Jul 15, 2020
Photo Credit: isabelleize (ME)
the neighbor , art by isabelleize
My husband is in the army, he is getting ready for work, in his uniform, I will be alone all day with my son.
We live in an apartment, on the penultimate floor.
On the top floor there are several apartments, several rooms are for rent,
In the corner a few women, two or three, maybe sisters, I don't remember, I have fun talking with them, we drink our tea, and talk, One who says to me,
We have a new neighbor, he's a man, and we all start laughing because the ladies are looking forward to getting to know each other better,
Me, I don't pay attention to it, I'm a brand-new mother, and I want more than anything for my marriage to get better, my husband's violence doesn't happen often, but it will escalate more and more, before I realize that I am not the fault of his moods, especially after drinking several beers,
A few days later I wave from our room, my son is sleeping on his stomach in his crib, I barely lean out the window, but as I watch my husband leave, I know a figure above me, so out of curiosity, I raise my head and I see a black man, in his thirties, I don't pay any more attention, and says to myself, oh, it's probably the new neighbor, who has been there for a few days,
Maybe I started watching television, or something else, I don't remember,
In any case, there is someone at the door knocking,
Hey, it's the neighbor, in any case, I recognize him, he saw me looking at him while I was waving goodbye to my husband,
He is at the entrance to the door,
Is out of politeness, perhaps I did not dare to lock it,
Is it just because I was young, to have the automatism to put myself and my son in safety by locking it, but because I want to welcome him, welcome him and not hurt him by closing the door in his face, I invite him into the hallway, he needs sugar for his coffee, so I ask him to please wait for me, it will take me a minute, I leave the hallway, leave him behind, I am through the living room on my left the door to our bedroom is ajar, my son has his face turned towards the wall, he is sleeping, I can barely see him from the living room, on the left, I head towards the kitchen,
My sugar is not accessible, I use it often, and I head back towards the living room and then take the corridor,
But when I arrive in the living room, I am surprised to see him there, he has a different look from the one I discovered at the door, I don't have time to hand him the sugar and surprised to see him there,
He grabs me by the hair above my head and knocks me down onto the carpet.
I see the bedroom door ajar, my son is sleeping, his head still turned towards the wall,
I don't scream, he is violent, and he rapes me, in my head, I say to myself, he must not see my child, my child must not hear me scream in pain,
So, I controlled myself as best I could, and I let him do it after some discussion, I realized that he is strong, violent, and determined, I don't remember the rest, but he left, pulling up his pants, and told me looking with a strange smile, I let him go and quickly, I lock,
It took me a moment to realize what had just happened to me and my son.
My husband is coming home, I have to tell him, I have to call the police,
No, if I call the police, my husband will hit me, he will probably say that I looked for him, or that I should not have let him in, I can't tell him, he is a neighbor, and he will threaten me maybe, or maybe he will try,
I have to leave this apartment,
Ah yes, I know, I have to tell my husband that we have to leave, there is a smell of gas, which already worried me, that will be the reason I will give him, but I have to wash, what will I do? What I will do when he comes home,
In the end, I don't say anything to him, for fear he'll hit me, the rest isn't pretty, I'll do another one for that one, and I'll stop there!
But this is what I was told I understand your regret, but it's important to recognize that your decision at that time was influenced by fear, your concern for your child's safety, and the complex dynamics of your situation. It's not uncommon for survivors of traumatic experiences to struggle with decisions about reporting incidents. You did what you felt was best for your safety and your child's well-being at that time.