Five years

It’s been five years since the attack happened and I don’t have much to report. I’m actually very pleased by how little it’s been on my mind lately. It used to be that every June I would become immersed in it all over again, having very bad thoughts, with what happened playing over and over in my head like a video on continuous loop.

Last year at about this time I was actually reading a book called Payback: The Case for Revenge. Now, I didn’t go looking for that book — I randomly spotted it on the library’s “new books” display — but I wonder whether I would have checked it out if I didn’t have the attack on my mind. The author argued that the desire for revenge was a quite natural thing, and revenge served a necessary place in society, and much of the time when we talk about things like “justice” we’re often just using the word as a substitute for “revenge.”

I certainly didn’t get any justice. Nor did I expect to, honestly. As I said before, it’s not a matter of winning. It’s a matter of deciding how much you’re willing to lose.

It affects me in strange, unexpected ways. Several months ago I had to stop watching a very good TV show for the sole reason that one of the main characters was named Rollo and I couldn’t stand to hear that name over and over; it made me feel very nervous. (“Rollo” isn’t even my rapist’s actual name. It’s the name I gave him. His real name, Mohamed, causes no reaction whatsoever from me.) This is the kind of thing that causes my therapist to maintain that, yes, I have post-traumatic stress disorder. Mild PTSD, but still PTSD.

I’m not sure when he gets out. It may be in October, but it’s also possible he’s been released already. He was sentenced to five years for raping the victim he attacked after me. That was in October 2009 — on my birthday, actually — and a few days later turned himself in to the police after a warrant was issued for his arrest. The state of Virginia has truth in sentencing laws requiring a person serve at least 85% of their sentence, and often 90% or more, before they get released. If Rollo serves 100% of his sentence, and he got credit for time served while awaiting trial, then he will get out in October. But it’s just possible he’s out already. I don’t know. I may never know.

After his release they’re supposed to hand him over to ICE. ICE is supposed to deport him back to Sudan, his home country. I feel sorry for Sudanese women because I’m quite sure he’s never going to quit, but I’d rather have him half a world away than otherwise.

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