[L]’s sentencing is a day I will never forget….. The day is carved into my brain to the point where I’ve thought about carving it into my body. Maybe on the other side of the finger that he already claimed….. Maybe it sounds melodramatic, and let’s be honest, it kind of is. But the only thing stopping me is I don’t know what it would mean to me yet.
Is it a “death date”? Like when people tattoo their loved ones birthday and (I have no better way to say this right now, maybe I’m brain farting) death date on their body. He’s alive and contrary to what some believe I don’t wish him death. I wish him a long and healthy happy life where he will never EVER do this to someone again, a life after he is healed. If that is possible. I truly hope it is.
Is it my freedom date? The day I finally was free to stop looking over my shoulder. The day I no longer had to have a panic attack when my phone died because I was going to get in trouble. I definitely don’t feel free yet, and I still look over my shoulder and panic when my phone dies, so that doesn’t seem right either.
I can still tell you how many days it’s been since his last arrest, how many days since the sentencing, how many days since he was transferred to a state facility…… The timer in my head hasn’t turned off…. It’s still counting. Somedays it feels like I’m counting days until his next explosion, the next time I have to run. Other days it feels like I’m grieving the number of days it’s been since we last spoke, since I last told him I loved him and begged him not to kill himself. Maybe it’s the days since I last saw him in the court house, mouthing “I love you” and showing me his tattoo all the way up until it was time for me to give my statement. I know, at least part of it is me counting the days since I had to shake my head and tell him no, and truly mean it, for the first and last time.
It was the day that any possibility of a future with the man I still loved, a man who probably would have killed me, ended. I’m still not sure if that is a joyful or tragic day yet. I think it will always be a little bit of both. Maybe the more I heal the more clarity I will have in that regard. So until then I won’t bleed the words into my soul and make them a permanent fixture on my body. But maybe someday… once I know what that day means to me.
I wrote my “Victim Impact Statement” at least 100 times before [L]’s sentencing. I walked into the courthouse that day with a blank pad of engineering paper. I still didn’t know what I wanted to say, I had thrown out all the other drafts. I finally decided I wanted to write exactly what I was feeling in that moment…. what I needed to say when everything was in front of me. I’ve always been a pro-procrastinator.
writing scribbling out my words all the way up until it was his turn. He mouthed “I Love You” before he stood up to go before the judge. I was shaking but frozen. I didn’t have any tears, I shook my head no and then I couldn’t look his way anymore. I still didn’t have a complete statement.
Writing what I felt at that moment wouldn’t have been possible. If I try to put those feelings in words it probably would have been something along the lines of me sobbing and repeating “I love you too” to [L] and in the same breath begging the judge to “protect me keep me safe from this man forever, I never want to see him again, I never want to run for my life again!…. but please drop everything and just let him go so I can be happy. Let me be happy with him for the rest of my life, I don’t care how long. Take the handcuffs off! I can’t stand seeing him in them for a second longer and he can’t hold me back with them on.”
SOOOOO that is, obviously, not what I said in court. I steeled myself and read what I had written and ad libbed the rest. Basically I was afraid, with his repeated offenses, for my safety etc. It was Cold. Dry. Shaky. Only a few tears but my voice didn’t sound strong no matter how hard I tried to make it steady.
I had written a much more composed statement and submitted it to the Pre-sentencing Investigation. That’s part of the process before you’re sentenced is they investigate your past, possible addictions, medical and mental history, etc so the Judge has all the “facts” to appropriately sentence you. This PSI information is confidential so it isn’t read aloud in open court. I knew this wouldn’t be on public record so I spent hours crafting the logical letter when I was in a safe mindset and not letting my emotions get the best of me. In this letter to the judge I requested a permanent “No Contact Order” as part of the sentencing. I admitted more of my mistakes and much more coherently asked for [L] to get help so he was no longer a danger to me in the future. It was 3 pages….. the recommendation is 1. Unfortunately for him, I have personally made it my personal mission to bring back the art of letter writing and I’ll be damned if that didn’t include the letter to the Judge.
After I gave my statement [L] looked at me with such hatred and disgust it still makes my stomach turn to think about it. I could hear him sighing and rolling his eyes behind me (yes that makes no sense but I swear I could hear it) when I was giving my statement. When I turned around there wasn’t a single tear in his eye. Mine were flowing pretty freely now that I had done my part. It was pure rage. He didn’t look sad, or hurt, or remorseful, he looked like he would hit me again right there if given the chance. I wanted to comfort him.
Then it was [L]’s turn. The judge asked a few questions. To me it honestly seemed like he was trying to give [L] a chance, something to say he was going to change and he was sorry, something to justify the 9 month plea deal they had agreed to beforehand. Then [L] F***ed it all up. The judge asked “why did you continue to have contact with her after the restraining order?” and [L] blamed me. Now I’m not sure if this is common knowledge but: don’t blame your victim for your wrong doing when you’re trying to get a judge to accept a plea deal! -”insert your favorite string of expletives here”!!!!
His mom behind me started swearing under her breath, the victim advocate beside me froze, there were whispers around the courtroom. EVERYONE knew he had just royally screwed himself. The judge started to say something and stopped a few times then called counsel into his chambers. He came out and threw his glasses on the bench and said “You determined your own sentence here today” and went on to talk about how he couldn’t even take responsibility…. [L] was sentenced to 4 years DOC. None suspended.
I was crying, he walked out of the courtroom, we made eye contact and he hated me……that was the last time I saw him.