Lived Experience: LaTanya Johnson

Read LaTanya’s Story

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One evening, a few weeks ago, the kids and I were just settling in after a long day – Mike and Kimmy had a bunch of homework, and I was trying to get dinner together. Clinton got home and I could tell immediately that something was wrong. He seemed tense and started complaining about his rough day at work. He’s a managing editor at the local paper, and they’ve had a bunch of layoffs. Clinton recently was forced to fire some of his friends at work. He has been worried that he was next.

I poured him a drink, and asked him what happened during his day.  I tried to gently remind him that the family can’t live on my salary alone, so Clinton needs to be careful and avoid being fired. Clinton got angry and exploded at me. He told me, “You think I don’t know that!” He told me I was never supportive, always critical and not the person he married 16 years ago.

And you know what? I just lost it. I am sick of being blamed for everything that is wrong in Clinton’s life and I told him so. So then Clinton really got heated up, and he went to slap me, but Mike, our sixteen-year-old son, stepped in. Clinton pulled his hand back and tried to laugh it off, telling everyone to relax.

I was so afraid of Clinton, and of this whole situation at this point. His verbal attacks were escalating into physical attacks in front of both children. The fact that Mike stepped in to protect me really freaks me out. Kimmy, our fifteen-year-old daughter, asked me and Mike to come into the bedroom. We followed Kimmy into the bedroom and she shut the door and asks if we’re ok. But you know, Clinton, he realized that we are all in the bedroom together, and he locked us all in by putting something by the doorknob.

What happened next involves some speculation, but Clinton says he was smoking and the nearby curtains caught on fire on accident. Mike thinks he tried to kill us.  Thank goodness Kimmy had her cell phone – she called 911, the fire trucks and police arrived.  Clinton ended up being arrested.