Defending This Blog

On 27 September I will once again stand before Judge Dennis Craig, but this time instead of defending my right to protect myself and my children from my abuser, I will be defending my right to tell my story, and yours.

I am hopeful for a positive outcome, that this space will remain, unobstructed, but hope is a dangerous drug – it will lift us higher than high and then drop us stone cold lower than low. What’s that saying, hope for the best, expect the worst – that’s what I am doing.

This is the same judge who decided Donkey’s lies were more believable than my truth. This is the same judge who decided that I presented false evidence of domestic violence. I’m expecting the worst. I mean, really, this judge didn’t believe I was a victim of domestic violence when dissolving our marriage and determining custody, so how will he reconcile that with this?

Donkey says, through his lawyer, that he wants this blog be taken down, wants me prohibited from telling my story on any other blog, and wants me prohibited from starting another blog of this nature, using my time with my kids as a bargaining chip, specifically:

6. My client [Donkey] would agree to be 60/40 time-sharing schedule for the summer requested by your client contingent upon the following:
A. Your client immediately takes down the deliberate donkey blog and/or any other blogs that she has of a similar type or nature.
B. [unrelated to the blog]
C. Your client shall not create any new blog, post on any one else’s blog or post anywhere on the Internet, allegations against my client that he allegedly committed abuse against her of any type or nature from this day forward.
D. [unrelated to the blog]
E. [unrelated to the blog]
F. [unrelated to the blog]
G. Any violation by your client pertaining to failing to take down the deliberate donkey blog, starting a new blog of a similar type or nature or posting on any blog or site disparaging comments about [Donkey] including, but not limited to allegations of abuse shall cause the stipulation to the 60/40 time-sharing schedule modification to be rescinded and the time-sharing to automatically revert to the default setting as set forth in the Final Judgment.

All this from the asshole who believes, “Your blogging hasn’t done anything else except serve me.”

Donkey searchWhen confronted about this, Donkey said he asked for his name and image to be removed from the blog (I cannot remove his name, because his name is not used and all images are obscured). This is not what was sent from his lawyer to mine.

His lawyer sent over a settlement proposal, and I agreed to everything except shutting down the blog. My lawyer sent this to Donkey’s lawyer, no alternative proposal was sent from his lawyer to mine, and his lawyer scheduled the entire matter for a court hearing.

What strides we were making in the negotiation were halted because I didn’t agree to shutting down this blog. I still don’t, and so in ten days I will drive from Atlanta to Palm Coast, sleep, or not, in a hotel and prepare to face Judge Dennis Craig at 10am on 27 September to finally settle the Final Divorce and to defend this blog.

It’s all going to the judge, this blog and the other matters on the same motion, namely that Donkey still hasn’t paid what he was ordered to pay 17 months ago, and, as a result, allowed the tax refund check to expire, and that Donkey has asked I drop my contempt of court charges.

I will fight for this space. I will fight for me and for us.

525551_299437426851154_477300972_nThis is more than just me now, it’s us; it’s ending the stigma by shattering the silence together.

For too long we have been forced into the corner. For too long it has been unacceptable to tell our stories.

The silence needs to end, and it is. I am a part of this, as is every woman who has told her story, be it told here or elsewhere. I will fight for this space.

I will stand tall and proud that I have spoken. Whatever the outcome, it won’t change that I have spoken.

If the judge orders this space be taken down, it is what I will do.

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88 comments

  1. Melanie,
    I have followed this with you closely, and you know you have all my support. Keep fighting, this is a great forum, one that promotes love, and exchange, but also, one that speaks out, and help others who have been abused, others who lived trauma, and offers comfort. This is an important space.
    Le Clown

    1. Thank you Le Clown. I am ever so grateful for your support. This place does matter. It is important. I will not let go without a fight, and if I am forced to let go, I will do so kicking and screaming.

  2. Wait what.. Donkey found out?? When!!

    (also.. and this makes me not a nice human being.. but I’d love to have seen his face when he discovered the blog)

    either way, good luck gal.. crossing my fingers for you on this side of the globe.

    1. Donkey has been a faithful follower for well over a year now and has read everything I have ever written. He looked for it and found it long before I started using my first name. I didn’t send it to him, or anyone in his family. This is what pisses me off more than anything – it was his decision to seek it and find it and he doesn’t like it so he wants it stopped.
      I wrote about knowing for sure here (http://wp.me/p2gCvA-qS) and went off on him about it here (http://wp.me/p2gCvA-1an).

