What does justice look like for me?

Trigger warning: I will reference my sexual assault, but no graphic details will be shared. Just a little about why I want some form of justice.

In the back of my mind, I wonder though if I had spoken up, he would have been taken off the streets and would just be getting out of jail. My attack would have been his second violent offense and might have been taken seriously, but I’ll never know.

I only know that because I finally told my mom his name. 9 years later.

I wanted to take that to the grave because I still somehow feel like it was my fault.

This has been on my heart for a while. I think it also manifested in my body too. This extra 100–125 lbs don’t really belong to me. I picked it up after the assault. I picked them up and put them down a lot. I worked really hard to get them off and I was successful, but I never really healed. Working out is tough. Eating right is tough. I think I run from all things tough because in the back of my mind I believe this evil person’s life might not be as tough as mine.

Then, a friend in the survivor space told me that I might have enough evidence to put him away for a long time. However, something in my bleeding heart won’t let me and caused me to ask myself a very important question: why won’t you just move on?

When I realize it’s been almost 9 years, I figure that maybe this violent person turned their life around. Or maybe… just maybe… getting away with what he did to me embolden him?

My mom finally knows his name — now 9 years later — because during a brief psychotic break I said it. That hurts a bit more than I thought it would. My biggest secret isn’t a secret anymore.

I wish I could post the mug shot she found, but as I’ve always felt, he doesn’t deserve to be attached to my name as “Amber’s alleged attacker”, but he does deserve some type of punishment.

If a judge asked me what I thought would be a sufficient punishment after all this time… My first thought would be 9 years in prison? That’s how long I have allowed it to torment me, but that’s not all on him. I didn’t get help early enough. I just fought to be a great journalist. I fought to finish school and not let him take that from me.

My second thought is: a restraining order so that if he sees me, he would know to run the opposite direction.

My third (and I think more feasible thought): He stay away from Valdosta State University so that I can come back to my alma mater without the fear of seeing his face. Stay away from all Black VSU cookouts, turn down any speaking engagements so that you never appear on a flyer, and…… a part of me believes you don’t deserve your letters. My favorite rapper is in the same fraternity. I cringed at the post of him — doing what that frat does.

These things are small in comparison to what he did to me and they protect me from having to gather up my outcry witnesses, bank statements, character witnesses, hospital records, alladat stuff they talk about on Law & Order. I have it all — minus DNA.

I am working on healing to a point where I don’t need to punish him and I can let karma run her course.

But again in the back of my mind, I wonder though if I had spoken up, he would have been taken off the streets and would just be getting out of jail. He would have been his second violent offense and might have been taken seriously, but I’ll never know.

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Amber Worthy

Amber Worthy

A sexual assault survivor coming to grips with what justice looks like after 9 years. Providing hope for others who find power in sharing their story.