I’ll never argue with a mentally ill patient ever again”. I saw that post and became sick to my stomach. Everything I write is real and honest and I’m not going to let anyone make me feel bad. I’m not the first or the last person to struggle with anxiety, or depression and I’m not ashamed. I’m not going to stop telling my story or sharing my struggle because I know sharing my struggles can help someone. I want all my readers to know your not crazy for having anxiety and I don’t want anyone to feel bad or ashamed. I’m sharing my story so that everyone struggling with depression or anxiety will know that they’re not alone. I share my story to encourage anyone struggling with mental illness to feel comfortable seeking help and therapy. Therapy is so important and I recommend everyone to seek therapy and counseling. I don’t feel ashamed and I don’t want anyone else to feel ashamed.

The last reason I was reluctant to blog is because of the emotions writing brings out of me. Every time I write about my past abuse it’s like I’m there in the moment all over again. I buried so many negative emotions away because I didn’t want to remember them. However once I started writing all those emotions and hidden memories came back and flooded my brain. My therapist told me that my blog was almost like a trauma journal. I’m realizing that this blog is helping me move forward in life and helping me to leave my past in the past.

I recently was asked to be a guest on the Rise Up Women Podcast. I talked about my past and I felt empowered. I feel empowered every time I speak out against abuse. I feel empowered every time I speak out against the stigma of mental health. I was given a gift to write and to speak to the world through my writing and I won’t let a few naysayers stop me! So I’m going to keep writing my blog and sharing my story. To blog is my choice! Stay tuned 😊

Click the link below to listen the Rise Up Women Podcast featuring me!

https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/episode-3-interview-with-janay-kris/id1462716059?

But Did You Die Pt3

“I’ve been doing this job for four years and you are the only woman that showed up to court. I’m proud of you” ~ Austin Hansen Baltimore City Police Officer

June 14th two weeks after my son’s father punched me in the face and attempted to hit my son and myself with a moving car I was granted a permanent peace order. However I quickly found out that a peace order is just a useless piece of paper. The peace order just stated Jhavier my son’s father couldn’t hurt me or talk to me legally. He was however allowed to call me in reference to our son. Jhavier went from never calling our son to calling numerous times a day.

The peace order also did not state that Jhaiver had to stay away from me. It only stated that Jhavier couldn’t hurt me or talk to me. One day I left the house and Jhavier was hiding behind a tree just watching my apartment complex. I called the police and was advised he legally could move into my building as long as he didn’t talk to me or hurt me. The Peace Order was a pointless piece of paper.

          I went to the court house to file for an immediate change of custody. I wanted Jhavier’s visits with our son to be supervised. How could I trust the man that just attempted to hit my son with a car to be alone with my son? I was advised that because I had full physical and legal custody the judge would not hear my plea for an immediate change of custody. The clerk advised me judges don’t hear immediate custody cases for changes in visitation. She advised me I could file for a change in custody and wait for a trial date to be set. I filed the papers that date and a trial date was set for almost 5 months later.

I pressed charges on Jhavier, but the state picked up the case. The case was now The State of Maryland v Jhavier Alexander. Jhavier was charged with 1st degree assault which is a felony, 2nd degree assault, and malicious destruction of property for breaking my glasses when he punched me. I was confused as to why he wasn’t charged with attempted murder for attempting to hit me and my 2 year old with a car. I was also confused as to why he was only really receiving a slap on the wrist.  I was so confused and actually hurt. I felt like no one was taking my case seriously.

The state’s attorney a middle aged woman advised me that the state would be dropping the felony charge. She advised the destruction of property charge would most likely be dropped as well, but the second degree assault charge would not be dropped. I asked her why he was not being charged with attempted murder. She advised me that things could have been worst. She advised me that because I was not seriously injured he wasn’t being charged with anything more serious.

So basically because Jhavier did not succeed with hitting me with the car he was not being charged with attempted murder. Basically Jhavier’s failed attempt at killing me worked in his favor and he would not receive a real punishment. The states attorney advised me that Jhavier would be offered two years supervised probation, ordered to take an anger management class, and a parenting class if he pled guilty. She advised if he did not plead guilty the case would be taken to trail and if found guilty by a jury he would be sentenced to 10 years behind bars which is the max for second degree assault in Maryland.

