- DISCLAIMER -
I'm sharing these stories because they involve a public person who's not convicted (yet) for assaulting and raping me, and is still out there, and is able to potentially hurt other people. I'm pleading fair comment on a public person in this article, so I'm able to share these stories and possible files, videos and/or other evidence to support my story and through it warn others. A Fair comment is a legal term for common law defense in defamation. It gives a person the possibility to criticize and comment on matters of public interest without being liable for defamation provided that the comment is an honest expression of opinion (about facts or events). It is referred to as honest comment in some countries, and it's used to give people the possibility to legally share information about a public person. The idea behind a fair comment is that it's not slander when you're telling the truth about a public person, and thus, can warn others about them.
[Scheduled on July 19]
Who confronts their ex on their own birthday? What fucked up person thinks it's a great way to spend a day you should spend with family, and friends?
The sun is warm, but I keep walking. Yesterday I turned 27. November 6. It was a horrible day.
Twenty-four hours ago, I arrived in Sofia. Two-and-a-half hours before that, I was in Dortmund, Germany. Six hours before that, Denmark. And about fifteen hours before that, I said goodbye to Jørgen, in Norway.
What the fuck.
The buildings around me look old and poorly maintained. Grey and a dusty shade of yellow. Sofia is no longer beautiful, around me. It looks like a warzone. Or maybe that's just what's going on in my head.
I follow a main road for a while, cross it, and walk past a park. Google Maps says it's a few more minutes. What do I say? Will they speak English? Most people here don't. The police must have a translator, right?
You have arrived at your destination.
I enter Regional Police Station 4. A police officer is talking to someone, and I sit down next to a man a few years older than me. After some time the police man looks my way, and asks something I can't understand.
"I'm sorry, I'm not from here. Do you maybe speak english?" I ask.
"What?" the man repeats.
"I don't speak Bulgarian. Do you maybe speak English?" I ask.
"No, no English," he says.
"Is.. Is there someone I can speak to who speaks English? Who can translate?"
"No," he says.
"Eh.. German?" I try. "French?"
"I would like to press charges for physical and sexual assault," I try. "It happened two weeks ago."
"Pressing charges? Do you maybe have a form in English or something, so I can press charges?"
The man who sat next to me, joins the conversation.
"You want to file a report?" he asks, in slightly better English that the police officer.
"Yes, against my ex boyfriend," I say.
The guy talks in Bulgarian to the police officer, who seems annoyed, but turns to another room to fetch a younger police-officer, who joins in.
"You were attacked today?" the younger man asks. "How many people? What was the location?"
"I.. It happened two weeks ago, not today," I stutter. "I don't know the address from mind. It was just one person, and he doesn't live there anymore, he moved."
The longer I'm inside the police station, the more annoyed I seem to make the older police-officer. He really doesn't seem to like English, or talking to foreigners.
Suddenly I become very much aware of the fact that my hair is a light shade of blue, and that I'm in a fairly conservative country. My ex-boyfriend told me men were often demeaning towards women here, and that they treated them with less respect. Exurb1a liked the macho- and female-culture going on in Bulgaria. Men 'look and acted like men' here, and 'women look and act like women'. Unlike back in the UK, where according to Exurb1a, most girls were 'ugly'. Looking back, he really was an arrogant prick.
"Location?" the older police-officer asks again.
"I.. I don't know how to spell it. It happened two weeks ago," I continue.
All the men start discussing again in Bulgarian.
"You wait here," the younger police officer says. "He's going to get translator."
The policemen both leave, and I am left alone with the man who tried to translate for me. We sit at the table, and say nothing. Minutes pass. How long have I been here? Thirty minutes? I'm starting to feel really uncomfortable. How long since they said they would get someone? Twenty minutes now?
I can feel the first signs of a panic attack coming up, so I stand up, and start to walk in circles.
The older police-man comes back. He walks towards the phone, dials a number, and sticks out his arm.
"Here," he says. "They translate."
I pick up, and say hello.
"Welcome to the women's emergency hotline," a lady with a strong Bulgarian accent says.
"How can I help you? Are you okay?"
"Hello," I say. "I would like to press charges against my ex-boyfriend."
"When did the crime happen?" The woman asks.
"Two weeks ago," I say.
"This is the women's emergency line," she says.
It's clear she's annoyed as well.
"This is for emergencies only!"
"I'm sorry," I say.
"You shouldn't call here. Emergencies only."
My face feels sweaty, and I'm starting to feel really anxious. I'm doing something wrong. Someone could be in danger right now, and I'm holding the line. This is the wrong phone-number.
"I tried to explain to the police-officer but I don't speak Bulgarian," I say quickly, "and he doesn't speak English. He said he'd get a translator, and gave me you on the phone. I didn't know this was an emergency line, I'm so sorry. I just want to press charges," I say.
"Give me the police officer again," she says.
I hand the phone to the police officer, and hear the lady through the phone talk Bulgarian to him.
He hangs up the phone, and turns to me.
"What is the location?" he says.
"I, I don't know from mind. I can give you his name and show you where he lives now, on a map," I say.
My phone starts buzzing. The police-officer seems quite done with me. I look at my screen, and see his name.
If I wasn't losing it already, I'm losing it now.
"Do you have a form I can read about pressing charges?" I ask desperately. "Anything?"
"What is the location?" the man asks again.
This conversation is going nowhere. I've been here for an hour, with no progress at all. What was I thinking, coming here alone, not knowing the language at all?
