Never Again

Crime victims harbor a sense of shame, as if they did something wrong. And that’s not right. Talk to others about your experiences.

Learn to say “Never again.” I did. 

And here’s how it all happened.

More than half a lifetime ago and far away, back in a supposedly wholesome small town in Iowa, I was a victim of a home invasion and assorted acts which resulted in Class B felony charges against the perpetrator. It’s not worth going into great detail here today about what happened, but somewhere past the fear of thinking I was going to die, which is probably a logical consequence of hearing “Bitch, you’re going to die” more than a few times while someone twice your size is shoving you across the room before slamming and pinning you on the floor, and then wondering what a mess your blood’s going to make on the carpet, I clicked into gear, telling assailant that he had a way out. We could keep this between ourselves, no police called, no charges pressed, the decision was his. I kept repeating “The decision is yours” over and over again. He froze and stared at me incredulously, released his hands from my neck and then picked himself up and walked out the door. I scrambled to lock the door and called the sheriff’s office.

They picked up the criminal less than a half hour later a few miles down the county black top.

My family doctor had me meet him at his home across the street from the hospital, where he patched me up in his kitchen.

The next day, the local newspaper called to tell me that they were going to politely leave my name off the front page story. I told the reporter that my name was going to appear in that story, because I didn’t do anything wrong.  News travels too fast in a small town anyway, and there was no reason to leave matters to conjecture.

Two days later, court service day rolled around, the morning allotted to motions, short hearings, criminal arraignments, pleas and sentencings at the county courthouse. Black and blue handprints stained my neck, bruises making a bracelet around my wrist, and my hands were still shaking.  One cocky bastard of a lawyer asked me if I’d refused to put out. I picked up his stack of files and threw them across the room.  A few minutes later, I’m standing at the bench with another criminal client, a beastly and gross thug, the kind you wouldn’t want to face in a dark alley even in broad daylight, the kind of guy other inmates wouldn’t like to come across in a prison yard, who would find himself sentenced to another round of life on the installment plan.  What he told me while we waited for the judge was something that stunned me:  “I heard about what happened to you, and I’m real sorry.” Of course, he’d heard, he’d been in the same county jail as the assailant.

The defendant would ultimately plead guilty and do time. And he would go on, during his first week in a halfway house years later to commit the same Class B felony once again. I looked up the court file and wrote to the victim, just to tell her she wasn’t alone.

It took me a long time to really recover from the ordeal. But what took me more aback was the reaction of others. They didn’t want to hear about what happened. It’s too scary, they’d say. So, I didn’t really say much—until now.

And that’s part of the reason that I feel far safer in the wilds of Michoacán than I ever did in southwest Iowa.

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12 comments on “Never Again

  1. Steve Cotton says:

    Well and properly said.

    Like

  2. John Calypso says:

    A very sad and brave story Jennifer. These kinds of stories makes me ashamed to be part of the male race occasionally. Of course all men are not bad. Thanks for sharing your story.

    Like

  3. Good work, Ms. Rose.

    Like

  4. Tancho says:

    Glad that justice was served, a model for other courts to follow. Now they let too many of them go.

    Like

  5. flavorsofthesun says:

    Great blog, Jennifer. Interesting stories, well-written. Thanks for sharing with us. It is nice to read a story where justice is served–I’ve seen it go astray in shocking ways of late.

    Like

  6. When I showed up at the police station to give a statement shortly after the attack, the prosecuting attorney, who’d been a political rival, asked “Are you willing to assist in the prosecution?” Shocked by the sheer inanity of his question, I asked him “Are you asking me to second chair you?”

    Like

  7. Joanne says:

    We were the victims of a home invasion in a Central American country. I don’t want to give all the details, partly because they aren’t important, but I don’t feel any need to keep the story under wraps. I will tell anyone, because that event is not going to have any hold over me. We told the police there that we could hardly wait to get back to Mexico where it was safe. They were not amused. When we got off the plane in Cancun I wanted to kiss the ground. Mexico feels safe to me, Central America does not.

    We were held at gunpoint, our laptops, Ipod, 2 wallets stolen, made to lie down on the bed and at that point I thought we would be shot. The gunman got distracted by my daughter’s purse and grabbed the contents, then his accomplice called to him to hurry and he left. I still think that if he hadn’t seen her purse he would have shot us. He never touched any of us, he “just” held the gun on us. It was terrifying. Luckily we still all had our passports, my daughter had her money in the safe, and my purse and contents were not touched. My husband still had his laptop and Ipad. We were able to call to change our flights, report our credit cards stolen, get our ducks in a row. Our daughter needed counselling to deal with it. The guys were never caught.

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  8. TA1 says:

    Get ’em, Jennifer! And I’m glad to see you’re back in the blogosphere again. =)

    Like

  9. nan says:

    You have made another huge step in your recovery. Hugs to you.

    Like

  10. Kim G says:

    I laud your presence of mind, and willingness to share this with us. I agree with you. Victims of crime are just that, victims. They shouldn’t feel ashamed or guilty in any way.

    Let’s hope the perpetrator of this vile act is remorseful and guilty.

    Saludos,

    Kim G
    Boston, MA
    Where we are impressed with the professionalism of the Boston Police.

    Like

  11. Tim Staggs says:

    Love this, Jennifer! Thank you for sharing.

    Like

  12. metamorelia says:

    What a story. Thanks for sharing. I must add that the only time that I have been a victim of a violent crime is right here in Morelia, with a gun against my head belly-down on the filthy floor of an OXXO. By the way, stay out of OXXOs after dark. Apparently they are frequented by gun-toting thugs. That was 2008; two weeks later I was in front of the cathedral on September 15th. And we all know what happened that horrific night in Morelia’s history. Even though I feel very safe here, nothing even close to those 2 event ever happened to me in the States.

    Like

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