Listen. Look. Don’t speak. Be quiet. Can you hear in his footsteps he is angry? What did you do? Where has the light gone from his eyes? The tension in his body. Can you feel it, even when he is not hitting you? The pain. The words. You can’t run, you can’t fight. Don’t try, it will make it worse. Listen. Look. Don’t speak. Be quiet. He is coming.
Speak the truth even if your voice shakes.
August 2012. I met Jake at the pief where I worked as a lifeguard. He was handsome and charming, Two weeks later, He told me he wanted to spank me. I imagined just gentle sensual foreplay. The first time he did it he flipped me over his knee, face down, held my hands and arms down. He was hitting me hard, real hard. I thought this would be a onetime thing. I didn’t like it. But I thought it meant something was wrong with me.
It then became a form of “punishment” when I had broken a rule of his, or he felt like I just needed to be punished. Every single time jake spanked me he gave me deep tissue bruises, that would last for weeks at a time, that would make it painful for me sit, and move. He said he liked the color of my bruised ass.
I can’t remember the specific details because I put my mind somewhere else to deal with the pain, the humiliation, because if I fought back it could make jake angrier or make him hit me harder. I just remember moments in time like when he gave me a clean sock to bite down on. Once I hit my bed so hard I got a bloody nose, and I was crying and jake didn’t stop until he said “my ass was bleeding”. I was terrified it was like I could feel all of Jake anger into my body. “Dammnit girl, you need to get some respect. You’re such a pushover.”
October 2012, Jake said he wanted me to come to a Halloween party with him wearing a certain dress and underwear. Instead he took me to his friend’s apartment. I was really drunk, and it felt like I was these guys’ toy, their fingers were near places they shouldn’t be, jake decided he wanted to spank me, I said no and tried to run away but jake grabbed me he pulled my dress up and started spanking me with his friend. I tried to fight and get away. I had a panic attack, and jake just rubbed my face saying “your ok Mary, you’re ok.” that following week or longer I had a bruise mark of a hand on my left arm, I was upset so I just wanted to do was be held by jake on the couch but when I tried he pushed me off hard and said “stop fucking nagging me” I was on the floor crying. Jake’s friend brought me back to his room, he said jake didn’t have any feelings for me, he told him he’d never ask me out, just used me as a thing. I was upset. Crying. Very drunk. Falling asleep. Michael started touching me, I didn’t say no, but I really didn’t want to but I was broken, I let Michael take advantage of me.
After two months of waiting, Jake finally asked me out. I thought things will get better now. I ended up drinking with the guys in my hall, I wasn’t allowed to do that. “oh my fucking god! Dammnit girl you’re going to get it now! You’re sweet ass is mine! We made an agreement!!!”
November 11 2012. jake’s 19th birthday. jake was behind me with a white wood paddle, hitting it against his hand. He said if he ever found out I was drinking again without telling him he would beat my ass with that paddle. Jake texted me that he was going to allow me to miss one more class before he would beat my ass with that paddle, and he would know because he was going to be waiting on the steps of Jamrich for me on the days he had class, when he didn’t have class I was to text him at 8:45 or else he would assume I had over slept, and he would know if I was lying because he had a friend in that class.” The next day I slept through my class. Jake texting me saying “I’m waiting” “guess you just slept through your safety net, and on the first day too. What a shame.”
It was a couple days later. That day it was ominous what jake wanted to do to me. We were making out when I giggled, Jake got really angry it was like a flip of a switch the light leaves Jake’s eyes, his voice changes and his face becomes like stone. I was on top of Jake and he had his hand above me shaking trying not to hit me, I closed my eyes waiting for him to smack me hard. I started trying to rub his face “you’re ok.” he screamed at me “STOP IT.” always like walking on egg shells with Jake, say the right things, do the right things, always do and say what makes Jake happy. “you have no reason to be afraid of me.” He said “I’ve got a deal of you.” I said “ok” he said “I can hear the fear in your voice Mary, you don’t have to be afraid of me, I genuinely care about you.” I said “ok.” He said “I can still hear the fear in your voice, Mary. But I’ll make you a deal, I’ll never spank you for anything to do with school, but if I find out you’re drinking with out telling me, so help me god. And I don’t understand why you have such a problem with spanking, this college Mary, everyone does it.” Any effort I had ever thought about to stand up to Jake again left me, when I remembered that image of the light leaving jake’s eyes and his hand shaking above me.
