A Powerful Victim Impact Statement By A Young Woman

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 Waiting for a man to be sentenced on Thursday for attempted murder in Courtroom 12, I listened to a young woman make a victim impact statement against a man with his head slightly bowed and standing inside a detention cell.

The man had  sexually abused her for several years - it was her father.

What this young woman said was powerful.

"He was my hero and I loved him very much," she said with tears streaming from her face.

She recalled how she was once "daddy's little girl" who looked up to the man now dressed in jail garb and who stood behind a Spanish language interpreter who translated for him.

"I couldn't wait for my daddy to come home," she said. "We were a normal and happy family."

Then she said that one day, the man she trusted and loved, started drinking a lot and began putting his "filthy hands" on her when she was 9 years old.

She told about how she dealt with the sexual abuse.

"I learned to leave my body," she said. "I went to another place in my mind and pretended to be another little girl."

She said he had low self-esteem issues, saying that she was raped by someone else when she was 14 years old and involved in an very abusive relationship with a boyfriend.

"I never learned to speak up," she said.

She said she had to decide to stay with her abusive boyfriend or go back to her home, to face her abuser.

This woman credited her aunt who she said shielded her, who she described as her consistency, stability and her love. She said her aunt was always there when she needed her.

She said her mother turned her back on her and didn't believe that her father was sexually abusing her.

The woman said she came to court to seek justice.

"All I ask for is justice and nothing more," she said. "An apology won't relieve me of my pain and suffering I have endured."

"I am also protecting all the children in my family. I represent the abused children who are too afraid to speak."

She told the judge that she wanted to say something in Spanish to her father who stood near a Spanish language interpreter.

She told him in Spanish, "I am not afraid of you. I don't feel pity for you. You abused a young girl who adored you. I wish that God will always bless and protect you and give you peace."

She paused, adding "I never want to see you again. Don't look for me, again."

The courtroom which was full of lawyers, Sheriff's deputies, and the vicitm's and the defendant's family members - who sat rows apart from each other - was silent when this young woman spoke.

Judge Kevin McGee thanked her, saying she was a "very strong woman," encouraging her to help others who have also been sexually abused  

"It will help them know they are not alone," the judge said. "You are a survivor not a victim."

Footnote: I will not use the name of the defendant to protect this young woman's identity.

 

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The Court Reporter
Raul Hernandez has spent years writing stories about the drama that unfolds in the courtroom. Here he answers common questions, share some insights on the judicial system and passes along some of the little things that make the Ventura County courts an interesting place to be. You can contact him at rhernandez@vcstar.com.