Monday, January 5, 2015

bravery

originally started 12.30.14.

When I first told my family and a few friends I was pursuing a criminal case, the one thing they all kept telling me was, "you're so brave for doing this."

I hated it. I hated that they thought what I was doing was brave. I'm still trying to figure out why I hated (hate) it so much. I think because it insinuates that those who don't take the path I'm taking are somehow not brave? It's a really difficult feeling to explain.

It probably doesn't help that I'm actually really terrified.

The man who abused me scares me to my core. Yesterday was the first day that I began calling different government agencies to figure out how to go about notifying the police. There are essentially no online resources (at least that I could find) for a case like mine: the abuse happened when I was a minor in a different state (and therefore jurisdiction) than I live in. I looked up the county and called their courthouse. I was transferred 4 or 5 times, having to tell my story to each new person on the phone, until someone figured out I needed to call his town's police. I called the police and they took my information (and his address) and said an officer would call me back.

By the time I got off the phone, I was violently shaking.

I tearfully texted my mom: "I called [redacted] PD. An officer is going to call me back. I'm so afraid once he finds out I'm trying to pursue criminal charges he'll try to hurt Elden and Edith."

That was the day I locked down my Instagram and Facebook. That was the day I made my blog private. I did a Google search for my name and the word 'address.' I created a Whitepages account to make sure they weren't displaying my information to the public. I can honestly say I have not experienced the level of fear I felt when I made that phone call any other time in my life. It's one thing when it's just my life that's being affected. But this man is a lunatic. He is entirely unpredictable. He owns guns and has the world's shortest fuse and I would not put it past him to try to hurt the people that are most precious to me.

I want to make it as difficult for this man to find my family as I possibly can. When I spoke to the officer, I asked if he would know what I was doing. Not until/unless charges are filed, he told me. That gave me a moment of relief--he doesn't know... yet.

So I'm not brave. I fully appreciate the sentiment behind the statement. It's one of support and love and kindness. But please stop saying it, because it's just not true.

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