I See You, Johnny

Reading about the reaction to the Johnny Depp/Amber whatshername mess I caught myself getting worked up. The more I read, the more I felt the lump in my throat and the sheer fucking anger well up from a place I left a long, long time ago. 


I wouldn’t describe the sensation I was feeling as flashbacks, or necessarily PTSD, but it was definitely something I needed to check. So come along and check it with me and let’s unload the rarely discussed domestic abuse issue of the man being on the receiving side. 

In the latter part of the last century – 1993 to be exact – I was a young, hot, idiot of a manchild. I met a woman, easy on the eyes, seemingly sweet, who would eventually propose to me. Sure, she had already cheated on me and displayed a violent temper by throwing things near my head, but not necessarily at my head, but… she loved me (or some stupid shit). 

So, my dumbass married her. 

It should be noted that literally everyone – EVERY-FUCKING-ONE tried telling me not to go through with it. 

Haters, all I thought.

Dear reader, if you have been with me awhile you are well aware that I have made some stupid decisions and made some huge mistakes in my life, but marrying this chick was the dumbest thing I ever done did. 

She was, in a word, mean. 

She threw things. Sometimes she didn’t miss. She slapped. Jesus H. Roosevelt Christ did she slap. She screamed dehumanizing things at me. Honestly, the least offensive thing she did to me was fuck so many other men that when she ended up pregnant I honestly wasn’t sure I believed that she knew who the father was. I was just giddy that it wasn’t mine. 

The thing was, I have always had this big personality. If you know me, you have likely seen it. But I am also the guy who, when stressful situation arise, gets calmer and turns inward. So the more she screamed and hit, the more I seemed to shut down. In reality, I was just trying to assess to survive. 

As you can imagine, this just made her ramp up her abuse. Through it all I never laid a finger on her. She told people differently, of course.

So it was for a little over a year of my life. 

Until one day it wasn’t. I am not proud of what I am about to write, but it is a thing that I did and I own my shit. 

I came home from work and my bass guitar was outside on the walkway below our second story apartment balcony, badly damaged from the fall and very obviously sliced to pieces with a sharp instrument.

I walked into the apartment to a screaming madwoman and something (I don’t remember what now) flying at my face. I ducked, it missed it’s target. As she screamed I saw a machete sticking out of my amplifier.

Well, that’s not gonna work anymore, I thought to myself. I found it odd that I could have a coherent thought with a raving banshee screaming at me. My brain is weird, what can I say.

She was on me, slapping, punching, screaming. Something about it being my fault we were in Delaware, I think. She hated it there and so did I, but she failed tech school and got orders and I just followed along. How dare I. 

I walked toward the bedroom to pack a bag and leave for the night (I’d found this was the best course of action when dealing with her outbursts.) while she yelled and threw a boot at my head. She did not miss. 

I changed and packed a bag. I turned to leave and she was blocking the door. I pushed past her only to realize I would get nowhere without my keys which I’d left in the bedroom. As I went back into the bedroom she jumped on my back and started swinging. The side of my head, my face taking blow after blow. 

I snapped. 

I threw her off me. I picked her up by her throat and pinned her against the wall. She was red hot angry and continued to swing until I squeezed a little tighter and told her to stop. 

Then I said very calmly, if you hit me again I will fucking kill you. I. Will. Fucking. Kill. You.

And I meant it. What’s more, she knew I meant it. She crumpled to the ground, the rage on her face replaced by fear. I was scared of myself.

I grabbed my keys and I left. 

This came flooding back to me this morning as I read about Johnny and whatshername. I understand the detachment he exhibited while she was abusing him. I understand the vile texts he sent after eating so much of the shit she dished out. I understand the futility of knowing nobody would believe him without his having those recordings.

And please, dear reader, don’t let your takeaway from this be that men are victims just as often as women, or whatever other incel shit will no doubt go around in the coming days. 

Believe women when they say they are abused. Most of them are not shitty human beings like Amber whatsherface. Most of them are scared and trying to simply survive a terrible situation and need us to have their back. 

Because even in the midst of all the abuse I was taking I knew – and I think this is why I was so calm in the midst of her incessant raging – I knew that I could, if I had to, protect myself and get away with just some minor bumps and bruises. And that, dear reader, is the biggest difference between what Johnny and I went through and what countless women go through every single day in this country. 

Copyright 2022 Rudy Martinez
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