The following is the statement I made to the court on 25 June 2012. My intention was to read it directly to cockroach boy, while looking at him. Ha! I couldn’t even look up from my paper to read it to the judge. I was so nervous and my mouth was drier than the Sahara. I think, in a way, that this actually helped me because it forced me to speak slowly. Otherwise, I may have raced through just to be done with it.
I have mentioned many times how traumatized I was with every contact I had with anyone associated with this case. The exception was a woman in the probation department. She was kind and compassionate and helpful in ways that no one else was. She encouraged me to be brutally honest about the effects of the attack and how my life had changed. She told me I could talk as long as I wanted to. She said it was important that the judge and the court hear and understand from me what I thought should happen to cockroach boy. It was the first phone call I had with someone other than my therapist who was on my side. Anyway, writing my statement was not easy, but this is what I came up with:
The actions of the defendant have greatly affected me, and to a lesser degree, everyone in my life. Before the attack, I was a happy, positive person: I had a successful business; I was very physically active; I lived on an island that I loved and considered magical; I was 6 months into a new relationship with a wonderful man. In other words, I had a fairly regular, normal life.
A little before 6 AM on 24 September 2011 all of that changed.
That Saturday morning I was engaging in my daily exercise routine of a seven mile walk when I was viciously attacked. The attempted rape took place IN FRONT of the Hotel Del Coronado along the ocean sidewalk/path, not in some isolated portion of the island or on a dark street or under the bridge. No, it occurred in a well-lit, populated area. Of all the places I would have felt safest, this was one of them.
Completely unprovoked, and in the most cowardly way possible, the defendant ran up behind me and rammed both his fists into the middle of my back, and using the momentum of the rest of his body, slammed me to the sidewalk. My telephone, which I always carried for safety, flew from my hand as my body propelled violently forward. As I skidded along the pavement, my hips, hands and face sustained injuries. Before I knew what was happening, he aggressively flipped me over onto my back and hooked his finger in the waistband of my skort and underwear, and I felt the terror rise within me as he ripped them off, for now I was naked from the waist down. I kept fighting and screaming, but this did not stop him or even deter his efforts. All I could think was, ‘there is no way I’m letting him rape me.’ I kept fighting, knowing that I was literally fighting for my life. Then I saw his fists getting ready to punch me in the face to shut me up. At that very moment, I heard someone yelling at him to stop, to get off of me. He did not stop, nor did he get off of me, but it startled him enough that the expected punches did not come. The man who was yelling got closer and closer until he was yelling in the defendant’s face, “GET OFF OF HER.” Finally, he stopped, got off of me and ran up the sidewalk towards the street. I immediately jumped to my feet and pulled my clothes back up. I was later told that the man who saved me, and who I refer to as my guardian angel, was a guest at the hotel. Instead of chasing after my attacker, he walked me into the Del, got hotel security, who then called the police.
Nine months later, I am still haunted by both the physical and psychological effects of the sexual assault. I am in therapy and have been since a few days after the attack. I have a strong support system but each day has had its share of challenges.
I have now experienced first-hand the roller coaster of shock to anger to depression, each phase accompanied by its own share of anxiety and fear. Living in Coronado for 9 1/2 years prior to this vicious attack, I walked every day before dawn. Since my attack, I still cannot walk near the Hotel Del Coronado or the beach and never walk before dawn unaccompanied. As a result of my depression, which I am dealing with, I became suicidal; I came very close to jumping off the Coronado Bridge and might have actually done so had I not seen a friend’s car on the bridge behind me.
I now want to move away from Coronado because it no longer feels good to be here. I no longer feel safe. I look at most men now as potential threats. Walking 4 blocks to the store if it is nighttime is no longer possible. So many things have changed. If I allowed the sadness for all these changes that are a direct result of the attack, I am not sure I would survive. I now approach life in a very different way.
Perhaps the most starkly evident effect of all this has been my ability to work. I am a self-employed seamstress. I make custom home furnishings: slipcovers, window treatments, pillows bedding, anything for the home. Since the attack, it has been very challenging to work as my concentration and focus are affected. Jobs that would normally take several hours, now take several days, if not longer, if I am able to do them at all. There has been a substantial loss of income, as a result.
