Life After Abuse and Sexual Assault
“Do I have my pepper spray?”
“Ugh, I want to go out tonight, but if he finds out it won’t be good.”
“I should call my Mom, it’s 9pm and I’m walking home alone.”
“I can’t believe I called him ‘Dude’, I knew he would get angry about it.”
“It’s dark and raining, I shouldn’t have my hood up. I can’t see if anyone is coming up behind me.”
“At least this bruise is where no one can see this time.”
(Photo by: Jacqueline Day)
We have all been accustomed to walking around with our favorite colored pepper spray, with our keys in our fingers, making sure we don’t talk to other guys, and making sure we are kept put together for the world to see. As women, we are prepared to stick up for our relationships, make sure the world thinks we are perfect, and attempt to be prepared for when someone hurts us. But, how do we prepare when it’s someone we loved, someone we thought we could trust, someone that everyone loves?
It’s been 5 months since the last assault. The times were scary and traumatic. I can still recall the conversations. I could draw the look in his eyes. I could tell you what my surroundings looked like from top to bottom.
It’s been 5 months since I left. After months and months of being abused, and not telling a single soul, I left. It’s not that I was ashamed to tell anyone, it’s that I was scared of him. So many people, after countless other things that he had done wrong to me, were telling him that it was normal, that he would not do such a thing like that. If they only knew.
I always thought that when characters in television shows would have flashbacks, that it was cringy and stupid. I thought that stuff doesn’t happen in real life. I was wrong. Some days are worse than others, some days I hardly think about it. Some nights I wake up sweating, crying, staring at the ceiling because I recalled every moment in a sick nightmare. Some days, I’ll be working on homework when all of a sudden, I recall every moment right in front of me.
Some days, I wish I could see him. I wish I could see him so I could just flip him off. Let him know how truly and wonderfully grateful I am to be where I am today, with who I am with today. Some days, I pray to God that he won’t find me. I am truly scared for the day he sees me, simply for the fact of not knowing what he will do. I’m so terrified for the moment, that I literally imagine him standing across the room, down the hall, or even sitting beside me. The best I can do, is explain it as a ghost. A ghost with a beating heart.
I remember telling him, after he threaten me, what he did to me was assault, he laughed. He told me that I was crazy and nobody would believe me. He told me a judge would laugh in my face, along with all of my friends. He told the people he worked for, they hired someone to protect him. They hired someone to help him get away with abuse and assault. They told him that it was okay. His family thought I was crazy. His family told me that it was just a fetish, that it was okay. What breaks my heart, is knowing I wasn’t the last girl he will hurt, and no one is going to stop him.
For weeks and months I have heard of other girl’s stories. I figured that if they were strong enough to share theirs, I could share mine, in hopes that it encourages someone else. It’s impossible to stay prepared for any kind of abuse or assault to happen. We need to stop thinking that the people who will hurt us are just strangers in the dark, they can be the people who held our hearts.
It’s been 5 months since I have changed into a strong, super independent women. I’ve learned that bad days are going to happen, it’s life. I’ve learned that, the reason evil exists in this world is because people allow it too. A lot of bad traumatic things have come from this experience, but a lot of great blessings have too.
(Photo by: Sydney Sims)