December 13. I saw that my microwave was gone. The boys in my hall stole it as a joke. Jake saw it, and the switch flipped. I went to go get it back, I was pleading with the boys, didn’t they understand how angry they were making Jake? How all that anger was going to be put on me? jake yelled “give her her fucking microwave back!!” I said “come on boys.” Jake punched the metal door hard next to me I cowered down, covered my head. The boys opened the door it was like I was protecting those boys from Jake, they had joked around before that they could take him but I didn’t want anyone to get hurt. He talked of wanting to kill them. I told him it might make him feel better to kiss me, and he said he didn’t trust himself, I said I trusted him, even as tears rolled down my face. I remember I just wanted him happy. To not hurt those boys. He handcuffed my hands behind me. I didn’t fight, I didn’t say no. I gave up. I was taking it for those boys. I let my mind go numb, but cried out that I was sorry over and over again, jake yelled are you going to get a backbone now? He stopped took the handcuffs off and in my most sincere voice said “I’m sorry for the way I am” and started hitting my backside with the handcuffs.
He wanted to give me a hickey, he had me pinned down and was on top of me. I told him to stop, he pushed my head back forcefully and said “move your head now”, it looked like he had strangled me, this wasn’t a hickey, this was a marking of me that I was his. A branding. he said “you’d better not cover it up, Ill know okay.” I said “I”m afraid I’d get in trouble.” He said “You’ll be in a lot trouble with me if you cover it up, because it’s the last part of your punishment to wear it proudly, and if I come to the PEIF tomorrow and its covered up I’m gonna turn your butt that color again.” I was so scared, I felt embarrassed, I felt demeaned,
The next day I went to file my police report, than later for a Personal Pertection Order, There was supposed to be no contact, but jake said he loved me, couldn’t he atleast give me his Christmas present to me, I thought he would change, your mind tells you it isn’t possible for someone to really treat you like that. I knew deep down that this man was a horrible man. It was like I was brainwashed. It was a constant battle between trusting heart and my logical head.
The first day of second semester Jake was expelled from NMU with twenty four counts against him, five of them sexual assault. He told me I was going to be a witness on his trial. He would call any waking moment for a week. Jake said “if you don’t say this right, if you don’t save me I might as well kill myself if I don’t have school…and “do you really want me to kill myself Mary?” Did he remember who this all happened to, not him, me! A lot more people were at this trial. I thought they all think I’m going to lie. What will jake do to me if I don’t say the right thing? I was just here to fight for a second chance for jake. He talked of going to batters anonymous, he never did. He said he had started to go back to his therapist, the same therapist he had went to because was abused by this dad, this therapy wasn’t for an abuser but instead for a victim. All this people knew about such the horribly intimate details of my abuse, of my life. I chose to speak about my abuse rather than hide it. This wasn’t about me, this wasn’t my trial. it was Jake’s. I testified because I felt I had to, if I had wanted him to have no consequences for what he did to me I would have lied. Jake wasn’t able to negate a single count and was expelled.
I got rid of my PPO against Jake. Jake had complete control over my life. Life was go to school, work and Jake. He had it all planed out for me told me in 5 years we were going to be living in his trailer with a baby he talked about me dropping out of college, or transferring colleges. It was like I was trapped in a life already planned out for me.
January 2013. jake woke me up at 4 am and told me I had to sleep in his car alone. In below 0 temperatures, he would be back for me later. He shut the door told me the alarm would go off if I tried to get out. I was afraid I would freeze and no one would know. I cried myself to sleep as I tried to cuddle myself for warm, It’s funny because someone could say why didn’t you just unlock the doors, that was never an option.
