And The Verdict Is….

He entered the courtroom hunched over and pale, his previous swagger and pride gone missing.  We were there first, sitting through interminable hearings and arraignments and postponements, waiting for our turn.  I knew he was there somewhere, having seen his car outside, but he didn’t enter the courtroom until just minutes before our case was called.  Then, his sleazy attorney walked in ahead of him, smoothing his too-big suit jacket over his considerable waistline, and CF skulked along behind like the mongrel dog he is.

The judge went through all of his rigmarole about whether CF understood the charge to which he was pleading guilty, if anyone had coerced him to change his plea, etc…and then he read aloud the one charge to which CF was pleading.  It was terrible to have read out loud the nature of his charges, and that was the point where Hannah started to tremble.  Prior to that, she sat still and cold, her only movement that of squeezing my hand tighter and tighter.  As the charge was read and expounded upon, she began to shake, and when CF uttered aloud those word which we have so longed to hear she broke down in tears.  There was more legal mumbo jumbo, then “the matter” was set for sentencing on August 31st.

The more I think about this, the more I believe that no matter what punishment the Court recommends or agrees upon, there isn’t going to be any justice.  4 months in county jail or 4 years in prison, both are equally meaningless to me.  I looked at him across the courtroom and saw what I believe to be pure Evil in human form.  I looked and saw the very beginning glimpses of stress and fear carving new lines into his face, and was glad.  So far as the law goes, it isn’t going to be enough, and I will always carry with me the belief that no punishment could in any way atone for what he has done.  We accomplished what we had as goals from the beginning; some sort of punishment, the requirement that he register as a sex offender, and the hopes that he won’t be able to do this again.  The rest?  Doesn’t really matter.  Or rather it does matter, but we can at least rest in the knowledge that we have done all were capable of doing. 

It isn’t enough, though.  God, it can never be enough.  When he left the courtroom, we had already gone outside, so they walked CF out the back door and to his car, with a fucking police escort.  And we laughed, standing over by Jim’s truck watching; we laughed, because the idea of any one of us doing, what?  Launching ourselves across the lawn like rocks from a catapult, to do just what?  Kill him?  It all seemed so ridiculous. Any one of us, had that been in our minds, would have done so long before this day.  Spit at him?  Call him names?  Make spectacles out of ourselves only to bring more trauma to this little girl?  I don’t get it; and Hannah cried again, saying, ” But I am the victim; how come we have never had a police escort to our cars?”  Too many times through all of this, today included, I haven’t had any answers to 95% of her questions.  I just hug her and say, “I don’t know, baby, I just don’t know.”

Not enough.  We will all be able to get the help we need now, most importantly Hannah, and we will move forward, but this isn’t going to go away.  The first time a man who wants her because he loves her touches her breast, Hannah will flinch.  It will take time for her to accept the touch of anyone, and a lot of patience and love from her future partner, whomever that might be.  She will sit in the front seat of a car on the way to the movies, maybe on a first date or maybe on a tenth, and he will reach across the seat to touch her leg and she will feel afraid and maybe a little sick.  No matter how much therapy she gets, no matter how much she comes to believe that she is in no way to blame, that her body is sacred and beautiful and hers, there will be echoes of this underneath, bubbling up from underneath when she least expects it.  She will feel those echoes ten years down the road when the doctor tells her she has a daughter.  She will feel them when she sees a man who walks with the same gait, or wears the same hat, or has a particular look in his eyes.  And she will learn somehow to be okay with these things, to talk herself through the momentary panic and reassess the reality, but those echoes?  They never go away.

They say we can ask for restitution at the sentencing.  Restitution. It sounds like a nasty word, and makes me gag just a little bit to think it.  As if some kind of monetary compensation is going to absolve him of this.  As if a dollar amount somehow makes this okay.  He used to slip me money on occasion, or help with things like school clothes or treats for the kids, and I want to scream at him, “Did you think that you were buying my daughter?”  This feels like the same thing.  Also, what value do you put on innocence stolen and broken dreams?  How do you put a price on depression and failing school and spending time at the nuthouse?   And I think of the time off of work and the additional expense and time involved in taking care of Hannah through all of this, and I think, “Fuck you; this is my job.”  None of this makes any kind of sense to me; not one little bit of it.

So we got through today, and it was good in some ways and not so good in others.  However, regardless of what effect it has had on us, we are at least one step closer to the end.  And that?  Is a good thing.  Jacquie and Jim took Hannah out for lunch afterward, then Jacquie took Hannah to get her hair cut as a celebration of sorts; we are hoping that a new haircut will somehow boost her a little so that she starts feeling better about herself.  An outward change that shouldn’t be necessary, but somehow is.  Tonight, I think that Steve and I will splurge for pizza, a way for us to be together and do something that normal people do.  And it isn’t going to change anything, isn’t going to affect the outcome in any way, but will be a visible move toward getting on with the business of living.  I keep saying this, because it is so true, that it isn’t enough, but it IS.

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19 thoughts on “And The Verdict Is….

  1. I’m glad that one particular moment of shit is finished with and behind you, I hope, and in fact know, you will both handle the upcoming ones just as well.

    Sounds odd to say it, but that aside, that was a tremendous post.
    .-= Xbox4NappyRash´s last blog ..Something in my eye =-.

