So, I’ve been getting so much closure lately. Some of it hasn’t been super fun or exactly what I want, but I feel like a lot of gaping wounds are closing.
I’m talking to my friends – the ones in the friendships that have really been strained and suffered a lot. And some of them probably aren’t gonna come back. And that’s super sad, but at least I’m starting to better see where things stand. I’m starting to come back to life.
I’m finally actually settling into my apartment. I’ve gotten through thousands of emails I missed (and I still have thousands more!). I’m working through the longest to do list I maybe have ever had.
I’m just coming back to life.
And, as I look toward the end of trauma therapy (we’ve even set our out date; it’s aaaaall being tied neatly in a bow), and I think about any closure (as I think about friendships I’m trying to save and ways I’m trying to improve…), I thought about my “closure” with sexual assault guy.
I don’t know how much I talked about this specific thing on here, but about a year-ish ago, I had one last phone call with him. It was the last time we spoke. And I said that I had something important to tell him. I told him that even though we’d talked at length multiple times, about what he’d done to me, I didn’t know if he ever heard. And even if we were finally deciding we wouldn’t actively try to be friends or anything else, I wanted him to never do this to another woman.
And we went detail by detail about 3 large specific times he’d crossed boundaries – two sexual assaults, and one in which he’d just scared me.
I was shocked that he listened without hanging up. Granted, I tried to navigate the conversation as carefully as I could. I tried to be as nice as I could. I tried to frame it in the way of “this will help you stay out of trouble,” and framing things for how they can help him is always the way to go, and will usually get him to listen. So, all those things helped. Even still… pretty impressed he stayed on the phone. But he did. At the end, he said he’d reflect and that if either of us came up with any questions or epiphanies or whatever, we should reach out.
A few days later, I asked if he wanted to talk again and he said no. And that was the last I ever heard from him.
I wrote him back to say that he obviously didn’t have to read my email if he didn’t want to, since he didn’t want to have a phone conversation, but that in case he was curious what I’d wanted to say, I said that on the phone I wasn’t sure if I’d given him quite enough credit [I had; more than enough, but at the time, I was always questioning myself] for the 3rd thing we talked about. I was something along the lines of, “Yes, you scared me, but then you stopped. The other two, I have nothing to add, but I wanted to be clear they weren’t the same. And if you had stopped in the other two, things would’ve been okay.”
I am quite a big believer in, “Don’t say something behind someone’s back you haven’t said to their face.” Or at the very least, only say something you’d be willing to say to their face at a moment’s notice, but really, you should’ve already said it – especially if you’re doing it in a public space, such as on a blog like I am.
And so I tried to go back to that email. I just wanted to be sure that I had been as clear with him as I had been on the blog – that he’s a serial sexual assaulter. I know I tried to tell him what he did a million times.
And I was very clear in that final phone call, as we went through all the details of the nights I lay out here – shaking, crying, yelling “I don’t know.”… We went through what happened. He said, “So, I took away your agency?” I said, “yes, you took away my agency.” I know I was clear. And yet. As with everything with him, I still wonder sometimes, “Was I clear enough?”
And I know he was always distracting, and switching blame, and all of that. And it was next to impossible to have real conversations with him. I know I had to worry about my own safety. That was a thing too. I get that this was not a normal issue and a normal conversation. Still. For a number of reasons, I have a desire to be so crystal clear (in the immortal words of Moriah, ‘like I’m bathing in Windex.’
Anyway, I tried to go back to that final email to see if there was anything in there that could help me to re-know and feel more confident in my clarity.
And the email doesn’t exist anymore. And I remembered why.
I told him in the email something like, “I know this must be really nerve-wracking to have this details in writing. And I don’t think you’d want anyone to know. So, just as a measure of security, for no matter who ever sees my emails, I’m going to delete this completely from my computer and sent mail.”
That is one giant example (of a few (or more)) of how I was so concerned with making him feel safe, and comfortable, and never backed into a corner.
And it just seems kinda silly now. I know that part of it was keeping myself safe involved trying to not make him angry, and he’s very volatile. So, you just always have to be careful around him. But part of it was my gross never-ending empathy that’s so worried about everyone. And it feels overall ridiculous now.
[Side note: I get that it’s maybe a little ironic that I’m saying I was covering his and my tracks so well just to tell the world on my blog. But a) I think there’s something different between your friends and colleagues and people you know finding out that you, by name, assaulted someone vs being an anonymous perpetrator in blog posts most likely not even read by most of those people. And b) Life changes. Donald Trump had a tape released where he bragged about grabbing women. The problem against women is so much bigger than I realized and I held it in until I just burst out having to talk about it. And that’s my right…]