Trigger warning: This post discusses abuse and rape.
After my minor medical procedure, C, her husband and I had no time for lunch. It was court time. We stopped on the way and J got me an Arizona tea and a Reese’s stick. He knows what I like. Unfortunately, my body wasn’t having it that day.
We drove to the courthouse and I changed from my pajamas into a sheath dress. I’m glad I chose a dress, I don’t think I could have managed buttons.
It’s hard to write about this without feeling like I am plagiarizing. The talented and hilarious Aussa wrote a much better post regarding all this here. Feel free to read that instead of, or in addition to, this post.
I was already feeling sick. I hadn’t seen A since our incident. I had moved out in a panic the next day while he was at work. I do wish I had been able to see his face when he got home from work and everything I owned was just… gone.
The injunction had taken me seven hours to complete. A lot had happened in our two years together. The people at the courthouse had to sit me down and talk me into it. It was a bad relationship, but I didn’t want to ruin his life. I still felt bad for filing against him. I only wanted to feel safe.
And I was afraid. Afraid the judge wouldn’t believe me. Afraid that since I didn’t leave him that time he pushed me, or the first time he sexually abused me, or the first time he intimidated or manipulated me, or the first time he told me I was crazy and stupid and worthless, that I deserved what I got. Afraid his lies would be more believable than my truths.
We walked up to the metal detector. I had my stainless steel water bottle. They asked me to drink from it, in case it was acid that I was going to throw on someone. I somehow still managed to make a joke; “What if I had wanted to drink acid today? Then the joke would have really been on you guys.” I don’t know what I was thinking. I blame the drugs.
I was nervous. My stomach hurt. I couldn’t tell if I felt so shitty from the procedure or from worrying. I scanned the parking lot, trying to see his car. The car I had given him.
The elevator doors opened and I checked to make sure he wasn’t on it before getting on. We got to our floor and all I could do was sit, staring out the window, waiting to see him. Wanting to get it over with and wanting him to not show up at the same time.
I started feeling really sick. C took me into the bathroom where I vomited back up my candy bar. I started crying. I wasn’t sure I could do this. I was freaking out. My heart was pounding which was upsetting me even more. Was I having a panic attack? Was I having a stress reaction? Was I having another heart episode that would mean more surgeries? I was a mess.
I was on hyper alert. We walked out into the waiting area and he came in. I had never seen him dressed up. He was in a full suit. He was with a woman I had never seen before. I assumed she was his lawyer. I didn’t have one. Turns out, neither did he. We never figured out who she was. Probably a new girlfriend.
We went into the courtroom. I never looked directly at him, but I knew exactly where he was the entire time. My body stiffened when he scratched his nose, or turned towards me, or shifted his position. At one point C went to the bathroom and he got up and left the room as well. I freaked out and insisted J go out there with her.
After four hours of waiting on a hard wooden bench, C finally asked the bailiff if I could go next due to my medical procedure that morning. I was in agony. The bailiff looked shocked we had waited so long.
We were called up. The judge could not even finish reading my injunction before I was bawling. I answered her questions as best I could. He had written a point by point response to all ten pages of everything I had said.
He offered up several gems during our brief hearing. Things so awful that his defense made even the judge, stenographers, and other petitioners audibly gasp.(He really should have gotten a lawyer). Things like how pushing someone isn’t abuse. And neither is calling them names. And how I only took his rape threats as a threat because I was conceited and thought everyone wanted to rape me. (That last one brought the gasps).
At one point I was crying so hard, C handed the bailiff a cloth handkerchief from my purse (that’s right, I’m classy as fuck). So I could at least blow my nose.
The judge was fair. I had no proof of my allegations. I had stupidly deleted many of his texts (lesson learned). But he was ordered to never contact me again via any means at all for any reason. And was ordered to not contact anyone in my family either.
We walked out of the courtroom, they let me leave first, I guess so he didn’t try to murder me in the parking lot. The bailiff leaned over and told me that they were going to hold him for a long time, so I would have extra time to leave.
In the elevator I turned to my two friends. They were looking at me with concern. I smiled and said “I’m so conceited; always thinking everyone is trying to rape me!” They laughed.
And I had assumed he would not contact me. A restraining order would mean he would lose his job and never get another one in his line of work. But he apparently cared more about harassing me than having a job.
He continued to email me. He didn’t think I had “the right” to end our relationship without his permission.
And I had to go back to court and do it all over again. Four more times. And each time I got that same apprehension walking through the parking lot. Looking over my shoulder, wondering where he was. Feeling sick, wondering if the judge would believe me. Wondering if he was going to show up. Wondering if he was going to show up with a gun. But he never did.
There is no resolution to this story. He was never served the second set of papers. The police department doesn’t know where he is. He hasn’t contacted me in six months.
I’m sorry this post wasn’t funnier. This is the most anxious I have ever felt about sharing something I’ve written. Let us never speak of it again.