Well, I made it through. The very thought of entering the court house caused me to shake uncontrollably. Vomiting was also an option! Thank God I hadn't eaten much for breakfast. All kidding aside, I had a chance to "breath" through some anxiety and went into the practice lion's den. Surprisingly I was very calm at that point. It must have been all the supportive thoughts and good wishes from all of you that pulled me through. This prep session lasted 2 1/2 hours. Most of that was talking about the trial in generalities. How would the prosecution be, how would the defense be, what about supporters, his family, etc. The tough part will be my prep before the next meeting Monday. I need to read through my police statement and deposition. Then on Monday I will have to listen to the 9-1-1 tape so they can enter that into evidence. Overall, when I left I felt surprisingly nothing. I mean not emotionally distraught, not anxious, not angry, etc. Basically nothing, which I took as a good thing. However, as the day has worn on I am reminded of what exactly is going to be asked of me, including some recollections that I was not prepared to provide in detail. And it has become increasingly apparent that the entire case rests on whether the jury believes me. Here's where the stereotype comes into play more so. Society has it's misconceptions of how victim should look, act, and definite expectations of how you act and react during an assault. Part of this is to ensure that "they" would be safe during a horrific moment. I have learned that generally speaking, the public doesn't want to think about horrible events and least of all, that they could happen to them. So they convince themselves that if they were in the same situation, they would have fought back, they would have run or something as equally brave. No one wants to admit publically or privately that they would freeze or do the wrong thing. But, I can only get on the stand and tell the truth. There will 12 people deciding my justice and I am terrified that they may be discriminatory because of society has a whole.
My advice to anyone who is facing this same process. As much as you can tolerate, get involved. If you have an advocate that can help you navigate the legal system, take advantage of it. Talk to friends and fellow supporters/survivors. Read up on on the courts in your area work and how this applies to abuse/assault victims. I was extremely upset by what I was reading, but it really prepared me for what the prosecution was going to say today. And no one can be a better advocate for yourself, then you. My being prepared and having a basic understanding of this whole process made me a stronger, more confident victim. I realize that not everyone can do this. But find your comfort zone and don't be afraid.
PS Because I was prepared, I stated my position on going to trial and the possibility of a plea. At the end of the conversation the prosecution said that she felt more confident going into the trial because I had stated that I didn't want to settle with a plea. I am fully aware that going to trial is going to beyond awful and that I may lose. But I feel that I will lose much more if I don't try. Because of this, both of us are going into that court room confident with each other. It was a powerful way to end the session. And I made my position very clear. This victim will not lay down and be trampled on anymore!!!!