The Lingering Effects Of Crime

The anti-gun crowd basically views me as a victim of a victim-less crime.  I am not sure I understand that statement . Actually, I’m positive I don’t. If a person is minding their own business, bothering no one and someone decides that, by force they have a right to take something, anything, no matter how small that isn’t theirs to take, that seems like a crime to me and one with a victim. A crime against an innocent person, would seem to me to be, by definition, NOT victim-less

I get it though. How awful could it have been? A bad guy, not so bad really, approached me, asked me for some money,  I gave him some, not enough, he wanted more (which seems fair), so he took more and then more and a bit more and while I lost my money and my dignity I did not lose my life so no harm no foul. Plus how much did I need that money???  Really $20 bucks or so for a guy down on his luck compared to my vast riches…I think whatever it cost me is worth it because you know he probably needed it and I am still alive, so all is good.. After all the dude needed gas money. At least that is what he told me and I am pretty sure he wouldn’t lie.

So, looking back what did I lose? What price did I pay?

Not much.

Nothing really.

Well, perhaps my sense of security inside my own skin. Maybe a bit of my self worth and by self worth I mean how I viewed myself . Separate from whatever I got from my family or this community, the view I had of myself was perhaps one of the biggest things I allowed my attacker to take from me. I viewed myself as nothing. As Cowardice. As a fraud. As, well worthless.

Without even realizing it I lost all my faith in my ability to make judgments. Looking back I made the exact right judgment about my attacker. I knew he was a bad guy from the second I saw him, but I did not react in such a way. The problem wasn’t really my judgment so much as my reaction to what I knew to be true, but immediately following my mugging, somewhere in my mind I doubted my ability to make judgments and for the first time in my life I was seeking reassurance from those around me.  Sometimes I got it, but more often I didn’t.

Without even realizing it I spent a great deal of my time looking for people to tell me I was OK. It is so obvious in the posts I wrote after it happened. I couldn’t see it then, but it is patently clear as I re-read them now. For the first time in my adult life I doubted myself, who I was, and if I mattered.

I offer this only as a way to to give a bit of credence to what I am about to say. Some of the people who read my blog are people who have known me a long time. Way before I was mugged or before I wrote a blog. One of my former college professors (and dear friend) as well as a former college student of mine read the blog. I have people who knew me growing up and have seen me grow. I believe if you asked any of them, they would tell you as a young adult I lacked neither self esteem or confidence.

When I was in college I often had to stand up in front of a classroom full of people and interpret an unknown scenario.  I was never nervous and I almost always performed at the top of the class (more often THE top). I attended class, I studied, and I knew I knew my stuff and it showed every time I did just about anything.

As a college professor I was much the same. I did not try to be perfect or even care to be, but I knew the subjects I was teaching and I knew them well.  I had a very high rate of success with students who left my courses not only knowing the material, but knowing how to think.

Standing up in front of a group of people has never been my problem.

Fast forward to my NRA Instructor Course. That class, which I did not feel ready for (I was ready, but I lacked any ability to believe in myself) was just less than a year after I was mugged and I was a mess. Emotionally, I was an absolute wreck. Each time I got up in front of the class to teach my portion of whatever I froze. I literally could not function. I honestly had no idea what was happening. I kept thinking and saying, I know this stuff. I am comfortable in front of people. I kept trying to find a reason to explain my odd behavior, but at the time I had no clue what was going on.

I did not pass that course. The person teaching the course said he/she knew I knew the information but that I did not display it on that day. He/she was right. This person offered me an alternative because he/she knew me and knew I was not showing what I was capable of. This person said if you want to take some time to prepare yourself and send in a video to show that you can teach I will accept it. He/she gave me a month or so to prepare and  told me I could pick whatever subject I wanted. It did not have to be the ones that were expected of me on that day.

For whatever reason as I drove home something clicked. I thought to myself, what is wrong with you? You are not really going to let this beat you. I didn’t even know what “this” was, but I knew that whoever I was that day it was not me. It was not who I wanted to be.

I got in my car, called my husband and told him to get the video camera ready. I drove straight home, never stopped, never studied. I parked my car, walked into my house and began teaching the exact classes I was assigned. I literally walked in the door, put my bag down, hit play on the video camera and taught the courses I was asked to teach in class.  I sent the videos minutes later without one bit of editing, I passed and earned my certificate.

Now, you may be thinking, gee not passing an NRA class and having a few doubts about yourself is hardly a big deal. So what. In the scheme of things does that really matter?

