Between the ages of 19 and 20, I was involved with an abusive man. I doubt this is a surprise.  I stayed, even when I realized that he was hurting me. It only gets uglier ahead…

I stayed until the night he raped me.

Then I left.  Then he stalked me. My mom said it was my fault. This was at the start of the internet – the time of free AOL CDs – he posted stories and killing me on his website.  I never told anyone that he was abusive.  I just told my friend that he was stealing me.  They had been his friend to. They are the ones who told me sent the stories.  I had a friend, he took me to the courthouse and taught me how to file a restraining order.

I had another friend. He took this exboyfriend aside, took him to the top of a four story parking structure and told him to stop coming around. And the ex stopped.  I never realized, until tonight, how much not having to see my abuser made it both equally easier to forgot and easier to not actually have to deal with the abuse.

I don’t have that luxury this time. There’s no parking structure.  I simply have to stop going to the clubs. No one is making him leave.  I can’t take the fear anymore. I can’t take watching other people, people I know and who are my friends or at least acquaintences, be his friend. It makes me feel sick and betrayed – and terrified.  I’m terrified because to me, watching others accept him, means they would stand by and let him hurt me again. That they will stand by and let him hurt someone else.

So it’s time for me to stop going.  I can’t be there anymore. I can’t put myself in that position anymore.  I don’t know how to deal with him or with my fear. I suspect, of I hadn’t had that friend and he hadn’t used that parking structure, I would have lost The Hub and the rest of my friends. I hope that losing the clubs – at least all of her clubs – won’t cost me my friends too.

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