Those of you reading my blog for awhile may recall a darker post about rape . My best friend was drugged and raped after a night out with girl friends. I'm happy to report that not too long ago, my bestie and I shared drinks, laughs and danced to bad (great!) 80's music, just like the old days. While the ghost of rape still haunts, it was a little less present than our last visit together. There is still much for my friend to deal with, and all is not perfect, however, she has sent out this latest update on her case (posted with her blessing):
I have some news - as some of you may recall, the pretrial in the sexual assault case of Fernando Manuel Alves occurred last August. He was committed to trial on only 2 of the 5 counts (2 victims could not testify, and there was no "proof" that it was him who drugged me). The trial was scheduled for June 8-26, 2009.
I have just heard from the Crown Counsel, who told me that he has pleaded guilty. He accepted a plea bargain, in which he pleads guilty to my assault, but the other remaining assault charge has been dropped. The Crown is asking for 12-18 months in jail. We won't know what he gets until sentencing, which I am told will happen some time in June or July. He will be registered with the Sexual Offenders Database, and is required to provide a DNA sample for forensic records.
So there will be no trial, I will not have to testify again, (though in some sick way I was looking forward to obliterating the defense laywer again :) While this episode is by no means over for me or my family, there is finally some closure, and we are all happy about that.
Some more good news on that front, the investigation into Sergeant Asshat, head of the Sexual Offenses Squad of the XXXXXX Police Department has, after significant delays, concluded that Sergeant Asshat was indeed guilty of a disciplinary default in his treatment of me, and he has been removed permanently from that department. We are very pleased about this, as future victims will not have to deal with the "re-traumatizing" I faced in dealing with this individual.
Thanks to everyone for your support, and I ask that you feel free to share my story to educate others, as the epidemic of drug-assisted sexual assault is growing rapidly, and EVERYONE is a potential victim.
Here's to better days ahead,
Part of this pleases me, for her, for now she won't have to go through the agonizing ordeal of having to testify and justifying her status as victim. Part of it really pisses me off that an act that has negatively impacted her life, for the rest of her life, is worth, AT MOST, 12-18 months in jail. And that there other victims out there, who will not get this kind of "closure" because of the way our legal system works ("So....if I say I'm guilty of this can I not be punished for that?").
And because of my friends strength and conviction in what is right and what is wrong, Sgt. Asshat will no longer work with victims of sexual offences. She fought for this, she did not let it go, no matter how emotionally exhausting it was to fight that fight and keep the case open.
As the days of summer approach and we hit patios and parties, please always be aware of your drink, who you are with, and who your friends are with. These things happen too easily and fighting for justice is damn hard.
Rape doesn't discriminate. All women, of all ages, need to be aware.
International Rape Crisis Hotlines