Working on tomorrow’s updates, today. It’s been a long time since I’ve done that. Sometimes I forget how much I truly love working on this site.
It reminds me a bit of one of my favorite foods, hard-boiled eggs. Though they’re cheap and very quick and simple to make, I don’t usually remember to add them to my list of favorite foods. I hadn’t had any in like a year until two or three days ago when suddenly I got the worst craving. I went out and got a dozen and boiled them and wound up eating ten in one day. Lunch: four eggs. Dinner: four eggs. Midnight snack: two eggs. The only reason I didn’t eat the entire carton is cause I shared them with Michael’s dad. Several of the eggs I ate right out of the pot–the best way–and they were so hot they burned my tongue and it felt funny for the rest of the day. Eating those fresh, hot, steaming eggs was just ecstasy that’s kind of what working on Charley feels like now.
(On a quasi-semi-related note: the anniversary of the attack was two weeks ago. I deliberately wrote and said nothing about it on that day because I decided to stop marking it, but it was very much on my mind. But very few things are ever so bad that nothing good comes of them. I can think of several good things that came out of the attack, and boiled eggs are one of them. In the immediate aftermath I was so stressed that I basically stopped eating. I lost TWELVE pounds in a month, and I really didn’t have it to lose. That was ten percent of my body weight at the time. My arms looked like sticks, my shoulders like doorknobs. My family doctor told me quite firmly that I MUST start eating again because I’d already lost too much weight.
So I started forcing myself to eat at least two meals a day, and they had to be good, nutritious foods, like beef and barley soup and such things. And I tried hard-boiled eggs for the first time, knowing they were good for you, and discovered how much I loved them. Sometimes I’d take several to work for lunch, each one inside a sock to stop it breaking. By the end of the summer I looked like my normal slender-but-not-skeletal self again. The eggs really helped. So did Campbell’s Chunky Chicken and Dumplings Soup, another food I discovered I really liked and will eat cold right out of the can because I’m totally uncivilized. This is actually a big deal, the eggs and soup, because I have sensory issues related to taste and there are VERY few foods I can eat without discomfort and even fewer I actually enjoy eating.
Other good things that came from the attack, more significant than food: I found out who my real friends were, I gained trust in the competence and compassion of my psychiatrist who handled my post-traumatic stress reaction so appropriately, and I realized anew how much my boyfriend and parents loved and cared for me. And I learned how strong I was, how I could survive something that shattered many people. I was knocked off my feet, yes, flat on my back, but I managed to get back up and keep going. You can’t get over something like that, but you can pick it up and carry it with you.)
Yesterday was the third anniversary of the attack. I was certainly aware of the significance of the date, but I have actually given very little thought to it these last several days. Which is a nice change from last year, where I could think of almost nothing else and my thoughts were playing on a continuous loop inside my skull.
Though obviously his hold on me has loosened considerably, I still think about him every day. Mostly with a kind of wonderment. Wondering what made him into what he was.
I still harbor revenge fantasies: cutting his face open with my box cutter, not to kill him but to mark him, so that every time he looked in the mirror he would see that scar and remember who gave it to him and why. I must not have forgiven him, then, although I don’t think of him with anger, or any particular feeling at all. I have no idea what I would do or say if I were face to face with him now. I have nothing to say to him, and reacting with violence would solve nothing.
Somehow I managed to get through all of it without developing post-traumatic stress disorder. Of course it affected me quite badly at first (once the shock wore off, and that took awhile), but almost all my symptoms were gone within a month. By the end of the summer I was more or less okay again. A few signs have remained. Most notably, since it happened, whenever I’m awakened by someone or even roused from a drowsy state, even if I was aware that someone was coming, more often than not I’ll scream. Oh, and I refuse to board buses. But since I have a car, that’s not really an issue.
I can think of a few good things that happened as a result of all this. For one thing, I found out who my real friends are. For another (long story), as a direct result of what happened, Michael broke off relations with a “friend” of his own who had always hated me and made no secret of it.
Very few events are so horrible that nothing good comes of them, I guess. But how I wish this had never happened.
So the attack happened two years ago today.
I’m not sure what to say about it. There are a lot of things I’d like to say, but I don’t think it’s a good idea, both because I want to protect the privacy of others and because I don’t want to open myself to more of the kind of abuse I experienced from certain people two summers ago. I’m still not sure whether or not it was a mistake to go public with the story or not. I had to deal with a lot of nastiness, but there was a great deal of support too. And my real friends stood by me. No one who knows and loves me ever believed I made the story up.
I still think about Rollo every day — often several times a day, and more so lately. What I feel about the whole thing is not so much fear as shame. Shame about all the stuff I said and did while I was with him, making him think I liked it, reinforcing every twisted belief he had that made him rape women in the first place, just because I so frightened of him. I know for a fact that he walked away blissfully unaware that I would go straight to the police. I’m very sure that, to this day, he believes he did nothing wrong. And I know in my head that I shouldn’t blame myself for any of that, but the shame feeling is there anyway.
But it’s been two years, and I’m alive and doing all right for myself, and he’s in prison and facing deportation to Sudan when he gets out. He’ll never bother me again, except in my own head, and I’m trying very hard to kick him out of there.
I guess that’s the best I can hope for.
