Sunday, April 1, 2012

Safety- what it's like to lock your door for the first time in almost a decade- by Jessica Mason-Paull

Tonight I understand why I didn't tell anyone what happened. Tonight I'm afraid and alone in my house. I know that the Perpetrator who was just outed at our public meeting is almost certainly not going to come to my house and confront me, but science doesn't hold any comfort for me tonight.

I'm not saying he is a violent man or that I have any reason to believe that he will show up here, but I do know that there's a small chance he might and I'm petrified. My roomates know to call the police if he shows up, my phone is always by me and my friends have all offered their houses for me to stay in if I need, but no amount of safety planning can remove this feeling of dread. I dread seeing him again. I know I will have to one day, we live in the same neighbourhood, go to the same coffee shops, have similar friends. I don't know if I'm more afraid for my safety or for seeing his face, all broken. I feel like I destroyed his life, like I was the catalyst that finally ended his reign on top. It's a horrible feeling, knowing that his family have been told. That his family have to know what he did and the guilt and shame they are going to experience.

I know I did the right thing for me, but I wanted to share how shitty this is for anyone considering doing what I did, outing your attacker. It's a really hard road to walk down knowing you were integral to someones demise along the way. I know "it had to happen" and "he needs help" but tonight I feel pain for the ramifications in his world. Tomorrow the suns gonna wake me up and my dog will be adorable and I'll go for coffee with my girlfriends and for him, he'll have to wake up and be himself, exposed and alone.


  1. I am so sorry that you are having to experience this.

    I am so impressed and awed by the steps you have taken to see that your community is safer.

    I haven't read all of the posts attached to this, so this may already be in the works, but if it isnt... here was the best thing to come out of my own experience of sexual assault:

    I had a meeting with this person, both of us having liason/support people with us, in a situation where I was in control and power.

    It got me past that fear of running into him at a work function. (for you, maybe at a poetry function post-confrontation?)

    The assault happened when I was a teen, involved in a youth event through my church, and I was in my mid-20s when I realized that it was still affecting me and I needed to deal with it. A couple months into the process (I was working with a support person from the Sexual Assault Working Unit of the United Church, drafting a letter that would be sent to my assailant), I went to a work conference and discovered that he was now working in my industry. Nausea, fear, nightmares, daymares...

    Within the first 5 seconds of our meeting, I was good. THIS would be what I would remember, the fix, the solution, ME making it right... and when I remember the original assault, I wouldn't go back to change it because the resolution of it has been one of the best life-changing things I've ever done.

    I really hope this works out in a similar way for you. Please feel free to get in touch if you need a non-poetry-community person to talk to.

  2. Oh, and other point: you haven't destroyed his life. You've given him a good shove onto a better path, shown him a model of honorable behavior, and placed him in a position where he can change and grow, which will hopefully include making apologies and amends for his actions to everyone affected.

    If you hadn't done this work, he would continue rotting. This is different.