Another type of punishment Jake used was oral sex, he would just move my head. My body would shake, tears would roll down my cheeks. I had to start dissociating to get through it, because Jake would be so angry if he didn’t finish and wouldn’t let me stop. I was just a body. I tried to tell Jake’s step dad once that he was beating me he just said that he didn’t know why Jake thought that was ok. But that was it, I knew he believe me but why wouldn’t he try to help me? Help Jake?
The things I learned were daily life, Jake stood behind me once with scissors wanting to cut my hair off, held my face down to shave because he said I had a mustache. I had to stay behind the cart at the grocery store. He was by the book personality disorder narcissistic. Always needing to be greater than me, better, feel like he was God.
Febuary 2013. Jake told me he had figured out what we were going to do for Valentines day but told me he had to work on Valentines day and he didn’t want to take it off, but I was busy when wanted to meet. He called me asking if I cared about our relationship? Told me I wasn’t putting enough in to it. He told me that “I had to tell him every time I had a doctor’s appointment, a party, etc. where ever I went because what if he had a date planned for us and I had fucked it up”. “Yes Jake I need to tell you every time I have anything.” This person talking wasn’t me, where was mary? I saw my razer I had never thought about hurting myself before, but I was so used to this feeling of do something wrong get punished. Jake was talking on the phone but I just couldn’t take it anymore getting all this emotional abuse atleast the physical pain hurt less, so I grabbed my razer and cut up my legs deep till they bled and scarred, still on the phone with jake. I couldn’t cry my PTSD had gotten so bad. Jake saif that he was going to take valentines day off but he wasn’t going to like it .
A few days later I had to meet with the dean of students. All the people in life made me feel stupid for staying with this guy, they had no idea what I had gone through how scared I was to leave, scared to die or worse how myself was slowly dying inside, how lost I really was. Some people said staying with Jake was self-harming myself, I vowed to never cut myself ever again, and I never did. I still needed to go to a routine psych evaluation, the head psychologist told me in her 25 years of working at NMU she had never told anyone nor believed so strongly that an abuser would kill a victim as she was in my case. She said I am going to see your name in the obituaries. A part of me knew I was going to die on this path.
Valentine’s day 2013 The school withdraw me for my safety because they were afraid Jake was going to kill me. It felt like my life was crumbling before me, I felt like the world was punishing me for doing nothing wrong, giving the victim the same punishment of the perpetrator. The dean wouldn’t let me stay.
Not even a week later I went back up to the UP on a bus. Jake wanted me to take lots of pictures and post them on facebook to show people I wasn’t dead. The guys in my dorm hall commented “slut”, “looks like someone’s hungry for a knuckle sandwich.” “looks like someone’s ready to get hit” the same guys I had taken a beaten for over a microwave.
Jake kept talking about killing him self, he said maybe we should just off it off together. I said “kill ourselves? Jake I don’t want to die.” He said don’t say it out loud. He wanted me to come up again, he came down to get me. We were driving when he pulled out a knife put it up to me. Telling me we could just off ourselves off right now. Said how tempted he was to just serve into a tree or semi on the way here, started swerving saying thes trucks looked like good ones to crash into. Jake took me to the trailer we were going to live in, it was nostalgic, like a graveyard for all my dreams
I ended up telling Jake’s mom he had been beating me. I felt alittle strength telling her. Then Jake found out. He said I had no right to tell his mom about that I did have a right it had to do with me, she had to know, than she’d help him right? Help me?
I’ve found when people don’t know what to say or do they don’t say anything at all, I’ve noticed this with my family and especially my friends they don’t understand, they don’t know what to say, upset that you would stay with someone that would hurt you like that, so they distance themselves from you, the old Mary was so cheery, fun, who would do anything, this Mary was different. This Mary had internally pain, some of my friends didn’t want to accept it all, accept me, so I lost them.
March 2013. Jake said we should take a break. He was breaking up with me because I was too broken for him. My life had been erased. A part of me just wanted to be dead but I knew I was stronger than killing myself that was what jake wanted and I was stronger than that.