Jhavier pled not guilty and asked for a jury trial. December 2018 the case went to trail. Well actually the case never went to a real trail.  December 18 2017 Jhavier pled guilty to second degree assault. He admitted in open court to punching me and attempting to hit me with a car. However no jail time was given. Instead he was able to get the original deal. Jhavier was given probation before judgement. That means that he pled guilty without actually pleading guilty. It also means that after Jhavier completes his probation he will be a free as a bee and his record will be wiped clean. Jhavier was sentenced to 2 years probation one year supervised and one year unsupervised. He was also ordered to compete court ordered anger management and classes with the House Ruth. Basically for punching me in the face in front of our son and attempting to hit my son and myself with a car Jhavier was able to walk free. One year supervised probation and the next year he was just free.

Jhavier is free and I haven’t slept one night since the initial punch. This time around I don’t even know if it will be worth my wild to call the police. Jhavier advised me that he has a gun, and he will kill me before he goes back to jail.

April 2018 Jhavier and I went to family court. Once again I asked for supervised visits. Once again the judge sided with Jhavier even though he was on probation and pled guilty to assault. The judge said she believed that Jhaiver struck me, and drove the car at my son and myself. However she believed Jhavier was not trying to hit our son he was only trying to hit me. Once again the system befuddled. Jhavier plead guilty and was charged for attempting to hit my son and myself with a moving vehicle. However family court still gave him unsupervised visits with a toddler.

The judge also said that she thought Jhavier and I were two nice people. She told me that I was Jhavier’s trigger. Imagine being a domestic violence victim and being told by a judge that your abuser is a nice person you just trigger him.

Once again I was granted full physical and legal custody.

“Well I probably should’ve just let him run us over” I thought to myself after all the trails were over. Did I die? No not physically but a piece of me feels broken, defeated and let down. A part Of me feels scared because Jhavier is free. However I am proud of myself for trying to fight until the end! I refuse to let my abuser win!

But Did You Die Pt2

“This seems to be the most pro-criminal group of legislators I’ve ever seen” – Maryland Governor Larry Hogan

The next Morning after Jhavier my son’s father punched me in the face, and attempt to hit our son and myself with a car I woke up in extreme pain. My body was sore, and my I was emotionally drained. It was Memorial Day 2017 and I did not feel like celebrating. Staying in bed all day was my plan until my phone began to ring over and over again. It was Jhavier calling me because he wanted to pick our son up for the holiday. 

“What is wrong with this guy? Does he not remember punching me in the face last night?” I thought to myself perplexed. I agreed to meet Jhavier at the playground in my apartment complex to do the exchange.  I called 911 and advised them that Jhaiver was at my apartment complex. I advised the police that there was a warrant out for Jhavier’s arrest because he assaulted me the on the pervious day. I called the police early because the day before it took them almost 30 minutes to arrive, and I didn’t want to take any chances with Jhaiver. 

30 minutes later Jhavier called again advising that he was at the playground waiting for me to bring our son. I called 911 and begged them to send a police officer to the scene as soon as possible. I advised them that I didn’t feel safe, and that Jhavier was too unpredictable. The 911 operator advised me that an officer was dispatched and someone should be there soon. In a panic I paced back and forth in my apartment not knowing what to do, or how the day would end. 

Finally 50 minutes after I initially called the police two armed officers one a short black female, and the other a tall middle-aged black male knocked on the door. I opened the door and to my surprise the officers started treating me like a criminal.

“Where is the child” the female officer asked as she began looking around my apartment. I advised her that my son was with my mother and he wasn’t home.

“The father is outside and he has a court order that states he is supposed to have his son for the holiday” the male officer stated. 

“Why does it feel like your questioning me when I called you? I called and advised that he Jhavier has an open warrant for punching me in the face yesterday and trying to him my son and myself with a car. You’re here for me when he punched me in the face. Look at my face” I said as my voice began to crack. I couldn’t hold back the tears anymore I reached my breaking point.   

“How do you know he has a warrant” the male officer asked appearing to be unmoved by my tears or my last statement. 

“We received a call from the male advising that he was supposed to have visitation with his son today, and the mother was being belligerent and preventing him from taking the child” Do you have proof” the woman officer asked. 

I showed her the police report from the night before, and the male officer called to confirm the warrant was in the system. 

“I called twice and you showed up because he called? The law is really just going to let this man harass me until he kills me” I said out loud to myself. 

“If he kills you it will be your fault. You need to protect yourself. Domestic violence laws are a joke in Maryland. Get a restraining order and protect yourself” the male officer said to me coldly. 

