Today was a busy and emotional day. The highlight of my day was a beautiful and strong little girl. She had a very tough day in court, but walked away with her head high and her spirit unbroken. I was so proud of her strength and courage to face her demon and let her small but powerful voice be heard. It was absolutely inspiring and uplifting. I knew that God had to be right there with her helping her through it. I only wish I had her courage when I was a young girl. Heck, I wish I had her courage 20 years ago when someone hurt me. I didn’t have the courage to tell anyone and I was an adult. That is something that has haunted me for the last 23 years.
Maybe if I had the courage then to speak up I would not still be haunted by it. I often worried that if I didn’t speak up it might happen to someone else and then I’d have that on my conscience. There’s still a part of me that holds that guilt and worry. For a long time I felt like maybe somehow I had asked for it even though I said no. I thought that is what other people would say. I thought that they would blame me somehow or find a way to excuse what had happened. I didn’t dress provocative, I didn’t “get around”, but I walked willingly into that house. I was naïve enough to think everything would be ok. He was a nice “normal” guy. We had a decent date until all of a sudden he wasn’t a nice “normal” guy. He caught me off guard and before I knew it, there was nothing I could do. It wasn’t ok that night or many nights after. The hardest part was trying to forget it happened, put a smile on my face and go about my business without letting anyone see my fear, my shame, my pain. The scars were there, hidden under my skin. They are still there. They come out in my dreams, they appear when I watch movies and the news. They are always there. Today it is easier to talk about it, but it has left lasting effects. I have my share of “issues”, but I am so much stronger and emotionally healthy. It doesn’t define me. It is a part of me and always will be, but it isn’t who I am. It doesn’t control me and it doesn’t stop me anymore from being happy.
I didn’t face my demon, but now I get to help others face their demon(s). I get to help them or their families get the justice they deserve. That is my justice now. Days like today are hard, but they are also very rewarding. Today we sent a demon to prison where he belongs and at least for the next few years he can’t hurt anyone else. That makes today a good day.