dara examiner airplaneJapan was just a place for us to gather our thoughts since there was no time or opportunity to do so calmly and quietly in Germany so we only booked ourselves there for three days.

Not knowing if we were "wanted" or by whom for what exactly, we considered mom's options:

  1. Return to Germany
  2. Ask for political asylum in Japan
  3. Return to the United States, notify authorities of all that occurred and beg for protective custody

dara examiner haircutsBelieve it or not, there actually were some brief moments of comic relief throughout this odyssey - starting when we got to Japan. Although I'm 1/2 Japanese, I can't speak any and after asking a few Narita airport employees for information, mom made the observation that the Japanese were looking at me strangely when I'd speak to them in English. We finally figured out that they must not have understood why someone who looked Japanese couldn't speak Japanese.

Then there was the time when mom and I tried to scoot past a drunk wedding party reception in our hotel's ballroom floor to get to the elevator. The crowd of boisterous party goers made mom extremely anxious so she latched onto my arm as we successfully moved behind the crowd that appeared to have no interest in the elevators. Because no one was facing the elevators and mom was so anxious, I tried to lighten the mood by asking, "So - what are the chances that all of these people are going to pile into our elevator?" Mom wasn't amused.

dara examiner christineChristine: A guardian angel and one of the heros of this story. Credits: Dara CarlinEarlier in the week, I had been talking with one of the military wives who had told me that the military had no hold over wives and children because they're not the ones who are enlisted. She told me I was free to take my mom and leave the country on vacation – that it was perfectly legal and that no permission was needed from anyone.

dara examiner mahtab ironI don't think I've ever been more scared in my entire life. The attack against my survivor mom that evening would be the first of four similar incidents where I would be apart from mom for a time frame of 2 – 5 minutes tops. Each time, mom was hit on the back of the head and bound in some way by her hands, feet or both and in one instance when I found her, she had been gagged so tightly that I couldn't undo the knots that tied the material around her mouth so I had to use a box cutter to cut the gag off of her.

I'm actually caught between two incidents in terms of which was the scariest:

View slideshow: Seeing is believing

 

Examiner-logoIt was actually supposed to be quite simple: one of my domestic violence survivor moms whose been happily remarried for the past 6 years after "successfully escaping" her abuser was experiencing some "operating difficulties" in Germany (where her current husband is stationed although his unit was deployed to Afghanistan last fall) so I figured I'd hop on over there, calm the crisis and in worst case scenario, have her and the kids come back with me to Hawaii (where she's originally from) so all would be stable until her husband returned from deployment in June/July. (I should know better by now that NOTHING is simple where DV is concerned...)

I arrived in Munich on January 25th after traveling 23 hours and was picked up by my survivor mom and her three children, where we subsequently got on the Autobahn and drove past beautiful, majestic, snow-covered country-side and forests of evergreen trees to their home in Eschenbach, Bavaria. That peaceful, scenic drive to Bavaria would stand in stark contrast to the events that followed in the following weeks.

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