“You never know how strong you are, until being strong is your only choice”- Bob Marley
” 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.
“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!
“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.
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.
Abuse is not love. Abuse is about controlDomestic Violence Survivor
Jhavier was my boyfriend and we were together for two years, and we lived together. I was almost three months pregnant at the time. I sat at my laptop computer going through my emails when I came across an email from Craigslist. I opened the email and to my shock I found out that the father of my unborn child was soliciting sex online. I saw his genitals online, and read a message from a woman asking if he was still interested. My heart broke instantly, and I began to feel nauseous. I pinched myself so hard I broke my skin, but I just needed to confirm that I was awake and this was real. I just cried until I couldn’t cry anymore.
I got up and started packing all of Jhavier clothes. I needed him to get out and get away from me. I hated him, and every time I thought about the ads I vomited. One hour later he was all packed up. Jhavier came into the house after his work shift and saw all his bags back and I left the laptop open to the Craigslist email.
“Get out. Your nasty and I hate you” I said angry but crying so hard I could barely get my words out. To my surprise Jhavier was not apologetic at all. He began yelling about how this was all my fault. I couldn’t take it anymore I ran into my bedroom and locked the door. I was physically sick.
“You have to leave. I’m not having you stay here so I can catch something from your nasty ass” I said to him.”.
Those words enraged Jhavier. He busted through the door and started choking me. I fought back the best I could trying to claw him. He let me go, and I didn’t really know what to do anymore. I really thought Jhavier might kill me that night.
“Is he really mad at me because I found out he was cheating on me while I’m pregnant” I thought to myself so confused. Now Jhavier started to cry which confused me even more.
“Jhavier please go” I pleaded with him. I just wanted him gone.
“I’m not going to go anywhere you going to hear what I have to say” he said.
“I don’t care what you have to say. You’re a nasty and I hate you” I said.
“I never cheated on you. I love you Janay, but it’s your fault that I have to talk to these other girls. I don’t care about these bitches” he said. I thought he was pathetic trying to blame me for his indiscretions.
“I don’t care I just want to leave. I’m pregnant” I yelled at the top of my lungs.
“You’re going to listen to me today. That our problem you never listen to me or take me serious. You don’t support me that’s why we are in this situation.
I didn’t listen or support him so he had to turn to Craigslist. That was bullshit and we both knew it.
“You don’t listen or support my rap career. You don’t even listen to my music or take me serious at all” he said. He was right I didn’t he wasn’t anywhere close to being a Jay Z yet alone a Young Joc.
He kept yelling about how bad and unsupportive of a girlfriend I was. I finally replied “This is over. I’m not your girlfriend I’m done”.
He ran out of the bedroom and grabbed the biggest knife that we had in our kitchen and ran back into the room. I didn’t really know what he planned to do with the knife, but I could hear him crying and I could see the tears pouring down his face. He took the knife tears and all and threatened to kill himself. He was pointing the knife at his chest, but I didn’t budge and I didn’t attempt to stop him. He took the knife and cut himself three times in his chest, but they really were flesh wounds he didn’t cut himself that deep. Then he took the knife and aimed it in the middle of his chest, and raised his arms like he was planning on really stabbing his self right through the chest, and I couldn’t take anymore.
I didn’t care if he was being dramatic anymore I just wanted him to stop. The superficial wounds on his chest were bleeding. “Stop it Jhavier stop it”, I shouted. I couldn’t hold the tears back.
“You don’t care about me you want to take my child away from me for no reason. I know I need help I’ll get the help I need”, he said still crying with the knife in his hand.
“Put the knife down Jhavier”, I said.
I was trying to seem compassionate because I didn’t want Jhavier to kill himself and especially not in front of me. I was pregnant with his child I couldn’t handle this anymore. I grabbed him holding him like he was my baby and he dropped the knife. He started holding me back. He loved me and I knew that, but the love was so twisted. It wasn’t a good strong love it was a scary I’d do anything to keep you, and if I can’t have I will make your life hell type of love.
I know that I should have left Jhavier that day, but I didn’t. I couldn’t I felt horrible, and I didn’t want him to really hurt himself. I felt like he needed me, and he needed his child. I wasn’t ready to be alone yet. I forgave him, and thought to myself he didn’t sleep with any of those women from craigslist. However every woman has her breaking point. In due time I would reach mine.
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7233
House of Ruth Maryland: 410-889-7884