[Posted both here and on Facebook on Feb. 11, 2019, by the author.]
I’ve debated coming forward with this for years, mostly because I care about all of the women involved, even the ones I don’t know. I care because I believe in women, and because we were all harmed by the sociopathic actions of the same person. I don’t want to bring another second of fear or pain to a single one of them.
I’m writing this because I’m tired of hearing “why aren’t the women coming forward?” Here I am. I was in a serious relationship with him for over three years.
I’m writing this here for all of you to see and not on my page because even years later some days it is still hard for me to reclaim what is mine and let go of what isn’t. After experiencing that kind of depravity first-hand, I sometimes felt like I was irreparably broken and could never see the world the same way again. Never have faith in humans again. Never believe my own reality again. My world is bigger and brighter than ever now, and in the last few months I’ve felt the tiniest glimpse of hope return in me. I am grateful to the ones who have come forward and shared their stories so far. I write this in solidarity with them.
A few weeks after our separation, he broke into my home and stole the entirety of my music business, as well as the computer itself and other studio gear. It was only after taking legal action against him, and a year and half later, that I was able to get the files back. I now understand that the computer contained something much more important for him to hide. I’m going to use false names to protect the women who are involved.
He was on tour. I was working on music on our shared studio computer. I’d looked up a song title in the finder, Li for “Limb From Limb” when “Lily.jpg” popped up. I had a close friend named Lily. I wondered why a picture of her would possibly be on that computer. I opened it up and felt so confused to see a picture of one of my best friends in a bikini, a photo she’d asked me to take of her at the beach months ago.
When I pressed the “Show in enclosing folder” button, my stomach dropped to see, “Abby.jpg, Amanda.jpg, Amy.jpg, Anna.jpg,” and down the entire alphabet. Over 300 photos. Women, catalogued and categorized. Like dolls on a shelf. Besides just the ones he’d creepily ripped from social media, there were many photos of naked women that he had presumably taken during sex. There were photos of girls who I now know were underage. There were many photos of women in our town, some of whom I knew personally. More than a dozen girls across the country who’d he stayed with on tour, making sure to tell me without my asking that they were his “buddies.” I remember throwing up, and afterwards lying on the bathroom floor shaking.
I couldn’t talk to him on tour. I needed to be face to face. For the next few days, I was a complete wreck, not able to sleep or eat, literally trembling in fear and confusion and nausea. That I’d chosen to share my life with someone who was so deeply, deeply disturbed. That maybe I’d somehow never be able to get out of it. And, who had he slept with while we were together? Was I safe? Were they? I couldn’t talk to anyone. Who could I possibly talk to? My mom? One of my best friends, whose picture was in the folder? I knew that telling her would only make her feel as unsafe and sickened as I did. I felt utterly silenced.
When he got home, I said that I needed to talk to him and we sat down in the living room. I told him I’d found his folder, and that I was terrified.
He wouldn’t look at me. I waited, and waited. I wanted to hear, “I am so, so sorry.” I wanted to hear, “I can’t imagine how this must feel for you right now.” Even, “I’m a sex addict, I have a problem and I need help.”
His words were “You CAN’T tell anyone.”
Sit with that for a moment. It’s all I need to say.
So there it is. Share it if you want without my name attached. It’s not mine to hold anymore.