Thursday, January 8, 2009

In Which I Confess my Fears

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.


April said...

I've said it before, I'll say it again. I'm so proud of both you and Hannah to be willing to walk through that fear. I love you.

Mnemosyne said...

It makes me sick that there are some people in this world that blame the fricken victim. It IS a big deal what happened to Hannah and there should be no doubt on the matter. As for you being afraid of what people will think about you, I totally get that, but don't let it get to you Kori. If people want to blame you then fine, but please don't blame yourself. You didn't do this to Hannah, he did. Hang in there, I will be keeping you and your family in my thoughts and prayers.

Anonymous said...

All it comes down to is the fact that he violated your daughter. Period. That is all the judge will be looking at. The attorneys will attempt to throw up smoke screens and lay blame, but a law has been broken. She is a minor and he abused her. End of story as far as the courts are concerned. Try to keep your head from spinning off with all the "what if's" and "if only's."

It will all work out.

The Tutugirl said...

I am so sorry that you are stuck in this choice between justice for Hannah and protecting Hannah (even if the choice is pretty much out of your hands.) You and Hannah are incredibly brave. People are duped all the time- they won't think that you should have known what was going on. Don't question yourself- you had no way of knowing.

Anonymous said...

"just another stupid, vulnerable single mom who got duped"

Aaaaarrrrggghhhhh! Oh, please never let me hear you say that again. You are just the opposite. don't forget that. Something you could do is prepare a few canned responses for dumb questions you know they'll ask or innuendoes they'll toss your way. Don't get defensive--count to 3 before you respond, all that stuff. How is Hannah in any way responsible for this? We're all human. You're both brave for going the distance.

Ian Newbold said...

To echo what has been said above, it is not you that is on trial, even if it will feel like it.

Don't be baited by a defense lawyer. Slowly, well put, and non arguemental replies really get their goat.

Very, very difficult situation, and much easier to type than do, but do it you must, and do it you shall.

Kori said...

Joshua 1:9
...Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. (NIV)

I love you and I am praying for you.

Julie@My5monkeys said...

Hugs and prayers going out to you. I'm proud of you.

Lynn said...

The only one who holds any blame here is the asshole who did this. Period.

Sending strength and courage and hugs to you and Hannah.

won said... know Kori, like you have said and I are eerily similar in many experiences.

I am having a hard time typing. Shaking. Angry. Pissed. Scared for Hannah. Scared for you.

I have much to say, but I can't right now and it may be better to do it in a private email when I come back to the center.

I have one thought for you in the meantime. Please try to stay in the moment. Trying to think about what is gonna happen down the road can be so overwhelming.

Okay, another thought the words of the late, beautiful Olivia Grace Thompson who was dying from cancer at the age of 11 when she wrote the following:

"I believe in myself. I can get through anything. I am a powerful girl."

Feel free to wrap yourself around her words as I have done so often. You may use Olivia's words. You may whisper them to Hannah, either when she is awake to hear you or as she lay sleeping so they can creep further into her subconcsious and become ingrained into who she is.

Now fuck...I need a cigarette...only I don't smoke anymore and that sucks. said...

Well, my first reaction was, "Oh, shit...", when I saw the go to trial part. But, really you are right about the prosecutor wanting to do it because he feels that there is a strong case for Hannah.
I will pray. You just have faith that things will turn out well.

Anonymous said...

First and foremost, I'm so impressed and proud of both you and Hannah for your strength throughout this ordeal.

Secondly, it makes me ill to think that someone would consider it a non-offense to sexually abuse a child as long as there is no penetration. ugh! That makes my stomach turn.... and that someone would put the blame on either you or her... *sigh* That makes me crazy.

Anonymous said...

I have the same fears about going to court. Hell, I have the same fears about life. I didn't want to do Project Merry Christmas because I didn't want to be another "single mom victim." I hate how fear starts spiraling out of control so easily, but its true. I wish they could just spiral off into oblivion, but instead we get caught in the spiral and it consumes us.

I have court again in less than a month, so I will be thinking of you too. You are going to get through this. We are all sending you as much love as possible.

Shiona said...

I have another quote for you

"Courage is not the absence of fear, but simply moving on despite that fear."

I used this for myself when I made the decision to leave my ex. Your fears are justified but with that being said when you get on the stand I think that will actually work in your favor. The jurors will hopefully be able to put themselves in your shoes and understand it all and reach the right verdict accordingly.

I am in awe of how strong you both are.

Unknown said...

Hang in there. This is such a difficult situation for you both, but as a parent you did what you could do to protect her...he is a sleaze and NO ONE deserves to be treated that way!!!

I'm praying for you...

FreedomFirst said...

I really wish Mark's mom had been like you.

J'Ollie Primitives said...

I'm proud of you and your family.

Tara R. said...

I hate the idea that some people would blame or think Hannah is making this up. There is a special level of hell for them. You will make it through this. Hugs and prayers for Hannah and your whole family.

Julie said...

Absolutely praying.

Anna-b-bonkers said...

I have had so much reading to do, taking a break is not good when it comes to keeping up with you!
I think I understand what all is going on and it breaks my heart!
I so feel for you and Hannah. I was in a similar situation with a boss when I was a teen and was terrified. I was terrified of loosing my job and at the same time wanted approval. I felt used and it destroyed me inside.
I went to the police and they did nothing. Apparently it wasn't serious enough since it didn't go all the way. Somehow I felt like it was my fault.
It took years for me to feel better about myself but I have never been the same.
I hope that for Hannah she is able to go on and that justice is done.
You both are in my prayers.

Anonymous said...

Your prosecutor will prep you. You will definitely be nervous but it won't be because you are unprepared. Mr. Dingo has done criminal work and criminal law before as a defense attorney and unequivocally, in child molestation cases, there is no defense. The easiest way to turn off the jury is to make it seem as if someone else is responsible for the defendants conduct.

The only way he can possibly win the case is to try to say that the sexual assault didn't happen. The likelihood is that the defense attorney will try to take the approach that your trust was not misplaced rather than to show that you were a bad mom.

This is a terrible situation for you and Hannah but you have been, and are, an amazing mom. Don't let this asshole take away your confidence. Don't let him take anything else away from you and your family.

Ronda's Rants said...

You are one of the most fearless people I know and you are giving your daughter such a great example!

Mama Smurf said...

Easier said than done, I know, but let the fear go won't change a thing and will only make you crazy.

Hoping you find the strength (and fearlessness) to get through the next couple (few) months.