“…Cause if it wasn’t for all of your torture I wouldn’t know how to be this way now and never back down…”
(From Christina Aguileraʻs song Fighter)
“Never Back Down.”
So I didnʻt.
And I am still not. I donʻt start fights, and really, I canʻt stand fighting. Yet, when it comes to my safety and my emotional self and health – I will Never Ever Back Down
#NeverBackDown is what I am saying.
NO, not from the abuser in your life, but, from the constant reminders that you are the one who has been made to go through things that never one time in your life have you deserved. No one deserves abuse – not one person, no matter who wants to say differently. You know when you are being ignored, and you know when you are being bullied. You know who is doing it all, or at least a whole lot of it…that thing called abuse.
You also know that through it all, you are also being expected to remain silent. There are some folks who are going to read this and tell me that I need to let this go.
I canʻt. I let me down every time I do what other people say I ought to do, which is to back away from a fight, no matter what. To be peaceful and let things just…happen…in my favor.
I cannot do that anymore, at least not where this one area of my specific life, like this same area of the lives of many, many others, is concerned.
My safety has been made…lesser….than I was told it is, than what I believed it to be…
I have been, once again, violated, and it seems like no one really thinks about things that I have gone through, that I still go through…that many others just like me also still go through. When it comes to the things that my mind will never let me rest from…I cannot just let it all go…
I am not everyone else, and neither am I one of those people who can just let it go…thereʻs a court order involved. It should be called a repaining order, because when I think about the last time this person named John violated my life, I had no idea he had done so – I was not here. I was elsewhere….to know that he was here while I was not puts me in fear for my safety.
Being in fear for my safety, no matter who wants to make a joke of it, is painful for me, given everything that I had to go through just to get the order from the court.
I cannot just do like lots of others do – I cannot just let this be one of those “bygones are bygones” kinds of things. I have to speak up, can no longer be silenced, even if it is that the silence is what makes me feel okay in that I get to, unlike other times in my life, remain in the safety of at least the silence that does not allow rumors, and will not let those rumors get out of control. There are people who think that they know what they would do if they were victimized and shamed because of the abuses that he or she suffered and truly could not do a damned thing about. We try to escape. It doesnʻt happen that way. We have to go through a LOT in order to escape even minimally safely.
Too often it is believed that once the abuser is out of our lives physically, that there is nothing more to deal with.
That is wrong.
The violence that you lived through lives in your memories and no matter how much we want to wish it away, cast a spell to make it vanish, or, do what tangibly can be done, such as get a protective court order, those things only work the way that allows the violators to keep their rights as free people who arenʻt committing criminal acts in front of people who can make an arrest.
We are told, always, that the best measure of protection is a restraining order, but, what happens when that order is broken?
I have on more than one occasion, stated to local law enforcement, not just here but anywhere, that I felt unsafe. When asked to describe what it meant to me to “feel unsafe,” I actually retorted with “seriously? I feel NOT SAFE !” and pretty much, each time, after asking lots of questions and ones that were very clearly worded, I actually asked if a caller had to be bleeding or dying.
Quite chilling it was for me to hear the person on the other side of the phone call tell me that indeed, some sort of physical violence had to happen before they would rush out to the scene. Even with protection orders in place – the person who violated the order has to be caught doing something else wrong, that they cannot just go get that person, and that we could just keep on calling them, and that they would just keep on taking reports.
This is what I have been made to know is the most that is possible. Even with a protective order in place and in full effect. I was horrified to hear about it in the manner that I did, and more, that in that very moment, that my safety was hampered, and more – that the order that was handed down by a judge seems more in place to keep the person named as a dangerous person out of trouble and out of jail.
Okay….but what about the fact that we who have these sorts of orders in our possession, and we who were made to believe that these were the things that we would need in order to make certain that obviously dangerous people stay away from us…are we each and all to believe that it is, indeed, just a piece of paper, like the person who violated mine and my daughterʻs has always felt?
Am I, are we all to believe that what we have will protect us, but, only under certain conditions….certain unsafe conditions that, even with that piece of paper in place, PD has their orders to follow, and their orders are that if the person calling is not bleeding or witnessing someone else dying due to the energy that is physical violence, they are merely coming to take a report.
I believed that this piece of paper does what it is meant to – which is to make the guy who hates jail not come around. His reasoning only tells me that he was given permission to violate the order. Since this is what he believed, it doesnʻt do whatever it is that we are made to believe it does, at least not the way that we are told it does.
I can assume the thinking is that these guys are criminals, and like all criminals, eventually they will get caught.
…”eventually” can be a very long time…
My ex violated the orders. The worst part was that I had to tell him that we filed reports with PD, that if he was unclear about the nature of the order that he ought to have gone back to the same court to make certain that whatever it was that made him feel like it was a good idea to break the order was also what made him actually do that – break the order, because maybe he did not understand what they were or….
Or nothing, thatʻs what.
And yes – I have lots and lots of …judicial type pals….and lots and lots of….PD type pals…and pals from all walks of life who I have queried about this, and lots and lots of those people, some who have had to stand in my shoes like I am standing right now….and utilize the court system to make life not so scathing.