I have decided to share with you, readers, part of an email I sent to my friend John in California the other day.
I got a letter from the police on Monday. I was in Fort Wayne at the time and didn’t open it till I came home on Tuesday. The letter simply asked me to contact them and said Rollo was serving a whopping 5 years in prison for the other attack. The very minimum he could get. Then, following his sentence, he faces deportation. So I called Austin and talked to him and he confirmed what the letter said and added that the country Rollo will be sent to happens to be Sudan. Unless, he said, I wanted to go ahead and press forward with this prosecution thing.
He advised me against doing this. A lot of stuff about how the case would drag on for another year at least, and it would be difficult to prove, etc. The arrival of the letter had in itself sent me into a flurry of anxiety and I was imagining a defense attorney trying to make me out to be a total whore — cause you know that would happen — and probably bringing up those stupid blog posts, and my website in general, to show how weird and obsessed with crime and violence I am. An acquittal would be devastating to me. On the other hand, five years in prison isn’t long enough. On the other other hand, there was the “Sudan” factor…
It was the Sudan bit that threw it for me. Sudan is a godforsaken hellhole. Google it and you will see “genocide” and “300,000 dead” and “starvation” and “UN peacekeeping troops” and “president indicted for crimes against humanity” etc. No one wants to be there. I thought to myself that Rollo might prefer to be in prison in America than free in Sudan. Suppose I prosecute him, go through all kinds of emotional hell, and somehow actually win, only to have him feel relieved that he doesn’t have to return to the motherland?
So I said okay, leave it. Let Sudan have him. It’s officially over.
I am extremely unhappy about this, John, and find myself wondering if I made the right decision or not. Aren’t I basically letting him get away with it? The entire situation sucks and just pisses me off. There is no such thing as justice and there are no winners here. It’s a matter of deciding how much you’re willing to lose. And I’ve already given Rollo enough of myself.
God, I am so tired of absolutely everything. Tired of living, of breathing. Here I am trying to get on with my stupid life.
Rollo’s real name is Mohamed Kaffi. If you Google that you’ll find articles about the other sex assault, the one he’s in jail for right now. The MO was about the same as mine and it happened less than four months after mine — mine, as far as I can tell, didn’t make the news.
I think Virginia is just anxious to get rid of the guy. Can’t say I blame them there. But I do feel like I will spend the rest of my life wondering if I decided correctly here.
In any case, it’s over.
It looks like my rape case may go to trial after all. I got some significant information from Det. Austin today and I may be having to fly to Virginia in the near future. I now know Rollo’s real name and his prior record and I have a photo of him and some other things. This man is a violent, predatory serial offender with no regard for the law. But, although I’ve emailed some of my friends about this, I have decided I had better not post about the case on my blog again, at least till the proceedings are over, because I don’t want to do anything that could screw up the justice process. For me, anyway, the system appears to be working as it should.
Yeah, so the attack happened exactly one year ago. I met Rollo a little before eight and then he let me go a little after ten. It seemed at the time like it was a lot longer, but later on I figured out just about exactly how long I was with him. Just a little over two hours is all.
I keep telling myself that I came out on top of things — alive, anyway — and things could have been a lot worse. But, my initial elation aside, Rollo’s apprehension has not really made me feel any better.
Det. Austin called this afternoon with news. It goes like this: Rollo is scheduled to go to trial on Monday for five felony charges, including rape and kidnapping, in a case not connected with mine. He is facing mucho time for that, and Austin said this case is stronger, because they arrested him only a day or so later and not almost a year later like with me. What the DA is hoping is to use me as leverage to cut a deal with Rollo: he pleads guilty to this other case, and in return they don’t bring up charges for me. The DA wanted Austin to find out how I felt about this. (Which was nice of them. My consent is not required for this deal.) I said I was okay with it. The important thing is that Rollo gets locked up for an extended period. And this arrangement would save me the trouble of having to fly back and testify. I was willing to do it — even eager to, at first — but it would be a very rough experience.
So now the waiting begins again. Hopefully a much shorter waiting. This could go nowhere; Rollo may refuse the deal. But if he does or he doesn’t, I should know pretty soon. And find out Rollo’s real name. I want to know that name.
It looks like this is drawing to a close. Thank goodness.
He said he’d call me this week with more news, but it’s Saturday and he never called. The man has always been good about keeping me informed and I don’t believe he forgot to call or anything like that. From my experiences with him, I think he just has no news to give yet. All the same, I may succumb to temptation and drop him a line on Monday. Only to be told, I’m sure, that the prosecutor hasn’t made up his/her mind yet or hasn’t gotten back to him.
When all of this is over I intend to send Austin a thank-you card or something. I know rape victims sometimes have a lot of trouble with the police. I have looked at message boards and a lot of them have said they felt ignored, the police weren’t returning their calls, weren’t taking them seriously, etc. I never felt that way about Austin, and he has always been sensitive even when he had to ask embarrassing questions. I think I’m lucky to have landed him.
Whilst napping today I dreamed that Austin called me and told me Rollo had been murdered in jail. He said the police themselves had beaten him to death. In the dream I felt ambivalent about this: glad he was out of the picture for good, but upset because he would just be dead and not suffering through a decades-long prison term.