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I feel you in my bones

[CONTENT WARNING:Β This post is about gender-based violence. Please exercise self-care.]

There are things I lived through with my abuser that my soul has receded to the background in order to allow me to breathe, function and live a normal life.

There are things I have fought hard to keep only in blurs, because sharpening the edges would bring me to my knees.

But there are other moments so vivid in my memory that I know will remain in focus well into old age.

I left him in the middle of the night, deciding at 6pm on a Sunday that I had to go before he got home the next day.

My beloved friends spent all night packing up my stuff and helping me get the hell out of there, crashing on the couch of a friend's house until I could find a place to live.

It was July. It was sooooo fucking hot and my friend lived in a cramped, super dirty bachelor apartment with her cat. Me and my cat landed on her couch at 6am and fell into a deep sleep.

I awoke to her, sometime in the afternoon, running into the apartment and yelling "Julie! Julie! We gotta go! He's looking for you! We gotta go!"

I went from being in the deepest sleep imaginable to being shot out of bed from the sound of fear in her voice. She was terrified.

It seems he'd banged on the door of every person who knew me, demanding to know where I was. By process of elimination, he was coming here next.

Manic, frantic and shaking like a leaf, I threw on whatever clothes I had on the night before, hugged my cat and booked it out the door. We flew down every flight of stairs, fearing the elevator would take too long.

He was coming and he was angry and we all knew it wouldn't end well.

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Knowing that at least 2 of the 3 womyn murdered by their abusive ex this week had called the police on him; knowing that 2 of the 3 womyn had dared to say aloud "He hurt me and I fear he will hurt me again" and that those womyn are now dead?

Knowing that 1 of the womyn was actually working with the OPP to make the system safer for OTHER womyn to report their violence and she's now dead at the hands of her abuser?

I am haunted by that feeling deep in my chest that I know too well.

I am haunted by knowing, so, so intimately, the feeling those womyn had; that realization as he approached them "This is it. My worst nightmare is coming true."

That feeling is forever in my bones; it's a part of my DNA.

Those womyn predicted their own deaths and we did nothing to redirect the waters.

We need to do better.