  3. Best of luck. This, as you say, is important for you and for all of us.

    1. Thank you Linda. It’s going to be hard, but it is absolutely worth it to stand up for myself and every victim and survivor.

      1. Sending you positive energy! Remember, you have a whole army of us standing behind you, at least in spirit.

        1. When I walk into that courtroom, I will be by myself (with my lawyer), but I will not be alone. I will be filled with the strength from the support of this community.

  4. I’m fuming for you and this blog and since I’m spitting mad I’ll stop after saying these two things; I agree with Le Clown 2000% This is an important space, a needed space. And if there is anything I can do to help you keep this space, don’t hesitate to let me know. *hugs* and wishes – CK

    1. I’m fuming too. It took a great deal of editing to keep the anger out of this. I am angry. First he took my self, then he took my children, and now he wants to take my voice.
      There are many possibilities for an outcome – complete shut down, partial shut down, or no shut down. No matter the outcome though, he is an abuser and blaming me for his unhappiness here when he is the one who sought this blog and decided to read it. I didn’t ask him to read it and I didn’t force him to read it, yet it’s my fault he’s reading it because I’m writing it. He is making me suffer for his actions. Abuser abuser abuser.

      1. You have the right to be angry. Essentially what he did in seeking out your blog is stalking, he’d have no reason to look for you online except to harasses you. You’re allowed to talk about yourself and your life, you haven’t named him, he’s not recognizable to me. I don’t even know YOUR name (besides the Melanie part), and none of this is about him (or them) it’s about you (and us) so … No one can stop you from speaking out against abuse, that’s just straight up illegal, period.

        You shouldn’t have to be going through this after all you’ve already gone through. I don’t know how people continue to get away with, with being donkey’s!

        1. It is stalking, and what he does with what he reads here is harassment.
          The judge can stop me from speaking about my experiences with Donkey, but he cannot stop me from speaking out against abuse in general. Even if he silences my story, I will still work to end domestic violence in any way I can.

  5. Remember: At least within the blogosphere, you are not standing alone on this.

    1. This I know and for this I am grateful. Were it not for everyone here, I wouldn’t have the fight in me (I’m not really as strong as I seem).

      1. Don’t confuse a lack of strength with vulnerability; one is a product of weakness, the other is by virtue of sensitivity. I’m pretty certain you’re a product of the latter. Don’t lose that.

        1. Thank you Ned. That is one helpful distinction to understand and take with me.

  6. I can’t believe the depths to which people will sink. Pulling for you all the way. This is an important forum and should not be silenced by a bully who has, thus far, been able to manipulate the judicial system. Stay strong and know that we are thinking about you.

    1. Thank you for your support. This blog is important, and should be allowed to continue. I will take your kindness and good thoughts with me into the courtroom next Friday.

  7. Um perhaps I am not living in the US but can he even make you stop? What ever happened to Freedom of Speech? I mean I am not civil rights advocate and I dont know all the rules but what does your blog have anything to do with your divorce issues. You are allowed to have your feelings and its a public forum, he does not have the right to tell me that I can not tell my story…sick I tell you sick.. and more EVIDENCE that he is an ABUSER-what is wrong with that Judge-its textbook abuse!!!

    1. The judge can do whatever the judge wants to do.
      This blog doesn’t have anything to do with the issue of the divorce, Donkey’s relocation, the monies owed me, or the contempt of court, except that Donkey has made it a part of the issues by tacking it on and attempting to use it as a bargaining chip. He must want to go to court, otherwise he would have left it alone because he knows damn well I would never roll over and agree to deleting this blog.

      1. Thats a scary thought-could you have statements from your followers and contributors explaining how your blog is helping all of us heal. That it is imperitive that it continues? I would write something like that for you and I am sure there are many more who would do the same.

        1. Thank you Abby. It is important that this continue, and what you just said is wonderful. I don’t know what the judge will accept or not accept, but based on past experiences with this judge, he isn’t going to take anything.

  8. He believes the blog is about him. He’s a narcissist. That’s what they do. They take every little thing and make it either somehow about their achievements and glory, or about how they are being crucified and tormented without cause.

    1. He does believe it’s about him. He believes it serves him. He believes I do nothing but sit around and write about him. He is a moron.
      I never asked him to read it. I never emailed it to him. I didn’t want him here, but he came here. He looked for it and found it and has been following it for over a year now. It’s his own fault that he isn’t happy with it.