A few minutes passed and the officers confirmed Jhavier did in fact have a warrant out for his arrest. The officers came up with a plan to arrest Jhaiver without incident. Their plan was to allow Jhaiver to think he was going to be getting out son. Then they arrested him at the door to my apartment building. The police for some reason brought Jhavier to my apartment building and then arrested him. I spent almost three year hiding and never letting Jhaiver know where I lived only for the police to bring him to my door. 

“I have to move now” is all I could think. 

The officers handcuffed Jhavier, and he looked right up at me. I starred right back at him looking him in the eyes. I didn’t want him to see fear, or to see me upset. He didn’t deserve my tears, or my fear.

As the officer read Jhavier his right Jhavier began to break down and cry. “You’re a black man are you really going to arrest another black man” Jhavier asked the arresting officer. “They pay you to locked down and cage us like animals and you’re okay with being a pawn. A paid slave” Jhavier continued to say to the officer.  The officer never responded as he placed Jhavier in the back seat. 

“Is he seriously playing the race card right now?” I asked myself barely believing Jhavier was tacky enough to even use the race card in that moment. He was being arrested for attempting to kill a “black woman” but he felt as though the officer was a sell out for arresting him. 

That is the moment where I really realized that Jhavier was a narcissus.

Jhavier would be held without bail for 48 hours. His girlfriend would end up texting me and I quote “too bad he knocked those glasses off not a smart move, but he’s not a bad man, and the courts will see that. You want him in jail so bad don’t you little girl.”

After 48 hours Jhaiver was given a bond, and able to bail out jail. He was free no house arrest or anything free. The judge advised him to stay away from me, and to have no contact. I didn’t feel safe knowing that Jhaiver was free and now knew where I lived.  

 Jhavier took an erroneous restraining order out on me claiming I beat him up which was later thrown out. Why the court even let him take that restraining order out on me I’ll never know. It was all lies, and I had to go to court to have it thrown out. Jhaiver was never punished for taking out an erroneous protective order, he wasn’t held in contempt for coming to court and blantly lying.  

Jhavier was charged with second degree assault, and first degree assault which is a felony charge. He pled not guilty and asked for a jury trial. Read part 3 to find out what happens next. 

But Did You Die? Part I

“This seems to be the most pro-criminal group of legislators I’ve ever seen” – Maryland Governor Larry Hogan

 Shortly after my son turned 2 years old his father Jhavier was granted unsupervised visitation. He was ordered to see our son every other weekend starting Friday at 5pm until Sunday at 8 pm.  I was granted full physical, and legal custody. I contested Jhavier receiving unsupervised visits. I wanted the visits to be supervised. The first reason I wanted the visits to be supervised was because Jhavier did not spend any time with our son the first two years of our son’s life. Jhavier literally saw our son at the hospital when our son was born, and at our son’s dedication six months later. The second and most important reason I contested unsupervised visits was because Jhavier proved himself to be a loose cannon. He was arrested and jailed for punching me while I was pregnant. I was granted a restraining order while I was pregnant because of the abuse. Jhavier could not control himself and he proved that time and time again, but the Baltimore City Circuit Court disagreed with me. The Baltimore City Court system advised me that Jhavier is the father and as the father he has rights to our child regardless of his past with domestic violence. I was advised that he hit me and not the child, and because he never hit the child he was eligible for unsupervised visitation. The law befuddled me, and I was extremely perplexed. I couldn’t understand why the law would allow someone with a violent past to be around a child unsupervised. Not to mention that yes he is the father, but he was also the same “father” that attacked the mother of his unborn child while she was pregnant. So because his punches to my gut didn’t kill our unborn child he was granted unsupervised visits. 

The unsupervised visits started January 2017. Every other weekend Jhaiver would pick Josh up, and drop him off. However the visits never went smoothly ever. Sometimes Jhaiver would drop our son off late, and other times he just didn’t show up. This would go on until May 2017. 

 One Sunday in May Jhavier was supposed to drop our son off at 8pm. However Jhaiver texted me around 7:59pm and advised that he was in DC running late because of traffic. 

“Really why would he wait until 7:59pm to leave DC if he knew he was supposed to drop Josh off at 8pm” I thought to myself annoyed. 

However once again 8pm turned into 9:45 when Jhaiver finally pulled into my apartment parking lot. I always met Jhaiver at the end of the parking lot so that he did not know exactly where I lived. 

Jhavier hopped out the car but he didn’t unbuckle our son right away. 

“Please stop dropping him off so late he’s 2” I said to Jhavier frustrated. 

“That’s my son he is with his father it shouldn’t matter what time I drop him off. I took him to the zoo” Jhavier said. 

