domestic violence

Pepper Spray

I used to have one of those pepper spray key chains. You know, the kind that they sell at survival stores and self defense classes. They don’t protect you, but give you that extra time if you need it to get away. I worked odd hours, sometimes until 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning at a casino. I felt safer having that in my hand as I walked through the parking garage to my car. I got it *just in case*, you know, just in case you get attacked, just in case you get mugged, just in case someone tries to carjack you. I never expected to actually use it though.

We got into a fight one night, again, no clue what about. I remember that I was trying to keep it from getting physical though. So I grabbed my keys & purse, and was going to leave. I don’t know where I was going, but I thought if I could just get out. When I got to the door, he shoved me, told me to get the f*** out. When I fell out the door, I turned so I didn’t land on my face, and he then kicked me in the stomach. I swear I thought I was going to die. It knocked the wind out of me. I struggled to get up. He had slammed the door, so I thought it was over. As I slowly got up, the door came open. I had my keys in my hand, and I ran to the car. We lived in an apartment, and our assigned parking spot was right outside our door thankfully. I got to the car and got it open just as he caught me. He grabbed my arm, I panicked. I didn’t know what he would do if he pulled me out of the car, but I knew that it would be bad. I could already feel the bruise on my stomach where he had kicked me. In some moment of clarity, I remembered the pepper spray. I wasn’t sure it would work. After all, the people who sold it said that it might not work on an enraged or deranged person, but I was desperate. Somehow, I managed to get the flap open. He still had a hold of me. Those little pepper sprays have this great safety catch, so that you can’t accidentally set it off in your purse and zap yourself with it. The store where I bought it had instructed me on how to release the safety one handed, so that if you were struggling with an attacker you could still open it. It worked. As I felt the guard slide around and realized that it was open, I pressed, hard. He screamed and let go. I slammed the door, locked it, started the car and backed out. I remember seeing him in the mirror as I drove away, terrified. I knew how angry he would be, and I couldn’t imagine what I should do next.

I ended up at his mother’s house. I didn’t know where else to go. When I told her what had happened, she was furious. They promised not to let him in. He called, they told him to leave me alone. He called again, and again. Eventually, he stopped being angry, and was sorry. He cried, he didn’t know why he did it. He was so wrong to hurt me. He was sorry. He just needed me, he just needed to know when I was coming home, he couldn’t live without me. Why was I doing this to him, hurting him so bad? Eventually, I talked to him on the phone. Then, I went back. I was ashamed of myself. I had humiliated him with his family by going to them. How could I have done that to him? How could I think he would have really hurt me. He loved me, I was his savior, the only one who understood him. The only one who would never leave him. So I went home. About 3 or 4 weeks later the bruising on my stomach finally healed completely.

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