Song: RISK! Theme by Wormburner and John Sondericker
Song: Tarnation by Edgar Meyer & Chris Thile
Radio Story: Unbreakable by Melanie Hamlett
Song: Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right by Bob Dylan
What a wonderful show! Love you Kevin…Mel u rock!
Gracias por compartir tu historia Melanie!
As a human who has been in a similar situation, it was really amazing to hear this piece–especially with the humor, as sometimes the best thing to do is step back and laugh at how awful everything is instead of screaming and crying about it.
On a worrier note–I do worry that telling this story so publicly could somehow bring Jesse out of the woodworks… I hope Melanie stays safe!
Lots of love, Melanie!
I knew that was a *Risk* I would be taking by telling this story… but wanting it to be heard by those who truly needed to hear it was way more important to me and worth that risk. But yeah, fingers crossed he doesn’t come back “from the dead” to kill me lol!
What a powerful and amazing story. Thank you for being brave enough to share
Replying to Melanie’s story-
Thanks for sharing your story. You hit important points-
The love you had was real.
You never deserved the mental and physical abuse.
You realized your relationship with yourself was most important.
You let go of the person – not the empathy you felt for the person who was suffering.
I let go of a relationship I too felt silenced by, accused of nagging, shut down if I asked about suspicious, snooped and found out they were mysteriously true, money had gone missing. I finally woke up and realied how miserable I was. Discovered some truth that was enough to break. But through it all, to this day, I never want to speak to this person, but I do not wish I had the sort of shitty hand they were dealt. . This cycle willl go on and on for this person until they make a change, if even they are able. A personal hell.
And also – anyone experiencing abuse. When you get out of it – and you work on loving yourself, and being aware of the signs as Melanie pointed out, you more easily weed out the people who will not serve your life and find someone who will…if that’s what you want.
Thank you Melanie for sharing your story.
This episode was gripping, mainly because I couldn’t believe someone else was describing, almost word for word, a relationship similar to one I had a number of years ago. I never told anyone the details of mine, mainly because of the reasons Melanie described – shame that something like this had happened to someone like me – an independent, educated, adventurous, feminist young woman. Thanks so much for sharing your story, Melanie, and for showing the complexity that leads to these situations. So glad to hear you’re doing so well now!
Thank you, this was beautiful and so important to share.
Melanie, this is a VERY brave very amazing story. Thank you so much for sharing this. Your ability to humanize your abuser is something that I have never heard before. Looking forward to your next story!
Melanie, I am always on the lookout for your stories and I was delighted to see that there was a whole hour devoted to a Melanie story…Not so delighted to hear that you’d been through something so harrowing. But you delivered it with that easy humor we’ve come to expect from you. I especially appreciate what you said at the end…That perpetrators of abuse/violence shouldn’t be cast as monsters. This is a reality that I think we have a hard time contending with, but an important one. Thank you for being so candid. Your story is such an important one.
Every time I hear a woman tell a story that is so eerily similar to my own, I gain a little more insight into myself and the situation, and it helps me heal just a little bit more. So many women go through this very thing, and it is so important that we talk about it in productive ways. Only then might we bring recognition and change to such a deeply rooted, hidden, and still largely accepted culture of interaction between men and women in our communities. Thank you so much for your story.
Melanie, THANK YOU for sharing your story. Listening to you for the last hour was so special for me, as someone who has been through a similar volatile relationship, a friend of a woman who still struggles with her codependency and a sister to a woman that was recently raped in a situation society labels her at fault, I cried of sadness and happiness throughout your story. Your high spirit and infectious laugh are so important for woman to hear, so we can all see the possible end result that comes with making some hard changes. I honestly think your story and the philosophy you bring to these types of relationships is so important for everyone to hear, I’ll be sharing with everyone and listening over and over.
Wow Melanie… you described many things so well when referencing personality nuances of an abusive man. As a woman earlier commented- it gives me more insight- into an abusive relationship I experienced. It’s something most people can’t understand and I seem to lack to ability to articulate… what an emotional and physical mind fuck it all is. Thank you for sharing and your humor and how you shed light on the humanity these men partnering with the cruelty coursing through them. The contradictions and duplicity within the abuser… I met my abusive partner when I was 16 and he was 27 then unfortunately went on to marry him and have a child with him. 8 years have past since we divorced and he still strives to harass me. It really took me back to that 16.. 18.. 20 year old me to hear your story. So many things hit home… Thank you for being transparent, vulnerable and embracing yourself and this experience.
