It is very seldom that things are nice and pretty when a relationship ends. But then there are things that cross lines from which nothing can be repaired. Valentine’s Day was that for me.
When times are good in a relationship, you share things that make you vulnerable. You share confidences about experiences that hurt you deeply. And one of the most sacred things to remember in a relationship is that you never use what was told to you in trust and confidence against someone, even in anger, even in a fight. Because there are some lines that cannot be crossed, out of basic human respect.
I had told him about being being brutally attacked six years ago. And in this argument, he said I deserved it. And there it was.
In case there are any questions, this is just one of the pictures from the attack in August 2011 – this is what I was told I deserved:
Six years ago, I was strangled until just before death and robbed of $5,000 worth of jewelry. The ordeal was terrible and traumatic and horrible. It took me many years of therapy to get over that and hold my head up high again. It took me years to trust men, years to get back to normal.
When you are attacked, there is a phenomenon called Victim Blaming. And it happens all the time. Women who are raped are told they deserved it for wearing certain clothes, having a certain attitude, or being out past a certain hour. They are told they were asking for it. Women who have been attacked are asked what they did to provoke the man, what did they say or do that made the man so angry and justified. So you have to develop a very thick skin after you have been through an attack, because it doesn’t end after the violence is over.
And in six years I have developed very thick skin. But that one, that statement from that man Valentine’s night, caught me by surprise. And it cut deep. Men are supposed to a safe place for women. This man was trusted. And what do you say after a statement like that? I don’t know. Actually, yes I do:
Ladies, if a man EVER says you deserved being attacked and nearly killed, kick his sorry tail to the curb. You do not have to put up with being disrespected like that – as a woman or a human being. Just because you were the victim of a violent crime does not mean you deserve to be a victim for the rest of you life. If you have been the victim of a violent crime, you did nothing to deserve it or ask for it. Please do not let anyone tell you otherwise. No woman, no human being ever deserves the experience of wondering if that last thing you will see is the look in your killer’s eyes. No human being deserves to be beaten and strangled all the while not being able to make a sound.
Victim blaming needs to stop. And those are the lines that bind.