Before this past year, I can’t say that I put much weight into my dreams or thought much of them. There may have been a handful that stood out over the course of my life, but for the most part they were relatively irrelevant to my daily activities. While, I must admit to knowing little, and I don’t believe I’m alone here, about the true origins of our dreams, I have learned over the course of this past year, that following a trauma, dreams, or more often nightmares, can in fact speak volumes. They can be the voice of our survival instincts, of our fears, of our truest desires and sometimes of the truth we fail to see in the daylight.
I wrestled often with the question, “What would you like to see happen to him?” The question asked of me by the ADA on my case as she prepped to meet with the man who assaulted me and the Defending Attorney for the first time following the preliminary hearing, back in February. I had no answer for her. I’d been protecting myself for months by telling myself that I had no say in the process and therefore should just not think about it.
The truth is, I don’t have any say in the outcome. I can’t control whether he pushes for a plea or a trial, I can’t control who will oversee that trial or sentencing. Ultimately, I have little power or control within the legal process. BUT, I am given some and it is important for me as someone recovering from an event in which my power and control were forcibly stolen from me, that I utilize the small opportunities I’m given in regards to the case. This means, that while it may not be much and it may not be what ends up happening, my ADA has given me an opportunity to be heard, by asking me my opinion about “What I’d like to see happen to him?”
How does this connect to all my discussion about dreams? Easy, I found my answer to her question in a dream. Mulling it over for weeks, I couldn’t seem to make my way to the heart of the matter. One night I went to sleep and dreamed a Detective had taken me back to the place of my assault and was suggesting that perhaps it wasn’t as bad as I remembered and maybe the charges should be lowered…My response to him, in the dream, was pure and righteous outrage, as I poured out my heart to him about specific moments of my assault and how the man had not only stripped me of my clothes, but my dignity and my freedom. The outrage was so intense that it awoke me from my dream, my heart still burning with indignation. I had my answer. It was as clear as day.
The certitude of my voice in the dream carried over and I now know within me what is true. I can no longer make excuses for his actions. I will seek neither vengeance nor will I allow myself to be berated with misplaced guilt or shame. I will see the legal process through to the end, whatever that may look like because the truth is that a crime was committed. The truth is that I was violated. The truth is that taking legal action is the only right thing for all parties involved, including the defendant.