Friday, September 30, 2011

Fear of Attackers

I wrote awhile ago about an attack on my body. It was a physical attack and a failed attempt at a sexual assault, although it was in a way a sexual assault, as one of the kicks I recieved was to a part of the body very closely tied to sex. I healed physically and tried but failed to heal on my own mentally. When I couldn't stop throwing up whenever I thought about it, and when my dreams grew more hellish with each passing night, my parents sought a treatment program for me. Mostly it has helped, but some things will be healed only by time if at all.

A condition of my attackers' probabtion is a restraining order that allows them to pass through the county of the university I now attend and even to get off the major highway to refuel or to have a meal, but otherwise not to linger anywhere in the county. (No party had any ties to this county at the time; if anything were to come up, such as a wedding held in this county, it was to be handled by the probation departemtn on a ase-by-case basis.) This provision is, for the most part, difficult to enforce. With all the crime occurring within a mile of my university, guaranteeing that all my attackers comply with the terms of their restraining orders is a reasonably low priority of local law enforcement officials. Chances are the restraining order has probably already been violated by all three attackers at one time or another, although their intent would not have been to harass or even to find me, so I haven't lost tons of sleep over the probability.

A new issue has arisen that is keeping me awake. One of the attackers -- the one who was least involved and most contrite, and whose family was the most apologetic of the three families -- has contacted me through her attorney. The attorney could easily have sent the letter to my parents' home in the community where we lived and from where my parents are moving next week. The communication would have reached my parents in plenty of time. Furthermore, I don't think, as a minor, that I actually have decision-making power in what the attacker is asking through her attorney for me to do. Beyond that, I'm reasonably certai the attorney must know this.

The attorney sent the letter to me at the university. Despite the twenty-two-thousand or so students enrolled in this university, the letter found me here. As I recognized the name of the attorney on the return address, it was with trepidation that I opened the letter. My trepidation was not ill-founded.

The attorney has advised me that my attacker, who pled guilty to felony assault, wishes to apply to my university. According to the terms of probation,she cannot do this until more than four years has passed without a change in the terms of the probation. Her lawyer considers that the simplest way to have the terms of the probabtion altered, thereby allowing her to attend the same university I currently attend, would be for me to appear in court to speak on her behalf, or, that failing, to send a letter in support of her request. at the very least, the attorney has asked me not to oppose this action in any way.

With more than twenty-two-thousand students spread out over I don't know how many acres, the attorney surmises that there is room for both of us on this campus, and that, as part of growing up, it is time for me to accept that what has been done is in the past, and that I should be ready to move on by now.

Perhaps a better person than I would be ready to move on by now, but I'm not at all certain that I am. Many possibilities exist within the scenario of my making a court appearance or writing a letter on the girl's behalf. First and foremost, even without the felony conviction that's on her record (she was just over eighteen when the assault occurred), academics never seemed to rank high on this young woman's list of priorities. I'd be seriously surprised if she were to gain acceptance into the university in question. Even if she were to be admitted, it really is a big campus; it's not heyond possibility that we could each spend whatever timme it took us to complete our degrees without ever once coming into contact.

Still, at night when I'm trying to sleep, my mind wanders to the more nefarious possibilities, and the nightmares have returned in full force. I see this person as a "sorority" type. For anyone among my 2.1 daily readers who happens to have or have had affiliation with the greek system, I apologize for stereotyping. My concern, however, is that were the girl to be accepted into both this university and into a sorority linked to the campus, I would have not just this girl about whom to worry but an entire sisterhood of perhaps not-terribly-nice people, with at least some of whom I would come into contact from time to time. It's not so much that I realistically fear that these sorority sisters would pin me down in school restrooms and step on my now-healed-but-still-tender leg or kick me both in mentionable and unmentionable places. My fear is more of the social and psychological damage the sorority sistera would do on a daily basis if this young woman were to become one of them.

Beyond just the matter of this one of my three attackers changing the terms of her probation, would this open a door for the restraining orders of all of them to be subject to renegotiation? I don't think I am yet ready to live with the possibility that any of these people could, with the law on their side, approach me at any time and place for any reason.

