My Personal #MeToo Reveal

Updated: Mar 18, 2019

February 26,2019


I studied journalism at Boston University College of Communication and graduated with honors in 2001.  I won a prestigious award for a film piece I did on date rape. 

My years at BU also saw me raise awareness of the students to the abuse prevalent in coed institutions and the frat gangs that ravaged the lives and reputations of unsuspecting female undergraduates. 

So imagine my embarrassment and shame when after I finally married and thought I was settled down to domestic bliss did I instead become a statistic. 

It is a fact that domestic abuse is the leading cause of death of married women in America and the cause is generally attributed to the mental ill health of the abuser and his drug or alcohol abuse and his financially superior position vis a vis his spouse.   

In 2011 in Purcellville, Virginia I married Dr. James M Orsini Jr., on October 27th in a torrential  snowstorm that had not happened like that since the end of the civil war. 

To say it was a foreshadow to my life of hell is an understatement. 

The night before the groom got shit faced drunk and made a series of calls to me and my mother saying he didn’t give a fuck about me and was not going through with the marriage.  Problem for him was I was five months pregnant and the child was a masculine child and his father a Sicilian was not going to be deprived of his lineage. 

Three other daughters would not bare an Orsini and besides his entire future and the future of the family was baked on James Orsini Jr. becoming a doctor and taking over his lucrative cancer practice in Montclair, New Jersey. 

Problem was this son was a pisser. 

He was always pissing away drinking too much getting into brawls, needing to be bailed out of jail and almost killing himself and passengers in a car that damaged his legs so badly that he cannot play the sport he once loved, football. 

The drinking and brawling continued at BU where I met James.  He wasn’t a love interest, he came up to my neck and he was vulgar yet amusing to me and my sorority sisters.  My best friend and roommate didn’t understand why I let him hang around our dorm room at Warren Towers.  I don’t either, maybe I felt sorry for him.  He was cute,  built like a stunted Roman gladiator and amusing. 

I was always getting him out of bar brawls and found his love of strip joints exciting.   The way James Orsini Jr  treated girls who he claimed to be seeing was also  amusing to me.  I could tell they were just trappings. 

When I left BU for Paris and then the world of modeling, I never figured I’d see him again.  Years later though, Between a real bad decision about a high school friend in a bind and a stalled modeling career I made a fateful decision to take a road trip.  That trip became my private hell. 

Once married and settled into the role of doctor's wife and living in the home of my in-laws in their carriage house in New Jersey I experienced night terrors.  They would begin after the third glass of scotch or the fourth glass of vodka.  The only way it didn’t become violent is if he smoke pot and mellowed out on the carriage house porch.  Most nights I’d sneak out the door when James poured that first glass. Other times we'd be at Essex County Country Club and James would tie one on, get belligerent and be asked by club staff to leave, much to the humiliation of his father who was the ECCC president.

I’d go to his folks at the big house and beg them to do something.  Getting no support from Marie or James Sr I’d check into the hotel up the street.  I’d call my mom and tell her I was at the hotel up the street but say things would be ok.   I just needed her to know that she’d get a charge for the room.  I’d also call my friend Maci Peterson and Andrea Kelly and her husband Damon.  Most of the time the next day, James would say he had no idea what he did.  He’d profess his love and devotion to me and the baby growing inside my belly. 

I needed to believe that because what was I to do with my life so changed from my days as a self sufficient model traveling the world and hauling in 10,000 a day.

Other times after a terrible fight, he’d insist I go with him to get food at the local pizza joint in the neighborhood or go out to dinner. ..but three drinks into a bottle of red wine or vodka straight up, he was slurring his words. 

Worst offense is he insisted on driving and so I had to live in fear that we’d be pulled over or he’d have an accident.  Hey did I allow it? Yes.  I feared for my life and I was stuck.  Stuck on appearances and stuck on trying to get through the pregnancy. 

I had it in my mind that if I could get him away from his parents compound and we were on our own I could control his rage, which was really because he didn’t want to do this, he didn’t want to be a doctor, he wasn’t that interested in it and really wanted to do what I did, act, model and live a more creative life.   

