When life shatters
Updated: Jan 21, 2022
I’ve been arguing with myself whether or not I should write this. Writing has always been therapeutic for me, so I knew it would help. However, I didn’t want to run the risk of ever embarrassing my daughter. But I’ve been doing everything I can to not silence her, and to teach her that her voice matters through everything that happened, so silencing this would be counterproductive.
Mental health is not talked about enough. Abuse isn’t talked about enough. Too many people experience it, and not enough feel able to talk. Maybe someone will feel the ability to open up through my story.
I will probably be in this space a lot trying to work through my own feelings, but before I start rambling on, I figure I should explain what led to this painful spot where we all find ourselves these days.
TRIGGER WARNING: sexual abuse.
You know when you watch those court cases of sociopathic criminals, and they flash to the mom, and you always wonder how she feels? I see in them a part of my own spirit now, and it’s a club I wish I had never had to join.
A few days before Halloween this last year, I tucked my kids in to bed like normal and went across the yard to the shop to have a drink with my husband. I would typically spend a couple hours out there unwinding, but this particular night we were both exhausted and wanted to crash early. It was maybe 30 minutes later when I walked back across to the house.
I consider it a God thing that I was first to walk in, or if Kevin had, the outcome may have been a lot worse. When I walked in, I found Kane in Ashlynn’s bed wiggling and squirming, trying to convince me she just wanted a hug. After some interrogating and calmly convincing Ashlynn she wasn’t in trouble, she informed me that he had molested her. Of course, those weren’t the words she used, and we were still not sure exactly to what extent.
I immediately called 911, and the officer that had been out the month before for the shoplifting charges (it’s been a very rough few months) was first on the scene. After hours of questioning and statements, Kane was taken from my house never to return. He spent the next two nights with my parents. We all went to bed that night (3am) knowing the morning and forensics would come early.
The next day, at the advocacy center, forensic testing was performed and they determined that he had penetrated, not just one but both holes. The stories my daughter told investigators, and later told us over the coming weeks, of how he planned this and told her beforehand, were horrifying. We had caught it early, but it had still happened 3 times. I’ll spare some of the rest of the details until the final court date.
Kane was still adamant he had done nothing. Even faced with the evidence during his questioning the next day, he continued to deny anything. But they didn’t need the confession with how much they found, and they slapped cuffs on him, and carted him off to the department of juvenile Justice. He was charged with 3 first degree felonies, and they were undecided at that time if they might possibly charge him as an adult since it was so bad. They also initiated a no contact order with Ashlynn…for life.
If you don’t know, juvenile court is nothing at all like adult court. When a child is initially taken to custody, they are given a score based on crime, number of previous offenses, etc. They are only able to hold children a certain number of days based on that score, and then they are released until sentencing. He was held 3 weeks. Their days served count basically as their “bond”, since children can’t actually be bonded out.
He had his first appearance the Saturday before Halloween, and seeing him in shackles broke me. It’s an image burned into my brain that I wish I’d never had to see. They sentenced him to the 3 weeks behind bars that day, and scheduled the further court dates.
As if the whole situation was not bad enough, Kane decided to tell my parents that his dad had let him watch porn. I’m not sure if he made the accusation of being babysat by strippers under his fathers care, or where that lie came from. But my parents took all of that information, as well as the private sordid details of my divorce, and hired an attorney to try to paint a terrible picture of Kane’s dad, in an attempt to keep Kane from staying with his dad during the interim until sentencing. Their attorney called me making these accusations, and asking me to sign over temporary custody, and was very shocked to find out why Kane was locked up, and to find out that none of the accusations had merit. I had it on recorded audio from a phone call at djj that the supposed porn was a Netflix show, and we all know Netflix doesn’t have porn. I also can name on 4 fingers who his father had ever left him with, and none were strippers. And the best part was the year they claimed he left Kane with strippers, was the very year he only had him overnight once because his work schedule only allowed him a day off periodically. He ended that year moving for another job that would allow him travel, and more possibility of time with his son. So all of it was completely preposterous. At the end of the phone call, she sounded ready to quit, and judging by the fact that it went no further, I’m fairly certain she did.
When that didn’t work, unbeknownst to me, my dad wrote a letter to the judge with all of the same info. Of course, all of that goes into a file that attorneys have access to, so Kane‘s father saw the letter from his attorney before I did, and I got some very difficult texts asking about things I had told my parents in what I thought were private conversations. Reliving my divorce during this time was not at all what I had in mind.
As a last ditch effort, my dad filed official charges against Kane’s dad with Walton county making the same accusations and more. I’m sure they thought I’d have to either lie, or go along with it and eventually “thank them” for pressing charges. But the beautiful thing about not reacting when mud is slung at you, is that it eventually dries and can be brushed off. I told the investigators my side of things from my divorce, and the truth about the lies being slung, and all charges were dropped.
The most hurtful part about this, is that I was never even asked why I wouldn’t let them have custody. It wasn’t a vindictive or hateful choice. The day all of this fell apart, I had caught Kane in the shop digging through Kevin’s things. In the days to come we realized Kevin had a throwing knife missing. Kane had packed most of his things and taken them the night he left, so if he had that knife, it was now at my parents’ house. He already frequently walked out the door with complete disrespect when my mom spoke, and had hurt her in the past.
And they had hidden money in their house so well that they couldn’t find it for months, so I’m confident Kane could have hidden the knife never to be found.
And he had already run away once, and had to be found by law enforcement.
All of this to say, when he was released from djj, he was told he couldn’t be around anyone under the age of 15. I knew that was going to happen, and it meant he couldn’t go to church. Which would mean on Sundays, while my dad had to preach, my child would have been home alone with a grandmother he already hurt and disrespected, with a weapon, and nothing to lose. And if he hurt her and ran, they’d go to jail since they would be responsible for him until his sentence.
It also made Ashlynn feel safer to have him out of the area. And my husband wasn’t tempted with his proximity to go vindicate for our daughter. It gave tempers time to cool. It was all around a better choice.
But while I was looking out for their safety, they were publicly blasting lies, and personal details about me. They were slinging mud without even understanding my reasoning. I know the baseline for their actions was their love of Kane and not wanting to lose the relationship. And I don’t harbor anger over it. But their brains didn’t engage and they acted emotionally…they broke a level of trust that I’m not sure can ever be repaired. We haven’t spoken in months.
Through it all, when told that they’d never be legally allowed to see my other two if they took Kane, they still chose to fight for him. They picked him over them, and broke their hearts in doing so. My daughter still asks why they didn’t really love her and what she did wrong.
The whole family is a loaded mess of emotions these days, and more often than not it can only really be described as heavy. Ashlynn and I have frequent anxiety issues and get very little sleep. Tyler is very angry. And we are all just shattered. There are no easy answers and no good way through. There is only to get through.
I could go on, but this is probably long enough for now. I‘m sure I’ll be back to work through things in the coming weeks. ❤️