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I’m not sure how to write these blog posts, but they must be done because you all here on WordPress know me better than any other social media subscribers or followers. WordPress is my happy place and it is here where I feel safe with my words & have cohesive thoughts. What I’m about to write happened and has consumed most of my life the past 2 years. I want this to be more of a post of encouragement and I want you all not to feel sorry for me, but rather celebrate that I am a survivor and to encourage those who are going through the same thing.
I remember like it was yesterday. I was at my former job during the summer of 2016 with my coworkers at a park and all our clients. My phone rang, but I ignored it as I didn’t know who from New Jersey would be calling me. I later listened to the message when I had finished work. The message was from a detective who needed me to call him back immediately. He gave me no reason. By this time, it was late in NJ and I was able to leave a message stating I had gotten the message and that I was returning the phone call. I didn’t hear back from the detective for 2 days. During those 2 days, I was going through my mind of what and why a NJ detective would be calling me. Was it concerning a former client I had in NJ? Was it a relative?
Two days later the detective called me. He told me why he was calling. I remember exactly where I was once again and I had clients. I was able to step outside as my coworkers took over. One piece of advice, when it concerns serious phone calls, make sure you can talk to that person after work or set up a time and place where you can handle the news. I didn’t do that. The detective told me good news, but it also flooded my mind with terrible memories. My mind was of mixed emotions. He said, “We got a hit.” I asked what he meant by that. He said that the perpetrator who assaulted me 17 years ago was finally identified from a DNA mouth swab as he came out of jail which matched the sexual assault kit DNA procedure I had to do at the hospital the night of the attack. My mind was numb and after speaking to the detective I turned back to look at my clients who were happily eating their lunch. My life was going to change. I wanted to hide and make sense of what I heard and what I was about to go through. But instead, I walked back into the Wendy’s and acted like it was just another normal phone call I had to take. I’ve been in many plays growing up and I didn’t realize that for the next 2 years, I’d have to delve into my acting skills while at work since most of the important phone calls were done during that time due to the time difference from Colorado and New Jersey.
My case had turned into a cold case all these 17 years. it turned out the perpetrator had been a neighbor of mine from across the street and had come into my house at night and attacked me while I was home alone with my 4 month old son. He had grabbed me in a choke hold and covered my eyes so I would not see him as he dragged me down the hallway. I was never able to see his face. The only witness of this crime was my son who was only 4 months old at that time and he cried when he sensed I was struggling against the attacker. Thankfully, my son calmed himself down. I won’t go into further details, but it was very traumatic for me. 911 was called and there were about 7 police cars outside my house and I had to repeat my story 7 times to the officers. I was so frustrated doing this, but I later found out why I had to do this. This was a way to see if I was telling the truth. I was telling the truth and it’s something we as victims have to put up when we are telling the truth and people think we are making it up. I had just experienced something horrible in what I thought was a safe place (my home) and the last thing I needed to feel was that no one believed me.
My mom, son and I all moved six months later to another home in a different town. I got a different job, my son grew up and life continued. The first years I wondered about my case. I didn’t hear anything from anyone. I felt like no one cared about it. I pushed it away in the back of my mind. It was still something I didn’t like talking about, obviously.
After the call, my life was then spent having long and sometimes short phone calls with my Victim’s Advocate, police in NJ, my prosecutor, detectives and others. Having a Victim’s Advocate was wonderful. She really helped me a lot in understanding what was happening and how the case was being handled. She would text me updates or call me regarding the latest court proceedings on his behalf because he was getting charged with a lot of things. Luckily, once the DNA was matched up with the person, he was arrested again and sent to jail. He’s been in there since then. Just having to relive the incident and go over the details was emotionally draining. I would end up in tears after phone calls and it affected my week. Luckily, I didn’t let it affect how I worked, but there were days I had to cry in the bathroom or wipe away tears so no one would know. No one really knew what I was going through except a few friends. How I missed my mom at this time. I just needed a hug from her. Just anything. One word. But she was not here. So I had to look into myself and remember all the things she taught me about overcoming hardships. I knew (and know), I’m brave and strong. I felt my inner strength slowly grow back during the past two years, but it took time and I was able to manage my emotions as a result. During this time, I also found out what true friends are all about. I also saw how heartless people could also be. I had a boyfriend for 3 weeks (he might as well not even hold that title and just be someone I dated) and he knew what I was going through, but he decided to break up with me anyways. Instead of checking up on me to see how things were and being a good friend instead, he didn’t care. I was really struggling and he didn’t seem to care anymore. Some people are so selfish. He tried to reach out later on FB, but I don’t ever want to talk to him again. Not after that. Especially when I needed a good friend. Luckily, I leaned on my good friends who took care of me and made sure I was ok and lifted my spirits. This whole thing was a lot to go through. It’s not like tv. There are countless hours and legal things you have to do as a victim to a crime and the process is long. My days were not all doom and gloom. I made sure I lead a normal life despite everything that was going on and be the best mother I could to my son. We would go to the movies, hang out with friends and watch our favorite shows on tv like The Walking Dead, The Amazing Race and Ghost Adventures. My son knew what was going on, yet he did not know the details of the attack. He was my rock and continues to be. I’m his rock too.
One day my prosecutor said to me that there might be a possibility that I would have to go to court to testify, which meant flying back to New Jersey. When I heard that, it really affected me because I would have to come face to face with him again. After 17 years, I would have to look at him. I told her, I didn’t know if I could do that. It terrified me. She told me to wait a few more weeks until I got the official confirmation whether I had to go to NJ or not. Then the call came again…..
To be continued…..