[Private journal entry written on Friday, June 1, 2012 – continued from previous post]
(All of the sudden, I remembered the association between the two stories . . . )
Me: Oh! Now I remember . . . because I had been getting more and more defiant with my dad, he had been threatening to kick me out of the house . . . that was right around my 17th birthday . . . so I had purchased furniture and pots and pans . . . stuff I would need to live on my own . . . I bought that stuff at auctions and garage sales . . . and the mom of one of my friends said I could move in with them . . . so, I was ready to move out . . . that gave me the upper hand . . . I just needed my dad to get so mad at me that he actually would kick me out and not try to force me to come back home . . . I knew he would never just let me leave, that he would have to disown me and kick me out . . . and I was ready.
So, the night that Tina and I were driving around when I was supposed to be at the basketball game, I knew for sure my dad would be checking up on me and that it wouldn’t take long for them to find us driving around. Sure enough, our paths crossed, and he stopped us and told me to get back to the game. I told Tina to keep driving until he stopped us again . . . our paths crossed a second time. He told me to get home . . .
When Tina and I pulled away from his car, I kind of laughed and said, “I think he is pissed off enough now . . . I don’t think I need to do anything more.” She took me home . . .
As soon as I walked into the house, he slapped me in the face and asked me if I really wanted him to kick me out. I said yes, that I was ready to leave, and that I was willing to be disowned if that is what it took to gain my freedom.
That caught him off-guard . . . he didn’t say anything for a few moments, then he told me he wouldn’t let me go . . .
I told him that, if I was going to stay, he would have to give me a lot more freedom.
He backed down . . . he agreed to give me a lot more freedom. And, he never tried to control me again during that last year I lived with my parents . . . I moved out on my 18th birthday.
(Edward continued to say nothing for several more minutes, then he broke the silence . . . )
Edward: Isn’t it interesting that, when I inquired into what is behind your being triggered during exercise, you told me about a situation in which you stood up for yourself . . . ??
Me: (Laughing a little) Yeah . . .
(After a bit more thought) I don’t remember much about the times I couldn’t – or didn’t – stand up for myself, so I can’t really come up with an example of that. I guess I disappeared during those times. But, I do clearly remember the one time I did stand up for myself . . . maybe because I didn’t allow myself to disappear then . . .
I stopped talking and sat quietly . . . mostly because I was suddenly getting flashes of memory from when my boss, Jesse, lunged at me in the hotel room. At first, I tried to fight them off. Then, I allowed those images and those feelings to settle over me.
I became aware that I was staring off into the corner when Edward gently interrupted my reverie by asking, “Where did you go?”
As soon as his words pulled me back to reality, I became aware of the fear I was feeling in my body . . . how much tension I was holding in my gut . . . and I was immediately hit with a wave of strong emotion . . . my voice was quivering when I answered him . . .
Me: I was remembering when my boss attacked me . . . and wondering if maybe that has something to do with me being triggered by exercise.
Edward: Attacked . . . ?? In what way?
Me: Oh . . . I guess I haven’t ever really told you about that, have I . . . ??
Edward: I don’t believe so . . .
Me: He grabbed me and tried to kiss me . . . he pushed me against the wall, then we ended up on the bed . . .
Edward: (Looking confused) Where did this happen? Were you on a business trip . . . ??
Me: Yes . . .
Edward: Was it at a hotel?
Me: Yeah . . . at the time, I lived in DC and this was a trip to Orlando for training . . .
Edward: When did this happen?
Me: When I was 27 . . .
Edward: Can you tell me what happened?
Me: Sure . . .
I told him the story in detail, including how I was so sure he was going to kill me.
I mentioned that I had tried to leave some clues for the police to find, and Edward asked what kind of clues I had tried to leave . . .
Me: Well, because of what he did in the military, I knew he had survival training and experience . . and he knew how to kill people with his bare hands . . . I knew that, once he raped me, he would realize that if anyone found out what he had done, he would lose his wife and kids, his clearance, his job, his position in the military reserves . . . and I knew he would never let that happen.
I knew that no one would miss me at the training because it wasn’t training where they took role call . . . no one would miss me for at least a week . . . and I knew he could clean up the crime scene and get rid of my body . . . my biggest concern was that my mom would never know what happened to me . . . I figured he would dump my body in the Everglades . . .
So . . . at one point, he had me pinned down on the bed and I was trying to crawl over to the night stand because I knew there was a pen in the nightstand . . . I thought that, if I could get a hold of the pen, maybe I could write something on the wall or on the side of the nightstand or on the side of the bed, then I could drop the pen and they would find my fingerprints on the pen . . .
Then, all the sudden, he jumped up, grabbed his stuff and ran out the door. I don’t know why . . . he just suddenly left without a word.
Edward: What happened then?
Me: Well, I sat there in shock for a second, then I jumped up and locked the deadbolt. Then, I called my sister in Colorado. She told me to get a different room yet that night, tell the front desk what had happened and make sure they knew not to give out my room number to anyone . . . and to ask for an escort to and from my car . . . so I did all that.
Then, the next day, I called the corporate office and asked what I should do. They asked a bunch of questions about what happened leading up to the attack . . . they said they were limited on what they could do because I hadn’t set clear boundaries with him beforehand.
Edward: (Emphatically) Assholes!
Me: Well, they did say that I should type up a report of everything that had happened in the weeks and days before, and what happened that night . . . they said I should include as much detail as possible . . . that it was okay if it ended up being a long report. They told me to turn it in to them but to leave off his name . . . if he continued bothering me, I could then give them his name.
That way, there would be a record that something happened but he couldn’t come back and say I was trying to damage his reputation. They also said that I needed to type up a letter that outlined clear boundaries and give it to Jesse. So, I did all that.
He did back off . . . I was already on a different project by the time we went on the trip, so I didn’t have to deal with him directly after the trip. But then, almost a year later, another project was created and he was the project manager. Our director wanted me to also be on the project because of my special skill-set.
I talked to Jesse and told him that I would work for him but he still had to honor all the boundaries I had listed in my letter. He said that was unreasonable and that if I didn’t rescind the letter, he would cause problems for me and get me fired.
That’s when I told him about how I had filed a report and that all I had to do was put his name to it and he would be fired. That caused him to back off from that fight. And then, he suddenly resigned a week later and everyone – except me – was so surprised.
After he resigned, I found out there were other women he had done similar stuff to . . . and then, a year or two later, I found out our director was looking at hiring him back, so I told my director the whole story. The director was really pissed that I hadn’t told him at the time, but I told him my hands had been tied . . . that I could still get in trouble for telling him, even after so much time had passed.
Edward: It sounds like it was a very traumatic situation, but it seems you stood up for yourself in a very powerful way.
Me: Yeah . . .
Edward: Congratulations for standing up for yourself!
Me: Thank you . . .
[Continued in the next post . . . ]