I'm Hillary Adams, the girl in the Judge William Adams beating video. Reddit rescued me. AMA
--------UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE--------
Thank you, thank you for stopping in! I've been at this AMA for two days straight, so I think I'm going to wrap it up until further notice. If you'd still like to get in touch with me, feel free to send a mention on twitter to @shoeofallcosmos.
See you guys later!
Also here's the proof I completely forgot to provide, me looking like a bucktoothed idiot: http://i.imgur.com/vDuqm.jpg
--------UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE--------
ORIGINAL VIDEO OF THE BEATING, WARNING IF YOU ARE SQUEAMISH: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wl9y3SIPt7o
There will be a live video AMA this evening on Vokle at 7 central time. Thursday, December 1st, 7 central, 8 eastern. http://www.vokle.com/series/19652-hillary-adams
Reddit was the reason my mother and I actually have ground to stand on now, because no one ever believed us before the video was made public. No one believed my father was such a person. He was so perfect on the outside.
I've gotten messages from literally all over the world, Germany, Costa Rica, Netherlands, Australia, France, Mexico, the UK... I had no idea it was such a global issue, that so many people were being hurt in their own homes. I guess nobody really knows how to talk about it, since we're all badgered by our own respective situations into remaining quiet. Well, that silence has been broken, and now a lot of people are speaking out about their own experiences with abusive parents. Today I'm here to share my own story with you guys.
Thirty days ago, I was watching open-mouthed as the video's link climbed up to front page. Reddit, thank you for saving not only me and my mother, but many other people out there who may not know what they're dealing with at home.
And now, I will get some basic questions out of the way to make room for the more unique questions I'm sure you Redditors can come up with.
There was barely a motive except for being frustrated at Dad's harassment over text messaging to both myself and my mother. My mother would call me and cry, helpless and angry at his manipulation through my little sister. I was sick of it.
A little over a year ago, Dad insisted on buying me a used Mercedes (I originally asked for a Mazda, but I went along with his idea because holy soap on a rope, a Mercedes!), and then yelled at me whenever I used it to transport anyone other than myself. The agreement was that I was to return to college, and when I missed deadlines (my fault entirely), he told me to either purchase the car from him or return it and he'd release my school savings to me. I told him "speak of the devil, I'm waiting on a callback for a better job".
Later that day, "I got the job! I can pay you for the car!" Then suddenly, he wouldn't allow me to buy it and called me an "insulting ingrate", because I'd dared earlier to reach out to friends on twitter about his treatment of me and my mother. He couldn't stand that I found a solution and was even more upset that I'd said a few words suggesting he was not perfect, and set me up for failure by demanding the car back and stranding me without a vehicle in the spread-out San Antonio, Texas, so there was barely any reliable way I could hold a job or go to college now.
I was so frustrated by his behavior that I uploaded the video privately and showed Mom, who burst out crying and didn't stop apologizing to me for three days. She'd known the video existed since Spring, but had not watched it. I told her I was thinking of publishing it. She was afraid of what would happen and didn't encourage me nor hold me back. After sleeping on it, Dad started harassing me about the car again, demanding it be returned. I finally said "do that and I release a video to the public of you beating the shit out of me".
His response? "Do that if it will make you feel better. You were never spanked but obviously should have been."
Q: Why not solve it in private rather than going to the internet? A: Dad was a County Court-At-Law Judge. This meant he reigned over the county police, the entire courthouse, and different positions in town like the schoolboard. He was the perfect citizen. People swooned over him. He won every election unopposed, and the two times he did have an opponent, he won by a landslide. During the divorce when Mom felt threatened enough to call the police, Dad would talk to them and they'd mysteriously leave. She tried talking to a counselor, but Dad had filled him in beforehand on the "correct" way to treat her complaints. Whenever I tried to say I needed help and was being treated horrifically at home, people would scoff and tell me what a wonderful father I had. THERE WAS NO WAY TO SOLVE IT PRIVATELY, because Dad would squash any outreach. He controlled the community. Anyone remotely employed with the government who knew how he really operated was scared to death to come forward, because he could have them fired. He even threatened my little sister's school counselor's job if she said anything suggesting abuse during sessions. I even called CPS days before the video went up and asked how to get a kid away from a severely manipulative and emotionally abusive parent, and I got fed a big ream of red tape. Everything was useless. He had always been winning and it wasn't changing.
