My Letter to Cindy Scott

[From an email that I sent on 1/26/2014 to the prosecutor in my ex-husband’s domestic battery case.]

Dear Cindy,

I am writing to let you know how disappointed I am in the handling of my ex-husband, Joshua Caleb Winters, Domestic Battery case.
Caleb would have killed me if I had stayed with him.  He punched me in the head repeatedly, he strangled me, and he threatened to kill me.  I lived my life in terror of him, and I didn’t call 911 until things had gotten so bad, and he had broken so many phones when I wanted to call for help in the past, that I panicked.
I tried to reach out to you, and I tried to make contact with you, and you never acknowledged my emails or my contacts.  I called the Victims Assistance Program, and I called RDVIC, and still, you never contacted me.
The only thing I asked was that my ex-husband be mandated to take Batterer’s Intervention classes. If you had called me, then I could have told you that the counselor who he went to Anger Management with, Charles Cotrill, was someone he started seeing before his abuse escalated. He got worse after he started seeing “Charlie.” Caleb started seeing Charlie as a way of trying to keep me, not as a measure of genuine reform.  He had been seeing a counselor, Dr. Ed Jacobs, who had been helping him, but Ed told him hard truths about his behavior, so he quit seeing Ed and started seeing Charlie instead. Even then, Caleb never admitted to Ed or Charlie the extent of his behavior.  I went with Caleb to see Ed, but I was too scared to tell him how much Caleb was abusing me.  I believed that Caleb was telling his counselors the truth, and that was part of the reason I stayed married to him for so long after his abuse got extremely violent–because I thought he was getting treatment–but after I left Caleb, I spoke with Ed who told me that he had no idea how much Caleb was abusing me, that Caleb had lied to him completely.
Charlie, in contrast to Ed, told Caleb that he was the victim. He made Caleb feel even more powerful. After Caleb started seeing Charlie, his abuse got so bad and so frequent that I started missing work and lunch dates with friends because I could no longer hide the bruises. I asked Caleb why he had gotten worse after seeing Charlie, and his answer was “Charlie makes me feel good about myself so I don’t need to take your shit anymore.”  This was before he held me down and spit in my face, before he punched me in the spine so hard that I stopped breathing, before he held me down by my neck and cut my lip open  with a pill bottle of Ambien while he was trying to make me swallow the entire bottle, before he told me that he was going to commit himself to Chestnut Ridge because he couldn’t stop fantasizing about killing me, before he chased me into the street in his bare feet in front of the RAs at the dorm while I tried to escape and begged them to call the police.
Charlie made Caleb worse.  I tried to tell you that in my first email that I sent to you.  I tried to call you and tell you that in person, but you never spoke to me.
 I am just so devastated.  I realize that, in your position, you become desensitized to the plight of others.  I realize that, when you are dealing with abuse situations that have multiple stab wounds, someone throwing a bowl at another person might not seem like that big of a deal, but I am a person.  I am a person who feared for my life, who had to hide bruises and lie to friends and family, who got evicted from her home after her husband was arrested, who had to live on the floor of a friend’s house with her child for a month, who had to live in three different states in one year while she tried to escape, who has Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, who has been blamed and manipulated by the person who abused her for years, and who was ignored by the system that was supposed to protect her.
The only thing I wanted was for him to take Batterer’s Intervention courses, and on Friday, when I spoke with Sharon from the Victim’s Assistance Program, she told me that he had taken Batterer’s Intervention courses.  If I had known that he hadn’t, I would have insisted upon a trial.  I would have taken my chances at 50/50 because someone like him should not be let go with no consequence.
I realize that you have asked him to write a letter of apology to me, and I appreciate that–and I do want that letter–but that letter will not be sincere.  He is not sorry.  If he was sorry, he would have apologized to me long ago. The letter will probably say things like “I didn’t mean to hurt you” or “I’m sorry if I hurt you.”  Because he has not taken the Batterer’s Intervention classes, he still does not understand that what he does was wrong.
And he will do this to another woman, and now, he will be smarter about it.  He will choose a better victim. He will keep her more isolated.  He will call the police first.  He will not admit to what he’s done when the police come.  He will have her arrested too. When the police arrested him, they asked him “Did she hit you too?”  Caleb said no, then the police officer said “Because we can arrest her too.” That was after Caleb had already said no.  The police officer was basically offering to help him.  The police officer also asked me to describe what happened, and I said that I was walking away from Caleb and he threw the bowl at me.  The other police officer then said “Did he just knock the bowl off the counter and it hit your foot?”  I was confused because I had just told the story, so I said “No, he threw the bowl at me.”  Later, Caleb told me that the police officer wrote in his statement that Caleb knocked the bowl off of the counter, even though Caleb had written in his own statement that he threw it.  I have no way of knowing if this is true because I have not seen the police report, but if it is true, then the police officer was again, trying to help Caleb.  I didn’t want Caleb arrested.  I loved him.  I only wanted him to change, so I begged the police officers not to arrest him.  Maybe that is why they tried to help him.  Maybe they thought they were helping me too.
But those police officers, and your dismissal of his charges, have turned him into the perfect abuser.  He won’t do it to me again, but he will do it to another woman, and she won’t be able to get away because he will be too smart and understand the system too well to let her escape.  My heart breaks for that woman, just as my heart is broken for all of the senseless suffering that my child and I have gone through.
 I don’t know why I’m sending this email. I have received no response from you to my other emails. I can call, but you won’t answer.  Maybe I should send a letter.  Maybe I should send a letter to the judge.  I don’t know.  All I know is that my husband abused me for years, and I thought the legal system was designed to protect me, but all the legal system did was to show him (and me) how untouchable he truly is.
-Kelly

4 thoughts on “My Letter to Cindy Scott

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