777 - Truth Will Out

I filed charges for Domestic Violence, Assault & Battery against Richard Stanley, my then long term life & creative partner in October, 2014, after he beat the shit out of me in our car parked behind the Banque Postale in Lavelanet, France when we were returning from a film festival in London. It was not the first time he had beaten me. In fact, he beaten the shit out of me numerous times, but I finally pressed charges against him that time. I had been taken to the doctor with two black eyes, a badly sprained possibly broken finger, throttle marks around my throat, bruises all over my head, chest and shoulders, and a concussion. I also had bruises on my head, chest and back that were still healing as he had attacked me at a friend’s apartment in London a few days earlier. A friend of mine in London saw the bruises and urged me to leave him.  

The first time Richard hit me was after the filming of Mother of Toads. He was convinced I had lost a couple of books of his which had been used for props. We had just moved into a new house in the village and everything was still in boxes. I awoke to see him standing over me, shaking in rage, foaming at the mouth, screaming about his books that I had supposedly lost. When I asked him what he was talking about, he launched at me, hitting me in the mouth and scratching my throat. I ran out of the house, jumped in the car and drove to the car park below the castle and wept. I’d never been hit like that before. I had no idea what to do about it. Although I had acquaintances at this time I had no real friends in the village. Nor did I speak the language well. And a few days later, he found those fucking books in an unopened box upstairs. 

That second winter in Montsegur was harsh. We were not prepared to be living in that old house which only had an open fireplace for heating. The days were long and dark and cold. Spring came and I found out that Richard had invited his ex-girlfriend to be his date at the premiere of The Theatre Bizarre, the movie we had both busted our asses over to get made. I was devastated. So I confronted him and he knocked me down, slamming my head into the tile floor over and over and over. I took off for LA for a while. But to my discredit and my shame, he talked me back again. There were promises of him getting help for his anger problems, that we would build this fabulous future, and make amazing movies, and books--I mean the White Lady had shown herself to us--we had a duty to her. Just him and I and the Light Against the World. It would all be glorious. And sometimes, for tiny periods of time, it was that way--but it never lasted.

A few months later, I escaped from the second story window after he had beaten me up. I left for a couple of months, but Richard figured out where I was staying and got a mutual friend to drive him there. Upon arrival, he knelt down, asking me to marry him. I went back even though I knew I was making a terrible mistake. But we had been together for so many years at this point that I was turned around and upside down--not only from the physical violence, but also the gaslighting, and outright lies that our whole existence was based upon. I’ve always considered myself to be a kind of savvy person, but I was lost as fuck. Lost with no set of bearings, no compass, no roadmap as to how to escape the hell I found myself in. And I was good and in it.

And even before we had left for the film festival in London, (the one from which we returned, but I never saw my home again) we had another fight. I tried to leave. He caught me and managed to knock me out in the upstairs bathroom. I came to as he was dragging me down the stairs by my hair. He closed all the windows and locked the door from the inside so I couldn’t escape, telling me for hours what a waste of space I was and that he was going to kill me. I have never been so scared in my life. I don’t know how to describe it other than some part of me died that day. And then I somehow pulled it together and did that film festival in London. It was like living a nightmare in the real time.  

After I pressed charges, I went into hiding for a month and a half before landing in LA. I had nothing. Nothing. No money. No job. Staying at a producer’s apartment who I had never even met. I was a fucking mess; scared and foggy-brained--a walking shell of a human being. Then, I met a man who I really dug. I connected with some old friends from Chicago. Things got a little better. I was remembering how to laugh again and what kindness felt like. Then, Richard followed me to LA. In my idiocy, I thought maybe we could have a professional relationship (I had worked very hard on many film projects over the years and it was horrible to let those go) but he showed me time and time again just what a dangerous person he is. I went to the police after one particular incident. It had to do with a crime called revenge porn that is so humiliating and demeaning and awful and violating that no one should ever be subjected to it. I sent a lawyer after Richard. I talked to the FBI. I blocked him from any form of communication.

I’m sorry I wasn’t brave enough to speak up at the time. And to hear he has kept on abusing other women, physically, emotionally, sexually, financially and spiritually, kills me. I had been living in such a toxic environment for so long that once free I felt small and powerless--damaged and tainted. I suffered intense nightmares, PTSD, and literally could not get my shit together. All I could do was write for the first many months. Write and write until the poison was out of my veins. Then, I started to piece my life back together.

I cannot believe the magnitude of destruction Richard has left in his wake and managed to conceal. And not so cleverly I might add. The party line when I finally left him in 2014 was that if I hadn’t been so ‘crazy’ and if he was with another woman who was less ‘crazy’ he would cease to act in such a way--that I drove him to it. This is what he told people and they believed him. And yet, as numerous women come forward, all with shockingly similar stories to mine, it’s pretty clear that his patterns are well established and they stem from his own seriously dangerous anger management issues. He is a serial predator par excellence. I am not perfect, but in no way did I deserve the shit that he did to me for so many fucking years. No one deserves to be beaten like a dog and told they are ‘a talentless cunt, riding on his coattails’, and someone who needed to ‘get cancer and die’ or are some ‘lazy fat-assed bitch who had never made a dime in her life.’ --and it only gets worse from there.

Now there are another set of charges against him for Domestic Violence, Assault & Battery from another woman who was his partner. Another woman who believed him and loved him, and whom he beat the shit out more than once, and who was afraid she was going to die by his hand. I remember that feeling all too well.

And to those people in Occitania who saw me black and blue, and knew what he was doing to me, and yet still continued, and continue, to champion him--refusing to take sides, or burying your head in the sand--you are shit people. You can pretend to be totally spiritual, but you are weak and shitty people. But hey, you have to look at yourself in the mirror and know that you knowingly enabled a serial abuser who has seriously damaged quite a few women at this point. Well done. I’m sure The White Lady applauds you.

I am beyond grateful for the life I have now. I’m thankful to wake up safe every morning and to no longer worry that something I say or do (often it never had anything to do with me, I was the closest target) will cause someone to physically, and / or emotionally harm me. I have spent many years making a life that I absolutely love, and have awesome projects with people whom I admire. For now, the ugly smoke and mirrors of abuse are a thing of the past, although the shame and the specter of it never really leaves. I think once you’ve been hurt that badly by someone it always stays with you on some level. But it no longer defines me, although it did for a very long time. Richard may no longer be my monster, but as he continues to abuse women he is involved with in the exact same way he abused me, he is now their monster--and a bigger monster at that. Malignant narcissist, bully, sexual deviant, rapist, abuser, batterer, monster. There are no other words.

To people who are caught in similar situations with abusive malignant narcissists and abusers--it never gets better. There is no fix. There is no answer. The only thing you can do is save yourself. Call the Domestic Abuse Hotline. Find resources in your area that can help. I took the bus to a therapist at Peace Over Violence, a non-profit organization in LA for battered women, for months and months. And then I went to group sessions there as well. It gave me tools for survival and helped me begin to heal. Read everything you can on the subject. There are many good books out there. Believe me, you will recognize the patterns pretty quickly. It is a miasma you are dealing with. I often liken it to being lost in a labyrinth of lies and deceit and there seems to be no way out. The first step is getting away safely. The second step is find help--gather your resources. The third step--no contact. The fourth step--give yourself time. Things do get better, but it takes a lot of time.

Truth Will Out.

Truth Will Out.

Truth Will Out.

I've lived with this nightmare long enough and I fucking refuse to be scared anymore...

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