"I.. I can go back to my hotel, and get the address," I say. "I don't have it here."
"It happened in hotel?" he asks.
"No, no, I'm staying at a hotel. I'll get the address there."
My phone keeps buzzing and I feel like I can't breathe.
"I.. I'll get it, it's on my computer. I'll come back, I'll translate what I want to do, thank you," I tell the police-officer, while I try to say goodbye. He already has turned away, and is talking to someone else now.
I leave the station, sit down, smoke a cigarette, and try to gain control over my body.
My phone buzzes. It's Exurb1a again. I ignore the sound, and focus on the smoke in my lungs. Burn me alive.
He's called me three times already since I left his place this morning, after I told him I was going to the police, and he shouted he wished he'd never met me.
The first time he called he didn't really know what to say. He asked what I was doing, then said goodbye, and hung up. The second time when he called, he started to apologise for saying horrible things earlier. Not long after, he started a big argument about how I had the nerve to show up on his door (pregnant), and that it pissed him off. The conversation ended in me telling him to leave me alone.
The third time I was done arguing, and I gave him a 44 seconds- goodbye rant.
Now he wants to talk again. He's probably the only person close here, that speaks a language I know. Not that it means he actually understands me. His paranoid thoughts combined with my weakness, brought us, where we are now. He was the man I introduced to my son, parents, best friends. And now he's the man who wished he never met me. What happened, that it got to this point? From poetry to piano music, watching the night sky, talking about all our creative ideas, the things we wanted to do in life. Working together, making a podcast. Maybe make a movie, a documentary. Research scientific hypotheses, explore the world, and each other. Just a few weeks ago, he asked me if I wanted to start a youtube channel* together with him. And now he's the man in my nightmares. How can I trust anyone, ever again?
Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe I'm mistaken. Maybe he does feel sorry, after he saw the video. What if he truly regrets? Can I trust anything he says now, now he knows I have him on film?
But what if he is truly sorry? What the fuck do I do?
I pick up my phone, and call Exurb1a back.
"You called?" I ask.
The connection is very bad. I can barely hear him. Why did I call him back?
I start to walk away from the police-station, somewhere in the direction of the city center. I'm exhausted, and struggle to speak. How much did I sleep these last few days? Did I sleep at all? Did I really drive and fly all across Europe? For what? What the fuck is wrong with me?
My legs are trembling, and I'm trying not to cry.
"Are you at your hotel?" Exurb1a asks.
"No, I- I'm somewhere in the city. Taking a walk."
"I'm going for dinner soon," he says.
I'm not sure why he's telling me after he just yelled at me earlier. Good for him?
"Okay, well, have fun," I say. Maybe he's done fighting. Maybe he's trying to butter me up? His voice is soft again, and polite. I'm so tired of this mind-fuckery. He changes emotions so fast, I can't keep up. I always said confuse and conquer!, but he's taking it to the next level. His emotions seem to change based on the friendship and respect he thinks he's losing. First he's passive aggressive, and starts to insult. Then, anger, wild accusations and shifting blame. Finally, self-hate, and he tries to be nice again. He says sorry, seemingly apologises, but not really, at all. Because next, the cycle starts all over. Am I finally seeing the pattern? The pattern he warned me about months ago, when he said if I saw through them and knew who he truly was, I wouldn't love him anymore?
"I would like to invite you to have dinner with me," Exurb1a says. "I don't want to leave it like this. I'm going to Croatia tomorrow. I understand if you don't want to have dinner, but I would like to invite you nonetheless. I want to explain a few things, and apologise."
I have to give it to him, he can sound incredibly polite if he wants to. If he wants to.
"Oh," I say.
What do I do? Can I establish a pattern already, or do I need more information to confirm a pattern? How many chances does someone deserve? Do I give him another chance to explain things?
I remember a conversation we once had. Where Exurb1a told me he couldn't imagine me ever being horrible, because I was too kind according to him. Maybe he really meant, too weak.
Is it weak and stupid to give someone so many chances?
I hate myself for wanting to give him another change. If only he could wipe my memory, this would be all gone. I hate feeling the way I feel, and my weakness is the hope that I could get rid of that feeling. The hope, that everything is but a bad dream, and that I'll wake up any minute now.
Why do I still believe in fairytales? Reality is harsh, and mine is hiding behind a -now- kind British voice, on the other end of the line. I should face it, and see it for what it is. The voice of a liar. The voice of someone who practises the art of manipulation.
"I just don't want to leave it like this," he says again.
Why do I still care? All his actions show what kind of selfish, fame-obsessed person he is. Blaming those close to him, for trying to hurt him, while he's really the one causing hurt, all around.
Smoke and bullshit. Tricks are for kids. Exurb1a is no mask. Exurb1a is exactly who he is.
"There's this Indian place I'd like to go to," Exurb1a says.
Flashes of nights outside, while dining. Hours of talking. Dishes with spinach. The Tequila, cheap.
"They should have good food."
Crumble vanille pie. Hummuss on flat bread. Honey on toast.
"Can I take you for dinner?"
Timeline of Events Inside the System
Inside the System is a blog series about mental health, being hospitalised, fellow patients, and the things I've experienced last few months. I started to write because I had no idea how to deal with what was happening, and because I wanted something I could read back, that would remind me where I never want to be again in my life, emotionally. The ITS blogs will be uploaded non-chronologically, but the actual time-line in which these events happened can be found here (and will be updated once new blogs follow).
The Inside The System series is part of Project Blue is a Wave.