For as long as I can remember, July has always been one of my favorite months. The fourth was not just a day to celebrate our country’s birthday; it was the day our family gathered to celebrate our love and kinship. Red, white and blue signified patriotism and loyalty….not blood and bruises. Now, July is the month I celebrate being alive.
Judge Smith, having presided over this case, I know you are well familiar with the facts of my kidnapping and rape at the hands of Bobby Broomfield, III. What I would like to do in this letter is tell you about the changes in my life since the attack.
I no longer live alone. I want to but am terrified that, no matter how many locks are on my door, someone will break in. I was lucky to have survived my night of horror, but I fear that another could occur and I won’t be as lucky next time. At 29, I should have my own home – a place to put my feet up at the end of the workday, to entertain friends, to give myself a facial in privacy if that is what I want to do. Instead, I have reverted to being a child, living with my parents, calling my father to meet me in the driveway so I don’t have to walk to the front door in the dark, begging my parents not to stay out too late because I don’t want to be in the house by myself. Dreading the nightmares that plague my sleep, I have barely closed my eyes for two years. Yes, I could take sleeping pills, but then I might become dependent and complicate an already complicated life. I also fear they will dull my senses and make me less aware of danger. I have become compulsively hyper-vigilant.
Therapy helps for a few hours, sometimes for a day or so. I have attended sessions once a week since the attack, but when darkness sets in, I am once again alone and fearing for my life. I want to stop shaking! I want not to be afraid! I want not to crawl out of my skin every time a dog barks or a tree branch hits the window!
Relationships are so difficult. You need trust to even begin the process of dating. I don’t trust. I am no longer tolerant of human failings. If a man doesn’t meet my expectations – and only a saint could – he doesn’t get a second chance. I want a family. My parents would like grandchildren. Neither is going to happen when everyone I meet is found lacking because of my trust issues. I fear never finding anyone who will understand that my tough exterior is a façade…a barrier set up to protect myself. I am incapable of letting it down and allowing someone else in. I don’t like who I have become but am unable to change.
Only those closest to me – my mom and dad, my brother, my relatives and friends – know that the smile on my face each day is part of my makeup. Apply lipstick. Smile. It’s hard work to pretend to be happy but, as kind as most people are, they really don’t want to be burdened with my sorrow. As a result, I’ve never really grieved for the loss of innocence, security, trust and independence. Grieving is weak. I’m afraid to be weak.
For a few days, immediately after Mr. Broomfield was convicted, I began to see a ray of hope. Why? Because I mistakenly believed that some of the charges carried a mandatory life sentence. Now I know that the length of time he serves rests with you. I don’t want to be vindictive, but I do want justice.
There will never be a day that I do not remember what happened. I will always see and feel the machete pressed up against my cheek. I will always feel the zip ties pulled tight around my wrists. I will always taste my blood in my mouth. Surgery will eventually be required for my injuries….more scars to deal with. I will be a prisoner of these events for the rest of my life. Mr. Broomfield should be a prisoner for just as long.
Judge Smith, I desperately need to feel secure that there will be a time when I will not need to look over my shoulder or worry that my door will be opened in the middle of the night by this predator who is intent on me as his prey. No other unsuspecting woman should ever have to be plunged into the terror that I experienced. I respectfully ask you to sentence Bobby Broomfield, III to the maximum allowable under the law – three life sentences running consecutively. I beg you to send a message to other predators that abuses such as these will not be tolerated in our society.