“That’s nice, but why would you wait until the zoo closed” I said. I just thought to myself “is the zoo even open until 8pm at night”? Who would keep a 2 year old at the zoo until 8pm?  His story just didn’t make sense. 

Finally Jhavier unbuckled our son, and I bent down to hug our son. Then I took our son and we started to talk away, but before I could walk away Jhaiver grabbed me by my hair. Then he punched me in my head, and my glasses instantly broke and feel to the ground. Stupid Bitch” I heard him say. 

“NO Daddy your bad” I heard my son yell as he reached down to grab my glasses. 

Jhavier didn’t respond to our child instead he ran to the car. I thought he was going to leave the scene, but he didn’t. Instead he drove the car right at my son and I as fast as he could. Instinctively I grabbed our son and jumped out the way. We just missed being hit by the car. I mean we literally just missed being hit by the car if I waited a second longer I wouldn’t even be typing this. After Jhavier missed hitting us with the car he sped away from the scene leaving me to carter to our crying toddler. I called the police and reported the incident. I was advised that an officer would be on the way. 

I decided to wait outside for the police and to send my son inside of the apartment with my little cousin. I just didn’t want the kids to see me bruised because I was scared and embarrassed. Even after everything Jhaiver put me through while pregnant I couldn’t believe he tried to hit my son and I with a car. I couldn’t believe he would stoop so low to punch me in front of our two year old child.  

15 minutes after I called 911 and reported almost being killed by my son’s father a car pulled into my apartment complex. I thought it was the police, but it was actually just my brother getting out of a Lyft. I started to explain to him what happened, but before I could do so Jhavier pulled back into my apartment complex. He jumped out of the car and knocked me to the ground. My brother jumped in to defend me, and then he and Jhavier started to fight. While they were fighting I noticed the police driving slowly into the parking lot with their sirens off. Jhaiver noticed them too, and ran back to his car and pulled off. Unbelievably he got away the police weren’t able to stop him. 

Although the police weren’t able to stop him a warrant was issued for his arrest on the scene. The officer took my statement and took photos of my injuries. 

As the police were questioning me all I could think about was my son. I requested supervised visits to avoid horrible situations like this one. I still can’t imagine how damaging it is for a two year old child to see their father strike their mother. It’s heartbreaking. The court system needs to do a better job at protecting the victim, and the children. This experience showed me that the law at least in Baltimore MD is in favor of the abuser. There should have been no way with his past that Jhaiver was ever given unsupervised visits with a child. 

The law now basically says that a person has to kill you or your child in order for you to receive justice. If you survive domestic violence in Baltimore you go from being victimized by your abuser to being victimized again by laws made to protect the abuser.

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Last year I read an article about a young woman killed by her son’s father. Tonja Chadwick was a 20 year old mother, and aspiring nurse. She was shot in the head by her boyfriend wrapped in blankets and buried under a pile of leaves. Reading this story, and seeing it all over the news broke my heart. I just kept saying to myself Janay this could have been you. She was so young, so beautiful, and so full of life. Just knowing that she was killed by her son’s father, hit so close to home. Every article I read stated “the couple had a history of undocumented domestic violence incidents”.

As I read “the couple had a history of undocumented domestic violence incidents” over and over I found myself crying. I didn’t know Tonja, but I felt her pain, and I felt her family’s pain.

So many thoughts ran through my head like how could a man just kill the mother of his child and throw her out like yesterday’s garbage? Why wouldn’t she just leave him, or call the police I thought to myself. Then I thought back all the backlash I faced when I decided to leave my abusive son’s father, and realized it sometimes seems easier to stay and take the abuse then to leave and be judged.

The day after my son’s father was arrested for attacking me while I was pregnant I woke up exhausted. So many different thoughts ran through my head, and I didn’t know what to think. My child’s father was in jail and I feared for his safety. Jail is a horrible place, and in Baltimore it is even worst. I didn’t know if he would be beat, killed, or forced to join a gang. I didn’t know if he would kill himself and those thoughts scared me. I had to keep telling myself “Janay you did the right thing” over and over again. I kept reminding myself that Jhavier shouldn’t have put his hands on me, and he deserved to be in jail. I gave him chance after chance to get help, but he refused to do so, and I couldn’t let him continue to hit me. Especially not while I was pregnant.

The first person I talked to after Jhaiver went to jail was my grandmother. I thought she would be supportive, and proud of me for standing up for myself, but to my disappointment she wasn’t either.  In fact she was harsh, and really broke my heart. She said “you should’ve just asked him to leave. You shouldn’t have invited the system into your home. Is that what you want your baby daddy in jail? Another black man locked in a cage like an animal?