  2. That was really an amazing post. I am glad that this part of it at least is behind you and you can look forward to brighter days. Hugs to Hannah. She is a brave brave girl.

  3. Yes, it is beautifully written, despite the ugly subject matter. I still believe that, because she has YOU to steer her through this, Hannah will be okay. And I love you both.

  4. I’m glad you can move forward with all thats happen and I understand for hannah its going to be a long time. But you are write with retribution and him getting a police escort. That is wrong on so many levels. Hugs to you mama..You did GOOD.
    .-= julie´s last blog ..My Goals =-.

  5. Oh my hell, Kori. I saw a comment from you on one of my old posts yesterday and suddenly realized that I had not subscribed to your NEW FEED. What a dumbass. Anyhow, I’m here now.

    I’m so glad that it’s over. I will be praying hard between now and then that he gets sent away. For as long as possible. Because that’s what needs to happen. The paragraph you wrote about Hannah growing up, about how it will be there underneath… heartbreaking.

    I know that what happens to him will never be enough. But I’m so, so glad that the criminal justice system actually pursued this and that he is being punished. It’s unfortunately not something that always happens.

    ((BIG HUGS)) for you and Hannah.

  6. I sighed a big sigh of relief for Hannah while reading this for the fact that this part is over. I’m wishing for the best outcome, even though it won’t ever be enough.

    I agree that this post is beautifully written Kori. Hannah and you are so so brave. I want to give you both a big huge hug!

    Take care
    .-= Erin´s last blog ..Wait for me. =-.

  7. You’re right; it doesn’t really matter what he gets-nothing would be enough. She does have the best of resources at her disposal, though (her supportive family being one) That’s something most victims don’t have in her situation, I suspect. Hang in there; it’s almost “over”…
    .-= Mrs4444´s last blog ..Monday Mumblings =-.

  8. i am so sorry that you have to be ok with something that just isn’t ok. i am so sorry that your daughter will have to lead a normal life, but not be normal in the background of that life. my heart aches for you AND your whole family, as it is something that will unfortunately mark their timeline in life just as first steps and first kiss did. there is no correct way to punish this person, though i’m sure your first thoughts were murderous and full of rage. again, no punishment is ever the correct punishment, and any punishment is never enough… but it has to be enough, just as you said. again, my heart aches for you and yours during this tragic time in your lives. may she know peace one day, a peace that only she will be able to understand.
    .-= SUPAHMAMA!´s last blog ..free pampers gifts to grow codes =-.

  9. You’re absolutely right. Nothing will change what has happened. I hope that it can help you guys to move forward though. Sending many hugs to you all.

  10. perhaps… perhaps… the police escort was because he is now, officially, a CRIMINAL, and being escorted to protect Hannah.

    Always thinking of you both, and sending good thoughts and prayers your way.

  11. I am SOOO happy that he didn’t back out on the plea and force Hannah to testify. And I agree wholeheartedly with your feeling that there is just no such thing as “compensation” for something like this. You can’t put a price on peace and happiness, and that is what he took from her. Not forever, and yes she will learn to move beyond it; but no amount of therapy will make that happen tomorrow. “Time will take its time.” Truer words were never spoken.

    As for justice, I watched an episode of Street Patrol the other night that infuriated me, and telling my mom about it I said something that was like a flashbulb going off in my mind. The narc had been getting right in this very strung-out woman’s face, bellowing at her that now she’s being arrested, she can finally get the help she needs, blah blah BS. It was a really obnoxious situation to me. And I told my mom that people are brainwashed these days into believing that the justice system is there to help people, when in fact the sole purpose of the justice system is to eliminate people. It does not and never will help the victims. It is there to eliminate predators and prevent future victims; and I think one of the biggest problems we have today with our “justice” is the mentality that the victims are supposed to get something out of it, which only sets them up for disappointment and clouds the waters of true justice, which is cold and deliberate and unsympathetic. JMO.

  12. I am so glad this part is finally behind you and that Hannah was able to hear him admit his wrongdoing. I now hope that his punishment severe and long.

    You have been an amazing pillar of strength for her through all this. That will a huge part of her recovery, knowing that you believed her and fought for her.

  13. Kori- Like I wrote yesterday- if all the bad that has happened to me has brought me to where I am today, it will have been so worthwhile.
    And it will be for Hannah, too. I know it will. You are taking care of her, protecting her, helping her in every way you can and she will end up like the rest of us- scarred in some way- but she will be OKAY! She will be great. And she will be stronger for it. I wish this had never happened- of course! But things happen and you can’t prevent them and what you can do is show your tremendous love in how you deal with them. And you have.
    That’s all I have to say about that.
    .-= Ms. Moon´s last blog ..Tell Us What She’s Won, Don Pardo! =-.

  14. I think the best thing that comes out of all of this is now you can move forward with active healing now. I’m proud of both you and Hannah for standing up for yourselves through this whole ordeal, and I hope that you can both eventually find peace. Y’all are in my thoughts, always.
    .-= the tutugirl´s last blog ..TLC, we are DONE =-.

  15. Kori, sorry I’ve been so negligent to my blog friends. This day has been on my mind for a long time, and I’m so very glad it has come and gone. Just another feat accomplished, another summit reached, and yet another instance of what it means to be a suvivor. Your kids are so lucky to have you as their mom.

    Still totally in awe of you my friend. Congrats on overcoming this hurdle.

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