This exact day last year I was being bailed out of the Randall County Jail for Public Intoxication. This is not an easy story for me to share and, in fact, I’ve only told 3 people what truly happened. Now I’m sharing it with all of you. I’m sharing this out of the need for a voice. I lost mine for the better part of two years and I’m taking it back, along with my confidence and my life.
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence or needing support, call 1-800-799-7233, or if you’re unable to speak safely, you can log onto thehotline.org or text LOVEIS to 1-866-331-9474.
The “Christmas in July” party was the worst thing we could have ever done. I mean last year, someone literally killed themselves afterward. I mean it wasn’t our party that made him do it, but still… it was bad omen that we totally ignored. July 28th into the morning of July 29th and the days following were some of the most humiliating, confusing, and lonely days of my life. I couldn’t tell anyone what happened – what really happened and I was sick to my stomach. Even now, my insides churn.
We argued the whole week about decorations, food, getting the backyard ready, and the whole time I knew no one was going to show up. People were sick of us. I was sick of us. Sick of us pretending to be in this wonderful relationship, sick of him getting completely obliterated every time there was alcohol around, and sick of me making excuses for why I had just been crying in the bathroom or hallway. No one was coming because no one cared about us anymore.
He had a friend that came into town that day and was staying with him. He was the only guest at our party and only because he had to be. Poor guy.
After four hours of being alone at our party and drinking away the embarrassment, we decided to go to the bar. We walk into the bar and see all of our friends. This was not planned on anyone’s part – I don’t think. Amarillo is small, but it isn’t that small. I’m not sure if he wanted to go to that bar because he knew our friends were there or if fate was playing a weird joke – either way this would be the catalyst into the most hellish night of my life.
I start making the rounds of saying hello to everyone and I got in trouble for it. I got in trouble for not going up to the right friends to start my rounds. Constant control.
“Why are you talking to those people first and not those people?”
“Who was that?”
“Who are you talking to?”
It was too many questions all at once and I just.. lost it.
I hit him in the face and ran. I was so done with being controlled by him. I was so done being embarrassed for another time because we got into a huge fight in public. I was so done crying and ruining night and night all for what?
I ran out of the bar. I ran, and ran, and ran. Across the downtown streets of Amarillo into the Civic Center parking lot hiding behind cars and ducking in and out of street lights. I don’t know what my plan is, but I know if I head East I’ll make it home.
I have my backpack on and he grabs at it. I slip right out of his clutches. Ha, idiot. He then pulls at the hood of my jacket instantly cutting off breath. Fuck, that hurt.
I make it all the way to the bridge that I know will lead me home. If I can just keep running I know I’ll make it home. It’s far, but my adrenaline is pumping and I have all the energy in the world. I pass a car and there’s two people inside. They stare in slow motion and I run past with the beat of his footsteps not far behind. It’s hard to run in sandals and when the world is spinning.
He keeps grabbing at me and pulling me back. I don’t know what to do so I just start screaming. I am screaming the loudest I possibly can. I am trying to make it as blood-curdling as possible. Someone has to hear me. Someone has to be around, shit the police station is only two blocks away!
He tackled me to the ground and I started trying to get up, but he pinned me. One punch to the face and I’m defeated. I’m in shock. He got me in the nose and blood gushes everywhere. I’ve lost one contact and can barely see anything through salty tears and crimson blood flowing from my face. This isn’t the first time he’s smacked me across the face, but it was the first time it actually created a result. I can’t move, breathe, or see.
I sit in the grass because I see them. The lights. When the lights pulled in behind me I rejoiced. Finally. Take him! Take him away from me! I can’t speak. I’m so overwhelmed, but I know they’re here to save me. My throat is raw from screaming and I’m too disoriented from booze and being punched to even begin to tell what is happening. I still can’t quite see, so I must’ve gotten my contacts knocked out when I was hit or crying. Then they handcuffed me, and went to talk to him about what happened. I can’t believe it. Why am I the one in handcuffs? Is he in handcuffs? Then I hear him:
“She’s being crazy! She’s so drunk and she was talking about killing herself. I had to stop her which is why I tackled her. I tried smacking her out of this, but she’s determined to throw herself on the railroad tracks. I’m just trying to protect her.”
