4 years ago i cowrote a play. 4 years i asked myself a question, “what would i say, if i ever faced the man that changed my life?”. 4 years ago i wrote a monologue, answering a hypothetical question, addressing real healing. Today, 4 years later .. and 15 years after the incident, I face the same question – but this time its real.
In December, my family and I will be traveling to Washington DC to watch the sentencing of the man who once haunted my nightmares. I will see justice served and I will take another step towards healing. It is amazing and I feel blessed and honestly, awestruck.
Alongside the opportunity to see Haipe, we have also been given the opportunity to tell our story. I avoided it for as long as I could but as I suspected, answering the questions seemed to be more helpful to myself than for the case.
To those who have been in and out and with me through this process: thank you. salamat. who knew this journey had a tangible destination? ❤
Question #3: If you wish you may use this space to tell the judge whatever you would like her to know about how it is to be a victim of a violent crime; or any other information you would like to share. (e.g. the stigma of being a victim, media coverage, family reaction, the loss of control.)
Reflecting on an event that happened 15 years ago, I realize that being a victim of a violent crime is as much about the healing, as it is the event. Even saying it out loud, “I am the victim of a violent crime,” is powerful.
Although I have made peace with the incident and I have thankfully forgiven those who have hurt me, the images of my mother struggling, the sound of my father’s voice trembling for my survival, those things, those things will never leave me. Those are the things I have to deal with, remember, and push through.
I pushed myself to live alone in the Philippines last year for a few months, and for the first time faced the fear that my homeland has imbued in me. It was terrifying, freeing, and moving. I will not say that my life is thoroughly healed, but I have taken many steps forward. Even during my trip, my aunt shared with me more information about the incident, more articles, more thoughts and I realized that it will never really end.
The questions, the nightmares, the fear; its all cyclical – the only thing that changes is my reaction. My strength that has grown throughout the years, my ability to understand why violent crimes such as these are committed, my voice that I have learned to use intentionally. With these things, coupled with a confidence manifested through Christ, I have been able to move forward.
I have lost many things due to this crime. But the things I have gained are more powerful and priceless; for this fact, I am no longer victim but survivor.