Breaking in

On June 17 police received a call from a crying 15 year old girl. She reported that her father George West, 48, was hitting her mother Fatima West and she thought he had a steak knife. Fatima West later wrote in an affavidavit for the application for a restraining order that West had pushed her to the bed, removed her clothing, grabbed her by the throat, held the knife to her chest and threatened to cut and kill her. She also told the court that in the past, West had threatened the children. West was charged with assault and battery and assault with a dangerous weapon. And a restraining order was granted.

 Reportedly on Aug. 28, Fatima West requested the restraining order be dropped. Then the couple allegedly went shopping for a new car for the wife. On Sept. 1 Fatima West filed for a legal separation. Then on Labor Day reportedly Fatima West and the couple’s two children spent time at West’s apartment. One article says the couple were trying to reconcile.

On Tuesday at 3:00 am, police got another call from the 15 year old and from Fatima West. Reportedly the 15 year old told the dispatcher that her father was hitting and strangling her mother. Reportedly Fatima West told the dispatcher “I was sleeping. He tried to open my window and come in,” “I had to push him out… He hit me with his head, he hit me on the face. He was being physical.”

Fatima West also stated that she was sleeping and heard a noise at the window. She saw West trying to wriggle his way into the window, and he was telling her that he had tried to call her and didn’t get an answer. Reportedly when she screamed, he ran away. West was charged with assault and battery and unarmed burglary.

Fri. was a dangerousness hearing for West. In the hearing the prosecutor pointed out that if West was out on bail, he could be a danger to the family. She pointed out that he had trouble maintaining control of his temper and she pointed out that trying to break into the home at 3 am was not rational behavior.

Fatima West reportedly told the court that in the June 17 th incident she had told West she did not love him because of his treatment of her and that she was leaving him. And in Tuesday’s break in that West did not hit her except with his head as he was trying to wriggle through the window. And that he did not strangle her. Reportedly she had previously told the court that she had told West that she had had an affair, but in the hearing she denied that. Fatima West told the court that it would harm West to be held in jail and that what needed was psychological help.

Bail was denied by the court and the restraining order was reinstated.

The couple had been married for 17 years and had two children a girl age 15 and a boy age 11. The 15 year old girl was mentioned with both 911 calls, and that leads me to believe that she saw at least some of both incidents. First she sees her father attacking her mother with a knife and then a little more than a month later, she witnesses her father breaking into her mother’s bedroom. How traumatic that was to her, how frightened she was only she would be able to say.

He called and no one answered. Presuming that he was concerned for the family- he didn’t call police to check on them. He didn’t consider they might be away from the home or that they may be asleep at 3 am. Evidently he also didn’t consider that maybe they just didn’t want to have a conversation at that time. Instead he goes to the home. He doesn’t bang on the door until he roused someone, instead he went to the wife’s bedroom window and tried to climb in. How frightening would that be to wake from sleep in the dark and see someone climbing through the window?

He was unarmed. But consider this- he was breaking into a home that he was intimately familiar with. He would have known the location of any weaponlike items in the home. And even if his original intention was non-violent, how long would it have stayed that way if an argument would have developed over his breaking in?

He needed psychological help. That may be true. But if that is what he thought he needed, he had time to begin that after the June 17 th incident. Either he didn’t feel that he needed it, or it wasn’t working quickly enough to prevent another incident.

They say love is blind. And indeed people in love often have to develop blinders to certain small behaviors of their spouse, behaviors that are irritants but no real problem. But sometimes those blinders can misfunction. Those same blinders will sometimes cause a domestic violence victim to take the blame for causing the violence. It may cause the victim to excuse, ignore, downplay or attempt to deny the seriousness of the violence.

Having someone arrested for a domestic violence incident can feel like disloyalty toward the spouse or partner. It can seem like a denial of any good times they two may have shared. Sometimes it gets forgotten that the first act of disloyalty was committed by the violent partner during the violent episode. And that if there is love there wouldn’t be a desire to hurt or harm, even when attempting to control.  And that what follows is only what is necessary to prevent another occurance.

Also, whoever makes the call for assistance does not get the abuser in trouble. Whoever follows through on the prosecution is not who got them in trouble. What got them in trouble are the actions they took themselves.