My father once told me that the media could be considered like another branch of the law system, in a different sort of way, because they keep tabs on all kinds of other people. I remembered this. If the law was his turf, then the internet was mine. And if the internet could keep tabs on the law, then...
I anonymously posted the video to /pol/, not saying I had anything to do with it. When anons became outraged and demanded to know what was going on, I revealed that it was me. They encouraged me to make the video's youtube link public. So I did, and comments started appearing. That's when the fire bit me and I posted it to Reddit.
Q: So your motive was... A: To shock Dad into changing. I wanted him to see that there were a number of people who were saying this was wrong. It was wrong what he did. I wanted him to see it and the comments and be horrified and apologize. I wanted to turn a mirror on him. Instead, he still believes he did nothing bad, as evidenced in this statement: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ye2UeLBGnlk
Q: But wait! He says you were caught stealing! A: I used KaZaA to download video game music and terrible AMVs. All he knew was that something was potentially illegal. I was one of the best kids in town, my friends and I didn't stay out late, we didn't cause trouble, we didn't know what drugs and alcohol even were. We didn't even litter. Our idea of a fun time was going to a movie and Walmart. So any tiny thing that I did that could even be perceived as wrong was blown out of proportion.
Q: He also says you weren't hurt. A: Pfffffthahahahaha, I showed him the bruises all up and down my legs the day after the incident, and told him it hurt to walk. He looked at me with his own two eyes and told me "good". It is a preposterous lie that I wasn't hurt and I'm upset he would say such a thing. He also lied through his teeth in the statement he released to the public, in which he said he was the "primary" support for me after I was out of the house, which is frankly a load of bullshit. I work and my boyfriend works. We pay our own bills, and we always have. The only things my father paid for was my car and my phone, so he had control over my transportation and communication. The perfect puppet strings.
Q: Why have you forgiven your mother and not your father? A: Mom and I have always been best friends, and always were able to work through things, even if we squabbled. We spent so much time together. She gave up her career to raise me, a special needs baby, and guided me into college classes at age 15, and scholarships like the Coca-Cola Scholarship. Without her I don't know if I'd be this far. When I showed her the video, she was horrified. She was broken. She cried and stammered apologies to me for three days. When Dad saw the video, he didn't think anything of it.
My grandmother once said a long time ago that it would take the entire world to get my father to change... Now we have it, and it's still proving to be difficult... It's so hard to stick to my guns of wanting to offer him help and counseling, because the more he withdraws and refuses to apologize, the more upset I am becoming. I still need counseling myself.
No one at all should have to understand abuse or how it works, but unfortunately it's something that should be researched and taught, so we know how to protect ourselves. Please, if you have never been manipulated or abused, think about inflammatory comments very carefully. There are lots of people out there who share this unfortunate boat and it won't help a thing to make light of it. Research battered wives, Stockholm Syndrome, narcissism, psychopathy, and the cycle of abuse that keeps people locked in. It's frightening and absolutely anyone 100% can fall into it under the right circumstances. Don't feed that line of "I would have just walked away". No, you wouldn't have. I apologize for being crass. This is a serious subject. Hopefully we can together approach it with tact and friendliness.
Alrighty, I think I got the main questions out of the way already. I know it's a wall of text, but it's so difficult to condense... Hopefully you guys will come up with some more creative questions instead!!
I really hope you'll join me tomorrow evening for the video broadcast! :3 I want to talk about experience with the media and what Dr. Phil was like and all that.
But most of all, thank you, Reddit. You guys saved me and my mother, and you saved countless other people out there too. I myself had no idea that video was so bad until you guys and /pol/ told me. Thank you.