Feminism on Trial
"I'm Leaving ..."
By 1970 Jack had been in prison for two years, just long enough for Ginny to begin putting her situation into the proper perspective. The late '60s/early '70s were a time of intense consciousness-raising on all levels, and like many women of that time, Ginny began asserting a newfound sense of liberation. Women no longer had to be held hostage to old standards that relegated them to second-class status. They were standing up for their rights for the first time since the suffragette movement resulted in the right to vote in the 1920s.
Ray Foat seemed to understand this more than most men and Ginny appreciated that. He treated her with respect and dignity. Like a "lady" and not a "whore." He helped give her the confidence she needed to move ahead with her life and realize she could now make it without Jack holding her back. Even though she dutifully went to visit him in Chino every weekend for those two years, she knew it was no longer a question of whether or not to leave him but rather when and how she would do it.
Ginny and Ray had been going out for only a few months when he got word he had to move. A Princess Louise II was being opened in Vancouver, Canada and he was chosen to manage it. Though sad to see him go, Ginny knew it wasn't going to be permanent. They would be together again at some point, whether he returned to California or she went to Vancouver. The separation, she felt, was probably necessary. Ray's divorce was about to become finalized. It was now up to Ginny to resolve her situation and it was better for all concerned that Ray not be anywhere nearby when she broke the news to Jack. A confrontation with unpleasant results might have occurred.
Toward the end of his sentence, Jack began getting weekend work-release passes. He worked part time in an auto body shop and stayed with Ginny at night. The beatings and the sadistic sex continued and she was thoroughly disgusted with both by then. She would tell him, "I'm leaving, Jack," and the beatings got worse. At first he didn't believe her and she couldn't convince him otherwise. When she finally did it nearly cost her her life.
It was at her apartment and, after realizing she was serious about her intent to leave him, he began hitting her worse than he ever had in the five years they'd been together. He punched her in the face and everywhere else on her body, then kicked her when she was down on the floor. He dragged her onto the bed, whipped her with his belt, then climbed over her and began choking her. She blacked out.
Clara came running into the room and Jack hastily departed, calling Ginny a whore and threatening to come back the next day and kill her. Clara tried to get Ginny to a doctor but all Ginny wanted to do was get out of town, as physically painful as it might have been. Clara helped her clean up, called Ginny's parents, and got her boyfriend to drive Ginny to the airport where she caught a plane back to New York.
Gus met her at the airport and, on seeing the condition she was in, he burst into tears. But he hugged his daughter and gave her reassurances that she would be safe. Three thousand miles from Jack Sidote, Ginny slept in her old bed for the first time in five years that night. Though battered, scarred, and in pain, there was a sense of relief evident in her description of her arrival back in New Paltz. "The ugliest part of my life was finally over," she wrote. No man would ever lay a hand on her again.