As we loom over the final day of this Presidential Administration, I wanted to be clear that my use of "left" is non-political. Trust, I'll save that pun for another time.
Now that that is out of the way....
Someone like me would LOVE to believe things are getting better for marginalized groups in America. Things are CLEARLY not where they should be, but it's has somehow improved from where it was.
It's also only fair to note that there are MANY marginalized groups in America - honestly and ironically, the only group on the outside of this is Straight, White, Christian Males. It's honest, but the ironic part is that, as so much attention is falling onto everyone else, Straight, White, Christian Males are becoming increasingly marginalized themselves - it's not really hurting them, but... it's something we, as a society looking for equality, need to keep in mind as we move forward.
This post is not about them.
This isn't about LGBTQ rights. This isn't about Racial Equality. This isn't about Religious Freedoms. This is about women.
Now, to be completely clear, I'm not a woman and I don't claim to be an expert. I currently live with four women of varying ages and I'm no closer to understanding them as a rocket would be to the Moon, flying in the opposite direction. I am, however, privy to the recent experiences of a particular woman. For the sake of this post, we will name her *goes through my list of fake names* "Holly" .
Holly is the single mother of two with experience in very abusive relationships, both physically and mentally. Having been in her life during these times, I've tried to steer her away from those experiences since she managed to escape them years ago.
Holly recent started dating a guy named.....*goes back through my list of fake names* "Michael" and they seemed to hit it off. Personally, I saw the writing on the wall, but as anyone in MY position would have to acknowledge, we have a tendency to be very over protective when the new guy comes around. I reserved final judgement.
Things seemed okay. He came over to her house, that she acquired from her mother's passing (this is important later) and they spent plenty of time together mutually enjoying each other's company.
My first hint of a problem was an argument they had. The gist of it was an indication of his insecurities in the bedroom that reflected a general distrust of her - that's the best way to put it. The results of the argument was her being upset because of the accusations made and him, for lack of a better word, pouting in HER bedroom to the point she couldn't go in there.
Many more confrontations would take place where his insecurities would manifest themselves and he'd negatively lash out against her while she sat back in WTF-Land trying to figure out how they got to this place. This was my red flag and I told her then to end the relationship. She did not.
Many more signs would eventually show themselves only to be ignored. Because they spent so much time together, she moved him in with her - a mistake.
I feel that it's important that I make it clear that I'm not telling this story to pass judgement on Holly. I've told this story to set of the rest how the story went from here.
It came to a point where Holly realized that this relationship was bad for her and her children. She asked Michael to leave. He did not. She told him to leave. It was her house and she didn't want to be with him anymore. He did not.
On her behalf I called her local police department to inquire what my friend should do. They asked me the following questions: Has he lived there for more than 30 days (the answer is no) and is he receiving mail there (the answer is once again, no). The officer said that all she had to do was call them and the responding officers would help. They did not.
As she cried, locked in her own bathroom, she called me and told me that the police showed up and did nothing. They asked her the aforementioned two questions and THEN threw in a third question - Does he have any of his stuff there? Now, naturally, you have some of your stuff where you are. Hell, when I visit my car's in the driveway - shit, does that count?
Because he had "stuff" there, they said they couldn't force him to leave, which as you can assume, went over really well when they left. Hence, why she was locked in a bathroom telling me this. He would then threat her if she pulled anything like that again. What saved him in his opinion? His God protected him from the police. Now, I know why people hate Christians like they do.
So, what do you think would be the next step? Well, they of course said that if she wanted him out, she would have to file an eviction with the courts. But before that, she tried one more thing - an Emergency Protection Order, the "almighty EPO". She went and filed for the EPO and she was told that the Order stated that he couldn't come in contact with her until the hearing. She felt this would work, but wasn't entirely sure. So she asked, "What happens if he shows up to my house?" The reply was, "Call the police. They'll see the Order and they'll have to do something about it."
So of course she goes home and of course he shows up and of course the police did nothing. Yes, he was served the Order but the cops did absolutely nothing. They said that he could be there, he just had to leave her alone.
Her lawyer, who also said that's not how EPOs work, has yet to do anything about it. A call to the judge (or the office, I suppose) resulted in the statement, "We can't make the police do anything."
So the question I have for the public: At what point does a woman have the right to feel safe in her our home? What resource does a woman have to ensure her own safety?
I can see some responses now. This is where the Pro-2nd Amendment crowd runs in and says "An EPO is just a piece of paper" as a way to imply that she should just arm herself. But I say, how would the gun help now? A follow-up: Why should it even come down to this?
While I blame the "system" for failing my friend completely, there is another underlining issue we CAN NOT ignore - The "man".
I've not always been an angel. Hell, I'm still not an angel. I've been pretty open with my faults when I was younger. I've mistreated a woman so maybe that plus seeing friends go through this things and hearing the stories of my friends and their past has made more increasingly annoyed and angered by how men treat women today. While I didn't beat anyone, my behavior was inappropriate. Far too many men that advantage of too many women and we have too many other men validating this behavior. Men, WE need to be the ones to encourage each other to do well and discourage each other from this level of behavior.
Women, you have got to start leaving us when the bullshit starts. Encourage us to get help if you want, but don't just ignore the signals. When the EXIT sign starts flashing, get the entire fuck out. Save yourselves.
America, we have GOT to do better.