Here’s a taste of Gail Gopaul’s memoir, No Regrets. The complete book, in paperback, hardback, e-book, and audio book are Now Available @ Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and Lulu.com!
The Short Arm of the Law
The Many Times He Tried To Kill Me
Kern County is not a good place to get beaten or raped by your husband—especially if you are a black woman from another country.
My husband Carl abused me long before he got into law enforcement. The issues that created the paradox that is Carl began in his childhood, and formed and warped him into the man he is today. Being part of the system didn’t make him an abuser.
It just gave him access to bigger guns.
He would get liquored up, load his guns, and then point them at my head, telling me he would kill me, my sister, my friends, or anyone else that got in his way. I found myself sleeping with a knife under my pillow. I put locks on my bedroom door, only to have him break them.
On several occasions I had to call the police, but I couldn’t bring myself to press charges. Because he was a corrections officer, he could and probably would lose his job. I also didn’t want Michelle to watch her father being taken away in handcuffs. I didn’t see the contradiction that it was okay for Michelle to see her father act like a psychopath, but not see him face the consequences of those actions.
So I would call 911 and then lie to them. I would tell them that my daughter was playing with the phone; that I was teaching her to dial 911 in case of an emergency; that everything was okay, it was just a false alarm; I dialed them by mistake. I kept making excuses. It wasn’t until after I left him, and was in court, reviewing the 911 call sheet that I realized how bad it was. Since June 23, 2004, there had been more than a half-dozen domestic violence calls. I saw the pattern. I would have to call 911 after birthdays, holidays, and parties because he would drink to celebrate and then fall into a rage and come after me. I would get scared for my life and call 911, but then I would be afraid that he would lose his job and so I would then lie about why I called.
It bothers me that the Bakersfield police never intervened. It seems to me, looking at this call sheet, that Kern County law enforcement should have figured it out years ago and stepped in. But it is very difficult when an abuser is part of the legal system. On the few occasions that the police did come to the house, Carl would flash his badge at them, and the police would then tell me to go back into the house. Carl would tell them whatever he wanted and they would leave. They refused to help me. They protected and believed one of their own over the body of evidence before them.
I am not here to condemn law enforcement. It would be ignorant of me to claim that all police officers are bad people. But the system is broken and needs to be fixed. Otherwise, the cycle of domestic violence will just continue, here, and around the world.