I found out the hard way that it’s not always a bad guy or a stranger that you may need protection from. A few years ago when I was in the process of a divorce, my now ex-husband broke into my house while I was asleep and attacked and tried to kill me.
If I had had a gun beside my bed like I do now, I believe there was a moment right after he kicked in my bedroom door that I might have been able to deescalate the situation before he had me pinned with his hands around my throat. Maybe if I was pointing a gun at him and I said the right things he would have stopped before that happened. But maybe he would have kept coming and taken the gun away and shot me, or maybe I would have shot and killed him. It’s amazing how fast your mind works while it’s happening. I think that’s why things seem like they are moving in slow motion. So many thoughts went through my head in just seconds. Knowing that no one could hear me scream, knowing my phone was too far away to reach, being aware that my little dog was barking and biting him on his legs and being so proud of her trying to defend me, planning exactly how I would escape, knowing that I could be another domestic violence statistic, knowing this was the terror so many other women had felt when they realized they were overpowered and unable to save themselves.
But I did escape and I’m alive. It still surprises me to this day that I made it through and I tell you this story with the hope that you will think about this. We were friends and I never dreamed he would get drunk one night and let his thoughts get the best of him causing him to break into my home and then into my bedroom. I don’t know if he intended to do me harm that night. But he did. Harm that has lasted years inside my head. Would I have been justified in shooting him? You bet. If he broke in tonight would I? Yes. But today I’m not a victim. I’ve taken the steps to keep myself safe. Please be empowered and take your safety into your own hands.