Throughout our 17-year marriage, my ex-husband would threaten to kill me if I ever left him. He had a terrible temper, had been violent in the past, and I believed him. But we had kids, and I felt trapped. So I was relieved when he ended up leaving our marriage.
He didn’t go peacefully. He hired someone to break into my car, and as he was packing up his things he left a box for a hunting knife on my bed. I was terrified, and my lawyer insisted I get a protection from abuse (PFA) order, and I decided to take appropriate precautions at work.
Despite their web page about domestic violence awareness, my employer didn’t live up to that standard. The head of security explained that filing the PFA meant he’d have to do a lot of paperwork and put a safety plan into place. I didn’t want to cause any problems, so I backed down. My boss also asked me to stop telling my co-workers about this issue because I was scaring them. I was stunned because telling your coworkers if you are a victim was the company’s own suggestion.
As I left work one day, I didn’t see a car speeding towards me. I woke up in the hospital with a broken leg, a damaged spleen, and shards of glass still lodged in my head. My ex-husband was found guilty of attempted manslaughter, and given a six-year sentence.
I recovered and went back to work six weeks later. The management team informed me that they were adding security measures to ensure I was safe.
"It felt good to know they were finally taking my situation seriously. But it was disappointing that it took a near-death experience for them to take action."
When it was time to inform my boss of my ex-husband’s release, I was let down again. I was called a safety risk, and my hours were cut. I shared my frustration with a new security guard, who made a real difference: she gave me a walkie-talkie and asked that I wear it at all times while at work, set up an escort system, and my boss reinstated my hours.
Soon enough, work became the place where I felt the safest, and now, my colleagues are supportive and empowering. We’ve all learned how to handle this situation better. I feel like a survivor, no longer a victim.