This will make sense a little later.

SBM has decided to become an official sponsor/partner of the Ray of Hope Walk coming up on October 28th, 2012. SBM feels that in addition to providing content on the urban male perspective to our readers via our website and events, it’s important to have an imprint in our community. We are excited to work with an organization such as Omega Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. because of their longstanding and relentless work in spreading awareness about Domestic Violence and it’s affect on all of us. Please enjoy today’s post.

It was the things that I liked about her the most that would inevitably be the downfall of our relationship. Every time I’ve told this story, I always begin with this important piece of information which I call, “I don’t want to sound like the negro who didn’t have nothing to do with it.”

I’m one of those guys who has always been solutions oriented when it comes to discourse in relationships. I really don’t like arguing at all. I also tend to believe that just because someone does something in a way I wouldn’t do it, doesn’t mean that it’s the wrong way to do things. I’ve always thought it was better to distance myself from the effect those people can have on you, rather than spend a whole lot of time trying to fix them. What used to end up happening, as all other parties involved hadn’t matured yet, was that I would just remain very quiet and never really mention any issues or thoughts about someone’s behavior. As it pertains to this situation it was that I felt like the girl I was dating at the time was a perfectionist and had difficulty accepting when things didn’t go her way. I told myself it was cute and never mentioned a thing.

The other thing that I did that I probably shouldn’t have done is I accepted things from her that I shouldn’t have accepted and it let us fall into a routine out of convenience that I probably shouldn’t have allowed us to fall into. I didn’t have a car so she would run me back and forth between campuses whenever I liked just so I could spend time with her. This established an expectation that all that was needed for us to see one another was that she would come get me.

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It was about 7PM on a Sunday spring afternoon and it was starting to get dark. Typically, I would be settling in and spending the night because I didn’t really have class until Tuesday. Technically, I had class on Mondays, I just didn’t go because there were still Wednesday and Friday classes. Trust me, it made sense in college. I had the opportunity to head back to my school that evening and I decided that it’d probably be best to just head on back since I had a ride with some of my friends. I began to gather my things and as I was doing so, I hear a voice at the door, “Hey, are you going home right now?” I explained, “Yeah, I figure it’s probably best since I have a ride now rather than waiting until tomorrow or missing class Tuesday.” This back and forth went on for about fifteen minutes and I think somewhere along the way she asked me if I was trying to get back to see some other girl. I denied it, because I wasn’t, and then told her that when I go back to my school, I don’t automatically assume that she’s seeing another dude.

It was at this point that she began to explain to me all that she does for me and our relationship on a regular basis. I remained quiet at this time because I didn’t want to interrupt her, nor did I care to share all the sacrifices that I made for her. I never made those sacrifices for them to come up in an argument later on down the road; I made them because they were the right things to do. The entire time that we were having this conversation I never flinched, I kept packing my things, and when she asked me a question, I just kept quiet. I learned a long time ago not to give fuel to a wildfire. After she had finished doing a bit of screaming and name calling, I asked if she was done and left her room. I happened to walk past her roommates in the living room who were staring at the television which was much too low for them to have heard anything on the television with their third roommate screaming at me in the room down the hall. I left out the door and headed down the steps to meet up with my ride. In my head, I’m thinking that this was crazy and that I’ll need to speak with her when I get home about going off on me for wanting to go home to my own bed and campus.

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My thoughts were interrupted by shouting and screaming coming from her apartment. I couldn’t hear it very well, but thinking about it now, it sounded like this;

Her: I HATE HIM!

Roommates: You need to calm down, girl!

Her: NO, I HATE HIM!

My friends were far enough ahead that I had to walk the length of the parking lot to get to the car. I was walking alone alongside a wall. I heard the door to her apartment building swing open and I saw her roommates running out shortly thereafter, but I didn’t see her. I turned around to see what was going on and I could really see much because it had already started to get dark.

Then an engine started…

And then I saw reverse lights come on…

There was screaming and shouting, her roommate reached into the car and told her to stop, and after dragging her friend a few feet on the pavement as she tried to grab the steering wheel, the car stopped… about five or six feet away from me. My eyes wide, she got out the car in tears and her roommates took her back inside and I just walked away. I got in the car with my friends and headed back to my school. We spoke once again after that when I needed to retrieve my remaining things and then didn’t speak afterwards for a few years. It wasn’t until years later that I was able to come to grips with what happened. There were two takeaways from this situation for me.

Men have an inability to ever want to consider themselves a victim; society helps in the process too.

I tried to laugh the entire situation off like it didn’t really mean anything to me but one day I realized that I was just a few feet from having my body splattered all over that wall in that parking lot. It took me a long time to realize that the situation was not okay, that what happened was something that I was thankful for making it through. At a younger age, had I had the ability to really see things for what they were I probably could have used that to help other cats in my position.

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Men in the same effort to never consider themselves a victim, rarely ever face the person who abuses them.

I didn’t say much to her about this situation past, “I just think it’s best we take some time apart” until many years later when I confronted her about it all. Men are sometimes terrified of the word, “crazy” or coming across as soft that we allow malfeasance and abuse to go on forever. I don’t know who she dated after me, but what I do know is that I should have told her about herself. She needed to know that it was not okay to behave that way, she needed to know that she really tried to kill me, and she needed to know that she was the reason I would always be skeptical of people who had all her great qualities. She needed to know that all of that wasn’t fair and she should seek help for ridding herself of those flaws.

Today, I wanted to bring light to a not so black and white situation that affects men. We’re all aware that domestic violence doesn’t just affect women. However, men and women sometimes struggle with knowing the subtle ways of domestic violence. It’s not always physical; it can be emotional and verbal as well. My situation didn’t end in me being seriously hurt or even death, but it could have. I would hope that based on this story other men (and even women) find the courage to see a situation ahead of time and not end up in dire circumstance for not noticing the warning signs or being afraid to speak up. And even if this post only inspires reflection over our pasts to reevaluate situations that we previously encountered than that’s just a productive as well.

– Dr. J