This is MY story.
In December of 2016, on a very emotional day, I told my stepmom my deepest darkest secret. Having children of her own and going through similar things, my stepmom then encouraged me to speak up.
In January of 2017, I spoke up about sexual abuse for years and years. At the time I only wanted to tell my mother. Other family members found out and the law got involved. I went through investigations, depositions, and meetings with strangers to talk about all of the things this man did to me. He confessed to everything. (Yes, I can and I will show you the confession at any time if anyone wants to doubt me.)
Depression was really getting the best of me.
On August 4, 2017, I wrote, “Sometimes I feel like I should've never opened my mouth about you. I've made a mess of things. I feel even worse now. I felt more safe when no one knew. I felt like no one was out to get me. No one would think of me differently. It's different now. I'd see you and block out all of my feelings. Sit there emotionless, but I'd be OK. At least until I could get to my room and have a breakdown that no one had to know about. Now, I lock my bedroom door every time I come in. Now, just the thought of you turns me into that little kid again. That hopeless child. Powerless. Now that I’ve got all this power? I don't want to have it. I wish things never changed. You made me who I am today. The strongest me I'll ever be, but somehow i feel so weak. Exhausted. Angry. Depressed. Yes, I was some of those things before hand, but it's so much worse now. I can't go anywhere without a single flashback. I can't go a night with peaceful sleep. I just want this process to end. Only reason I'm still going on with this? Because that's a possibility of one less predator. One less hopeless child. One less PTSD story. One less problem. Even if that means you'll remain my problem forever.”
September 18, 2017, I found out the confession could not be used because he was not read his Miranda rights, but his suicide attempt may still be used.
I had two counselors at the time (life management & The Children’s Advocacy Center). In life management, I was diagnosed with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). Deep down, I already knew something more was wrong with me. I was scared to tell anyone my story until then. (Mind you, I had been going through counseling on and off since I was 12, and they diagnosed me then with severe depression and anxiety.)
To spread awareness for PTSD and to show how PTSD affected me, I wrote this post.
(September 24, 2017)
“Let me explain my life with PTSD to you.
PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) is a mental disorder that comes in many forms and can be caused by many different things.
For me, personally? It's a daily battle.
Its complicating, really.
Instead of having a devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other, it's more like depression on one side and anxiety on the other and they are always fighting over who's gunna push it the furthest that day.
It's constantly putting yourself down, and then being worried, because what if the way you see yourself is the way everyone else sees you also?
Some days it's having zero motivation to do anything (eat, drink, think, sleep, dream, stay awake, talk, move, etc.)
It's not sleeping because you're so anxious about the things that happened 5 years ago, or even what could happen in 5 more years. Other times, it's sleeping all day because IT IS the only escape.
It's staring blankly at the walls of your room for hours having flashback after flashback, feeling everything you felt in that moment all over again and it feeling so real, wondering if they will ever go away.
It's waking up at 2 AM because your nightmares are getting worse and worse, then not wanting to fall back asleep because you're tired of having them.
It's not wanting to be alone, or do things on your own in fear of something bad happening that you can't possibly stop by yourself, but it's also needing your space and going days without speaking to anyone.
It's always being on alert and looking over your shoulder.
It's waking up at the most faint noises, like your air cutting on or off.
It's locking all doors behind you because you feel unsafe everywhere you go.
It's having trouble trusting anyone who comes into your life.
It's feeling so damaged that no one will ever want you, for you, the REAL you.
It's breaking down over the most simple things and then crying for hours because you aren't strong enough to deal with anything, even though you are.
It's looking at yourself in the mirror with tears streaming down your face, begging yourself to just... hold... on...
Keep in mind that you never really know what goes on in someone's everyday life.
You don't know what they've been through or what they’re going through and you don't know what happens behind closed doors.
It doesn't matter what kind of battles you are facing, but I encourage you to keep going, because you are strong enough.”
This post blew up everywhere. My old SRO officer even showed kids she was working with at school in hopes to make them feel less alone. I was still facing my own problems at home. I had stopped going to school because every little thing would trigger me, and people made fun of me.
Between September and December of 2017, I had gone through three different attorneys.
On January 8, 2018, I wrote, “For those of you who don't know, I offered a plea deal. We don't know that he will take it, but I want to be able to say 'I tried everything.' In the end. Trial management will be on Friday, January 12. We should know then if he takes it, or if we will have to go to trial.
If we have to go to trial, his confession will not be brought up unless he lies under oath, his suicide attempt may not be brought up, and he may not even have to be put on stand. Lets just prepare for the worst and hope for the best.”
On January 12, 2018, I found out trial management was on April 13.
Trial was the week of April 23, which takes us to now. Trial was yesterday, Thursday, April 26, 2018. It all took forever and a day to begin, but when it was time we wished it would’ve taken longer. My mom testified first (this man is her ex boyfriend, someone I looked at as a father figure in the beginning). I was next. It felt like I was on that stand for hours. It was the absolute most terrifying thing I’ve ever had to do. I didn’t know then that it would all be worth it in the end. After I testified, things went even slower, which made me nervous. I almost lost all hope until the jury came out. When they read the words on the paper I froze; nothing felt real.
The jury found him guilty of all three charges. (Capital sexual battery on a victim 12 years or under, and two counts of lewd or lascivious on a victim 12 years or younger.)
(Yesterday) Thursday, April 26, 2018, changed my life forever. I got my life back. I couldn’t have had a better attorney. I will never be able to thank that man enough. He helped me find me again. He will always be remembered as one of the most amazing people that has impacted my life.
As he quoted from Elvis Presley, "Truth is like the sun. You can shut it out for a time, but it ain't goin' away."
If you or someone you know has been or is being sexually abused, please find the strength to get help. It may not seem worth it in the beginning, but in the end it will be. No matter what the outcome may be, being able to tell your story right in front of your predator and finally stand up to them gives you so much strength and relief. You will benefit from this.