    2. This!
      Very well said.
      Good luck to you, Melanie. I believe there are all sorts of precedents that defend free speech– I hope your lawyer references those cases that have secured our rights to speak out!

      1. Thank you! There are all sorts of precedents. It’s a matter of whether the judge hears my truth or Donkey’s lies. I will be sure to let everyone know what happened next Friday just as soon as I can.

  9. Can he prove that the blog is about him?? I am rooting for you! Trading one’s kids for a blog – wow it has a nice ring to it!! Even the judge must see that!!

    1. He can to this judge because I refer to him as my ex-husband, and I only have one of those. As far as to anyone else, no, he can’t, not without admitting to the abuse he’s been denying.
      He’s mad because he told his (now ex)finanee about this blog and someone (not me) sent her “The Letter I Wouldn’t Have Read Either” (http://wp.me/p2gCvA-1lY) and she called off the engagement and moved out-of-state.

  10. Good luck, Melanie! The legal system is pretty shitty much of the time, so nothing will surprise me, but I’m hoping for the best. I’ve much to say in support, but I’m swamped at work and don’t want to get myself all riled up! Do know that we support you though.

    1. Thank you Don. I know you’ve got my back. You will be one of the voices (even though I’ve entirely made up what you sound like) who will be reminding me I can do this as I stand in that courtroom.
      Now get back to work…(hehehe). Thank you for taking time out to stop by and send your kindness.

  11. One side of me wants to re-type what Le Clown wrote. It’s warm and refined and very true. You have my support 100%. The other side of me wants to say: if that dumb m*ther f*cker doesn’t want people to know he’s a volcanic asshole, he shouldn’t have behaved like one. Suck it.

    You’re pretty! Love you! Will be thinking of you at 10am on 9/27 – hoping for the very best!
    XO

    1. Volcanic asshole, ohmygod, that’s my new favorite phrase.
      Thank you for your support and kindness Molly. I will be alone in body only, because in spirit, holy fucking shit, we’ll fill that courtroom with so much energy I bet the lights flicker.

      1. I bet you’re right! I hope they do flicker. Hollis gets credit for volcanic asshole. If she stole it, that’s on her haha.

        1. It’s destined to be a classic. The imagery is disgusting and apt and so exactly what these guys are.

  12. I will be with you in spirit on September 27th. What happened to freedom of speech ? You and your blog have enlightened so many including myself. This situation could end up in a much higher court then Judge Craigs courtroom.

    1. This blog is good for the community, for society. I will stand firm that the benefits to the greater good outweigh the negatives Donkey feels. He doesn’t like it and it’s his own damn fault for searching for it in the first place.

  13. Your post is rather timely. I recieved and an enail from the ex-narc to take down my blog or he will sue me for libel, slander, defamantion of character (seriously?!!), and extortion (he owes me money). I sent him a nasty email back. I haven’t heard from him but I am now looking into getting a lawyer to review my blog to make sure I am within the bounds of the law. Remember that it is only slander or libel if it is a lie and the burden of proof is on the one making the claim. Also they have to prove that somehow it affected them financially. I have been also told to argue my first ammendment right to free speech.Also can you get a petition going that can be presented to the judge on the merits of the blog and how it helps the community. I would sign it.

    1. My lawyer told me as far as any lawsuits for defamation of character, I should be alright because I don’t use his name and everything I have shared is the truth. I forgot about the financial burden. Yeah, mine can’t prove that since he’s newly employed with Lockheed Martin, which came with a, in his words, substantial pay raise. So far this is just an attempt to use the children to get to me, and not an official libel lawsuit, though I wouldn’t put it past him to try that if the judge doesn’t (somehow, please, maybe this time) take Donkey’s lies over my truth.
      I hope that email to you was an empty threat, him trying to regain control. It’s funny how impressive these guys try to talk. Libel, slander, and defamation of character are all essentially the same thing – libel is written DoC and slander is spoken DoC. He can’t go after you for all three.

  14. What. An. Ass. I wish you all the best, I will think of you on that day and send vibes that can hopefully be part of a cloak of well wishes to shield you from this kind of bullshit. I loved the poster you included about speaking truth. No matter what happens, you will have helped yourself and others through your writing so far, and nothing can change that.

    1. Thank you Jennie. And you’re right, nothing can take away the benefits of the last 18 months of sharing my story.

  15. What the what?
    How can that be part of the hearing? How can he insist you take it down without admitting that the contents are true? Otherwise it could all just be a work of fiction, right?
    The state of our legal system is frighteningly sad.

