An Unacceptable Reality

Trigger Warning- rape, sexual assault, suicide

Tuesday of this week started as a normal day. I woke up, went to job #1, and while on break had a delicious lunch at my go-to lunch break spot.

I went to job #2 excited and ready to make hella money (rent is in a week!)

And then shit hit the fan.

That asshat piece of slime bartender who assaulted me this winter had picked up someone’s shift and was at work.

I wasn’t ready for it. Some part of my psyche wasn’t guarded. I hadn’t taken the necessary steps to prepare my mind and protect my emotions from seeing his stupid face.

And then I broke. The years of trauma came washing over me as I had to interact with this fucker and it was too much for me.

I stepped outside. I smoked a coworkers cigarette to see if that would help. It didn’t do anything but make me dizzy.

I was bawling. I was a fucking hysterical mess. And I realized I had two tables I needed to go greet. Fuck.

So I said hello with a smile while tears poured down my face. I refilled their water while my fucking soul fell out of my eyes.

And my manager noticed. Whoops.

He walked outside with me and asked what was wrong. He gave me a hug that lasted a million moments and it was amazing. He told me I was safe and he would always fight for me to feel that way.

He said he wanted me to stay there and he knew I wanted to stay. I thought he was talking about the night but he may have been talking about in general.

He let me leave.

I was incapable of human interaction, guys. For the first time in my professional career as a server my trauma controlled me and I feel so goddamned weak to admit that. I feel weak and cowardly to have needed to leave.

But I needed to leave. I had no coping skills. That evening my mind forgot all of the work I’ve been doing and I was again just a lost fifteen year old who had just been raped by her best friend.

That night I was a victim instead of a survivor.

And my old manager who now works at the restaurant one door down saw me suffering outside. She walked to me and hugged me. After nearly an eternity she asked me if I wanted to talk about it. I always want to talk about it.

She opened a space in which I felt warm, safe, and well-received.

But her soothing words left me feeling uneasy.

You see, she told me that she was proud of me for leaving. For realizing shit was too hard and that I needed to do something for me and get the hell out of there. She said that so many of the girls she knows who are survivors never do the things to take care of themselves.

So many of the girls she knows who are sexual assault survivors. 

She told me that when she first came to the restaurant where I work now that she asked all the front of house staff if they have ever worked in a job in which they were not sexually assaulted.

Not one single fucking person raised their hand.

Not one.

She told me this story to jokingly share that the two male managers who had been there before her (and are still there) had noooo idea how big of an issue sexual assault was in the workplace, especially in restaurants.

I did not find comfort in knowing that I share this horror with others.

Of course nobody wants to be alone when dealing with something- we all want people to relate to. But sexual assault should not be a given. Sharing my trauma from shitty bartender should not be met with “ohh, you work in a restaurant? Yeah, I could have told you that would happen.”

What even?!

Female manager told me she knows countless women that have been sexually assaulted, raped, attacked….

Countless.

Guys, this is a fucking unacceptable reality. We cannot be okay with this.

Things can’t continue this way. We can’t excuse predators because it “happens all the time”

We can’t put the onus on survivors to do what they need to do to take care of themselves.

We need to fucking punish the idiots who think that someone else’s body is meant for them.

We need to stand up and say this is UNACCEPTABLE.

I know that female manager was doing her best to comfort me but really all I got was angry. I am angry that those words were supposed to comfort me. I am angry that I am now thrown in with millions of people who have been assaulted. And nobody is doing jack shit to change that.

I work for a company that requires 75 write ups before someone can get fired.

HR told me if my assault didn’t happen on premises they can’t do anything about it.

My managers hands are tied.

Fuck you and your tied hands that man assaulted me and does not deserve to work in a place where there are countless women he can assault again.

Once a predator always a predator.

But nope, when I am a crying heap of uselessness that can’t get her shit together my emotions are shameful and I need to “buck up” and “realize that it happens to everyone.”

That is not comforting. That is scary.

Writing the rest of this post two days later is a little surreal. I feel calm and in control of my emotions. Tuesday I did my best to make sure I didn’t wake up Wednesday morning.

Buutttt I did. And here I am. Proof that not everyone can kill themselves on the first, second, third, or even fourth try.

Time and time again I have thought that my emotions and my trauma were too much to bear. The oily, pervasive feelings of anxiety that try to make knots in my stomach but slip around like a ball of snakes make me feel worse than anything anyone can say to me.

And they are not alleviated when I am told that this happens all the time.

We have to stop this.

 

 

 

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