Posted by: Marie | October 20, 2010

(426) Their day in court – Part 1 of 4

Post #426
[Private journal entry written on Wednesday, April 21, 2010]

When I finished my shift at the school district this morning, I still felt very strongly I want to observe the trial. I had gotten a decent night’s sleep, so I was feeling more rested and a bit saner. I felt I could handle whatever I might see or hear at the trial.

My gut said I should go, so I went.

I got there about 9am. I was the only person in the gallery other than a couple of ladies who were coordinating the arrivals and departures of the witnesses. Of course, when I walked in, one of the ladies looked panicked like she didn’t know who I was . . . I quickly assured her she wasn’t going to find me on her list of witnesses. Then, I found a secluded corner of the gallery and settled in.

At the time of my arrival, the older sister – the 14 year old – I’ll call her Lexi – was finishing up her testimony. I heard the last 10-15 minutes of it. They were asking her mostly about the computer that was found with child pornography on it. They asked her things like: who had access to it during various periods of time, how it had been used, where it was located the day before the police confiscated it, etc.

Tainun County Taiwan by Martin Chen

The next witness was the younger sister – I’ll call her Kari. As soon as she sat down, I recognized her as the young girl who had been roaming the halls during jury selection. I had a very brief exchange with her yesterday in the women’s bathroom – we just said “hi” and smiled at each other as we washed our hands. At the time, I had wondered why a young girl was hanging out at the courthouse in the middle of a school day – I had never considered the possibility she was one of the sisters involved in this case.

Kari testified she was a few days away from turning 10 years old. I was impressed with how composed she seemed to be. It was obvious she was nervous, but she really seemed confident and she was certainly articulate for her age.

In her testimony, she told how she and Lexi would sometimes go on the road with their step-dad, Mr. Smith . . . whom I’ll call George . . . he was a long-haul trucker and his truck had a sleeper cab. Kari would sleep in the upper bunk bed and George and Lexi would sleep in the main bed. Kari said every night they were on the road, George and Lexi would have sex and George would make Kari watch. She told us Lexi preferred to be “on top” because sex was painful for her when George was on top.

Some nights George would make them watch “dirty movies” and then he would make them masturbate with vibrators and dildos. He would make them insert the toys into their “privates”.

The prosecutor asked Kari if George had ever put a part of his body inside a part of her body. She nodded her head. He asked her if she could tell him about that. She “ummm’d” a few times, then she told him she didn’t know how to say it.

As soon as she said she didn’t know how to say “it”, I discovered my story in her testimony. I was overwhelmed with emotion and started sobbing silently.

Her words match the words I have said in therapy when trying to explain what I remember happening to me. When in that place of remembering, I no longer have access to my adult vocabulary. In that place, I am stuck with not having the words to describe what has happened.

I didn’t want Kari to see my crying; I didn’t want her to be upset by my tears. I made sure I was as inconspicuous as I could be – I needed to be free to cry – but I didn’t want to burden her further with my pain. I was glad no one seemed to be noticing my tears – it cleared the way for my pain to rise to the surface.

The prosecutor so very gently encouraged her. He told her he knew it was very difficult to talk about it, but it was very important she tell him exactly what happened so the people in the courtroom could know the truth.

Finally, she said he had put his finger “inside of her” and he tried to put his “man part” into her “private part” but he couldn’t get it in – it wouldn’t fit.

Again, with the utmost sensitivity, the prosecutor asked her to answer the question again but while using the proper names for the body parts.

By this point, it was all I could do to keep from running up there and wrapping my arms around her to protect her. Part of me knew the act of speaking the raw truth would be a key step in her healing journey. Another part of me hated that she had to go through this – hated that she had already gone the through hell that led her into this predicament.

I was crying silent tears for both of us.

She worked so hard to make her mouth form the words the prosecutor needed her to say. She stumbled around on a few terms like, “where he goes to the bathroom” and “my girl part” . . . finally . . . finally, she was able to use the words “penis” and “vagina”.

Then, it was the defense attorney’s turn. She had a tough job, no doubt about it . . .

[Continued in the next post . . . ]


Responses

  1. Incredible…

    • So true!

  2. I hope it turned out that you were ready for this.

    It could have been very traumatic for you.

    • Hey, Evan –

      Yes, it could have been traumatic. But, I had an idea what I was walking into and I knew I could always leave . . . and, I knew I could always look for help in processing it from Edward . . .

      – Marie

  3. My God, Marie. I can’t even imagine what it would have been like for you to be on that jury — I am so glad you were spared that … and also glad you were in the room while this child was speaking. She had to know there was great love present for her, even if she didn’t know its source.

    • Hey, David –

      I agree I am glad I was spared and that I was able to witness it on my own terms.

      Thank you for the kind recognition of the silent support I provided . . .

      – Marie


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