When did public shaming become acceptable in our society? I have never found it to be a useful tool in any situation. I’ve witnessed it and had it done to me in many ways.
What about thinking your son is weak? So you make him wear his mother’s dress and make up while mowing the front lawn. Yes, this too I’ve seen.
Now in the digital age we can be haunted 24 hours a day with our past, shame, and indignities.
I have received numerous emails with the words YOU DISGUST ME as a heading. At first I ignored them. Then they came daily. I noticed I started getting emails saying someone had accessed my public records. I didn’t think anything of it because I didn’t think I had one.
I was wrong.
As quite a few of you know, the man I drank with for years(I’ll refer to him as J.) had beaten me up one evening. J was not arrested. He drove me home, carried/dragged me to my parent’s front steps. My father opened the door and saw me. He could also smell the alcohol coming off of me. J. said “I fell”. I kept saying I didn’t fall that he broke a big wooden chair over the back of my head and neck, sat on my chest and arms, repeatedly punched me in the face with his skull rings on, and then threw me down a flight of stairs.
The problem was I was drunk and badly injured. My parents didn’t think the police would believe me and frankly my dad didn’t believe me until my mom told him J. had called my brother before he even brought me home to tell him that no matter what he heard “it wasn’t his fault”. This made J. look guilty and later on he actually bragged about it and did it to someone else.
A few years after it happened I was drinking and happened to run into one of J’s friends. I admit that I was nice on purpose. I told him I wanted to “forgive and forget”. I didn’t. He was living with J. so he took me over there so we could work things out. What happened was I took a baseball bat to all of the windows in his car and the lights. I may have tried to swing the bat at J. also but of course in his case he had called the police and they showed up in minutes with guns drawn. How fun for me. I having nothing against policemen/women but the ones that were on duty around J’s house always knew what was going on there. J. had underage girls drinking there constantly, he sold drugs out of the apartment for years, he bought underage kids alcohol in exchange for money (he made an extra $250/week just doing this), there was always an ex-con living with him breaking parole at some time or another. They would let all of this slide for years. It had something to do with his father and grandfather. They had no love for J. but they were not going to see his name in the paper.
So I was arrested for Drunken Disorderly, Destruction of Private Property, a Restraining Order was issued, Resisting Arrest (don’t remember that), Restitution to the Victim (I laughed when the judge said this and was yelled at), Probation for One Year, and Alcohol Counseling for one year.
They said after 7 years it would be off my record.
After my mother died I didn’t deal with anything well. On the one year anniversary I was drinking. For some reason I decided to leave my friends house. I didn’t know where I was going. I hadn’t even gone 2 streets down when I decided to turn around and go back. I knew I shouldn’t have been driving. My car died in the middle of the road. Like an idiot I was outside the car trying to push it out of the way. A police officer stopped and asked what I was doing. I told him I was trying to get back to my friends house because I realized I shouldn’t be driving. I didn’t want to lie. Now I looked in the driver’s side window and saw that the car keys were on the seat and I was trying to push a car while it was in park. Stupid, on all counts. I was arrested for DUI and given a $250 ticket for PARKING WHERE I WASN’T SUPPOSED TO. Now I know I was wrong but the cop couldn’t have it both ways. You charge someone with driving under the influence when they are not in the car, the keys are out of the ignition, and the car is in park. You then give them an outrageous parking ticket that confirms it. I’m lucky that I had a good lawyer because I blew a .34 and just for that would’ve lost everything. I’ve been sober since. All charges were dropped but it shows up if you look up my public record. It isn’t supposed to. I was never convicted. Something else happened that evening that made them drop the case and made me a little more frightened of men that I feel could do harm to me.
Someone gaining access to my public records and calling me disgusting isn’t that bad. It’s when you have to see it everyday. Day after day you are reminded of your drinking, how you hurt your family and people hurt you. You are also reminded of your damage. How you flinch at loud male voices and startle easily. How you stutter if confronted in an aggressive way. Most of all you feel angry that someone is trying to use what they perceive as your shame to discredit or hurt you. That is the part that I can’t tolerate. I won’t tolerate.