Umm, I could just leave – thoughts on Domestic Violence

'Lovers and madmen have such seething brains, such shaping fantasies, that apprehend more than cool reason ever comprehends.
("A Midsummer Night's Dream", Act V, Scene I, William Shakespeare)

Yesterday, I felt like I wasn't having a great day. It was a Monday, my weekend wasn't so restful. I arose before the sun to take BougieSis to the airport, came back home and had just settled into a work rhythm when BougieMom needed transportation while her car was getting its Grand Hustle checkup at the dealership. Returning home, the gates to our gated community were broken and you could not get in. I parked across the street and hoofed it into the house thinking naptime. My neighbors across the street are building a deck in their backyard. A very noisy deck requiring backhoes and nail guns and mounds of dirt in the middle of the street. Giving up the nap, I decided to get some writing done and stared at a blank screen until Vista (for reasons unknown) crashed. Being a back-up fiend, I lost no data but the drama of rebooting and making sure everything was still configured correctly was irksome. Running unbearable slow, I commenced cursing colorfully at the screen until my phone rang and placed things in perspective.

It was my old college roommate. "Did you hear Kay* died?" (*name changed) Kay was my next-door neighbor in the dorm my freshman year of college. She was a petite dark-skinned beauty who looked angelic on the outside but when she opened that pretty mouth – WHOA! She was a fifth-ward Houston chick – umm, think Jason's Lyric for hood reference. Anyway, Kay and I were close as we were both living in a bullshiggity all girls dorm, had an eight-o'clock class and were dating prominent football players on campus. Yes, we were close right up until my player gave me disturbing information on her player and when I shared it; she was not pleased with me. (Note: if your man has Noxzema, lip gloss and sheer pantyhose under his sink that don't belong to you or his sister, he's either cheating or cross-dressing, okay?! Moving on.) Kay and I lost touch somewhere in junior year and I'm not even sure she graduated but we kept in casual contact over the years. So I asked my friend, "What happened to her?" She replied, "Her boyfriend shot and killed her, she was pregnant." Well, damn… my day didn't seem so bad in stark comparison. Kay was a fighter literally; she was one of those chicks that was always in some sort of altercation with another woman or slapping a dude in the middle of the Student Union or threatening to kick somebody's ass. But no matter how out of hand she could be, no woman should die like that. Not one.

October is also Domestic Violence Awareness month and I wonder if you know that one of the leading causes of death among pregnant women is homicide? Did you know that approximately 30% of ALL female homicides are attributed to significant other? [This number has actually declined while number of males killed by female significant others is going up but er – Imma let some other blogger get with that] The fact remains that ONE out of EVERY FOUR women will experience domestic violence at some point in their lifetime. 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by intimate partner every year. For more statistics and information on where to get help and what steps to take, contact the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. And now, a not so lovely BougieTale:

When I lived out in the Bay Area, I met a guy whose name I have literally blocked out of my memory. We'll call him Clorox Dude (CD) since that was where he worked. CD and I met at the Barnes & Noble in Jack London Square (notorious meet~n~mingle place) and went out a few times. At the end of date three he made a conscious and apparent decision to get up to my apartment. He came up; I offered him something to drink and turned on the TV. As we sat watching TV, he started getting very grabby. Aggressively grabby. To the point where I shoved (not gently pushed) him away from me, stood up and said, "I think you should go." To this he replied, "I don't think so." My mouth literally fell open. As a bougie southern chick, when you ask someone to leave… they go! So I said again, "I really want you to leave." "Not until we take this relationship to the next level, you know you want to." Huh. What to do? While I was standing there perplexed, he got up and grabbed me, sort of wrestled me to the ground and pinned my wrists back. In that moment I recognized that this fool was serious and planned to take what I wasn't going to give. I had two ways out, fight (suck at it) or talk (bingo!).

So as he was licking the side of my neck (eeww!); I said, "Hey, you know what? Let me get out of these clothes and put on something sexy. Why don't you get yourself a glass of wine and we'll do this up right?" He leaned back and said, "Okay now that's what I'm talking about, hurry back." I scrambled up and walked down the hall to my room. This apartment had a long hallway with my bedroom suite at the end. There was a door leading into the bathroom which I locked and another door from the walk-through closet into the bedroom which I also locked. So now two fairly thick locked doors stood between me and CD. I called a friend of mine who played pro football and told him the situation. "You stay back there with the doors locked, me and Big Juicy on the way. DON'T come out until I call you." I didn't know exactly who Big Juicy was but I figured he was the kind of guy you wanted to have around and on your side in a situation like this. Two minutes later CD banged on the outer door, "Are you coming out?" "Yep, give me five minutes," I said. He banged on the door in two minute intervals until about ten minutes later when he asked if he should answer the front door, "Yep, you should get that." Then I heard some scuffling noises followed by silence. Five minutes later my cell rang, "You can come out now, we got him. You want him wounded or dead?" I laughed until I realized they were serious, "Oh jeez, just gone with a warning was good enough, thanks!"

The next day CD called and asked me what happened. "What do you mean?" I asked. He said, "I woke up this morning outside your apartment building in my backseat, somebody beat the hell outta me and stuffed me in my car." Turned out my friend brought over Big Juicy and a defensive lineman to have a "chat" with CD, I kinda wished I had come out into the living room to see it go down. "Hmm, I guess you need to learn to keep your hands to yourself then, doncha think?" "You are crazy! I'm filing charges!" I looked down at my bruised wrists and said, "I can do the same if you want to take it there." Never heard from him again. I told EVERYBODY I knew in the Bay Area about his behavior and at the next major conference, I noticed he wasn't at the Clorox booth. "What happened to CD?" "He got fired; there was some questionable behavior with women in the department." I'll just bet there was. All in all, I felt I had gotten off lucky and it definitely changed my habits as far as letting people into my home before I truly felt comfortable in doing so. I still have a tendency to double and triple check where my cell phone is and make sure I tell someone where I am and who I'm going with. It could have been so much worse.

This "new trend" of men (a la Scott Peterson, Tarance Nelson, Timothy Shephard) who kill their s.o.'s due to pregnancy or some other perceived relationship issue is truly baffling to me. (Okay, it's probably not new but we are hearing so much more about it). I still just don't get it. Seriously, you can just tell me you want me to leave and I am out. Never to be heard from again. I swear on whatever breath I have left you will never hear from me again and I do NOT want a dime! There is no reason to shoot, maim, beat, drown, grill, or freeze any part of me. You don't even have to be nice about it. One angrily muttered, "Get to stepping!" and I'm like the wind. I remember being in a heated argument with a man when he balled his fist up at his side. I went dead still and raised an eyebrow. The hell you say? Not OneChele. I backed away, grabbed my purse and hit the door running. He later said, "I never would have swung it." Ri-ight… I was SO not sticking around to find out. Lookie here, my bougie ass is delicate: I bruise easily, I sprain sh!t without too much drama, I don't even play wrestle. Uh-uh, we off that. There's only one acceptable reason to get physical with a man and that should not require the dialing of 9-1-1. Okay?

I just unloaded two boxes of curling irons (someone will use that crimper!) and blow dryers to the battered women's shelter at my church along with lotions, hair products, blushes and lipsticks I never used and a stack of romance novels. You would think they won the lottery; they were so giddy. So it doesn't have to be a big donation, just something to help out. In memory of Kay and all the other Kays out there, let's take a moment to see if there is something each of us can do to support the cause and raise awareness. Comment as you will.