My mother is busy packing up our house for the move while she is in the process of passing her approximately three-hundredth renal calculus. I called her to tell her I have a problem and really need to talk about it. She told me it will have to wait until after next Thursday. The deadline the attorney has given me for responding is Wednesday. (After that, his letter said, no response is considered no objection to the proposed action.) I called both my therapist and my psyhiatrist, but neither had time to talk to me, and secretaries of both say they're booked solidly for the next three weeks. The assistant district attorney who handled my case said that he will talk to my parents but not to me. My father is at a convention in Toronto. The people with whom I am staying are very busy and stressed out by their own lives right now, and have no legal standing in this case, anyway.

I wrote a letter to the judge who handled my case expressing my concerns and explaining why I have been unable to lodge any official objections to the change in the terms of the probation. I sent it by next-day courier, and it was received at the courthouse, but who knows how long it will take the judge to see it, or if he will ever see it? He may be no longer handling the case and it may be the very least of his concerns.

My primary purpose for writing this is that one of my parents' spies will alert my parents or my psychiatrist that I have a serious concern that requires their attention. If you are not one of my parents' spies, do not be unduly concerned. These things usually have ways of working themselves out for the best.


  1. *hug* that's terrible... I'm sorry to hear that. What a mean attorney. I'm sorry you're worried, school is stressful enough sometimes. >__<
    I am happy that you are being proactive about it. Dang, you're a smart girl. :D
    it sounds like you usually have a good support group. Maybe you could speak to someone at the school and see what they think about it? A counselor?

  2. Alexis, baby, what the he!! are you thinking? I'm your temporary legal guardian. Of course I have standing in this case. Auntie Jillian will type a scathing letter that will have the attorney in question fearing for his own bar membership status. The man had no right to contact you, much less to suggest the changes he did and ask you either to support them or, at the very least, to keep your mouth shut. It's little more than a veiled threat.

    I'll contact your parents to ascertain that we're all on the same page. Then Auntie will write the letter. The total amount of time we expend on this problem will be no more than thirty minutes. Yes, we're busy, but this is a major issue which, fortunately, presents a quick fix.

    Your parents left you in our care because they assumed we would take care of you. We will, but it would be much easier if you would just tell us when a big problem comes up instead of blogging about it and hoping someone who can help you will read about it.

    Stop worrying! This is over.

    Uncle Scott

  3. If a lawyer wrote such a letter to a victim of sex crime in the UK it is likely he would be struck off.

    Perhaps you could write to the California Bar Association and report them for this act of harassment?

  4. If I were you, I wouldn't. But that's me. There is such a thing called responsibility for the actions that we take, and a consequence for our actions. Good or bad. This to me would fall under that. Even if she wasn't the main offender, she still stood by and let it happen, which is sort of just as bad. “If you lay down with dogs, you're going to get fleas.” She should have thought of this earlier.

    Maybe I'm mean and unforgiving. I've been called that several times, but after all the mental anguish, pain, and suffering you've been through, you deserve to enjoy college. And her attorney has no right to tell you when you should be ready to move on.

    Just my two cents.

  5. Alexis, what were you thinking? OF COURSE you're supposed to tell us if something like this happens. When your parents left you in our care, they assumed we would actually take care of you. It would make our job easier if you would let us in on it when there's a problem instead of leaving us to play guessing games, but that's water under the bridge.

    Matt, Amy, and Rebecca, thanks for being supportive friends. Matt, you're correct that the lame ass attorney could be facing repercussions. The contact with his client's victim seemed to me to be little more than a veiled threat.

    I called your parents to make sure we're on the same page. Auntie J. is firing off a letter that will have the girl's lawyer calling off the pit bulls before she even knows what's happening.

    It's over. You can relax.

    Uncle Scott

  6. Uncle Scott made me cry a little bit. Well, I might have been already. This just breaks my heart. Please do what you need to do to feel safe Alexis. Everything else is inconsequential.

  7. Scott, maybe there is a reason some lawyers in the UK (and other Commonwealth countries) are called Solicitors?

    It appears this idiot has received an instruction from the client (or the client's parents) and has decided to act on that instruction, when he should have known this was an entirely wrong thing for him to do. He has prostituted himself and now must face the consequences of his actions. As must his clients. It might be that his client had more to do with the attack than was realised, manipulating the other offenders in order to get them to attack Alexis in the first place?