Nothing could ever prepare anyone to become a victim of a crime regardless of its severity. From my own unfortunate incident, getting beaten up while on vacation in San Diego on January 31, 2010, the experience has left me feeling conflicted. The incident consequently affected both my professional and personal endeavors as well as every aspect of my life. I am a different person today than the person I was before that incident. The journey to recovery has been tumultuous and sad to say, very much a work in progress.
One question I am frequently asked is: would you do it again? I really don’t know. What I do know is that I was concerned for the woman’s welfare when I asked, “Miss, are you okay?” It was an instantaneous reaction to a situation I instinctively did not want to ignore. I had no idea that such a question would lead the man she was arguing with to turn his aggression on me. Unprepared for his wrath, I ended up being beaten unconscious, bloodied and rushed to the hospital. That exercise in kindness has had many consequences, but that it led to some of the darkest moments of my life is something that I can’t deny.
A few days after the incident was made public, I was forwarded an article by a journalist named Jacquie Kubin from the Washington Times. Dated February 1, 2010, Jacquie wrote: “As a writer Mr. Alcantara has a marvelous voice and I hope that he will use that voice to speak out about domestic violence. As a man, he has a unique opportunity to speak to the force, violence and fear that many women live with. He has an open invitation to come to the communities and tell his story.”
Well, I’m digging this old skeleton out of my closet and finally saying my piece. Two years, eight months and eight days since that morning and I still am not over it. If not for the simple fact that my attacker was never apprehended. The San Diego Police Department was never able to confirm the identity of my attacker, giving the San Diego District Attorney’s Office no one to prosecute. This despite some initially strong leads. My attacker was at a bar close to the crime scene called Bourbon Street and that he was a contestant in the club’s weekly amateur “go-go” dancing contest called [email protected] Street, which is usually heavily documented through videos and photographs – except on the morning of my attack, as Detective Tom Jacques from the San Diego Police Department was told.
It has taken me awhile to finally muster the courage to heed the call to talk about the San Diego incident. I knew that doing so would inevitably lead to confronting the fact that domestic violence is a scene I know too well. One of my most vivid memories from childhood happened when I was about six or seven years old. I remember being put in an empty sack of rice by an older brother as punishment for something I did. I remember him saying he was going to light the bottom of the sack to burn me. He, as I am, is the product of Third World parenting, I suppose. Make as many babies as possible, then leave the older kids to look after the younger ones. My parents are products of a society that did not advocate family planning nor did it implement effective programs for such.
During my childhood, there was an even worst recipient of abuse than me–my mother. It puzzled me greatly as a child as to why the man whom I called my father was so brutal to the woman I identified as my mother. There were numerous episodes of yelling and crying. It pained me greatly to see my mother hurt, but it killed me inside that I was not able to do anything about it.
This is no longer the case today. I want to thank Jacquie Kubin for inspiring me to share my story. Today, I am able and willing to say no to domestic violence as a person who was a victim himself. Today, I am speaking out against the man who attacked me and those who covered for him. Today, I am speaking out against brothers who beat their younger siblings. Today, I am speaking out against husbands who beat on their wives. Today, I am speaking out against fathers and mothers who abuse their children. Today, I am speaking out against bullies.
There is never a good reason to beat anyone. To those who still suffer, I have but one simple message: “I See You! You Are Not Alone!” Committing this message to an anti-bullying campaign via CafePress (http://www.cafepress.com/dd/71784106) using the artwork pictured above does not only help raise awareness, it also enables me to help organizations such as Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) and the National Domestic Violence Hotline.
To those who wish to contact me, I can be reached via email at [email protected]
If you, or anyone you know, is the victim of domestic violence in the US, you can call 911 for emergency assistance or the National Domestic Violence Hotline at (800) 799-SAFE. For help outside of the United States, check RAINN’s website at (http://www.rainn.org/get-help/sexual-assault-and-rape-international-resources.