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A few years ago, when we were covering Charlie Sheen, someone recommended the book Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men by Lundy Bancroft. It helped me understand the cycle of abuse and the way that law enforcement and the court system protect and cover for abusers. I gave a copy to a friend whose ex husband is known as a “great guy” but who regularly lied, gaslighted, cheated and emotionally abused her. He is so utterly charming that a judge in divorce court took his side when he painted my friend as a crazy manipulative harpy. This is all too common.
Jennifer Farley, best known as JWoww from Jersey Shore, married her boyfriend, Roger Mathews, in the fall of 2015. Last fall she filed for divorce. They have two children together, daughter Meilani, four and a half, and son Greyson, who turns three in May. They have had an on-off relationship, with a few reconciliations and have gone to couples’ therapy. (Bancroft writes that couples’ therapy is not helpful at all in abusive relationships as it helps abusers gaslight their victims and make it into a “both sides” issue.) Jennifer just published a long all-caps statement on her website directed at Roger and detailing his abuse and lies. It’s hard to read because it’s so emotionally raw and is frankly triggering. I believe her. This all sounds so textbook and my heart goes out to her. I’ve excerpted some of it below. She also included a scan of the police report containing multiple reports of Roger’s abuse in 2007. He beat her, he destroyed her cellphone and camera and he also stabbed himself when she threatened to leave him. There is a home webcam video of Howard hitting Jennifer. There’s another video of him admitting that he’s on heroin and another where he admits cheating on Jennifer with a married woman. Their kids are there for almost all of it and it’s awful. Here’s some of what she wrote. She’s responding to the way he’s been trashing her on social media, but I’m not going to include his “side” at all.
Why she’s speaking out
I wanted to handle this out of the spotlight because our silence is [for our children's] greater good. Even when you tried to disgrace my name, make false accusations and even point blank lie… I still remained silent. I can no longer sit idly by while you mistreat and malign me.
He fed their son pizza even though he’s allergic
You fed our 2 year-old son [pizza even though he] is highly allergic to gluten and dairy, placing him in serious medical jeopardy. When I asked you about the food situation, you chose to berate me instead of acknowledging that Grayson’s health is of paramount concern. How dare I be worried about our son’s medical condition? It’s only our son’s safety at issue. Apparently, all of his medical professionals are wrong and you know best.
He wouldn’t let a therapist in to see their son
Last week… you refused to open the door to allow the therapist in for Greyson’s scheduled appointment, even though she stood there knocking and ringing the bell for 30 minutes in the freezing cold.
He teamed up with her other abusive ex after she got a restraining order
You personally researched the whereabouts and contacted ex boyfriends of mine to inflict harm upon me after I filed for divorce and you were removed from the home as a result of a temporary restraining order.
It is unfathomable to me that because of you proactively contacting an ex-boyfriend of mine to team up against me, he was arrested for trying to extort money from me.
You know that another ex from my college years brutally beat me so badly that I was hospitalized. He was incarcerated for the violent acts against me. He [stalked me]. When your own acts of domestic violence against me were questioned, you chose to reach out to this unspeakable person to intimidate me. Your attempt to bring this heinous person back into my life after he nearly murdered me speaks volumes as to who you really are.
His abuse is just awful
You have spit at me. You have pushed me. You have shoved me. You have aggressively thrown me to the ground. You have prevented me from closing doors to escape having you coming at me. You have belittled and disparaged me. You have threatened me. You have contacted my bosses to attempt to smear my name and hurt my public image. You have called authorities to falsely accuse me of harming our children hoping to get… leverage in a custody case, only resulting in our children having to be undressed and physically examined, being humiliated… with naturally no substantiation of any abuse on my part. A violent person is who you really are through and through.
She got out
I have been broken down, beaten, hospitalized, traumatized, threatened, degraded, battered and abuse. I got out. I stand strong today. For me. For Greyson. For Meilani. They will not grow up watching their mother being a victim of domestic violence.
Jennifer goes on to detail the “evidence” Roger has collected in an attempt to smear her and to frame her for abuse he committed, which is a common abuser tactic. When I read the end, the last part I excerpted above about how she got out, I started crying for her and for so many women who have gone through this. I am still crying. This is an incredibly hard story to report. This is hard to read, this is hard to consider, and it must be unfathomably hard to go through. Jennifer writes to women going through this that “suffering in silence is no way to live. I was there for many years and you and your children deserve to be safe. You are valuable, you are worthy, you are loved.” Here is a link to a list of people to call and resources to help if you’re in an abusive relationship. It is not your fault.