Had Melanie signed her statement at the police department, more likely than not, the police and prosecutors would have prosecuted Jesse and he would have likely spent the next 5 to 20 years in prison, absolutely regardless of whether or not Melanie wanted them to. Legally, it actually does no longer become her choice, at least in the state I practice. Many prosecutors, as of the last 10 years, love to take domestic rape cases because they almost always win; juries believe women over men much of the time and thus the pleas are longer. This is true even in cases where the only evidence is a written statement signed by the person who went to the police. Thus, prosecutors will charge the highest grade of felony rape they can, in their version of the facts. I wonder if Melanie actually realized, or if she did, how she felt about the possibility of taking 5 to 20 years of Jesse’s life when she went to the police station that day. Many people believe, no doubt, that Jesse should lose that much of his life for what he did. But this is guaranteed, he would almost certainly come out of prison irredeemable and worse 5 to 20 years later. No person should hurt any other person and what Jesse did was horrible. But, currently, prison does not rehabilitate, it exacerbates. Some deserve it, others don’t; but, reporting it to the police puts the situation in the hands of the criminal justice system, which destroys everyone it touches, rightly or wrongly.
Not because of the raping and the douche-baggery, but this story made me miss Taos a lot. Lots of beautiful, open-minded folks there.
Mel. Shit. The way you tell a story… precious and hilarious. Why am i laughing when it’s so deep and painful? Because you tell it with heart and honesty my friend. And with your heart, comes humor. So good. You just can’t stop it. Thank you.
Melanie – I listened to your story Saturday morning and that same evening my husband went crazy. He threw things, said he was going to kill himself, and broke a window. I was scared. Your podcast helped give me the strength to leave and stay with friends. He regretted what he did and said he was sorry. I am still staying with friends. I’m not sure what the future will bring. Your story gave me more confidence to stand up for myself.
Hi there, thanks for sharing this. As a victim myself, this touched me deeply. I am compiling stories of survivors for a project I am calling Healing After, if anyone would like to contribute you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org. It will all be confidential and anonymous, I just think that survivors can benefit from hearing strong stories compiled in one place without an agenda. Best, Natalie LeRoy
Melanie, thank you for your story. It’s been a year and a month since I left my abusive ex, and it’s been so hard to describe my experience in words, but listening to your articulate such subtle details of Jesse’s behavior was so cathartic for me. During my post-relationship reflection I struggled to understand whether or not my ex had raped me one night during our relationship. I flew out to visit him for his birthday weekend and we went to a Halloween party which fell on the same weekend. He became really jealous of my talking to a fellow Brazilian that I’d met at the party and threw a fit and called an Uber and got into it, forcing me to jump in and leave the party with him. The ride home was weird because I thought he was furious at me because that’s what he’d yelled about at the party but in the car he held my hand. I thought that was so strange, but I interpreted it to mean he regretted his actions and wanted to show me affection. When we got back to the hotel he acted just like Jesse… there was this dark side to him, as if it wasn’t him, and he forced himself on me and kept restraining me, getting off on the whole thing. At the time I thought it was hilarious (I wasn’t scared at this point of the relationship yet) because I thought he was being this stereotypical caricature of a jealous, insecure, pathetic (rapist) boyfriend, kind of making fun of himself for being one earlier at the party, and I jokingly played into it. Only later did I really realize that he wasn’t acting, and that if not for my offering consent by playing into it, he would’ve been raping me, because he was going to do it regardless of my reaction. When I remember the look in his eyes, I realize that. Thank you for helping me understand my experience.
Thank you for your story. I there is a deep misconception about women that are abused are weak. That a strong, smart, confident, independent woman would never allow this to happen to them. Well, you know what, love and manipulation are a hell of a thing, and the strongest of women can end up in situations that they never thought the would be in. It is easy to look at a situation hypothetically from the outside and say “I would NEVER let that happen to me”. You never know what you would do in a situation until you are in it.
My husband, who is one of the biggest feminists I know, does not think that a strong person, “allows themselves to be abused” I can’t disagree more but this is a firmly held belief by many. Stories like yours help this misconception of abuse start to waiver.
I thank you for your story and your courage.
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