can't stop, won't stop

Because it never stops, I can never stop

I am just as tired of writing about it as most of my friends and family are tired of reading about it. But it must be shared…repeatedly…as often as it happens.

Yesterday, a man was arrested in my one-time hometown of Frostburg, Maryland for assaulting a police officer. Here is the text pulled from the online article:

CUMBERLAND — A Frostburg man who was arrested by Cumberland Police during a disturbance Sunday in the Virginia Avenue area allegedly kicked two officers as he was being placed in a holding cell at the police department.

David Leo Cassady, 42, was charged with two counts of second-degree assault, disorderly conduct, failure to obey a lawful order and resisting arrest.

Officers who responded to the complaint tried to calm Cassady and warned him not to continue yelling and pointing at people on the street. He allegedly continued to yell and began to threaten the officer before being arrested.

Cassady was released by a district court commissioner on $500 unsecured bond.

Although the man arrested is not the boy in my story, he is part of the reason I do what I do today with my blog. He is part of the reason why law enforcement needs to change its attitude when it comes to prosecuting domestic abusers. He is part of the reason I have no faith in our justice system.

The man arrested is the person who strangled me, kicked me, threatened my life and my family’s life and held a gun to my head (among other things) when I was 18. He was also 18 at the time.

He is a perfect example of why rehabilitation DOES NOT work for pathological and mentally disordered people.

He is a psychopath. He is a danger to everyone he comes into contact.

I am not the only female he has assaulted over the past 22 years. However, I am the first woman he beat.

At 18, I was too afraid to tell my father about what this boy did to me. I was terrified that my father would end up killing him and spending the rest of his life behind bars. I opted not to tell my father or my mother.

Instead, I went to the police. But the police in my then hometown of Cumberland, Maryland proved useless late one night in the summer of 1990 when I arrived at the station looking for help.

My boyfriend (the now grown man described in the article above) had stolen my car keys and chased me along several residential streets, kicking me from behind. I could not out run him. I tried. After what seemed like about an hour of being chased and kicked continuously and begging and pleading with him to stop, I finally started screaming loud enough for the neighbors to hear.

This seemed to work. My boyfriend got scared, tossed my keys in my direction and took off on foot back in the direction of his parent’s home.

After many minutes of searching and digging, I was able to finally find my keys in the darkness among the twigs, leaves and garbage piled in the gutter. I anxiously walked back to my car not knowing if, at any moment, my boyfriend was going to jump out from behind a house, a shrub or a parked car.

Once safely inside my car, I locked the door and thought about my options. Telling my parents was out of the questions. I feared what they would do to him in retaliation. I also feared what my boyfriend would do in retaliation to their retaliation!

I was raised to believe the police and/or someone in authority would help me when I was in danger. So, I drove straight to the police station.

I walked into reception disheveled and frightened. Although I would describe my then 18-year-old self as healthy, pretty, smart and well-liked, I didn’t feel the least bit confident walking into the police station. For one thing, I had never been to one, and for another, I had never spoken to a police officer in my life.

I approached the reception window. The officer behind the glass looked up from his paperwork and asked, “What do you want?”

His words echoed a few times in my head.

What DO I want? What DO I want?…I guess I wanted help.

I said, “I want help. I want you to arrest my boyfriend.”

The officer chuckled and laughed at me. I became instantly confused.

Why is he laughing at me? This is serious. Does he not believe me?

So, I repeated, “Will you please arrest my boyfriend? He tried to kill me.”

From behind the glass, the officer asked, “How did he try to kill you?”

I remember opening my mouth, but words were hard to find. I started crying hysterically. I couldn’t form a complete sentence to save my life! I vaguely remember mumbling and wiping the tears and snot from my melting face.

The officer interrupted me and said, “If you can’t control yourself, I can’t help you. How old are you?”

I screamed, “I am 18, and my boyfriend just tried to kill me!”

The officer, who was still seated behind the glass, said, “If you expect me to help you, you need to be more respectful, young lady.”

I stood in the reception area with the intense fluorescent lighting beating down on my face and tired eyes. I was so confused.

Can’t he see that I have been running in the dark along the streets for hours trying to get away from my boyfriend. Can’t he see that I have dirt and mud all over my knees and the palms of my hands from repeatedly falling after being kicked from behind? Respect? I respect him. What is he talking about? What is happening?

I started crying more. I put my hands over my face and backed up and sat in one of the plastic chairs along the wall.

From behind the glass, the officer spoke again, “If you can’t control yourself, I can’t help you.”

Control MYSELF!? What the fuck was this asshole saying to me?

My tears and frustration turned to anger. I had been patient long enough.

I spoke, “I need you to take down my name and the name of my boyfriend.”

The officer spoke, “I don’t need to do anything.”

In that moment, I felt defeated. I needed the police, but the police clearly did not want to help me.

Rather than prolonging this pointless conversation, I turned and left. I hopped into my car and drove home.

If the police couldn’t protect me from him, I needed to protect myself from him. During the entire drive home, I plotted and planned ways to get my boyfriend to break up with me. Even at 18, I knew it had to be his idea. I was too afraid to break up with him myself. I feared the ramifications of my rejection of him.

Within a few weeks of the police-station incident, I cut my hair really short. I stopped wearing make-up and started wearing clothes that didn’t fit me. I resembled a homely 12-year-old boy more than the attractive 18-year-old girl I had been so proud of becoming. I made myself ugly and it worked. He broke up with me soon after I started my freshman year in college that fall at Frostburg State University.

One would think I felt free and relieved. One would think I would feel like a brave and courageous survivor.

One would be very, very wrong.

I felt more like a failure for not speaking up. I told no one of the details of that night or any of the other nights protecting myself from him. The guilt of remaining silent engulfed me. And with each story passed along to me over the years about another girlfriend or friend or brother or officer assaulted by my ex-boyfriend, the guilt became more and more intense.

I swore I would never be involved with another man who beat me or threatened me. For almost 20 years after breaking up with this abuser, I chose good boyfriends. Caring boyfriends. That is until I invited the sociopath into my life at age 38.

But once free from that relationship, I knew I could not be silent about it. I knew I would not be able to live with additional guilt.

So, I speak. I write. And I can’t stop. Kind of like that Beastie Boys’ song:

‘Cause You Can’t, You Won’t And You Don’t Stop
‘Cause You Can’t, You Won’t And You Don’t Stop
‘Cause You Can’t, You Won’t And You Don’t Stop
MCA Come And Rock The Sure Shot

I Want To Say a Little Something That’s Long Overdue
The Disrespect To Women Has Got To Be Through
To All The Mothers And Sisters And The Wives And Friends
I Want To Offer My Love And Respect To The End
(chorus and lyrics from Sure Shot)


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