A NEW YEAR

One of my resolutions for this New Year is to be better about posting on this site.  Once I finished with my story, with what I had written while going through the healing process, I was at a bit of a loss as to how I should proceed, and, clearly, since I have not posted since the middle of October, I am still having trouble with which direction to take.  Because of that, and because there is much more to share about the ongoing issues I am experiencing as a result of my attack, and there is a lot more to my larger story that I haven’t even touched on yet, it is my intention to post at least every other week.  And I’ve decided I need a specific day, and since it is Wednesday today, this first day of 2014, that will be my posting day.   I would love to say I’ll post every week, but I realize I need to get in the habit of actually writing (instead of just thinking about writing, which is what I’ve mostly been doing) before there is even a chance that I can do it more often.

Last year at this time I did a post about choosing a word for the next year.  Well, I’ve been thinking about it a lot, and because I did not want to pick TRUST again, though it would be appropriate, I went through my angel cards and 5, yes 5, cards more or less ‘spoke’ to me.  They are, in no particular order:                                                         

FAITH

                                                                   PATIENCE

GRATITUDE

FORGIVENESS

PEACE

      I guess this means that I have my work cut out for me this year.  And, really, that’s okay. because it means I am still here, still plugging away, doing my best to not let what happened to me determine the rest of my life.

       I wish everyone a Happy, Healthy, Prosperous New Year!!!

AFTER THE SENTENCING

As I mentioned before, I did not write in my journal about what happened after Laura, Bill and I walked out of the courtroom.  I just checked to see if I mentioned anything at a later date.  I never specifically addressed it, and all I wrote the following day, 26 June 2012 was:

“Yesterday, to me, still feels surreal.  I don’t have a strong feeling either way.  All I am certain of is he deserves to be in prison.”

When court was adjourned, cockroach boy’s sister and father, who had been seated right in front of us, practically ran out of the room.  I remember thinking, ‘good, I don’t want to see them anyway.’    We couldn’t leave right away because the D.A. needed to give me a copy of the restraining order that the court had gotten on my behalf, so we kind of hung around inside the courtroom.  When it became clear that it would take a bit longer than anticipated, we left to wait outside.  As soon as we walked through the outer door, the sister and father descended upon us.  The sister, whose name I never did get, said to me, “I just want to apologize for what my brother did to you.”  And the father piped up, “Yeah, we didn’t raise him that way.”  To say that I was in shock that they were even speaking to me would be an understatement.  I did my best to be polite without really saying much.  What did they expect I would say?  ‘Oh, it’s okay, don’t worry about it.’  Hardly.  It was not okay and I wasn’t going to say otherwise.  When the father spoke to me, I thought, ‘no way does he live in Coronado.  He had exactly 3 teeth in his mouth, and I am pretty sure there must be a city ordinance that says you must have teeth to live there.’  Seriously, no way could he look like that and live there.

I really didn’t respond to her apology.  I thought they would then walk away.  But, no, she wasn’t finished with me yet.  So then she said something like, ‘my brother is mentally ill and needs help, he doesn’t need to be in prison.’  I said, “Oh, I understand mental illness.  I have a brother who is bipolar and he doesn’t take his medication either, but he doesn’t attack women.”  I was feeling very uncomfortable and wanted her to leave me alone.  No such luck.  Then she said to me, “Did you see him?  He’s going to be attacked in prison.”  And all I could think was, ‘Oh well.  He should have thought about that before attacking me.’  What I said to her was, “If you had ever been attacked, you would understand.”  And she said, “Oh, I have been.  He attacked/raped (not quite sure which word she said here, but the meaning of what she was saying was very clear) me.  Twice!”  What I wanted to say to her, but didn’t, was, ‘You stupid bitch!  This is your fault for not reporting him to the authorities.  We wouldn’t be here right now if you had reported him.’  What could I actually say to that?  Nothing.  By this time, Bill was in between the sister and me and Laura was trying to pull her away.  I was extremely upset, but saying nothing to her.  As Laura pulled her away, she turned and said to me, “I hope you learn something from this.  And I hope you have a nice life.”  Those statements made me want to attack her.  Really?  Of course, she would have no way of knowing just how much I struggled with what should be done with him and whether he would be better served out of prison than in.  And of all the people to say ‘I hope you learn something from this’ to, I just wasn’t it.  I was learning from it the minute it happened.  Stupid bitch.

