SHACKLES OF SHAME

This BITE THE BULLET Story is from someone who is working their way through an ongoing matter.

She is ‘Biting the Bullet’ because she wants to speak beyond the shackles of shame. The individual’s name is left out for her protection. But this is an important story, and one that is shockingly too common.

“They look at me and see a perpetrator, the accused. I was just looking for love. But little did I know I would be the next in line; the next woman in the legacy of violence.

My perpetrator was my boyfriend, and he refused to leave my home. What would you do if you landed on your back from the force of a 6’2″, 185-pound man, cornered and scared for your life? …A place you’ve never been, nor ever want to be. Not in your wildest nightmares. Fight or flight?

He stands next to my unlocked front door, nothing obstructing him from leaving. Not scared, he sticks around. For what? I’m confused and I’m scared. I’m holding a knife in my hand repeating over and over the only words that come to me, “Get out of my house.” With the presence of mind he takes out his phone and begins to film me. Finally he leaves; he has what he needs.

I call the police; I go forward; they take photos of my cut lip (no medical) and tell me that my perpetrator will be arrested.

Less than 48 hours later I’m back at the police station. This time I’m sitting in a cell for 5 hours. I’m allowed to go, but not before being fingerprinted and brought up on two charges – assault & assault with a weapon. His charges? Dropped. Still confused I ask the station sergeant, “How did this happen?” The sergeant’s response: “If he hit you, you should have ended up in the hospital.” All I could think to do was clarify, and so I replied, “So you’re saying he didn’t hit me hard enough?” No response. It was then that I realized I had been failed, failed by the system and failed by someone who claimed to have loved me.

But now I’m stepping up and into my truth, and because it doesn’t stop there. The so-called ‘victim’ proceeds to reach me using fake Facebook accounts; emailing my family; my work; even sending an unmarked gift box with dead flowers (lilacs, my favourite kind) to my home, including a personal token just to make sure I know it’s him.

Deja-vu, here I am again but this time traumatized by my first-ever call to the police. But I go forward…with help from a counselor. Justice? Not yet. He’s off on a warning, and so he goes on unnoticed and undetected. My counselor says that they see this all the time, women wrongfully accused, everyday in fact. So where do we start?

Education and awareness? I’m looking at you, the Police. How can we work in concert to make change?

Violence