“Do I want my baby daddy in jail? Yes I do” I said angrily before hanging up the phone abruptly. I didn’t have anything else to say to her at that moment. The little girl that loved her grandmother no matter died in that moment. I didn’t understand her logic. I love her, but until this day I don’t understand her logic.

The next person I talked to was Jhavier’s mother. She called me several times , but I wasn’t ready to talk so I ignore her. However I told myself I couldn’t ignore her forever, and decided to speak with her. I still regret ever answering the phone.

When I answered the phone I explained to her what happened the night before and why her son was sitting in a jail cell. I explained to her that I couldn’t deal with Jhavier and his violent outburst anymore. I told her that I know longer felt safe around Jhavier.  To my surprise she was very understanding. She told me that Jhavier’s father used to do the same thing to her and that is why she had to leave him. She said he would also have violent outburst, hit her, hold her hostage, and cheat on her. She told me that I did the right thing, because I needed to protect my baby her grandson.

Sitting on the phone with his mother I believed her, and everything fell into perspective for me.  Jhavier probably witnessed his father hitting his mother when he was a child.  If a man is raised not to respect women by his own father of course he would grow up with issues. I felt sorry for his mother, because she has been through so much and she was still going through so much now with her son being in jail for hitting me.

Later during the day I went to my aunt’s house to break the news to the rest of my family. They were upset to say the least. I was heartbroken and embarrassed, so I didn’t stay long. I didn’t want to be around people. I went home and went straight to sleep.

The next morning I woke up to a text message that said “this shit is ridiculous” from Jhavier’s mother. I thought about replying to the message, but I didn’t. It was too early for the drama.

When I finally answered the phone Jhavier’s mother was livid. She was yelling about Jhaiver’s bail being 50,000 dollars, and accusing me of provoking Jhavier. She kept calling me all kinds of “little bitches”.

“If you would’ve done a better job of raising your son he wouldn’t be in this situation. It is not my fault you raised Ike Turner” I yelled back.  Before I could get out another word she hung up the phone.

She texted saying “I don’t know what my son saw in you because you’re ugly, and that’s not my son’s baby”. I ignored her.

She texted again say “you deserved to get beat you sick disabled bitch. Go clean you house, and I hope you can afford your medicine”.

“Like mother like son” I thought to myself as I deleted and blocked Jhaiver’s mother.

Telling my friends and family about the volatile relationship Jhavier and I had was the hardest thing I have ever had to do. I felt judged and embarrassed. I hated being looked at as a victim. I hated that me having chrons disease was even being brought up. I was a sick domestic violence victim and I hated it!

I can sympathize and empathize with anyone in a bad or violent relationship. I know that it is hard to leave and walk away, because it was hard for me. However regardless of the backlash abuse is not love, and no one should put up with abuse. Walk away don’t stay.

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Enough is Enough

Jhavier made me hot dogs and eggs smothered in ketchup for breakfast.  I was pregnant and concerned about eating healthy that I didn’t want hot dogs, I really don’t like eggs and I hate when people pour condiments all over my food.

“I wanted to do something nice for you. I don’t know how things got so bad between us Janay. You just know how to push my buttons” Jhavier said.

 “Thank you, but I’m not hungry” I forced myself to say with a smile. 

As soon as the words left my mouth Jhavier threw the whole plate at me. Ketchup, eggs, and chopped up hot dogs landed all over my bed, and all I could think was I can’t have his baby. I didn’t have the energy to fight back or clean up the mess. I just cried. I wasn’t crying because he hurt me I was crying because I was mad. I hated myself for getting pregnant by a man that couldn’t control his anger. I hated myself and I hated Jhavier. I hated myself more than anything. 

One hour later I still sat in the mess crying and trying to figure out how I would get away from Jhavier for good. Enough was enough and I couldn’t take anymore. Jhavier started feeling bad and apologized. He explained that he was upset about me being ungrateful. He explained he was trying to get us back to how things were when we first met, but he didn’t feel like I loved him anymore. I reassured him that I did love him, and I was willing to try to make things work.  It was time for him to go to work and I was excited to see him go. He kissed me on my forehead and left out the back door. 

 When Jhavier came home from work we didn’t speak. I stayed in the bedroom and he went to sleep on the couch. I couldn’t sleep. I was too sad to sleep. I was a broken women pregnant by a man who didn’t love, respect or value her, and that thought made me physically sick to my stomach. I ran to the bathroom and vomited, and then I laid back down. Jhavier woke up and came to the bedroom. I thought he was checking on me to make sure I was okay, but boy was I wrong. 

