My Institution Betrayed Me After My Boyfriend Attempted Suicide – Part 1

Trigger Warning: This post involves descriptions of emotional abuse, suicide attempts, and negative interactions with police and college administrators.

“In time, you will see that this was all some misunderstanding. The three of us will sit down and talk this out. We just need a mediation. You need to still do your job as you signed a contract and when he gets back to school, it will all work out.”

Friday Afternoon

It is the middle of May, a few weeks before the end of the spring term. I’m currently sitting in the Executive Director of Residence Life’s office. I asked her, moments before if I could leave my position as Resident Assistant (RA) early as I no longer felt safe at school.

I went to a small, private, liberal arts institution for my undergraduate work and was the typical student leader. Meaning: I was doing way too much and being tokenized way too often. Different story for another day.

Being an (RA) was one of my many positions I enjoyed my college experience. Looking back, there was also moments, like this one, where my body screamed from the inside and my mind did not have the language to express those feelings.

The Friday before this Monday morning conversation, I was working at one of my on-campus position as an Office Assistant. I received a call from my ex-boyfriend (let’s call him Frank); we ended things about three weeks prior. There is a longer version of this story, I will just begin at this point.

Please Come Over And Talk

Frank asked me to come to his apartment after work to talk with him about his future plans. Graduation was coming up for both of us and we were trying to figure out our next steps. Frank was prior military and was considering returning after graduation. He asked if I would come over and talk it through with him.

I asked him to meet me in a public place as I was somewhat uneasy about meeting him in his apartment. Frank made up some excuse as to why he couldn’t leave; something about waiting for the ‘cable guy’. I told him I would come but only for a few minutes.

I told two of my sorority sisters where I was going and if they did not see or hear from me in an hour, to come and get me from the apartment. We all did a nervous laugh (half joking/half serious) before parting ways. Five minutes later, I was knocking on Frank’s door.

The Talk

We had some small talk for the first ten minutes or so. We hadn’t spoken to each other in almost a month. Frank did vaguely talk about going back to the Army and what that would entail. He had a 2-year-old daughter and wanted to make sure he was doing the best thing for her.

About 45 minutes into the conversation, the energy shifted. Frank wanted to know why we broke up and why I no longer wanted to be with him. I tried to be direct and concise with my answers to avoid getting too emotional. I reminded him that I did not come to discuss our relationship and would have to leave if he continued.

Frank stated that I could leave after he showed me the gift that he got me. I told him he could show it to me another time and in a public place. I had this feeling in my stomach that this was no longer safe and that I had to get out immediately.

Shit Got Real

When I tried to leave, Frank blocked the door with his body while pushing me out of the way. It felt like a movie. Here I am in six-inch heels (it was undergrad/I was young) trying to run from the front door to the back door attempting to get out. I started to panic on the inside.

“Just let me show you what I got you and you can leave.”

“Okay.”

Frank goes into his bedroom. (Side note: The doors locked from the inside with a key and he took the key with him. So I could not leave. I know what you’re thinking.)

He comes back out with a small white plastic bag with a small white box.

“Okay, thank you. Let me leave now.” I did not open any of this.

“I got you an engagement ring, don’t you want to see it?”

“Nope.”

“I want to marry you! You don’t even care?”

“Nope, I just want to leave.” (If you know me, then you know it came out just like this.)

He then tore open the bag, grabbing a small rusty razor blade and violently thrusting towards his wrist.

“Is this what you want? I’m prepared to kill myself.”

For what seemed like an eternity, I struggled with him trying to get the razor from him. Frank kept insisting that he need to cut himself since I no longer cared about him.

Attempting Suicide

I eventually stopped trying to stop him. I managed to grab my phone (remember flip phones) and pressed the call button. The phone automatically dialed the last number on my list, which was a sorority sister. I left the phone open as long as possible so that she could hear what was going on.

I also noticed that every time Frank attempted to cut himself, it did not work. The blade was too dull. He tried pushing harder and harder. As he pressed the blade into his skin, he gave me this burning look. “Is this what you want? You not gon try and stop me?”

To which I replied simply, “Nope. You want to kill yourself, go ahead and do it.”

The Escape – Institutional Betrayal #1

Somehow I was able to get out of the back door. I ran down three flights of stairs (yep, still in my 6-inch heels). He followed me until he saw that other people were outside.

I called 9-1-1 and told them what happen.

“Is this a joke? You seem really calm so I have to ask if this is for real?”

“What?! Yes, it is for real.”

“Someone will be there shortly. Oh, I think I hear the sirens. You should be okay now.”

Click.

A few minutes later, the police, fire trucks, and ambulance arrived. A police officer (appeared to be a young white man) came to me to ask me what happened.

Laughing, “He tried to cut himself with a razor but it was too dull?”

Other police officers went to get him and brought him out in cuffs.

My sorority sisters finally showed up.

The Aftermath – Institutional Betrayal #2

Frank was placed on a 5150, a 72-hour hold at the local hospital.

That was Friday.

On Monday, I asked to speak with the Executive Director of Residence Life.

She was well aware of the situation as she was briefed during the emergency meeting held over the weekend.

I explained to her that I no longer felt safe. That I was still in shock about the whole incident.

I did not think I would be able to focus on my classes or my Housing responsibilities.

I was scared and just wanted to go home.

I wasn’t crying.

I wasn’t yelling.

I probably appeared emotionless.

I didn’t show typical reactions to trauma.

She told me that I was fine.

“In time, you will see that this was all some misunderstanding. The three of us will sit down and talk this out. We just need a mediation. You need to still do your job as you signed a contract and when he gets back to school, it will all work out.”

That conversation did more damage to me than being trapped in the apartment.

I realized that there was nowhere safe to go.

No one I could trust.

I realized that no one believed me. That no one wanted to see what was happening. Two of their students needed help. It was not going to just blow over. Things were not going to be normal again.

There is a second part of this story. It involves a plan for a mass shooting, a police interrogation, and me having an additional year of classes. I will work on it for next time as this is already longer than I anticipated.

If you made it this far, thank you so much for reading.

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