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What is in a name?

As I’ve mentioned before, you all know that I’m a domestic violence survivor. I’ve talked quite a bit about some of the more intense situations but I figured this might be a good time to bring up something we’ve seen a lot in the news lately.

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Abuse in the entertainment industry is in the headlines of many websites, blogs, magazines, you name it. More and more people are coming forward every day talking about their abuse, be it sexual, emotional or physical, and it seems to be what’s sweeping up Hollywood. As more people are coming forward, I’ve noticed that on the local entertainment scene, in this blog post I’m focusing on the local music scene, more and more people are beginning to speak up as well. This is fantastic! I’m so proud of all of my fellow survivors taking a stand and I’m happy to see that people are believing them and standing up for them as well.

What I’m getting at is the fact that my abuser may be someone you know. He’s in the local music scene in Florida, last I heard anyway. Some of you already know who it is. But, as years have gone by, and as I’ve met more people in music, I still won’t say what his name is or what band he was in. Don’t get me wrong on this, it’s not about protecting him or the music he does or anything like that. It’s not for him. It’s for me. It’s for my protection.

I’ve been told by many that “if he were going to come after you, he would have done it already.” The problem with this thinking is that it’s the assumption of normal. Abusers aren’t normal. They are sociopaths with an inherent need for control over everything. I’ve had read stories in which the abuser disappeared for many years only to come back and attack or kill their previous victim. That is my fear. I have a restraining order against him. I showed up to court, I testified in front of a judge and full room, and he never showed up. The issue with a restraining order is that it’s a piece of paper. If someone doesn’t care, a piece of paper won’t defend you. Not only that, but it’s something I have to carry around with me everywhere. I don’t have it, I’m not protected by the law.

Along with this, no one believed me. The people in that music scene loved him. He had talked so terribly about me that when I came out to them, I was “just trying to destroy his life”. I got threats regularly, people lied to officers when questioned, and these were people who actually witnessed him attacking me, and I was preyed upon by people who thought I was “broken enough” to hook up with them. I talked to many lawyers, told my story over and over. He ran, skipped court dates, got arrested again, and you know what he got? A slap on the wrist and charges dropped. What did I get? Years of PTSD and constant paranoia that I’ll be found.

When we were together, I pressed to learn an instrument, to be in band. I figured he could teach me how to play guitar or bass. That never happened. When I left and became surrounded by better people, I was taught how to play bass. My abuser doesn’t know I’m in a band, in the music scene, let alone that I can even play anything. It’s rough to push music, promotions, band things with the knowledge that if you’re found, that could end everything, even your life. This is why I don’t say his name. Any chance of him finding me could be devastating.

If you ever wonder why people stay quiet, why they don’t say who abused them, why they don’t press charges, I hope this opened up some insight. It could be your best friend, you’re favorite musician, your drinking buddy at the bar. He could be in your music scene circle. Would you believe the survivor? What is in a name anyway.

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