This is an update on the podcast episode, “Eat Your Heart Out Dr. John Doe”. In it, she shares her traumatic experience with her psychiatrist and the lasting effects of it. If you haven’t listened to it, I would highly encourage doing so before reading this blog post.
Yesterday, I got a call from some attorney’s assistant I’ve never heard of asking if I would be willing to testify against Dr. Doe in court. My heart dropped. I sometimes feel like it was all a distant memory never needing to be reminded my “no” wasn’t enough. However, every couple of months, or even years, I get a phone call from someone new asking me to recount a horrible memory that always leaves me shattered. Then I remember the hands, the smell, the corrosive stubble against my skin. I remember my defenses “I wore a long sleeve”, “I didn’t lead him on”, “I was vulnerable”. The lump forms and the tears start, and I feel like I am in that office trapped, surrounded by drawings that patients drew for a man who abused his power and abused me. It has been six years that those events took place. The events that carved out a piece of me and replaced it with a dying ember that crackles at the call of each new investigator. I never felt believed, I always prefaced I didn’t have evidence and I would understand hesitance to believe, but that I wouldn’t lie about it. Each time they wrote notes, while I choked my way through the retelling. Some would offer me water and tissues, some would tell me to calm down. There would be months or years between calls that always felt so sudden. I would be watering the plants and get a call. I would be with friends and get a call. I would be at work and get a call. I don’t think I’ll ever get accustomed to the idea that there might be someone somewhere dialing my phone number right now to ask me more questions. But if they do, I hope they are kind and patient with me while I feel the ember spark again and burn another piece of me away.
I haven’t decided if I would testify. The idea of seeing Dr. Doe cross his arms like he would as I talk in great detail about the events makes me feel scared and vulnerable. When I would talk to an investigator, all they did was take notes. This time, I could be objected because of word choice. I could be interrupted because I was crying too hard. I could be asked to be quiet as they flip through their paperwork making sure there is no contradiction. Their power over my words and my story as I sit in front of him feels like some sort of emotional torture I may be too scared to endure. That’s just the objections. There would be cross-examination. They would ask me all these leading questions that would have no relevancy on his actions designed to manipulate me. The jurors would scribble if I took too long or not long enough, if I cried too much or was stone cold, if the years have taken a toll on my memory and I wouldn’t be able to recall a trivial detail. It all just seems so much.
I haven’t decided if I wouldn’t testify. During the last call from an investigator I was notified there was another. I don’t know her name or what she looks like. In my heart she looks like me but stronger. She didn’t wait. She chose to be this strong woman who is asking for my help not be dismissed. Her hand is outstretched to me with pleading but fierce eyes. I want to apologize to her. Maybe my inactions caused her to suffer like I did. I have stayed up thinking about would I say to her and how sorry I am. She wouldn’t need consolidation she would demand the same strength of me.
I have agreed to meet with the attorney and discuss everything. And as I continue to feel the very real tremors of the powerful MeToo movement, I empower women in their choice, if that is the same as mine or not. Each trauma is a unique scar that heals at its own pace. I wish you all that unique healing as well collectively supporting each other.
Thank you for reading this update on my journey. If you have any questions, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org I will be as open as I safely and legally can.