No one expects to receive a phone call like this… one that instantaneously turns your world completely upside down, chews it up, then spits it back out into a million pieces. For the rest of my life I will be able to pinpoint the exact location on the planet from where I received such a call. The human brain has an innate ability to burn a location into your memory forever when it is given information that is so devastating.
I’ll never forget the sound of her voice… “Something happened…” I tried to steady myself as the words came from the phone. A myriad of emotions hit me simultaneously – a haze of disbelief bundling immense heartbreak, sympathy and anger. What do you say at a moment like this? I remember trying to say words of comfort and reassurance just to get to give her any kind of relief. I didn’t want to hear the details only because visualizing such atrocious acts happening to someone so wonderful and dear would break me, but I had to hear everything. Nothing prepares someone for a moment like this. These things only happen to someone else, right? We all see the news, with all of the terrible things devastating lives with those whom you are not engaged in. It’s always someone else…. Why her? Why now?
When something horrific happens to someone you love dearly, all you want to do is fix it and make everything go away – the horror, the fear, the disbelief, the chaos… I honestly didn’t know what to do, I acted purely on instinct, wanting nothing but to soothe the wonderful soul of my love. Fortunately I wasn’t alone, I had the Orlando Police Department and the Victim Service Center there to help make sense of this nightmare and guide us with open and loving arms. I will be thoroughly grateful for both of these entities as long as I stand on this Earth.
All of the focus belongs to the victim, it has to. You forget about all of the trivial trials and tribulations that we have to endure daily, the only thing that matters is to help and do what you can to make anything better for them. There is not just one victim, however – there is a vast array of those whose worlds are greatly impacted as well, even though they are much lower on the spectrum of receiving healing and support. I suppose that my ramblings on this blog are directed towards those who hold the hand of the one they love throughout this entire ordeal. The husband, the wife, the father, the mother, the brother/sister. etc. You are not alone. You deserve to share your experiences and grievances because you are going through this too. The sleepless nights, the sadness, the anger not towards only the world around us but towards any deity that could allow this to happen, no matter what your faith may or may not be. Honestly, I think one of the biggest struggles for me was the helplessness I felt that I wasn’t there to stop it. What if I had stayed with her just a bit longer? What if we went back to my house instead of her going home alone to be confronted with a monster? What if I had gone with her? Is it my fault that she left her apartment to meet me? What could I have done differently? I have spent countless hours asking myself countless questions about how I could have saved her from this. It is a harrowing feeling knowing that you can’t save someone from something that has already occurred, you are utterly helpless.
My heart goes out to anyone that is reading this that feels or has ever felt like I have. You are not alone. Hopefully we all have had the opportunity to talk to someone about this nightmare. Initially out of respect for my love, I only told a very few select close friends to share this with, at her insistence. How do you even begin to share? With whom could you possibly share this with? As helpful as it was to confide in two of my best friends, I really wish that I would have had someone to talk to that I could have related with, and I actually still do. I want someone to be able to understand the level of my hatred towards the scumbag that hurt my love so badly. I want to share with someone who has also had to look at the man in the eyes that did these terrible things. The hatred has been so hard to deal with… I still have it and I think that I always will. Because of this man, I have had such evil thoughts that I never thought that I could be so capable of having. Even though he will be in prison for the rest of his life (even if he lives to be 100 years old he will still be behind bars), sometimes it doesn’t feel like it is enough. It’s never enough… I can’t even begin to relay how many horrific dreams I have had about being behind a closed door alone with him.
Fortunately there is support out there. One thing that I find helpful in dealing with such vile hatred towards someone is the love that I have for her, to protect her and support her even after all of these years. Another thing that puts my soul at ease is knowing that an incredible organization such as the Victim Service Center exists, and is here to help victims every step of the way. I don’t know what we would have done without the VSC, but I needn’t worry because they are here, and they need to be here. Not just for the victims themselves, but for people like me.
Rachel, David’s Wife, was a victim of a sexual assault and received VSC services following the assault. Rachel is currently an active volunteer, member of VSC’s Speakers Bureau, and advocate for victims of sexual assault in our community.