The next thing I knew Jhavier was standing over me pouring water from the dirty dish bucket all over me. I was soaked from head to toe, and I was furious. Enough was enough I couldn’t allow Jhavier to disrespect me any longer. I leaped off that bed like a raging bull trying to attack Jhavier for throwing the water on me, but he threw me back on the bed. He knocked my glasses off my face, threw my phone, and then turned the light off in the bedroom. I was so scared, because I did not know what Jhavier was planning to do, however I had a bad feeling. He shut all the windows in the room, and I thought to myself he doesn’t want people to hear me scream. 

“You have to leave I just can’t live like this anymore Jhaiver. Please just go” I cried nervously. 

“I would leave but I can’t you pregnant remember, and you don’t have a job. Your sick you need money for your medicine. You’re really a dumb bitch” he said. 

“I don’t need you I can find another man to take care of me and my baby” I said. 

I shouldn’t have said that, and I knew it the moment the words left my mouth, but it was too late. Jhavier leaped on top of me hitting me in my stomach repeatedly. I was screaming to the top of my lungs trying to fight back. I needed someone to hear me and save me. “I’m still pregnant” I yelled. “I’m pregnant” I yelled again and again. I was trying to stomp my feet on the floor and I just kept yelling. It felt like he was on top of me hitting me forever. It was dark in that room, but I could see the evil in his eyes. 

My cousin who was also my downstairs neighbor came banging on the door. “Let me cousin go I called the police she said”. She came there just in time because Jhavier may have killed me, or my baby. Jhavier got off me and ran once he heard my cousin. I could already hear the police outside they had the apartment surrounded.  The police where everywhere and I could hear Jhavier try to run out the back. The police got him.

 One officer came to me and asked me what I wanted to do. I told him that I wanted to press charges on Jhavier. He was acting like a wild animal and I was sure that he would have killed me in that apartment if my cousin didn’t call the police.

“Are you sure you want to press charges. If you do you will be required to go to court” the police said. 

I felt like he didn’t want me to press charges. I felt like he was talking to me like he thought I was another dumb girl in a domestic violence situation. 

“Yes I want to press charges. He needs to go to jail” I said. 

“Then you will need to give a written statement” the policeman said. I wrote a statement and he gave me instructions on how to get a temporary restraining order. 

“Do you need medical attention? Do you want to go to the hospital?” the cop asked. I should’ve went to the hospital, but I didn’t want to all I wanted to do was sleep. I was still in shock and I couldn’t admit to myself that I put my baby in harm’s way. I knew that Jhavier was violent and I stayed. I hated myself, and I wasn’t ready to sit in a hospital full of people judging me. 

“No I’ll be fine” I said on the verge of tears. The officer asked me a few questions that they ask people involved in domestic violence situations. To my surprise I answered yes to all the questions I was really an abused woman. 

 When I went back to my apartment and the back door was still open. It took me awhile to find my glasses and my phone and once I did I feel asleep on the couch still wearing my wet shirt. 

That night I would toss and turn in my sleep wondering if Jhavier would get out of jail. I was scared and nervous I didn’t want to see him ever again. I thought about my actions and the role I had played in situation. Yes I was wrong for saying that to Jhavier, but that didn’t give him a reason to hit me. He was hitting me in my stomach it was all just too much for me to take in at that moment. 

The next morning I would texted my friends and family and told them that Jhavier was arrested. Things only got worst from there.

PETA

Love doesn’t hurt you. A person that doesn’t know how to love you hurts you

– Tony Gaskins Jr

Two weeks passed since I found out Jhavier the father of my unborn child and my boyfriend was soliciting sex online. We still lived together, and I tried to move passed our first disastrous incident with domestic violence.

 It was Memorial Day weekend and my sister invited me to her house for a cookout, and I jumped at the offer. I needed to get away from Jhavier even if it was just one day. Although he was apologetic and promised to get anger management and go to therapy I still didn’t feel 100 percent safe around him anymore.

  I went to the party, and I came home. I could see that Jhavier was upset about something, but I didn’t care. I went into the bedroom and went straight to sleep. The next morning Jhavier woke me up bright and earlier, and I just knew that we weren’t going to have a good day.

“Get up we need to clean this apartment” he said.

“The apartment isn’t dirty just wash the dished I’m tired” I said

“You wouldn’t be tired if you didn’t stay out all night partying” he said with an evil smirk.