I was in absolute shock.  I could not believe what I had just heard.  I couldn’t believe that she verbally attacked me, especially since the judge had just said that there was to be no contact with me, and even though I know cockroach boy did not tell her to say these things to me, it didn’t matter.  In my mind she was disobeying the judge’s direct order.  The D.A. chose this moment to walk up with my order of protection.  (And why I would need a restraining order against someone who is in prison and an order that would expire before his prison sentence is even up always baffled me.)  I/we told the D.A. what the sister had just said.  She thought it interesting, but it’s not like she could do anything about it and it’s not like the sister was suddenly going to report the crimes he committed against her.  And at that point, fat lot of good it would have done anyway.  I just wanted out of the court-house, so the D.A. took us the back way down so I would not have to walk by the father and sister and be attacked, yet again.

Even as I am writing this today, I still feel the anger from that day.   After sitting through cockroach boy’s stupid attorney’s words and then having the sister come after me because I had the nerve to make sure her criminal brother was sent to prison, I was completely spent.  I was so glad this part of the process was behind me now, but there was still a lot healing to be done.  I somehow knew this to be true.

Again, it is amazing to me, looking back, how my mind and body protected me.  How I was able to do what needed to be done in order to come out the other side.  Interestingly, as stressed as my body and mind were during this period, I never got sick.  That is, until after the sentencing.  I normally do not get sick anyway, and I really never get sick in the summer.  About a week later, though, I did get sick.  I got a cold and a hacking cough that kept me from sleeping.  Still, my body waited until after he was sentenced and in prison to allow the overwhelming stress I was going through to manifest into sickness.  Amazing!

THE LONG-DRAWN-OUT PROCESS OF GETTING TO COURT

The original date that we were supposed to go to court, or, rather, the first fitness or readiness hearing was scheduled for the beginning of November 2011.  Then it was continued until January.  Then, because cockroach boy’s attorney still had not gotten his psyche evaluation done, it was continued, yet again, until April, then May.  All of this time waiting was taking an emotional toll on me.  I was worried that we would have an actual trial and worried that we wouldn’t, that for some reason, he’d be let out.  As I mentioned before, the D.A. did nothing but traumatize me with her dire predictions and her seemingly uncaring attitude towards me, the victim of the violent attack.  So, on 24 May 2012 another readiness/fitness hearing was scheduled.  I was so used to postponements at this point that it never occurred to me we might actually move forward in the process.

From my journal 24 May 2012:  12 noon – “He pleaded guilty, which means sentencing will be 21 June at 1:30p.  I will give my victim’s impact statement then.  I am both relieved that I won’t have to testify in a trial and pissed that we had to wait 8 fucking months for this.  Also, cockroach boy wrote me a letter the day of the attack after he was picked up by the police.  In it he expressed his egret, bla, bla, bla.  The D.A. let me read it but wouldn’t let me have a copy of it.  I will ask at the police station here, but chances are they will say no.  I wish I had never read it.  In it he said that he never meant to hurt me, that he hurt himself, too, that he knew I was terrified.  Well, la de da.  Fuck you.  And the “best” news of all is he may only get 365 days, of which he will have served 9 months by sentencing and with credit off for good behavior, he could conceivably walk out of jail that day.  Un-fucking-believable.  I am so mad.  I cannot even process it.”

