As I begin the process of recovering form sexual trauma, life goes on around me. My awesome daughter, who was born with Down’s, has a big dance tonight. A wonderful prom put on by the Tim Tebow foundation, called “Night to Shine.” It is lovely, pure, joyous, and I intend to practice mindfulness, to be present both physically and mentally for her and for this event. The healing balm of joy that seems to exude from my daughter and others like her will be my focus tonight. The look on my daughter’s face as she tried on her prom dress was indescribable. I’m glad we got a snapshot of it because it is priceless! That title, “Night to Shine,” is more than appropriate. The place, the very air, will be charged with the light shining from my girl and her peers.
Today I also have my first appointment at Rape and Abuse Crisis Center. I realize this battle gets harder before it gets better. I have to believe that I’m strong enough to get through this. I have to. I want wholeness and peace for myself. If I don’t face this, I simply live with fear, ptsd, and nightmares. Heaven forbid I actually see the man who raped me somewhere, because he does live in the area. I hate even going to the grocery store. I won’t live this way. So, today I begin dealing with the trauma with the best experts in trauma therapy available to me. (Big sigh), I can do this. That is my mantra for today, “I can do this.”
The man who raped me, the former chief of police from a nearby town, is in the news to the point that I can’t avoid it or manage what I see and hear the way I thought I could. There is nowhere to hide. One night I was scrolling through my Facebook feed and a story popped up. Curious, thinking I was strong enough to objectively take in information, I looked. I thought, “Screw him. He doesn’t get to run my life. Why should I be the one running and hiding? I can do this. I won’t to know what he did.” It was a video of proceedings. As soon as they said he was in that room, I froze. I was too paralyzed to even reach for my purse where my anti-anxiety medicine was, as it sat less than three feet from me. I was shaking so hard. I was paralyzed by fear. I did have my phone in my hand and called the rape and abuse hotline. I was patched through to a volunteer who did her best to follow the “script” she was clearly working from. “I’m so proud of you. You’re doing such a great job.” Through no fault of hers, she was talking to me the way one might talk to a toddler being coached through learning a new task or skill. It did get me to a point where I could grab my purse at least.
This asshole was offered a severance package and full pension to simply walk away. He refused it, and it seems he plans to file a civil suit, which means he will continue to be in the news, and I will inadvertently hear his voice and see his face. He was fired, yet denies any wrong doing, even going to interviews with local radio talk shows. He’s not hiding. He seems determined to remain in the media as much as possible to proclaim his innocence. It’s ludicrous considering the atrocities that I and others are aware of and continue to keep silent about, and now the people who are coming forward to say he made their lives a living hell daily at work. So many people came forward, some only after being reassured that he was on administrative leave. The people who worked for him were terrified to come to work, some even had to seek professional help because of his bullying and intimidation tactics. This tells me that he has not one ounce of remorse for anything he’s ever done. And that makes it so hard to wrap my head around the concept of forgiveness. That is for another day, though.
Tonight my daughter and her friends, the beauty of this event, eclipses all else. It’s their night to shine. Beauty exists. There are things that are lovely, pure, sacrosanct in this world, in my world. I still feel joy. Let the light shine through, appreciate the warmth, and soak it in. It’s available, if we choose to recognize and embrace it.