There is no doubt in my mind that had my guardian angel not shown up when he did, the defendant would have beaten and then raped me. No doubt at all. In addition, there was absolutely no hesitation on his part. He knew exactly what he was doing. The attack was more violent than any photos or police reports, or even my own words, can convey. He may have been on his best behavior while in jail, but that’s because he is monitored, forced to take medication and there are no women for him to attack. Statistically, chances are the defendant will never be ‘cured.’ Even with medication compliance, the chances of another vicious assault are very high.
Given all this, I believe he deserves and I am requesting he be sentenced to the maximum time allowed under the California statute for the crime of attempted rape. We all know he would have completed that rape given a few extra minutes. I can tell you, without hesitation, I might not be here any longer if he had.
The 24th of September 2011 was, without a doubt, the worst day of my life. I may have been a victim of a crime that day, but I am NOT a victim. I WILL get through this and in the end will be a much stronger person. You are NOT worth my life.
Although, as I said at the beginning of this post, I was not able to read this directly to cockroach boy in the manner I wanted to, I did say to him while looking at him and he looking back at me, You are NOT worth my life. And when I sat down, I asked my boyfriend if he (cockroach boy) had been looking at me the entire time. He said, no, that he had only looked at me when I looked at him and told him he wasn’t worth my life.
Next post I’ll get into the details of exactly what happened in court and, even more interesting, what happened after, which was even more upsetting than being in court.
I loved reading the lines ” I may have been a victim of a crime that day, but I am NOT a victim. Sending you lots of love and joy, as you heal and share!
Thank you Joyce for inviting me to read this!!
You are welcome!
Well, I have felt strongly all along that even though I was a victim of a crime, that doesn’t make me a victim of life.
Joyce Chapman invited me to look at your blog, after I realized I hadn’t seen it. It made me feel allot and deeply. Something I have never felt!
I think every person, men and women would be moved by reading it. There is no victim in it. Just reality.
Can you send it to our journaling group?
I am going to ask my husband Jason to read it tonight.
Thank you for empowering me and your readers.
Thanks, Marsha! I will send the link to the group.
My goodness – what a shocker! I googled your name to post on Coronado Moms because someone was looking for a seamstress when I came across this post! I wasn’t sure it was appropriate to list your name on their site so I deleted my post…although, I kept my initial one where I was scattered about trying to remember your name just in case you someone could figure it out….and maybe you would like some business.
I’ve lived in Coronado twice. The first time, I hired you to recover cushions and pillows in my kitchen/breakfast nook area in solid black sunbrella. I also had you make some additional pillows. I don’t know if you remember – my house was on Cabrillo.
I lived in Coronado the second time when you were attacked! I cannot believe this happened to you! I cannot believe it happened in Coronado! And I cannot believe, I never knew it happened! Why was this story silent – maybe you wanted it kept that way. I understand if that was the case but if not, this was a major incident that I would’ve thought would have been huge news! It should have!
My husband was in the Navy, assigned to the USS Ronald Reagan at the time. He had just returned from a 7 month deployment. The previous 7 months while he was gone, I ran by myself all the time – where you were attacked. It’s scary!
I always thought we would retire in Coronado when my husband got out of the navy but am seriously second guessing it! You are the second person who has a scary story like this. Our old babysitter had a man chase her while she was jogging but she was able to out run him.
I’m so sorry to hear this happened to you. I wish you well as you continue to heal. Thank you for sharing your story. I’m sure this is great help to others. God Bless you.
Of course I remember you. Thank you for your kind words. Yes, it was a terrible event in my life. And for a long time I really disliked living here, even though I knew it was not the island that had done this horrible thing to me. Eventually, after a ton of therapy and other work, I started loving it again. Realistically speaking, I think Coronado is about as safe as you can be anywhere. As for keeping the story quiet, it was in the Coronado paper (and not just in the Police Blotter) and the Tribune. It even made the tv news. On the other hand, I was not allowed to speak about it publicly because anything I said could and would be used against ME in a court of law. This did not stop me from telling everyone I knew what had happened. I wanted everyone to know that if it could happen to me, a tall, very fit, unafraid person, that it could happen to anyone. So, please don’t let what happened to me keep you from retiring here. You just have to be to super aware, wherever you are. Although I am able to walk in the dark again, I really don’t do it very often. I cannot, will not, allow one person to dictate the rest of me life, even if what he did changed everything about me. I do look at it as a gift and I do my best to live my life inspire of what happened, and in telling my story, hope to inspire others who have had similar experiences to know that it is possible to move through the trauma and move on with life. It’s not easy AND it is possible!