I cover this portion of the story in great detail in my memoir, If I Only Knew… However, today I am feeling a bit nostalgic. As we prepare for my book to be featured at this year’s 2013 Los Angeles Times book fair (if you’re there, please visit us at booth # 168), a lot of emotions and thoughts are going through my heart and mind. As an author, I would have preferred to have my given name used, instead, I have to use a pseudonym. All because my ex-husband (an evil and vindictive man) set out to destroy my life. He managed to take a business I had built for over 26 years and destroy it with just a couple of clicks. That’s not the worst of it. He made some very credible threats to kill me. He went so far to hire a hit man who showed up at my doorsteps at work. An amateur, obviously, because you’re reading my post today– so the idiot was just that–a pure dumb shmuck!
The real victim in this story, is my daughter, Bella. She took the threats (which my ex made sure she knew of as well) very hard. When he couldn’t get a reaction out of me, he started terrorizing her. I cover the story in length in my book, but I wanted to give you a little bit of the background story, because I’ve gotten quite a few tweets and emails from men and women who are terrified of their significant others and/or spouses.
The first thing I can suggest is that when someone is holding you mentally hostage or blackmailing you, you have the power (believe it or not) to turn it around. I am so proud of my daughter because she never gave into my ex-huband’s attempts to scare her into doing what he wanted. He was very good at that! Not with Bella, though. She was a fighter from childhood. A survivor with a set of invisible you know what…. The dichotomy is quite interesting, because on one hand she’s extremely sweet and giving and gentle, and on the other hand, she’s a tough cookie. I think it’s in the DNA; not to mention the Sabre (a Sabre is referred to as a native of Israel; and thought of as a strong and no non-sense kind of person) water she grew up on when she was a baby.
In any event, we tried getting help from the police. Each threat he sent us via e-mail or voice mail was laughed at by the local police department. To mock us, they would call another police station in the jurisdiction of where my ex-husband resides. G-d forbid they should have to fill out a police report! It was a joke. They didn’t know my daughter’s determination. After growing frustrated, my daughter who is in her 30s, took matters into her own hands.She then decided to contact the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, where she got to finally speak to a nice investigator, who offered her the option of calling him if she ever needed help. The only thing was that the conversation started with him asking her if she’s making all of this up because my ex destroyed my business and now she was seeking revenge. As if she’d ever feel comfortable speaking to him again after that stupid remark! She was smart enough (she’s my daughter, I’d expect nothing less), to let him know that the proof she had of all the written threats came from him before he destroyed my reputation. It was then that he realized she was on the up-and-up and gave her his cell number. She disposed of it. She didn’t feel he sympathized with our situation. Words have power! Please know that….
That night, she took a blank piece of 8.5×11 blank white paper and wrote in huge black letters H E L P!, and included her number as well. She faxed it to the FBI headquarters in North Miami Beach. I told her she was a fool (we don’t mince words between us) and that she would be ignored. Good for Bella for not listening to me! She immediately got a response and was told that if she really felt in danger, to come in and speak with an agent. My daughter had all of the threats, copies of phone bills, and other items organized in a folder and off we went early the next a.m.
It was an experience to say the least! We went through heavy security checks, until they let us in to a waiting room. I am sure the room was wired (don’t forget, I am the daughter of an ex-British military spy and come from a communistic country, so I know a thing-or-two), and that they were listening to our conversation. About an hour later, an FBI agent called us in and listened to us. My daughter showed him all of the paperwork and proof she had. He told her that we needed to go to the police, as this was a case for local law-enforcement. She voiced her grievances and explained to him that they were condescending and were throwing the case from city-to-city and that the so called ball was flying in the air but no one wanted to catch it. He replied that he didn’t think he could do much for us. I knew it!!!! Or, so I thought I did!
My daughter looked him straight in the eyes and said, “Look, our lawyer knows we’re here. We’ve told several of our friends as well. We’ve documented the time we arrived here and sent a text message to our lawyer upon our arrival (just as a side note: you’re not allowed to bring cell phones into a Federal building. So we left our phones in the car). Should anything happen to us, should we be murdered, it is now well-known that we were here asking the FBI for help. If you refuse us help, it will look very bad in the press.” My God, what a genius move on her part. That completely changed the picture. Suddenly his tone changed. I think he may have even been taken aback by her. He assured us that he would turn over the file to the right department, and if they thought there was any merit to it, they would call us back.
Guess what happened? Of course they called us back. But that part of the story could literally play out like a movie scene. I don’t think that even the most talented screenwriter could come up with what happened next. It’s all covered in my book. Though I will write more about portions of that story in near future.
The moral of this story is– DON’T EVER TAKE NO as an answer. Particularly not from law enforcement, because the last thing they want is bad press! Although I want you to know that I have the utmost respect for the FBI, particularly one incredible agent who saved my daughter’s sanity (and possibly our lives too)!
Until next time……