I have heard the cliché about one’s life flashing before their eyes when they think that they have all during a near death experience.  But that night, as I was laying there, convinced I was going to die – I did not see any pictures from my life. I guess I had always assumed that one would envision Interesting life moments flickering through their head like an old-fashioned vacation slide show – but that is not what consumed my mind.  All I could think of was numbers.

Ten. There are ten pints of blood in the human body.

I laid there, on my memory foam mattress, trying to determine how many pints of blood the mattress could absorb before spilling onto the floor.

It was about 3 or 4am when the sound of my (now ex) husband’s cowboy boots on my hardwood floors woke me up. As soon as I heard the ca-thunk of his boots, I felt my heart stop and time seemed to move in slow motion. Numbers – 911. I recall immediately reached for my phone to dial 911. In what felt like a split second, he grabbed my phone from my hands shoved it into his back pocket and then pinned me to the bed while straddling my waist.  

He kept yelling at me, instructing me not to move.  I tried to wiggle away from under him, but he had me pinned to my bed, straddling my waist with his hunting knife pressing firmly into my sternum.  “You have to die, you understand that don’t you?” he said, “You have to die.”

2 ½ – the age of my daughter who was curled up like a pill bug snuggled up to my left shoulder.

I tried to conceal my panic as I did not want to upset or wake her. A thousand thoughts flew through my head – I considered trying to reach my cell phone which he had shoved into his back pocket.

As if he was reading my mind he screamed and me and told me not to move again. I looked out the window to the right of my bed. He asked me if I told the neighbors about the protection order and then explained that if he were to hear sirens that he would kill me immediately. He told me that if the cops were to show up that they would have to shoot him off of me.  He continued to scream, shouting things like “You have to F*ing die” for 5 maybe 10 minutes until our daughter, E****, finally woke up.

E**** had a look of sheer terror on her face, but she did not cry.  She just kept whimpering, “Daddy stop hurting mommy, Daddy be nice, Daddy you go on time out”.   I tried to convince her that daddy was just being silly and playing a game.

Six. The length of the blade on his hunting knife.

I don’t exactly know how long his hunting knife was – but it had to be close to that. I remember trying to figure out how deep the knife would penetrate – and how much force it would take in order to damage a vital organ.  As he continued to press the knife down towards my chest – I tried to roll, concentrating on that 6 inches and wishing I had taken a human anatomy course in college. I debated with myself on the best way to position my body so that he would hit a non-vital organ. I started thinking about 10 pints of blood again. I was devastated for my daughter – wondering what would happen once that knife penetrated my chest.  

I reacted by babbling – I kept talking as much as I could about anything and everything. I asked him if he was going to hurt E****, and he said and he nonchalantly said that he would never hurt his baby.  

“Well don’t you think murdering her mommy in front of her is going to hurt her?” I asked him. He shook his head and kept on screaming at me continuing to tell me to not move. He alternated between shoving the knife into my sternum, pressing it to my neck, and holding it with both hands above my heart.

He raised his arms above his head as he gripped both hands around the handle of the knife, “Say Hello, to Grandma.” It felt like both my lungs stopped working and my heart beat in a decrescendo. We had moved back to Minnesota from Texas 9 months prior because my grandmother had died.

He continued to ramble on about how he had to kill me – especially because he had violated a protection order. He explained to me that if he was going to go to jail then he was going to make sure that it was for doing something worth going to jail for.  It felt like hours had passed – realistically it was probably more like 20 or 30 minutes.  I had lost count of the number of times that he told me I had “to die.”

Eventually a feeling of acceptance pouring over me.  I remember thinking that this was my fate and that I should not try to fight it. And that is when I started praying. I remember praying that someone would find my body quickly and custody of my daughter could be given to my family.

He suddenly holstered the knife and told me that he changed his mind.  He then carried our daughter into her bedroom and locked her bedroom door. Her little fingers were reaching under the door as she screamed, “Mommy, Mommy, Mommy!”

I asked for permission to go to get some water. Consenting, he followed me into the kitchen and set the knife down onto the counter next to where I was standing. He kept on muttering about how he would never hurt me, and how he wanted to reconcile. He asked if me if I wanted to have sex with him.  

As volatile as he was, I was not sure what would set him off again, I whether he would change his mind about killing me if I turned him down. Especially now that E*** was no longer in the same room to witness.  I decided that the safest thing to do was to go along with it, and I followed him back into the bedroom.

During sex, he kept telling me that he didn’t want to hurt me. He kept on saying “I hope you don’t tell the police I raped you, you suggested this.”

He decided that he should leave. He holstered his knifed and snapped the holder thing down. He then asked me to grab his hooded sweatshirt “I can’t be seen here, they will arrest me. Promise me you won’t call the police, promise me” Then he kissed me and took off running down the street.

I was terrified that he was going to come back, I locked the deadbolt, however I had not had a chance to have the locks changed since I acquired the Protection Order – I was worried a locked deadbolt would not do me any good, as I think he may have let himself in with a key.

That is when I started with my phone calls. Terrified to call 911, I decided first to call my lawyer – but got his voicemail. Ultimately I knew that I was going to have to call the police, I next called my father. I remember being very grateful that he answered his phone – I wanted someone to help me with E**** before the police would arrive.  My last call was 911 – I told the dispatcher that about how terrified I was – especially as he had promised me that he was going to kill me and make the cops “shoot him off”.  I wondered if he was sitting around the corner or outside the house waiting for the sirens – a sign that he should finish his original task.

And now – there is a plea deal. The Prosecutor agreed to drop the “rape” charges if he agreed to plead guilty to a felony domestic assault and a felony violation of a restraining order.

It was explained to me that the “rape” would be difficult to prove. That it will become a he said/she said thing… That the defense will paint me in an unflattering light and would obviously argue consent…  Of course, I have and did use the term “consent” – with the police officers that showed up that night, and with the Sex Crimes detective.  I guess it was a trade, I suppose.  I consented to have sex with him since he had consented to not killing me.

Now, I wonder if that was a mistake. Should I have fought?  Perhaps if he had only injured me more severely it would matter more. But I walked away from that night with only bruises and superficial knife wounds.  Maybe I should have let him stab me?  But I didn’t… I ultimately consented. I was scared – scared on many different levels. I was scared about what would happen to my daughter if I was to actually die – and I was also scared about how much it would hurt to have a knife penetrate my abdomen.

I did not want to feel that pain – so I consented. I consented and the rape charges have now been dropped.

There is a part of me that feels like he has won – he broke into my house with the intent to kill me, we ended up bartering for my life and now he is facing probation for a domestic assault charge and a violation of a restraining order. While my advocate and the prosecutor have assured me otherwise, it feels to me that he is going to get a slap on the wrist. It feels like the court/justice system does not actually care.

From what I see – he has a pattern of violence that has been compounded by his excessive binge drinking. I know there was a women before me who was a survivor of one of his violent attacks. And then I had two incidents that I chose not to press charges – and then this night. I have seen him escalate. And I can only hope that he stops or his behavior is stopped before the next victim is hauled away by a coroner.