An approximately six hour ordeal.
That’s how I kept referring to it on the witness stand, as I sat, rather calmly, considering the circumstances, on an uncomfortable chair that was just a little too low, and that I couldn’t be bothered to adjust. Instead, I made the microphone bend down and meet me.
Why make myself at home, I wasn’t supposed to be comfortable, no one is in that sort of situation. I was just there to do a job, one that I was far more adept at the second time around. I knew what to expect. I was fully prepared for his defense attorney’s attempts to cast doubt on my words, to have him debate my motives, and to try to get me to contradict myself by posing increasingly banal and deceptively worded three and four-part questions.
I was prepared for his willfully erroneous statements, so preposterous that I was certain that they were uttered simply to get a rise out of me, some sort of macabre street theatre.
By the time you read this, I might have a verdict, and I might feel like talking about it, but most likely not. It’s just something that I’m dying to put to rest — after four years, it feels like it’s time. I will have also gone through multiple drafts of Victim Impact Statements, searching for the right words — the right mix of bitter humour, sage advice, and despair.
I still can’t really put into words how all this has made me feel, I barely feel anything anymore, but that may be due to the utter exhaustion. It’s not entirely related to my sexual assault, but that certainly hasn’t helped.
What has helped is thoroughly extricating myself from relationships that just weren’t working. It was part martyrdom — look how alone I am, now that I’ve built up all these walls around myself, how very Anna Karenina of me — and part masochism, an emotional equivalent of self-mutilation.
What has helped is my discovery that I actually enjoy running, and physically pushing myself to the brink. Ironically, I feel the most alive when I’m on the cusp of an exertion-induced heart attack.
Without my watershed moment four summers ago, I can almost guarantee that I never would have taken the practice of yoga and meditation seriously.
More than anything, I just want to put this behind me. It has been four fucking years of back and forth, stopping and starting, and my life essentially being on mute.
To reiterate a word that just spilled out, unconsciously, while answering some question on the stand, four fucking years of feeling completely powerless.
It begins and ends with me admitting this to myself.
…but I think I’m finally ready to move on.