These orders have been granted through the courts, only to have the person or persons who said protected person call their own colleagues to get the assistance they know, by law, they are served with because they have had to enforce it.
Still – they also had to do things the same way that those who have been targeted for violence and abuse have done, which is to wait until something worse happens or, perhaps wait until the people who we are protected from (via court order, donʻt forget) commits another crime…and hopefully, at least in our heads, they end up doing just that. What those who do not know about this sort of thing also donʻt know but actually believe is that criminals are just going to do what that piece of paper says they have to do, which is to obey the laws and of course, the court order. My situation is proof that this sort of thinking is both wrong, and dangerous.
What those who think that we are making too much of a benign thing forget about is that most of the time, we have history with our abusers, with the people who we have to get these court orders of protection for. Are we really this ….cavalier….about the protection of terrorized people? The fear, really, is one of the most scathing things that anyone can experience.
And scathing is how I can describe life as someoneʻs target.
I hate the word “victim” because it is so so disempowering. I like the word “target” because you donʻt know what one is until you have been made into one. I hate the idea that I have been one of those targets for someone elseʻs abuses. I dislike the idea that no matter what I tell anyone, that what has happened in the past and in my life still affects me and my daily life and everyday I wake up….everyday I wake up still having those memories of what used to be.
What used to be is no joke. What used to be is why I have three separate restraining orders on one person – two by me and one by my daughter.
Reading that last thing….“one by my daughter…” just makes all these things that much more painful, that much more as though that since it was that we got these orders put in place, we are “safer” now and just have to call local PD.
I cannot state that they are or are not doing their jobs when they show up to take reports. I am certain that given how many reports for violating a judgeʻs domestic violence restraining order are numerous, they are probably as much so as any other types will be.
I have spoken with the local PD here, and PLENTY of them tell me that they wished that they could just get on out there and catch the bad guy, but that since it is that the bad guy is not around doing bad things in front of them, they cannot just go get him. Lots of them are as perplexed as anyone who has had to get an order of protection on anyone else, as to why it is that a crime has been committed, that the reporters of that crime are covered by law and an order of protection and that those same people who depend on the court order being violated to be the thing that prompts PD – ANY PD – to go get their guy.
Their hands are as tied as ours are, in place and bound by obscurities in the laws that, once those laws are read and understood by the populace, we find out that it is not the fault of local PD, neither that of the court where these orders are handed down and filed, but in the laws themselves.
Never Back Down….
I am not suggesting that you get yourselves out there and make a noise about things unless you are safe to do so. I am not suggesting that you place yourselves in danger for the sake of an order, of a piece of paper that, just like my own certificate of marriage that at one time, I tore into bits and burned with that other guyʻs lighter all those years ago, is tangibly just a piece of paper. I am just wanting to know why it is that these same people who violated a restraining order and ultimately our rights to feel safe and secure, are able to do as they please after the fact? What about the rights of those who have lived in fear for a long, long time?
Right now I am going through a whole lot, but the one thing that I am going through and have gone through now for almost three decades is this fear in me – a fear that is getting old. On that one thing, I can and AM letting THAT go, because I dislike being afraid.
If we are to feel like we are safe after abuse, then we have to make it so that laws that are created by legislators actually make it an actual violent crime to break a Domestic Violence restraining order. I cannot un-go through the things that have made me this way, cannot will these memories to behave. I say this because as someone who has been there and done the things that I have had to do for a long time now, the violence that I write about is in the mind, is there and embedded and that no one can truly erase from the mind.
They creep up on you, the memories of what used to be.
All I am saying is that you, me, we can #NeverBackDown from making it known to the world that we are a quiet storm, yet a raging one in the making and we are tired of being left to our own selves when it comes to confronting violent people. For that to happen, we have to make it clear to lawmakers that while it is nice of them to make certain that these violent people donʻt have their rights to life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness and also the right to feel safe and secure messed with, that as those people who abide by the law, we ought to be taken seriously and we ought to #NeverBackDown – at least as seriously as these lawmakers take the time to ensure that criminalsʻ rights not be violated.
…it is not until one of us is bleeding or dying that someone takes notice, that those who have the voice and the crowdʻs attention are heard, which sucks. It should not be this way. We have to make the change. We have to #NeverBackDown.
Ever. We have to be the change that we want to have in our collective lives, and this means that we have to Never Ever Back Down from fearing we will not be heard. it is time to make a noise, screaminʻ and jamminʻ with metal horns up, tired as hell of the fear that we never asked for but that we all have, as these people who have experienced this sort of violence in our lives, survived from and now must conquer. We have to stop accepting that this is all we are worth. We have to understand that the law has to change, or else we end up afraid of the monsters that live in the darkened closet of the mind.
Please…all of you…#NeverBackDown out of fear of what you do not know. It is scary sometimes, I know, but, nothing changes until we change the way that we do things, until we see that those people who took our rights away still take them away through the fear of them doing what my ex husband did.
It is the laws in place that we are violated from, not just the criminals who break those laws. It is time that we do not shy away out of fear of retaliation, not from only the bad guys, but, from the people who are worried about preserving the rights of those who do not believe that it is a problem to violate our rights.
We have the right to feel safe.
Never back down….never ever back down from what you know is right.