In case you wondered where I have been…
Several weeks ago, I was attacked in my driveway.
Yes, in my own driveway, by a delivery guy bringing an oxygen machine to my father-in-law. You know, the kind of person you feel is probably safe, older, professional, delivering oxygen to a frail, weak, elderly man. In uniform for a company in your town that you recognize.
I was shocked to find out the guy who attacked me was not fired or put on leave during the investigation. They told us he was their most reliable delivery guy and would conduct their own investigation. They never called me or asked any questions, so what kind of investigation? Honestly, they didn’t care about their patients or their patient’s caregiver. They only tried to cover their own backsides. He has now been charged, arraigned, and is waiting for trial. Yet as far as I know he is still working for the company. I am still in shock and disbelief over this, and now fear for the safety of their other patients!!
I am not going to go into all the details of the attack as we are waiting for a court date and I am not sure what I am allowed to talk about, but I will say I was able to fight him off. I am told I was lucky. I ended up with a severely sprained wrist, bruises that mostly worked themselves out quite colorfully, days later. A few scratches. The biggest scar is emotional. It left me with a lot of things I didn’t expect.
*Fear because of a not so veiled threat towards a loved one, made by the attacker.
*The feeling that I don’t feel safe in my home, yard, or anywhere, unless my husband or son is with me.
*The feeling of fear when in a place with strangers. (Parking lots, long hallways at the hospital, men who try and get past you in the mall but seem to manage to invade your personal space.)
*I now am experiencing flashbacks of him attacking me, and another human that attacked me long ago. (I have been told this is actually normal) This was both unexpected, and fully life altering.
*I felt shock, and emotional, and still do. I am not typically one that cries a lot, but I cried a LOT at first.
*Disbelief, anger, disappointment, grief, vulnerable, embarrassment, in different orders, every day.
*Extreme concern for the attacker’s patients he delivers to, and what he may do to the weak and frail if he was willing to attack me.
I could go on and on here, but honestly I think you get the picture without me going into every single thing I feel right now. I am not even sure if I could write it all out.
I don’t know why this happened to me. I do know God can make something good come from it.
All things work together for good, for those that love the Lord. (Romans 8:28)
I began asking myself, what can I do to make something good come from it? I have some ideas, but first I want to tell all of you some things I have learned.
Our police stations are grossly undermanned. We have such a huge crime load, that as much as they WANT to, they cannot get to every case. You must be your own advocate, and keep calling, keep asking what is happening, keep on top of it. I had to do some of my own homework to help them find the guy, so they could charge him. It is exhausting to be a victim in our day and age, because we have good, wonderful police officers that are so overworked and understaffed that even they are frustrated. I do NOT blame them for the system, they are doing the best they can with the low number of officers they have and the incredible crime load. I will say, they will do their best to help you. I am so thankful to the officers that have helped us.
These brave men and women are grossly understaffed and I have spoken at a Commissioners meeting and written letters to try and speak out about how underfunded our Sheriffs office is. This is one way I can make something good come of this. When we call for help, bean counters should not reduce budgets for officers that need to come help you, and prevent enough officers being hired to do so.
Ladies, you all know how unfair it is to feel like we are a target to males. I am 48 years old and never heard of the words “rape culture” until the last few years. Many women feel like men are all roving around looking for a new target. I have felt the lack of safety post-attack, and I understand this, but I know rationally that all men are not like that. How? Because I know TOO MANY that are not. So do you. It is so important to keep reminding yourself every day not to blame the plethora of truly good men out there because of the criminal ones. I am struggling with this, and have to remind myself a LOT.
We may not ever be able to guarantee our safety, we may never even feel safe again! It doesn’t feel fair that we have to worry about walking to our car in a parking lot, or taking a walk after dark, etc. Life is what it is, fair or not, so we can do things to make us feel safe-ER. We can practice good safety measures regarding where we are, when, with who, and alone or with a friend. We can take self defense, and of all the kinds out there, I personally suggest Krav-Maga. It is why I can say I was able to fight him off. Do NOT allow any delivery guy to come to your house unless you have another person present. Don’t open your door to retrieve your packages until after they leave. In my case, I have to say,
Beware of the delivery guy!! It really can be the one person you would not suspect.
The most important thing…God is always there. I feel He helped me fight the guy off, I feel He comforted me afterwards, and I feel He strengthens me now as I work through the stages of recovering from this. God is always there. He is sad this happened to me, and He comforts me. I know I am going to get better. How do I know?
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13
I don’t want to be a victim, I want to be a survivor.
How do I do this? How do I get past this, and survive it?
First, I recognize I many need help. I plan to talk to someone besides my dear friend that let me cry and rant at her one night. I have been told that there are even support groups for this. I can recognize and work through the stages of trauma/dealing with being a victim of a crime, which are remarkably similar to the stages of grief. I read a blog post on goodtherapy.org on the stages of trauma. She listed them and I am summarizing/paraphrasing them as:
Victimhood/feel unsafe/traumatic memories
Survivorhood-may take months or years to get here.
Thriving and Transcendence.
I additionally see the stages of grief in my own journey, as I have also felt anger, grief, and more.
The good news is, that there are great programs both private and federal/state funded to support and help victims of a crime. They can pay for your emergency room bills if you don’t have insurance, they can help by supplying advocates, counseling, helping you move through the system. So much help out there I had never heard of before! If you have been a victim of a crime, you do NOT have to go through this alone.
There is help!
Every Emergency room knows how to access this for you and can give you phone numbers for your local area.
Reach out and get help. Don’t struggle through this without support. Search for it. Seek them out, and get help. I didn’t know there was such help and started out feeling helpless, scared and in shock.
THIS, this is what I can do to make some good come of this. I can be sure people know this help is out there. I can donate to it, often.
If even one victim sees this and now knows that there are Victims Services out there to help them and they get help, then some good has come from it. You never know who has been a victim, so many women keep it to themselves, it is SO UNDER REPORTED. It could be your mom, wife, sister, friend, co-worker, niece, aunt, daughter, son, anyone! Pass this info on to them. Please pass this blog post around for me, share it. You never know who you and I can help together by letting someone know there is help available.
Thank you in advance for sharing this post.
You don’t know how many people may get help because of it.