— I was walking down the street in Knoxville, Tennessee, the night before my wife’s 60th birthday, and I was suddenly struck by a realization.
I was a woman of color.
It was one of the first things I’d ever learned as a young girl growing up in a predominantly white neighborhood in the small farming community of West Nashville.
And I was going to the DMV to get a driver’s license.
I could never afford to get my own car.
I was on my way to a DMV appointment when my car suddenly came to a stop.
I opened the driver’s door and was greeted by a man wearing a mask and with the look of a man who has just been punched in the face.
I tried to run out the door, but he was too fast and grabbed me by the arm.
I started screaming and I told him I needed help.
He grabbed me and threw me down on the ground, and then he punched me in the mouth and said, “You’re a criminal!”
My eyes were watering.
I had never seen anything like this before.
The punch in the jaw and the beating of my head against the pavement and the blood pouring from my mouth was too much.
My wife and I rushed to help and I remember feeling completely helpless.
I couldn’t breathe and my wife was struggling to breathe.
I begged her not to take the blood from me and I started to choke her.
But she was holding me in her arms, and the man said, ‘You’re going to have to do this yourself, okay?’
I couldn: I was paralyzed.
My vision went black and I couldn, finally, hear.
I knew that the man who attacked me was the same man who had punched my wife.
I remembered the other night in Alabama, the man had punched me and grabbed my neck.
It hit me that he’d done this to me.
I remember the pain and I thought, This is it.
I’ve got to get out of here.
I spent the next few weeks trying to find out how this man could be driving in my neighborhood.
My daughter’s doctor and I tried talking to the man, who was driving a rental car.
When he stopped to pick up my daughter’s car, he was arrested.
He said, I can’t do anything about this, so I’m going to drive back to the apartment I’m staying at.
The next morning, we went to the sheriff’s office to see what the charges were against him.
He denied any wrongdoing, and said that it was his fault that I had been in the car and was being held there.
We were told that if we had been a passenger in his car, the law would have taken care of it.
I told the sheriff that I didn’t have any reason to believe that this man was going for my life, but the officer told me that we should just let it go and let him walk away.
My husband was very distraught.
I said, That’s what you said?
You just said, We’re going home?
But the sheriff said, He’s a convicted felon.
He’s going to jail for a long time.
He was arrested, charged, and sent to jail, but it took me two weeks to get the paperwork for a warrant to make the warrant public.
My husband and I spent a month trying to get him released from jail, and he was locked up in jail for about a month, too.
I still don’t understand how he could do that.
I didn: I couldn.
I would have never let him go to jail if I didn.
My son, who is black, said, You can’t be the judge, can you?
He said I had to do what I had no other choice.
He had been arrested a few times and had been sentenced to jail before, but I’d never done anything like that.
My father has never gotten over it.
We never had any legal help.
My children were so afraid to tell anyone, not even my daughter.
I think it’s important for us to be open.
If you are a black woman in the United States, it’s very, not very common to have a criminal justice system that treats you differently.
I don’t think that’s fair.
I also feel that if you are black, it takes a lot more courage to tell the police, or your family, or a friend, or anybody, that you have been assaulted, or that you need help.
I want you to know that I don: I have the courage to ask for help, and if you have, please, give it.
You’re going through a very difficult time, but you’re not alone.
It’s going on everywhere.
The world is watching, and people are paying attention to your