    1. It’s part of the hearing because he made it a part of the hearing by throwing it in as a negotiation point to try to manipulate me out of time with my kids.
      He’s not suing me for libel, but what he’s doing is much worse.

      1. Sounds like blackmail… sounds disgusting… I’m sorry that you have to deal with that.

        1. Thank you. It’s infuriating and mindnumbing, and I just can’t wrap my head around why he dragged this space into it all.

          1. Because he knows it means something to you… and that’s enough to want to ruin it for you.

            1. It means more to me now with the greater community focus it has than it did in the past when I focused on myself. It’s growing and it’s important in breaking the cycle of silence.

              1. Agreed. While this space is still about you, it is also about the voice of others, sharing their stories, building community and awareness, and helping those in need. If a judge can’t see that, then they have no business sitting on the bench.

                1. Well, this is the same judge who gave residential custody to a man who beat his children’s mother in front of them.

                  1. Yeahhhhhh, I already had no faith in the our current judicial/legal system, and the more I hear about the more that lack of faith is turning into contempt.

                    1. Justice and the justice system don’t often intersect.

                    2. Sticks in my craw. Why even bother with the pretense then? Why not just advertise – victory to whoever spends the most money.

                    3. It’s in the fine print, but like the end of a Chuck Lorre sitcom, it goes by too fast to read it all.

                    4. I’m not crazy…
                      … My mother had me tested.

                    5. Yes! I needed the laugh. Thank you!

                    6. Thanks for bringing it back around to humor.

  16. This is so huge on so many levels, and I do know what you dealing with here. There are far too many asses in the world.
    I will add my voice in any way that I can to yours Melanie, with the all the support as offered already by everyone. Good luck, be well, be ready for anything.

    1. Thank you for adding your support. I cannot even begin to guess what the outcome will be. Not for this, or any of the other matters we have to finalize. It’s ridiculous he muddied the waters by adding this to the mix. We could have settled everything, but then he shoved this in there and he knows I’m not just going to say, “ok I quit the blog”.

      1. You are right, he does know what your response will be. This is his life, without you, he would have to find a new one. Cowards are afraid of the unknown too.

  17. Trying to take away your first amendment right by using it as a bargaining chip, so he can further abuse you. It’s control and CONTROL is abuse! Abuse is domestic violence! Your page does not affect his ability to parent. If it does, he has some serious psychological issues to uncover and correct. Hmmm?

    1. It is an attempt at control, one he may be successful at.

      This blog only affects him because he searched it out and found it and started reading, which was entirely his choice. And now he is blaming me for the suffering he brought on himself. He is an abuser, through and through, head to toe, to his core.

  18. Booooo. Perhaps Donkey needs to be reminded of the first amendment. Luck.

    1. Thank you.
      Donkey needs to be reminded of a lot of things.

  19. Standing with you, hoping the Judge has no choice but to err on the side of truth despite his own narcissism. This blog needs to be here, and since when is it okay to have a court take away your freedom of speech or stop you from whatever blog you want to write! Ugh he makes me angry too. Just know that no matter what happens you are making a difference, changing lives, and bringing narcissistic abuse out of the shadows! I wish all of us could write something to this judge but like you said, he probably wouldn’t accept it. You have incredible courage despite the pain I know your in over this. Lots of love. I’m with you, we’re with you in spirit! xo

    1. The judge believed Donkey in the divorce, so his idea of the truth is I was never abused.
      The judge can do whatever he wants to do.
      I’m not giving up without a fight. I am stronger for the support and kindness. Thank you for being a part of this.

  20. I hope I’m not violating internet/blog etiquette, but you might contact Tina at One Mom’s Battle blog. She went through a court battle over her blog with her narcissist ex about a year ago (in California, though, which might make a difference…although we have whack-job judges here, too). She won and I’m pretty sure she defended herself. She may have some good advice. Wishing you the very best in your case.

    1. You are not violating any etiquette. I read Tina, but I forgot about her battle for her blog. I’ll go back and read what she had to write about it. Thank you for the reminder and thank you for the good wishes.

