Several years ago, I watched a bizarre movie entitled "Antichrist" starring Willem Dafoe. In one of many creeped-out scenes, he comes across a mutilated animal who growls "Chaos reigns"; that scene (see attached YouTube video) is precisely what this entire ordeal has felt like for me (and mom - she agrees) and if that email she received wasn't scary enough, brace yourself for what comes next...
We couldn’t afford any more hotel stays and imposing upon others didn’t feel right either so the only option I could think of left was to go back home. Yes, not THE wisest choice but amongst our quickly diminishing options it would have to do. At least at my house we could bunker down and make a stronghold (or at least that was the theory).
On the afternoon of our second day back, Child 1 reported seeing the Scary Man in our backyard. Mom and I checked the property and found/saw nothing so chalking it up to the stress of recent events, we went back about our day.
About an hour later, mom and Child 3 (the baby) had just gone down for a nap when my son called for pick-up from school. (Although he can easily walk home, with our increased security concerns, I’ve had to revoke that freedom.) I went into mom’s room to let her know it was time to pick my son up but both she and the baby were already in deep sleep so I figured rather then disturb and wake them up for a 10 minute round-trip car ride, I’d just take Child 1 & 2 with me and we’d be back in a few minutes. I locked the door behind me, loaded the kids up in their car seats and off we went to the high school.
When we made it back home (between 7 and 10 minutes later) the kids and my son bee-lined to the kitchen door. My son opened the door and then I heard Child 1 ask, “Aunty Dara, what happened?” I ran from the car, pushed past the kids and flung the door open – there was broken glass and shattered ceramic mugs strewn across the floor. I instructed my son to call 911 immediately and to get the kids, who were now starting to panic, into the living room away from all the glass and ceramic shards. While he did this I followed a trail of broken glass from the kitchen down the hallway to the bedroom where mom and Child 3 were supposed to be sleeping, but Child 3 was sitting up awake on another bed and mom wasn’t in the room! Looking down, I saw a trail of blood drops leading into the bathroom and when I reached the bathroom’s entrance, I TOTALLY freaked out because this is what I walked into:
Mom had been bound, gagged, tied and tossed into the stand-alone bathtub lying face up; mom’s feet were straddling the water spout and were being held there by a tightly tied black bikini top – blood was trickling from her ankles and the water faucet had been turned slightly on so that a faint pool of blood had formed from the blood of her other injuries mixing with the water. A pair of Child 2’s underwear protruded from mom’s mouth and mom's pants and underwear were disrupted, not fully pulled up to where they belonged.
Remembering mom’s instructions from Germany, I went to retrieve my camera but was shaking so hard, I couldn’t figure how to open the camera up. At the same time, my son handed me his phone to talk to the 911 Operator and realizing that a slew of first responders would soon be here, I told him to take the kids and stay in his room until everyone was gone. In the meantime, the operator instructed me to remove the gag from mom’s mouth and to free her from her binds. (I actually didn’t see that mom’s hands and been tied from behind her back until EMS pointed that out when they arrived.) Like her gag in Germany, the bikini strings that bound mom’s feet were tied so tightly that no matter how much I tried to untie her, I just couldn’t do it so grabbed a pair of scissors and cut her free.
The passage of time never ceases to amaze me in emergency situations; it’s like someone presses a Slo-Mo button and everything seems to slow down so while I’m sure that 911 records would reveal that everyone arrived within minutes of my panic-stricken call, I just remember it felt like ages until they all finally arrived. From there it was a blur as paramedics, police officers and I can’t recall who else came in to the house. I remember one of the men saying, “Looks like an attempted suicide” but I barked back “She DID NOT attempt suicide!!!” and he apologized not realizing that I was standing right there. Mom says she remembers one responder musing over how her hands were tied saying “No way she could’ve done this to herself”.
When mom was able to sit up, she indicated that some medication had been poured down her throat and her other wounds were evident: slashes and gashes on the underside of her arms (defense wounds) and a bloody patch at the base of her skull where she reported being hit with some kind of hard object. In speaking with a police officer after the fact, it was noted that the original plan may have been for mom to drown because the bathtub had been plugged so if I had decided to run errands after picking my son up, I may have walked into an even worse scene!
Mom and I were separated talking to first responders – her to medical staff, me to law enforcement officers – when I was told by one of the EMS guys that mom was declining medical treatment. Astounded I approached her and asked what the heck she thought she was doing! She looked at me sternly and said, “Everyone’s got to go, NOW!” The look of total disbelief on my face prompted a further explanation from her: “We’re being watched. I was given instructions. No one else gets involved or it’s going to get worse, MUCH worse”.
There are a couple of thumb rules in dealing with abusers (and/or terrorists – they’re just different sides of the same coin):
- No bargaining with batterers
- If you want the abuse to end, you DON’T do it his/their way
- If you want “the game” to end, you don’t play
Mom declined medical treatment that day; I filled out a police report.