I decided I was not going to argue with him. I was pregnant and sleepy. The only way I was getting out of the bed is if the whole apartment caught on fire. I just turned over and attempted to go back to sleep. That was until I heard my dog Mobley screaming and barking. I could tell something was very wrong. I jumped out of bed, and went into the living room.

Jhavier was beating Mobley with a broom. Mobley was a small dog and he couldn’t have weighed more than 15 pounds so those blows to his back really hurt him, and they hurt me because I loved that dog so much. I was screaming at the top of my lungs for Jhavier to stop. He was so angry and his soul left his body, because the Jhavier I knew was gone. Jhavier didn’t even look the same he looked demonic as if he was possessed by and evil spirit. I thought he was going to kill my dog. Mobley starting to defecate everywhere as he attempted to run from Jhavier. Mobley jumped on the couch and Jhavier dropped the broom and started punching him in his little body. I grabbed Mobley trying to save him from the vicious blows, and Jhavier ended up punching me twice on accident because he missed Mobley. I had enough. My dog was crying, hurt and embarrassed because he pooped all over himself.  I was hurt. Honestly I knew that Jhaiver was jealous of all the love and attention I gave Mobley, but I never thought in a million years he would beat my dog. I loved that dog with all my heart.

I ran with Mobley into the bathroom locked the door and called 911. I told the 911 operator that my boyfriend was hitting me and my dog and to send someone as soon as possible. I still had my dog’s feces on me as I stood in the bathroom looking at myself in the mirror with disbelief. I was too hurt to even think straight or to really digest what just happened to me.

15 minutes later my cousin, who was also my neighbor called to tell me that there were Baltimore City Police officers outside of the apartment. I left the apartment to meet the police officers outside. I explained to the police that the Jhavier and I got into an argument, he beat my dog, and accidentally punched me trying to hurt the dog.  One of the officers explained to me that because Jhavier lived with me for longer than 30 days Maryland law stated that I just couldn’t put him out even if he wasn’t listed on the lease. The office informed me that because Jhavier punched me on accident he wouldn’t be charged with assault. I literally was heartbroken because there was nothing that I could do at this point. The law seemed to be on Jhavier’s side.

The officer went into the apartment to talk to Jhavier. In true Jhaiver fashion he tried to not take any responsibility for the incident blaming everything on Mobley. He stated Mobley urinated on his clothes, and that was the reason for the beating.  I yelled “He is lying that is not true”.

“Don’t talk to each other” the cop said.

“You see how she is officer” Jhavier said to the cop. However the cop seemed angry with Jhavier.

“Don’t talk to me. I know your type and I know what you’re about. I could charge you with animal cruelty and give you a 500 dollar fine now. You’re lucky I didn’t charge you with assault for hitting her” the cop said.

“She said I hit her” Jhavier said with disbelief.

“You did hit me on accident while you were trying to hit the dog” I said back.

“But you know I didn’t mean to punch you” Jhavier said.

“Stop talking to each other. Maybe one of you should leave this apartment because if I have to come back out here one of you will be arrested” the cop said.

“Ok sir” Jhavier said trying to be smart.

“What are you going to do?” asked the cop.

“I’ll leave and go to my cousin’s apartment. I’m done with this situation and done with him” I said.

“What about you?” the cop asked Jhavier.

The weirdest thing was as I was saying that I was done Jhavier looked hurt. He almost looked like he couldn’t believe I was saying it out loud to another person.

“She can leave I’m done with her too” Jhavier said making an evil face.

“Ok well leave it at that. And like I said if I have to come back out here today someone will be arrested” the cop said, and he and I started leaving the apartment.

The officer stopped me on the steps of the apartment.

“You can go down to Charles Streetand start the eviction process to get him out. You said you were pregnant I would think twice before I made any decisions with him. He showed you that this is who he is, and you have to ask yourself if you’re ready to deal with that the rest of your life” the officer said to me before leaving without even giving Jhavier a slap on the wrist.

The officer did make me think a lot about my situation. He didn’t outright say that I should get an abortion, but he definitely hinted at it. He probably was right the smart thing to do would be to get an abortion, but at the time I didn’t know if I could go through with it. I didn’t know if I could live with myself after getting an abortion. I had so much to think about I didn’t know what to do.

I hung out at my cousin’s apartment for a bit and talked to her. She is like an older sister to me so talking to her helped me clear my mind. After a couple hours at her apartment I decided to go home. When I got back to my apartment Jhavier was on the phone with his sister. Thing were weird between us, but we didn’t talk. We both knew that things would never be the same, because I called the police on him.  This would be the beginning to a very painful breakup between Jhavier and myself.