Hell yes it does. It is all that matters. How one views themselves and how one thinks about who they are, that is pretty much all that matters. I can not be a very good anything while I am feeling worthless. All my insecurities that I didn’t even know I had were manifesting themselves in very ugly ways.

Except how I view myself isn’t all that matters. How my daughter views how I view myself, that matters. How she thinks I view her and her value, that matters. How my daughter views herself, yeah that matters too. I would argue that matters the most.

So many anti-gun, anti-freedom, anti-women people will tell me that I am lucky. The fact that I survived is a win and nothing bad actually happened to me. The fact that “nothing” happened to me proves their point that I don’t need a gun. If you look at me I appear to be ok, so no damage done, all is good. The bad isn’t so bad after all.  So you were raped (I was not), beaten, humiliated, tortured (never have gotten into the details except  finally with my husband and family because of E and I do not intend to).  Big deal, he didn’t kill you so be thankful. You are alive. Your kid is alive. Nothing else matters.

I didn’t die. E didn’t die. No “real” crime was committed  Nothing to see here. Moving on.

Not exactly.

Death is not the only consequence to a crime. I am not even sure death is the worst consequence to crime although you are gonna have to work mighty fucking hard to get mine. Outside of death, there are some very damaging effects to being victimized.

I have said it before, but I will say it again. I lost, at least for a time, my dignity, my self respect, my ability to sleep, my ability to make decisions, my ability to look myself in the mirror, my ability to look at my husband, and his ability to look at me. I was defensive. I was angry. Often not even knowing why. I was insecure, lonely, desperate. I was afraid. Constantly afraid. I lost the respect and trust of my daughter. My sweet E. I lost friends (although to be honest if they were really my friends they would be still be here). I lost me. I lost a huge part of who I was, who I loved about being me.

Of course, my story ends well. I am stronger. I am happier, I am more secure and more peaceful than I have ever been. E, by the grace of God is well, but the price of crime is high (as I have said time and time again) or should I say the price of being a victim is high. There is no such thing as a victim-less crime.

I cherish life. I am indeed thankful I survived. That my daughter did. I am thankful that when my attacker said to me you are leaving here with me that 2 cars pulled up and the bad guy took off running, but the fact that I am alive does not mean his crime was a victim-less one. I am no longer a victim, but for a time, myself and my daughter paid a very high price for not only what the bad guy did, but also for being unprepared to deal with the aftermath of such vile.

Any time someone takes something from you or me, something you or I are not willing to give, it’s a crime and I am here to tell you, you and I have a RIGHT to fight back. Before, during, and after. You and I have every right to stand up and say our life matters! I don’t know about you, but I will not lie down and let anyone, not the bad guy, not the anti-gunners, not the man in the White House, tell my what my value is.

I am not the criminal and I will not allow anyone to punish me as such!

 

 

 

 

26 thoughts on “The Lingering Effects Of Crime

  1. My personal opinion as someone who was assaulted before is that I *was* a victim of a crime. Now that I have affected positive changes in my life and refuse to let the event be a negative influence I *am* a survivor. Your story is just a lot more incredible and inspirational than mine.

  2. The anti- gun crowd have it wrong totally wrong. I bet if a family member of the anti-gun crowd became a victim of a crime, they would have a different perspective.

  3. Whoever the asshats are that are saying it was a victimless crime should volunteer to wear “rob me, beat me” signs 24/7. Let’s get their opinion after that.

    I do so love your story though, A Girl. Many people simply don’t pick themselves back up after a horrible event. They wallow. But you did. And not only that, you vowed never to let it happen again and, even more, are trying to make sure others do not suffer the same. You are certainly fighting back now, and it is inspiring!

  4. I stumbled across yourblog a few weeks ago. I am sorry for what happened to you ( and your little girl), and I am happy that all is well now. your story is inspirational and i am glad to have found it. keep up the good work!

  5. I understand a lot of what you are saying in this. I agree that those who say things about “victimless crimes” haven’t got the first clue about the terror and how deeply it can and does effect (or is it affect?) every avenue of life.
    I don’t know the exact details of what happened? Do you think that a big part of the trauma was not having a means or plan to fight back? If you don’t want to say I understand, just curious as to your thoughts.

    • Yes, absolutely. A great deal of the trauma came from not having a plan, from not even knowing I should have had one.

      The guilt and shame I felt had a lot to do with my daughter being there. I have never discussed publicaly exactly what happened once he got me on the ground, but realizing what I let him do(and what I was willing to allow)and by not fighting it forced my 7 year old daughter to watch every ugly second of it.

