Funny, not long after I posted yesterday, the woman from the Prosecutor's office called. It isn't the same woman I got mad at before (I think SHE is actually in the background begging this woman, S. to pleeeeeze call me so she doesn't have to deal with the over dramatic whiny bitch, but hey, it works for me!). Anyway-S. called to let me know what was going on. I was right in that the hearing on the 12th is one I don't attend (and actually, Jacquie was right); in fact, I CAN'T, as it is a closed hearing between just the attorneys and the judge to find out whether or not it is going to trial. So S. said that after that hearing, the prosecutor will call me and set up a time for us to go in and start going over what will happen at the trial. Apparently this pre-trial hearing is where the defense attorney starts to deal, and S. said that the prosecuting attorney at this point has no intention of agreeing to a lesser plea. Therefore, since CF has nothing to lose at this point, we can expect to go all the way to trial.
I don't know how I feel about this. Obviously we had hoped to avoid a trial, but at the same time apparently the prosecutor thinks he has a solid enough case to take it all the way. That should make me feel better, but it somehow doesn't. I was talking to a woman from AA on Monday, someone I thought was a friend/safe person to talk to, and she flatly refused to believe it. She stopped just shy of calling Hannah a liar, but that was the intimation, and I KNOW that there are people who will think that. There will be others who operate under the assumption that since he did not actually achieve penetration-with fingers or otherwise-that it isn't that big a deal; we have already been exposed to a little bit of that as well. The thought of people like that being on the jury makes me feel ill, it really does. Actually, the reality that ANYONE can take this lightly makes me ill, and then to imagine them on the jury-frightening.
I know that anything can happen in the next three weeks. I know that just because the prosecutor isn't willing to deal at this point doesn't mean he won't agree to a plea-bargain closer to trial. I know that there is much negotiating done that I am not aware of, and I also know that I can't have it both ways. I can't get any kind of justice for Hannah without being willing to go all the way to the bitter end, and I also can't say that I am opposed to negotiations and plea bargains if that means Hannah doesn't have to stand in front of him and testify. It is a shitty situation either way you look at it, really.
And I am scared. I am terrified for Hannah, of course,-you all know that. So putting that aside for just a minute, can I talk about the fact that I am scared on my own behalf? I WILL have to testify, and I am afraid that I will simply come across as just another stupid, vulnerable single mom who got duped. Worse, one who had an idea of what was going on or what might happen but chose to ignore it because he did so much for us. I am afraid of sitting up there in the little witness box and having the defense attorney-who is, in case I haven't mentioned before, very sleazy-try to take the faith and trust I had in this person and turn it into something really, really ugly. I am afraid that he will make it sound as if I should have been suspicious all along because WHY would someone do such nice things for someone all of the time if there wasn't some ulterior motive? Which implies of course that we are not worthy of people being nice to us and loving us for who we are, but because they want something from us. It also implies that I was if not a willing participant, I did nothing to stop it, which amounts to the same thing. These are things I fear becasue they are questions I have been asking MYSELF, so if I am questioning myself, what will the defense attorney do? I am just afraid all the way around, and if I, a relatively smart, strong, aware woman, am this afraid, can anyone even begin to imagine how Hannah must feel? In some ways, though, she is better off in that she is innocent; not just innocent of wrong-doing on ANY level, but also innocent in her ideas of what may or may not happen in court. She might very well get clobbered and shattered on the stand, but at that point there will be (I hope) a lot of people there to hold her up, whereas right now it might be better for her to remain a little bit naive. Not in the sense that we aren't going to prepare her as best as we CAN, but in the sense of not really grasping how awful it can get until she is in the midst. If this DOES go to trial, she needs to not be too scared to testify.
I am aware that part of my fear comes from a far deeper place than this; part of it comes from still, in many ways, my childhood, where I lived in fear all of the time. Fear and loathing of my abusers, yet willing to do anything to stay on their good side, even if that meant doing things I knew were wrong. Helplessness and lack of control not just over my own body but my mind and soul. It is this old fear and self-hatred and yes, shame, that keeps me awake at night, and makes me afraid to confront this man on any level. However: and this is a big "however," I also know, just like I am telling Hannah, is that the only way-the ONLY way-to get through this is to walk through the fear, have faith that it is going to be okay (whatever "okay" ultimately looks like for us), and we will get through. What is that schmaltzy saying, "courage is fear that has said it's prayers?" Well. Pray, then, for courage. For strength. For peace.