You have nothing to be ashamed of. Nothing to be embarrassed about.

Ok, so I went alone. I don’t have family here. I have my friends, but they were busy and I didn’t want to bother them. Now I wish someone had gone with me. When I got off the elevator his whole family was sitting there. I turned around and went and hid in a corner, a fucking corner, until the DA and a bailiff came to escort me to a locked witness room. I know they saw me because his dad just smiled at me. It was humiliating. When I was called from the witness room to testify, I seriously thought I was going to throw up, pass out, and run screaming from the court house somehow all at the same time. My hands were shaking so badly that when I sat in the witness stand and the judge, yes the judge, swore me in I could barely hold up my right hand. The State began and the questions were ones I was ready for. Last Friday we went over my testimony and probable defense questions as well. Our side was pretty cut and dried so to speak. Just basically what happened that night. Then it was time for the defense to cross-examine me. His attorney looked at me from the defense table and smirked. When he did that, my guard immediately went up and my heart started to race. He began with slow, easy questions. I answered the basics such as name, city of residence, and place of employment. The State objected to the place of employment and it was sustained. Then he began to ask me again what had happened that night, but he continuously stopped me to ask a more detailed question. At one point he asked me if I had “attacked” J****. I felt the heat of hate and anger rise in me and I responded with a very curt, adamant, “NO!’’. This was when J**** first began to laugh. I was caught off guard by the sound of laughter in such a serious matter. And not just laughter, it was more like heckling without the words. After I got flustered and began to shake again, the judge called for quiet in the courtroom. The instruction was obeyed and we moved ahead.

The next line of questioning was concerning my injuries and if they hurt or did I recall exactly how I’d gotten them, and was I certain as to how. Then he asked if I had children. I hesitantly responded yes. Next, he inquired if they resided with me. I was taken aback by that and I glared at him and said, “That is not something I wish to answer”. He sniffed and looked at me then the judge. The judge turned towards me and said, “Ms. Killgore, if you do not answer all questions presented to you, you will be found in contempt of court and put in jail until such a time you feel compelled to talk.” The as Sholes attorney re-asked the questions and I answered with a no. Once again, I heard that laughter that made me cringe coming from the defense table. I put my head down and began to cry. I remained in this state for the rest of my testimony. I couldn’t even bring myself to look at the attorney for the state or the judge. And the rest of my testimony was brutal. The defense attorney attempted to discredit me at every turn. I was so embarrassed and ashamed that the second I was done with my part, I bolted from the courtroom like a frightened foal, not wanting to remain in there with him and all of his awful family one second longer. I didn’t even bother to stay and see what would happen.

Needless to say, this day is well over, but I when I went home I found myself jumpy and nervous. I kept looking in the shadows and the corners for him or his father. You see, his father is a story for another day. Right now I am just wondering how long it’s going to be before I can look people in the eye again. I can’t right now because I am afraid they will see the scars on my heart and soul. I don’t yet wear these battle reminders proudly as some survivors I have met. Maybe I never will. I just want to feel normal again. I think I have forgotten what that is. I feel sad, hurt, confused, worthless, useless, angry, incomplete, and a lot of times utterly alone, especially in the darkest hours of the night when I can’t sleep because he is there, taunting me. I just want peace.