Katherine Ryan has opened up about a traumatic event as a teenager, which left her ‘fearing men’ after seeing a colleague die at the hands of her abusive partner.
The comic, 38, revealed in her new memoir The Audacity, the effect that a close friend she had worked with at 19 being killed had on her.
Katherine had worked with the older girl called Jessica in a restaurant in her hometown of Sarnia in Canada, explaining: ‘I learned from Jessica that no one is too good for their job and that no one is beneath anybody else.
‘I wasn’t in her friendship group but she treated me like her peer when we worked together and that meant a lot to me.
‘She’d tell me all about the dramatic ups and downs of her relationship, not leaving out any details. Some of what she said was quite private and tragic, but she’d shrug it off or say something funny a second later, the way my favourite confessional comedians do today. She could see lightness in the dark.’
Katherine revealed that Jessica’s on-off boyfriend was well-known in their town due to his athletic ability and he seemed ‘cocky and not very bright but nice enough’.
While Jessica had admitted he had been abusive in the past, Katherine found it hard to comprehend until Jessica ended the relationship and got a restraining order against the man.
Katherine found out about Jessica’s death when she didn’t turn up to her shift and she received a phonemail from another pal about an emergency, revealing that the boyfriend had killed her.
When the comedian and actress told her mother that evening, she was saddened but not surprised by the news. Katherine writes: ‘She was sick that someone had lost their daughter, and in such a violent attack, but she didn’t seem overly shocked. Instead, it reinforced what she already knew: men are dangerous.’
She continued: ‘“That’s how it happens,” Mum answered bleakly. “If you leave them, they sometimes kill you. No reporters will come. This happens all the time.” Duly f**king noted.
‘Jessica wasn’t my sister or my best friend, and I realise I’ve centred myself quite a lot here but that’s because I’m writing a book and her life and brutal murder is something I still consider often, nearly 20 years later.
‘I think traumatic events have a way of writing on the canvas of who you are, especially when your brain is still growing. I decided that night in our kitchen that I should be very frightened of men and that rejecting one would be more than just a painful hassle. It could cost me my life.’
Katherine revealed that the incident meant she would put off breaking up with partners as what had happened to Jessica was always at the back of her mind.
She added: ‘As much as I liked to think of myself as an adult from birth, I was a teenager when this happened and it left quite a traumatic imprint that I’ve had to work very hard to overcome for the benefit of my healthy relationships with men.
‘Jessica’s killer spent just a few years in prison, was then transferred to a ‘healing house’ and is now free. That’s how it works.’
Domestic abuse helpline
If you are in immediate danger call 999. If you cannot talk, dial 55 and the operator will respond.
For emotional support, you can contact the National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247. Alternatively, for practical and emotional support, please contact Women’s Aid Live Chat 10am – 6pm seven days a week.
For free and confidential advice and support for women in London affected by abuse, you can call Solace on 0808 802 5565 or email email@example.com.
Male victims of domestic abuse can call 01823 334244 to speak to ManKind, an initiative available for male victims of domestic abuse and domestic violence across the UK as well as their friends, family, neighbours, work colleagues and employers.
Alternatively, the Men’s Advice Line can be reached at 0808 8010327, or emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Credit: Original article published here.