He attacked me on my way to work. Slammed me repeatedly against brick wall and told me that I would be with him. He yelled at me over and over that I wasn’t leaving him. I will never forget this moment because it felt like all of time stood still. I cried. I watched seven men past me one by one walking faster and none of them willing to help me.It’s funny how I can’t remember the exact dates my ex raped me, I can’t remember how many times my ex hurt me, but I could remember the amount of men that had passed. I saw an older man across the street watch in terror while his black and white beagle was on leash. It was winter and not quite yet spring. I remember exactly what he was wearing a pea soup green hat, black glasses, and a dark blue coat. It’s funny what I remember.
My ex had stalked me, harassed me at work, slept outside of my apartment and cried that he would change. He also pushed his way into my apartment while I was on my way out. I remember the fear and sometimes I find myself still looking over my shoulder. Whenever I saw a man of similar features, whenever I saw a car that was the exact model he had I’d freeze. Afraid it’s him.It’s not. He’s in jail. For beating up his new ex.
Three years later I am free, I am building my esteem, I am happier than I’ve ever been in my life. However, three years later I am watching this exact same scenario play over again with another co-worker. THE EXACT. What bothers me is oddly the same thing that make me happy for her.I’m happy that people are rallying and helping her. I’m happy that people are eager to protect her. What bothers me is brings up memories, flashbacks, and a little anxiety.
What bothers me is the memory that I was neither loved nor protected and treated as if what was happening to me was my own fault. My ex supervisors and coworkers would forward his phone calls to me, they would tell me I should let the abuse affect me,they made fun of the abuse and called me weak. It’s funny how much race plays a role into this dynamic because if I’m a black woman suffering abuse at the hands of an ex-boyfriend I am treated like I must’ve done something to deserve it. I am accused of not being a team player because I’m late because he attacked me outside of my apartment, and shamed for staying late at work because I was afraid he was waiting for me either outside of my job or my apartment and instead of my fears being met with sympathy I was simply patted on the back and told to deal with it. And reprimanded.
There was no sympathy. No compassion. Nothing.
“You shouldn’t let that affect your work” was all I heard from my supervisors and coworkers.
So, three years ago. I was alone. Crying in the bath tub. Crying around the clock. Alone. I consider this one of the most painful times in my life. Three years later it still stings, a memory so painful I sometimes have to catch my breath. I never realized how much I wasn’t over it until I watched this memory play over with someone else. Recently I have realized how much I want to be over it.