      A huge part of my healing and hers has come from now having a plan or two or twenty.

      • That is something that I can certainly relate to and understand. Not about my child being there but about the guilt and the whole “what I was willing to allow” thing. I think a lot of people don’t understand how traumatizing the “freeze” can be. We think we are ready and even now, no matter how much I train I still fear the freeze more than anything else. Having a plan and preparing has helped a lot and I think that if I went down fighting like a maniac I could at least feel better knowing I didn’t just give up. Maybe there wouldn’t be that trauma and guilt.

        I hope it continues to get better for you.

        • “We think we are ready and even now, no matter how much I train I still fear the freeze more than anything else. Having a plan and preparing has helped a lot and I think that if I went down fighting like a maniac I could at least feel better knowing I didn’t just give up. Maybe there wouldn’t be that trauma and guilt.”

          Yes, exactly.

  6. You are absolutely right! You were a victim. Anyone who says, or said, otherwise is a clueless idiot.

    Everything that happens to us, or to those we love, affects us. The more sudden, the more traumatic, the greater the effect.

    You, by the grace of God, have been able, over time, to work through it, and heal. Not without changing. Never without changing. One can never go back. Things are never the same, but they can be okay, even if different.

    • You are also right. things can be ok and in fact are. I am blessed that not even 2 years after the attack, while something linger, I am doing so well and am so very happy.

  7. You certainly were a victim of harassment and intimidation, much less what could have happened had you been forced to go with your attacker. That is not victimless. No one should have to put up with that ! How dare they (anti-gun, anti-freedom, anti-women) claim “nothing” happened and deny your right to armed self-defense ! You have not only moved on but prevailed by your pro-active actions ! Good for you !!

  8. “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Genesis 50:20
    Yes, that criminal took something from you that day that was more valuable than whatever cash was in your wallet. But you turned it into a wake-up call. You turned it to good to accomplish what is now being done. For yourself, you husband, your children, and all the lives you touch.

  9. Every time that I read something you write on this level, I find that you are even more awesome, strong and inspiring than I had thought before, and I already held you in very high esteem. I’ve faced people / situations in years gone by, in which my death was the intended outcome. And I know, as you do, that whatever the reason, whatever the location, there is what I call a ‘trauma hangover’ which lasts for a few days and then gives way to a sort of haunting sensation that can last for years. Two of the incidents in my own life involved (1) having scissors repeatedly slashed past my throat, with only a small scar to show for that, and (2) having a pistol about a foot behind my ear and a psycho ready to pull the trigger, and I totally relate to what you felt. The gut-wrench that you experience is the same, whether or not the trigger is pulled, and you sure as hell do NOT just get over it and ‘be thankful’ that it wasn’t worse. ( Granted, when someone shoots at you from a hundred yards away, for some reason it doesn’t feel ‘personal’ even though it is just as lethal ) Anyway – you do amaze me. And if I ever encountered this person who did that to you, even to this day I would probably render him room temperature.
    Sorry to ramble; this post was so touching. I am honored to know you.

    • Well, I did not know some of things about you. You constantly amaze and impress me!

      You probably do not go onto FB, but if you do and you go to my AGirl page my profile pic has me wearing a very special watch.

  10. The difference between courage and cowardice is not, as some claim, the presence of fear. Every sane, rational organism on this planet feels fear. Its the “fight or flight” trigger that’s built into everything and everyone. No, the difference between courage and cowardice is what you decide to do in that moment. The anti-crowd, the ones who claim “victimless crimes”, are the ones who felt that fear, and are unable to do anything but cower before it. It hangs before them like a dark cloud, a curtain before their lives and a constant and ever-present reminder of their failures. And like lobsters in a pot, they can’t fathom that anyone could stand up before that fear, push through it, and find the sunlight on the other side, and so they will reach out and try to pull EVERYONE down to their level. Because the more people they can get to cower with them in fear, the easier it becomes to justify their own cowardice and/or failure. I’ve known people with similar stories to yours, AGirl, and the ones I hold in the deepest respect are those who have chosen not to let their circumstances weigh them down, have learned the lessons and moved on…not forgetting the past, but not tied to it. They used their experiences to make a plan (or two or twenty!), and pass on their hard-earned lessons to others who would listen. And I’ve also known those who continue to wallow in their own fear and self-pity. I strive to learn from the former, and distance myself from the latter. You are an inspiration, and a joy to read.

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