I’m sorry.. what? They’re not buying this. Please tell me they aren’t buying this.
They bought it. They bought ALL of it. They bought all of his bullshit.
I am covered in my own blood, tears stain my puffy face, and I am the one handcuffed. I couldn’t speak. I was in absolute shock.
I’m led to the back of the police car where he asks me if I want to be taken to the pavilion or to jail. I tell him it doesn’t matter as long as I don’t go home with my fiance.
When I get to the station, I stayed with the story of me wanted to kill myself on the railroad tracks because it was a lot easier to live that lie than actually tell people what happened. I don’t know why. I’ve read so many blogs, articles, and talked to therapists about this – the mind of an abused woman is so clouded with manipulation – even our own truths are blurred.
And the black eye I got? “Oh, I smacked myself in the face trying to fight the police officer.. Nosebleed? Oh, uh my nose ring just poked me.. yeah in both nostrils… Weird I know!”
The corporal called me on my bullshit. He said he’d seen this scenario 1,000 times and I wouldn’t be his last. He told me I needed to leave him, find refuge in my family, and start over. He took over 2.5 hours to book me just so I wouldn’t have to put on the orange clothes or the crocs. He helped me find the phone number of my aunt so I could call her to bail me out. When she didn’t answer, my only resort was to call him. I could tell the corporal was disappointed in that choice, but I didn’t have any other at the time. I’m so manipulated and blinded, I feel as if I have no other choice. He hung my $125 bail bond fee over my head for three weeks.
When I explained to friends and family about what happened I told a simple lie: “I had gotten blackout drunk, decided to run home because I had an anxiety attack, got picked up by police and while fighting them I gave myself a black eye and bloody nose. It’s all my fault. He was there to rescue me. Isn’t he kind? Isn’t he wonderful? Aren’t I the luckiest gal?”
Trust me, no one believed this shit more than me. I convinced myself that all of this was true. Every single lie. I tried convincing others, but instead, I was just given a weird look, a smirk, and a “well, we’re just glad you’re okay.“
I even tried to play it all off as if none of it was a big deal. I told my aunt and my brother and ended up in a huge fight with everyone simply because I would not admit the truth. I would have rather taken the blame for his mistakes then let others know about the abuse that was going on in my life. I wanted to protect him.
Abuse is a sickness. It’s an absolute sickness someone has and they are in a hole so deep that there is no more light. There is not a way out – not safely. I know there are tons of women in this world who are more brutalized than I ever was and my heart hurts for these women. My stomach churns at the hurt and the injustice they receive.
As I am gaining my confidence back, meeting new people, and explaining why my engagement isn’t anymore- the truth is becoming more and more prevalent. I can’t pretend anymore that I was in a happy relationship and we broke up because things just “didn’t work out”. That isn’t what happened and I can’t lie about it anymore. I can’t take responsibility for this man who couldn’t take responsibility for himself.
Telling this story isn’t easy. I’ve tried explaining it to myself, writing it out, talking it out – whatever, but it’s taken time. It’s not easy to admit defeat and say that you’re a dumb ass for getting engaged to a complete douche, but again, here we are.
I’m sharing today to not have anyone take pity on me. That’s the very last thing I want. I’m sharing because I want people to understand that this can happen to anyone.
Falling in love is easy. Getting trapped in fake love is even easier.If you know someone who is hiding their pain that is so blatantly written across their face – be patient with them. I don’t know how many times I was asked, “is this what you really want?” and I would soft smile and say “yes,” when on the inside I was screaming, “get me the fuck out of this, PLEASE!” It took me getting arrested to get out of my abusive relationship.
If you’re reading this story and thinking of yourself, your friend, your mom, your sister, or that one girl you know from that one place – help her. Be her voice. Be her advocate.