    2. I posted on the One Moms Battle FB page and have received a lot of helpful comments. Thank you!

      1. Great! I hope you (and common sense, jeez) prevail!

  21. Will support you I am surprised you got found you have supported the world with your blog. The world is wrong we have a voice and it needs to be heard

    1. Thank you Bee. He found me over a year ago and has been trying to use my words against me ever since, which is another reason to fight for this blog. I have a voice now and I’m using it and he wants to degrade me for it, but it hasn’t worked. I’m still writing and getting stronger for sharing my stories and for working with other survivors to share their stories and make our collective voice louder and stronger every day.

      1. I’ve taken mine down for a bit, my donkey has not found me will put it back up under a different name. It was to close with initials and all that even though he never found me or anything just not taking any chances I hope to get it done today. It all through me for a bit with my health problems, then getting told I got emphysema through second hand smoke, donkey was the smoker

  22. Will be thinking about you and sending positive thoughts your way. I totally agree this is a very important forum, and that truths need to be told when it comes to domestic violence and abuse. However, the most important thing is for you to be able to spend as much time with your children as possible. Your ex will forever be an asshat, or as Molly put it, “a volcanic asshole” (which I love by the way). All my love and support to you!

    1. Spending time with my children is important, so if the judge decides Donkey is allowed to use the blog as a means of manipulation to determine how much time I have with them, then I will delete it (at the last allowable second).
      Thank you for your kindness and support. (and, yeah, “volcanic asshole” is great!)

  23. melanie do you have a link to the one moms battel post you put up I looked for it but could not find it. I too am interested in their advice regarding the blogs.

    1. I only found two and stopped there:
      http://onemomsbattle.com/2011/11/17/being-intimidated/
      http://onemomsbattle.com/2011/11/18/hearing-request-denied/
      I did post to the OMB FB page for advice and got a some:

  24. thank you so helpful. I know you asked me to do a guest post—–let me work on consoldating my story into one or two posts over the weekend and i can email to you.

    1. Wonderful. Thank you – but only if it’s safe for you. We can use the anonymous account if you need it.

  25. […] she’s a writer…she was writing when we got married…she was a creative writing major…. He hates my writing, telling me […]

  26. […] was reading a post from Deliberate Donkey a few days ago where she mentioned that her Abusive soon to be ex-husband was going to ask the […]

  27. No names are mentioned in this blog, does that mean he is admitting to the abuse if he knows it is about him? I don’t think there’s any way he can win on this one (if the world is a fair place.) I’m so angry for you, and sorry that you are going through even more stress after everything else! Much love, hope it all goes well! xxx

    1. Nope, no names, so unless he changes his legal name to Donkey, his name isn’t on here. I sure hope he doesn’t win either.
      Thank you for your kindness and support!

  28. Melanie, you’re a brave lady. Despite the outcome, you’ve always got your strength of character and that’s gonna pull you through. Good luck!!!!!!

    1. Thank you! Brave takes a lot of energy, and I’m wearing out. I hope I pull through with this, and if I don’t, I’ll figure out how to move on, again.

  29. The Judge’s ruling is unconstitutional on it’s face. You may well have to take the blog down but you will get it and your costs back on appeal and you will have written new law, the benefits of which for all victims and survivors of abuse will far outstrip the short term stifling of your voice. be positive, be brave.

    1. If he takes it down, then it will be. There’s no reason to shut this space down, not if he sees it for what it is and not what Donkey believes it is. I will take it down if that’s what I’m ordered to do, and I will turn right around and fight for it to be brought back up.

  30. stephanie · · Reply

    Melanie- we faced Judge Craig in 2011 when we asked to move because of work. He allowed it but when we brought a therapist who had been seeing my child for years he dismissed what she had to say. I’ve been divorced for 10 years. This is a person who never kept up on visitation or child support but when we asked to move realized he was losing control of me. So he fought us, the judge went his way even with testimony from a therapist that had been seeing the child for 3 years with reports of severe abuse to his wife and other children in front of mine own child. Well move forward one year and he finally put his hands on my child, he now has an injunction on him but its a joke he still gets to see the child but hasn’t because he signed his visitation away for 2013. He is now stating he will see the child in 2014. I’ve got news for him, the child is now a teenager and much stronger than the child was before. The child won’t stand for any abuse and will report it immediately. I will fight the court system with everything to protect my child and I will appeal it if it comes too it. I will you luck with your situation. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this about Judge Craig……appeal appeal appeal is all I can say!!!!!! report him to the board (ask your lawyer)

  31. […] being an asshole about what time the kids and I have together, he hasn’t gotten away with closing this blog, and a woman’s life was saved. In 2013, I was Freshly Pressed three times, wrote six guest […]

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