Thursday, March 13, 2014

21 Gun Salute ~ Did He Ever?

Looking directly at me, she asks 'Did he ever admit what he did?" 
I respond quietly, "no, he tried to get me to keep his secret all the way to his end." 

"Did he ever apologize for what he did?"

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Now Where ~ Forever Fight?

In what reality are the consequences of abuse so widely known and a justice system so unprepared to accommodate victims with any pathway to get some sort of assistance and / or restitution? Today, 2014.

Sweating and apprehensive, I approach one of the desks in the office for Representative Sherry Jones. I stumble over my words, but the meaning is understood.  I feel panic when she asks what organization I represent. I respond I am alone and wish to speak to Representative Jones about a bill I would like to reintroduce to the TN legislature.  My surprise is apparent as an assistant for Representative Jones directs me to step outside in the hallway for a few brief minutes.  She indicates there may be a short 5 minutes to spare in Rep Jones' calendar and she thinks she can to squeeze me in to see her.
The impromptu meeting begins as Representative Jones attempts to ease my anxiety by seating herself in an arm chair opposite the small couch where she offers me a seat, instead of authoritatively behind her desk.  I frantically search my satchel for my bill.  I know the bill is in here.  Why can't I seem to put my fingers on it.  I am so nervous, I apologize for my seemingly disorganized presentation.  Her understanding is awash with the warmth of her words and her patience.  
I spill my summation of the action I am pursuing.  She takes the pages and quickly cruises the document.  Rep Jones matter of factually comments, civil action for child sexual abuse should align with the criminal justice. Don't I agree? It's like someone just needs to shine the light on the issue.  No one has thought of this before now, seriously?  The conversation turns when Rep Jones tells me she is going to get an attorney to look at the bill.  We have a couple of options.  Wow.  
I raise from my seat to make my departure from Representative Sherry Jones office on notice of the non-verbal cue that our meeting was approaching an end.  She stalled briefly to ask about me personally, much to my surprise.  Do I suffer from PTSD? Yes.  Depression? Yes.  Do I take antidepressants? Every day of my life. Is my abuser still alive? No. He got what he deserved, in the end.  
She does not seem to terribly surprised at my story - a survivor who still suffers common diagnoses after years of incest. Her compassion ebbs in fact, that I am fighting for rights to help other survivors get beyond the mental illness prison and the pain accompanying the memories. She sees someone who fought her entire life, still fights for others now, trying to change the reality of today, 2014.