May 2013. Jake’s friend’s Jannis sent me a message saying that his girlfriend Michelle (who was one of jake’s best friends) had left him for jake. My heart stopped this was the moment that I knew I was wasn’t jealous, this had nothing to do with jake getting a new girlfriend and not wanting me. I was scared no one deserved to go through what I went through, you can’t change people who don’t want to be changed. Abusers only escalate. I had to save her, some way, some how. I told Jannis of all the abuse, how horrible it was how I had to help her. I called Michelle crying I just wanted her safe. As far as I know I changed her mind but I guess I’ll never know. Jake sent me a message saying “thank you for setting me free, from you and everything else that was ever between me and Michelle or ever was going to be between me and Michelle I am grateful to for that because I just couldn’t do it and I’m glad that you did thank you, I am free from the past now that Michelle knows, I couldn’t tell her all of it because of how much it hurt.I can finally let it go never have to think about it. I’m grateful that you did what I knew I could never do, thank you for freeing me babe.” It was like he was taking this inner strength I had to try to speak out to Michelle, try to help her, be that person I wanted to help me and throwing it in my face. Throwing it in my face that it was the past, whatever he did to me it didn’t matter now because he wouldn’t have to think about it. He could just let it go, how he was the victim of MY abuse.
It was here that I knew I had to try to stand up, try to get charges on him because it wasn’t about me anymore. It was about the other girls out there who can’t stand up for themselves; who could be his next victim. If all this happened to me, if I was this close to him killing me what would he do to the next girl? Abusers only escalate. How long can he go thinking he’s doing nothing wrong? He just got to start over at some community college in Illinois. They never had to look at his school record. Never had to know that he was expelled. He has no current criminal charges. He gets to forget it all. That makes me angry. But I can’t I have nightmares, flashbacks, if someone hits my backside; to the sound of his hand hitting against me, the car he drove. My life is changed. Inside I am so broken, I try to hide it, I am afraid of people, afraid of my past, afraid of my future.
July 2013 I sent a message to Jake’s ex girlfriend Tresse asking her if jake had ever hurt her. Terese texted “Only once, the only way you can help him is pressing charges, He got the pleasure from smacking people on the ass I guess but then I broke his nose. So he never did that to me again. That may not sound terrible but he was holding me down, she was at Wisconsin Dells with him when she made a joke about Jake being gay. She said he had tried to assault her in the back of his car the same place he had assaulted me multiple times. She had broken his nose. She was still terrified of the back of cars like that now.
October 2015. It’s been two and a half years, Charges had been denied because they didn’t think there was enough evidence to stand before a jury and get a guilty verdict I fought for months, a year, nonstop. I called lawyers, politicians, public safety, I even mailed and received a letter back from Obama. It felt like everywhere had washed their hands of me. Telling me they couldn’t help me, that I consented enough. Everything I went through, everything he did to me, he got away with it. I feel like I don’t matter, forgotten. He just keeps to keep going like I never existed, that he did nothing wrong. The beginning of this month I saw he got a big scholarship for his new school. Call me dumb, but I emailed the new school letting them know what he had done, saying they could do what they wanted with the info. They said they took it very seriously. They told me they confronted him and followed standard protocal, what that means I don’t know. I suppose I might never know.
I refuse to give up though, I will fight, I refuse to be silent, I refuse to not be heard. I will not give up. Even though I know I cannot legally put charges on him, not even give him a smudge on his record I continue to fight by sharing information, speaking out, I have gone to so many therapists, support groups for sexual assault survivors, It’s funny because all our stories are different yet the same. One day he will wake and think “I never should have hit that girl”
I wake up every day terrified, changed by my past. I’m still trying to find myself again what I’m good at, who I want to be, who I am. Tears well in my eyes but I am determined to keep going.
I have power. I came back starting this last winter semester, to finish what I started. It’s scary, to see the same places, the fear that I may see him, be afraid one day he’ll snap and come kill me, because who would stop him? but I want to eventually work in a shelter to help woman with domestic abuse so I need to be here. I am stronger then him.
When I started at NMU August 2012 I thought I had it all figured out but than my life was changed but not by my choice. I don’t have it all figured out yet but I think that’s ok. My speaking up, my fighting back isn’t about revenge, it’s about having my power back, trying to save another girl who doesn’t have her voice. To speak the truth even if my voice shakes.