Where do I begin? I guess at the point of the incident because what came before doesn’t really matter. It doesn’t change what happened. It doesn’t alter the outcome. It’s all just details, really. At just before 2:30am this past Saturday night a customer threw a glass at me. It made contact with my face just above my left eye. It didn’t shatter, thankfully. According to the doctor at the urgent care center that my friends Ashlie and Katie accompanied me to last night, I am fine. Lucky, all things considered. There is no vision damage, no broken bones, no foreign body lodged in my skin, no chance for permanent scarring. Once the bruise works through the process of healing itself it will be, at least from the outside looking in, as if this never occurred. But it did. And that won’t change.
It is a weird thing, being physically assaulted. It isn’t that it hasn’t happened to me before, which is a really sad and scary thing to admit. I was slammed against the bar once when I got caught in the middle of a fight between too overly emotional, and overly intoxicated, men. I was jabbed in the face by a customer who was unaccustomed to being told no. In both of those instances, the perpetrator balked immediately after. There was a look of shock on their faces that registered their surprise and remorse for how far they had taken their aggression. In neither instance did the person intend to make contact with me, intend to hurt me. And to me, the intentionality matters. The look of immediate regret that passed over the mens’ faces, even if it lasted for only a moment, told me enough about their personalities, about the risk that they would commit the same act again, that the fear that I felt at being assaulted did not last much past the night of the incident. I was upset that these people could not control their tempers. I did not fear that they would have taken it further if they could have. I was not afraid, not for a moment, that I would ever encounter these people again. But this time is different.
After the glass made contact with my face there he did not pause, did not register even the smallest bit of shock or regret. I stood there, staring at the man who threw it, covered in the liquor that had remained inside the glass until it struck me because of the strength and speed with which it was thrown, blood trickling down my face. I stood and I stared while he continued to yell at me, while he hurled threats of violence against me, while he tried to lean far enough over the bar to get at me again. The men who finally got him under control said it was everything they could do to keep him from hurting me further. They were certain at least one of his buddies was armed.
After they got him and his friends out I retreated to the liquor room, crouched down and cried.
So here’s where I’m at, in the aftermath of all of this. I have spent the last 36 hours trying to wrap my head around what happened and how to move forward. I went to urgent care, got a tetanus shot, reached out to everyone I can think of who can provide me with as much information as possible so I can figure out how best to handle this for myself specifically. But here is the thing: I have to be careful because a person who lodges a projectile, a weapon really, at someone’s face and then says, as this man did, that “I had it coming” does not care about consequences. He does not feel regret. His system of morals is tiny, if it exists at all. Every decision I make will not only have consequences for him, they will have consequences for me. The way I proceed will effect my day-to-day life. The life that finally returned to some semblance of normalcy only recently. Someone who feels no regret is not someone who takes punishment in stride, is not someone who understands that every action has a reaction. He is someone who got so angry that he was refused a drink that he looked at me almost an hour after the incident with such rage that I am still convinced that, in that moment, he was capable of doing serious physical damage to me with his bare hands. That is a lot to absorb. And it scares the shit out of me. I have never looked that kind of anger and hatred in the eye before.
What is more is that it wasn’t just that he was refused a drink, but that he was refused a drink by a woman. That is what keeps getting me again and again. Some people, having read this blog that has enumerated the incidents that I have had over the past number of years might think that I had it coming. They might think that there is a common factor in each of these incidents and that the common factor is me. But the reality is that a lot of these circumstances never would have escalated to the point that they did, might not have even happened to begin with, if I was a less vocal, less opinionated woman or, better yet, if I was not a woman at all. Put quite simply, being an opinionated woman is simply not safe and that’s the world we live in. That’s the reality of our lives.
So now I have to think about my safety in a real way. I look back on what I did and I wouldn’t do it any differently. I regret nothing, not a single word, not a single action, not a single decision. If faced with the same circumstance I would do it all over again, even knowing what I know now about who this guy is, what he has done and what he is capable of. Maybe it’s stupid and shortsighted but I cannot allow a man to enter my life and blow it apart. He shouldn’t have that sort of control. And it’s fucked up that now, because some idiot with an overblown ego and a stunted character threw something at my head I feel afraid. He did this to me. He overreacted. He threw something at me. He made me bleed. He gave me a black eye that is going to take weeks to heal. And now I am the one who is afraid. I am the one being contacted by family and friends full of concern and advice. I am the one walking down the street wearing a mark of what happened for everyone to see, and wonder about, and judge. I am the one with mace in her bag.
And so I have choices to make. And what I decide will, of course, impact him. But fuck him. Whatever choice I make could potentially take him off the street for a time but it will not make him understand that what he did was wrong. This was not his first rodeo and I have no doubt it will not be his last. I want to act in a way that I will feel confident in going forward, that will let me sleep at night. I want him to pay not for how he made me look, because that will pass, but for how he made me feel and how he made my family and friends feel. We are afraid and he should not have that kind of power. But he does. And that is so fucked up. He is a bad person who I shouldn’t have time or space for but he forced himself into my life by throwing a glass at me because of some trivial nonsense and now I have to worry about my safety and my livelihood. I have to try and assess, with the limited information that I have, how much risk I am in going forward, what the best course of action is, and how I can live my life, work and move around this city without constantly looking over my shoulder.
This is being a victim. It is complicated and shitty as fuck. He made me a victim but he will not make me powerless.