“Snitches are b*tches that end up in ditches with stitches.”
I had to think quickly…And I did.
I remembered the phone line connected to my computer (back in the olden days of dial up). It was intact! I picked the phone off the floor, plugged in that cord, and I got a dial tone.
Then I paused.
My soon to be ex-boyfriend was on probation. If I called the police, he would go to jail. No doubt about it. I knew that making this call would transgress the unwritten rule of the outlaw culture I was living on the fringes of… I would make a good number of enemies. There might even be retribution.
But what if he came back?!
If I refrained from calling the police, he most certainly would come back. Maybe he was already on his way… I had nothing to defend myself with. And no where to go….
I dialed 9-1-1.
The Sherriff’s Deputy that arrived shortly took my statement, gathered photos of my injuries and trashed apartment. He was so kind to me. There was no judgment there. I hadn’t expected that.
The Sheriff’s department was able to apprehend my Ex within 15 minutes. From what I heard, he did not go peaceably…
I felt utterly guilty. I thought I had ruined the next few years of his life by making that call. If it hadn’t been for the No Contact order imposed on account of the pending Domestic Violence charges, I probably would have apologized to him.
My Mom told me, “what a shame… He was on his way to his parents’ house when he got arrested. He was only a mile away… Too bad he didn’t make it there.”
My heart sunk. At that moment, my own mother identified more with the guy sitting in jail than she did with her daughter. And I get it– I was constantly in a state of hyperarousal (or in the neurochemical depression that follows prolonged states of hyperarousal). She didn’t understand why I was so angry and/or sad during those years… Neither did I. I was constantly running from that storm raging inside of me. I tried to escape through substance use, rocky romantic relationships… And I put my mom through hell, as well as myself.
It still stung though. Especially when mutual friends chose to side against me too.
I moved on.
I started a new job, forged new friendships, and eventually started dating again. I was able to recover a little bit more of the Self I had lost. But I still had so much farther to go…
I never dated another physically abusive man.
It would take another year or so, another failed relationship, and reconciliation with my mother before I found my way back to following Christ. The version of Christianity I grew up within was synonymous with punishment and denying my sense of personhood. I would have to regain much more of my sense of self before I could risk returning to my religious roots.
But Christ never left me.
I can say with the utmost confidence, that while it appeared I was lost, I was actually on the path to becoming truly found. While I felt utterly alone and bewildered, I was not in fact alone. Through all of it, God knew me. And He knew that I wouldn’t continue in self-destructive patterns for long.
My experience of Domestic Violence taught this to me: I have a right to be treated with respect by my partner. I have a right to live in peace. But unless I fight for my own human right to be treated with dignity, I will never escape the cycle of abuse. I’ll be doomed to repeat it.
That’s the escape I now wanted to accomplish. No longer an escape from myself, but from those that would insist upon controlling me. Clearly, God allowed me the freedom of choice… It is that important to Him. To allow us to hurt ourselves and others. Because Love is the antidote to all the shame and pain of abuse. And Love requires freedom too.
Go to my follow-up post HERE.