Mind Games


Mind Games

“The bravest thing I’ve ever done is continuing to live when I wanted to die”

~ JULIETTE LEWIS

I sat on the couch watching television with my best friend, her boyfriend and his best friend. Everyone was laughing and discussing the show’s shenanigans and how reality tv was so unrealistic. All of a sudden out of nowhere I started hearing loud sirens and my heart started beating so loud and so fast I thought it was going to jump out of my chest. I thought I was having a heart attack. Panicking because I thought I was dying I looked around the room at everyone else who appeared to be unfazed but the loud sirens.

“Do y’all hear that? “I asked clearly frightened. 

“Hear what?” my friend asked clearly concerned. 

That’s when it hit me I was the only person that could hear the sirens because the sirens weren’t real. The sirens were in my head. 

Then I couldn’t breathe. My shortness of breath was so bad I could barely grasp for air. I’m definitely having a heart attack I thought to myself. I started holding my chest trying to catch my breath. 

“Are you ok?” My friend asked.

“Yea I just can’t breathe” I said trying to stand up. 

My friend called 911 out of concern. Now the sirens were real. When the ambulance arrived to her apartment 20 minutes later I was fine the moment passed. My heart rate went back to normal and I was able to breath. I went to the emergency room and got a X-ray and the doctor told me I was fine.  He said my lungs were clear and I was free to go after about two hours. 

I didn’t know it then, but I just experienced my first panic attack. It was so weird to me because I wasn’t stressed or upset. It just happened out of the blue with no warning and for no rhyme or reason. 

Then three months later I woke up out of my sleep shaking because I was so scared. That’s when I heard footsteps in my living room, and then I heard the door handle jiggle. I was so scared I just started  screaming and called 911. Once I screamed I heard the footsteps run towards the window and then I heard what I thought was someone climbing out the window down the building walls.

The 911 operator was so nice and agreed to stay on the phone with me until the police arrived. I would say 15 minutes passed before the police arrive, but the 911 operator kept me calm the whole time. Once the police knocked on the door I was too scared to leave my room to open the door. I didn’t know what or who waited for me on the other side of the door, but after a minute or so I gained enough courage to open the door.

Once I stood in the living room I realized everything was all in my head. No one had ever been in my apartment and not even Spider-Man himself could have climbed up and down the walls of my third floor apartment. 

The officer was very compassionate and understanding even though I clearly wasted his time and tax payer dollars. He walked through my apartment and made sure no one was there. He opened all the cabinets, closet doors even the oven.

“You’re just scared no one is here” he said.

“I’m sorry” I said clearly embarrassed.

The officer left and I went back to my bed were my son was laying sleep. He never woke up through any of the nights events. Not from me screaming bloody murder when I thought I under attack or from the police pounding on the door. He never woke up he just slept peacefully and unbothered. 

I just sat straight up in my bed and cried. I cried because I felt like I was loosing my mind. I felt crazy and I didn’t know whether I was coming or going. Not having control over my own mind or my feelings was extremely scary and disheartening. “Janay you really are crazy” I repeated to myself as I sobbed. I pride myself on being a strong woman, but at that moment I felt weak.

The next day I contacted a therapist. I decided I could no longer suffer in silence. I could no longer be a hostage to my own mind. I’ve been going to therapy faithfully for the last year and a half trying to work through my issues. My therapist explained to me that I shouldn’t feel weak. She explained how strong I am for taking the steps to get help. She said I’m strong for not allowing myself to suffer in silence. I still have panics attacks, but I now know how to breathe through them. I’ve been diagnosed with chronic depression and PTSD. I refuse to let those titles define me and I’m working on being the best version of myself I can be. It sounds corny but I may currently have depression, but depression doesn’t have me. Depression does not define me or who I am as a person. I will not be a slave to depression. 

If your reading this and suffering from depression, anxiety, paranoia or any other mental illness do not allow yourself to suffer in silence. Reach out to a therapist, a friend, or a counselor. Get help and understand that you are not in this fight alone. 

Helpful resources: 

Baltimore Crisis Response Inc. (BCRI)410-433-5175

https://bcresponse.org/index.html

Sheppard Pratt Urgent Assessment Line410-938-HELP (4357)

https://www.sheppardpratt.org/patient-care-and-services/crisis-services/

National Suicide Prevention Line:

1-800-273-8255