He resented me and my friends and he resented what looked to him like an easy gig.  He knew I booked a days modeling shoot with a client and made more than he did in a month.  Even when I was pregnant.  He also knew that I seemed more important to his father than he because of the baby boy I was carrying.  So the beatings began before James Rocco’s birth.  He stage it as though “we” were having a fight, that would involve him insulting me then pushing me to a pint of rage as well and the verbal abuse escalated. 

His father knew about the drinking and drugging it was clear that his addiction was taking a toll on his medical studies.  The abuse both physical and verbal continued to take its toll on me too.  I have suffered from anxiety all my life.  It started when I was in high school after I was sexually attacked.  I had to create a safe space for myself within the confines of the world I created at school and at home and with friends who knew my problem.  Anxiety can make you debilitated.  When I had to meet a client or go on a go see for work I had to imagine myself leaving the apartment in Chelsea and walking to the subway and getting on the subway and walking into the showroom where the models were going to present themselves for the client.  I got good at shaking off the pressure inside my head.   When James became aggressive I retreated into a shell much like that I used to support me when I had a panic attack. 

When he was particularly nasty, I would ball up into a knot in the bed or on the sofa of our apartment.  

James Orsini Jr had gone to an Island school for medical school and had bought an internship at NYU and in order to follow his father into his practice he’d need a masters in oncology.   He was at his most terrorizing when he had to study for his board exams and couple that with the lost bets on football was anyone’s guess when he’d lash out.  And when we attended the obligatory Orsini’s large Italian extended family events, during holidays, baby christenings and weddings he was known to tie one on and embarrass himself and his father who looked to me to keep him in line. 

Although I did as I was told he would later hold it against me and argue that I should have stood up to his father and his mother whom he derided as "worthless" and as someone who was just sucking the life out of his father and spending all his dad’s money.  They had a complicated relationship to say the least. 

One of the videos on my foundations YouTube site is of us coming back from a wedding in New York after James Rocco our son was born.   James was so angry with me for what seemed like no reason,  he yelled and screamed until the baby began to cry in the back seat.  I asked him to pull over so I could get out.   He pulled the car over and I attempted to escape by exiting the car.  He was able to drag me onto the shoulder to a bit of grass.  I ran from him and he tackled me to the ground.  He pulled me back to the car and I got in and locked the doors and started the car and went home.   That night he entered our apartment and sodomized me.  He strangled me and punched my body and kicked me out of the apartment.  I went to the front desk in the apartment complex and they called the police.  When they arrived they arrested James and I took out a peace warrant and TRO.  I intended to leave finally.  But I his father kept asking me and then my mother if I would  drop the charges and suggested I would be taken care of and that of course I should leave James for this and he would help me. 

He got a lawyer for me to represent us during the DYFS Hearing.  My mother was livid why did you do that she asked and I told her of James Sr’s offer.  I was desperate and I no longer had a career in modeling and I didn’t want her taking care of me.  I thought with treatment James would be better.  I believed his father that he would send him for treatment.  I was ordered by DYFS to keep James out of the of the apartment for six months and we were ordered to attend marriage counseling.  James did anger management programs and because he was monitored for alcohol and drug abuse he towed the line.   I thought James had turned the tide.  We dated during the time he was gone and I got pregnant with twins.  Back in the  apartment for less than a month on February 14 of 2013, he beat me and kicked my swollen belly.  My neighbor called James father  and instead of taking care of me he came into the apartment and determined that I should see a doctor, and when the doctor called my mother she learned that James Sr had called a psychiatrist to have me committed.  My mother answered the questions asked about my psychological background and family history and said I was not ADD and I was not bipolar and she had no idea why James had prescribed me narcotics that were allegedly used for that purpose.  In the end they found no grounds for putting me into a watch ward.  I found out that he had drugged me. Interestedly enough James had once said to me that his mother had once tried to leave his father and pretty much the same fate had followed her.  Marie told me James Sr. used to put medications in her drink to "calm her down" without telling her. As for my mother and my best friend Maci, they got there immediately.  As did Andrea yet again.