 

I am in the process right now of again trying to get a copy of that letter he wrote to me.  I tried to get it right after the sentencing, but because he filed an appeal, the case was considered open/active and my request was denied.  Once I have it, I will do a post with his exact words.  I was hoping to have it for this post, but that didn’t happen.  Anyway, the D.A. was traumatizing me in ways she wasn’t even aware.  When she told me that he might get no time, I really lost it.  It seemed inconceivable to me that he could commit a violent crime and potentially spend no time in prison.  I realize this happens all the time, but when you are in the middle of something like that, you really cannot think clearly.  And as I’ve also said several times, my brain was not functioning properly anyway.  This was just another layer of shit heaped on an already huge pile.

 

And from my journal, 26 May 2012:    “I want to contact a local newsperson and offer up my story.  I am still not free to say anything I want to with regards to my experience and I am not sure how or when to approach someone.  I do feel like my victim impact statement is VERY important and that may be the basis of my video that I post on my Facebook and YouTube, etc.  My intention is to grab the attention of the greatest number of people possible so that I can get my project and my message out there.  My mission is to take sexual assault from the hidden to the light.  And that I believe, no, I know, will help countless women who haven’t had a voice or a platform.  I know it will help me, too.  

I keep thinking that not only do I want to get my brain scanned, but I would like for cockroach boy to have his done as well.  Wouldn’t it benefit everyone if he is medicated properly so that he never, ever puts anyone else through what I am going through?  I think it’s important.”  [Note- I never did get my brain scanned, let alone request that he get his done.  I was grateful that the Victim Compensation Fund was paying for my therapy and knew they wouldn’t be open to paying for an expensive brain scan.  Nor did I make a video for YouTube or Facebook.]

 

Now, it seemed, all I could do was wait until the sentencing hearing.  I was not doing much writing about this at the time.  I remember being so tired of the uncertainty.  I was never sure about when it would all end.  Even though we now had a date and a plea, I had no faith that we would actually go to court on 21 June.  And, as it turned out, we didn’t.  The date was postponed until 25 June.  Next post will be my victim impact statement and the story of my day in court.

BACK FROM THE EDGE

The following is a post I did on my blog (www.alittleofthisthatandtheother.blogspot.com) before I launched this web site.  I said some important things that I think need to be included here.  I am still figuring out how best to proceed with the story of my last year, so thank you for bearing with me.  If you have any suggestions, feel free to leave me a comment.  You just click on the little bubble that appears at the top right of this post.

BACK FROM THE EDGE – LITERALLY

It has been nearly 9 months since my last post.  At the time, I had every intention of continuing to blog and carry on with my life like nothing had happened.  Trouble was, something very traumatic had happened,  and it was much harder to heal from and took far longer than I ever imagined it would.  In fact, I am still in the process.
On 24 September 2011, I was sexually assaulted.   This coming Monday, which is the one year anniversary of the attack, I am launching a new project called At Long Last Heard.  The statics say that every 45 seconds someone in the United States is sexual assaulted.  If this is correct, then that means that NO ONE I know has had that happen to them?  Seems impossible.  To me, this means that people simply do not talk about it.  (That has changed a little; I think maybe 5 women I know have told me of their ordeals.)  In our country, there are still two subjects that are very taboo:  sexual assault and suicide. I think the time has come to change this.  I am only one person, but I truly believe that the good that can come from my attack is to, at the very least, begin to change the attitudes and thinking about these subjects.
My new web site will tell the story of my journey this last year:  the good, the bad and the really ugly.  It is a little scary opening up my entire life so much, BUT I think it is very important.  If I can help even one woman understand the process she will go through or make someone feel like she isn’t alone, then it will all be worth it.  Let me say right now that I understand sexual assault happens to both women and men, but as I am a woman, that will be my focus.  (If you are a man that has been sexually assaulted, I suggest you start your own web site to help other men.)
At Long Last Heard will launch at 12:01 am on Monday, 24 September.  I also have a Facebook page set up and next week, will set up a Twitter link.  (It is now set up:
@TamerieShriver).   If you, or anyone you know of, would benefit from this, please check it out.  And I would be forever grateful if you would copy this post and put it on your own site.  Or your Facebook wall.  If you would prefer to contact me directly, please write me at: atlonglastheard@gmail.com.