Because you asked…

BECAUSE YOU ASKED….
by Mary Louise Allen
(A reply to a query regarding how to help a victim in the midst of ongoing trauma)

I truly appreciate this expression of compassion.  Honestly, the simple go-to response for many of us is “prayers.” I will never diminish the power of prayer, and it is my hope that my faith (with which I do struggle during times like these) ultimately transcends into a greater and more promising future.

In the meantime, I have seriously contemplated your question for the past couple of days regarding what I (and other victims) desire amidst such cyclical injustices.  My dear friend, Dani Brewer (you might know her from Marsy’s Law in Ohio) and I have had this conversation and arrived to the conclusion that a “survivor support basket,” while appreciated, is probably not the best answer.  Not to make light of serious attacks where sometimes humor is the default coping mechanism of choice, we did pontificate a version of gift inclusions….Snickers, Reese’s, pepper spray, and so on.  An additional recent conversation with a medical friend resulted in my reply of “Seriously, you think asking victims about how that makes us feel would be beneficial….?”  So, what is the answer?

I wanted to respond to your question with serious reflection as you were the second friend (who I haven’t seen in over 30 years) to inquire over the past few months.  As we all know, pleas with no suggested remedy accomplish little, and as a result, I have created a list of potentially helpful responses for those of us who have been traumatized by assaults and re-traumatized by the system.

Send Twinkies. (See, I haven’t completely lost my sense of humor, but in all seriousness….)

1. VOICES
Listen to our voices.  The one thing that I can conclusively say is that silencing me and allowing a network of corruption to define my story with no ability to correct the fallacious version did me a grave disservice – ultimately causing my dire health conditions and current daily struggles.  My case was secretly “super-sealed”not to shelter me, but to protect the assailant and seeming judicial procedural abuse and corruption. (Sidebar: I won’t even get into that two dockets exist with hit-and-miss entries meant to skew perception.)  If I had a choice between my horrific recorded assaults being showcased or personal vindication, I prefer that the case be open with ALL motions, documentation, and recordings – transparent and available to the general public.

My voice was held hostage by the entire system for over three years where I had to tolerate the whispers, the false assertions, the harassment, the retaliation, and the intimidation. I was denied access to my own super-sealed docket where prospective attorneys continued to tell me that no court case existed. The entire network was obviously precluding my ability to defend myself, secure counsel, possess vociferous representation – basically, doing everything and anything to sabotage my case.

This should obviously never happen, and my only outlet was generic pleas on social media.  Needless to say, I think that I can speak for most victims – don’t dismissively gloss over our posts. It might be our only ability to articulate through emotional suffocation and a deluge of tears.  In the wise words of Daisy, “the words of our enemies arent as awful as the silence of our friends  (Audrie & Daisy Netflix award-winning documentary, 2016).

Share our stories, books, and videos of judicial abuse on your social media until there is no longer a necessity to do so.

There are many of these narratives, and as you might ascertain, this is not a contrived political effort as most of us are conservatives citing Republican involvement in state judicial abuse.

2. CRAZYMAKING
Don’t dismiss us as crazy. While our assertions appear, on face value, to be so outrageous that they must be fictitious, rest assured that most of us possess recordings and documentation that validate our allegations.  Putting all modestly aside, I’m a bright and caring individual with numerous accolades and a heart of gold. I have received letters over the past 20 years citing my ability to change lives as a beloved psychology professor.  All too often, society dismisses our cries as  something requiring medical attention and prescriptions rather than simply necessitating a sympathetic and supportive ear.  Sinister attempts to sagaciously dissect our past for anything that would confirm the desired skewed bias of emotional instability and deserved assaults aren’t lacking within our system. Despite the MeToo Movement, perpetrator-initiated victim sabotage is still pervasively prevalent.  It should be duly-noted that there is no publication entitled, “The Idiot’s Guide of How Best to Handle and React to Violent Attacks and Subsequent Harassment, Intimidation, and Judicial Abuse.”

3. VICTIM-BLAMING/SHAMING
Be cautious of victim-blaming/shaming questions.  While I would like to think that the proverbial “why did you stay” interrogatory has dissipated in our society, it has not. I had a friend post on social media that she “didn’t get me.”  I inboxed her to further ask what exactly I could clarify. She replied, “I don’t understand what you are doing for a living. Are you selling videos of your assault?”

On the flip, and more positive, side of this, an old neighbor of mine sent the following message a couple of days ago.  I haven’t seen him for over ten years.  “I’m sorry, I didn’t know of your rape as an adult. I knew of the child abuse that you had to deal with and nothing happening with that situation, but to have the legal system do it to you again as an adult, it’s a wonder you are still sane.”  I wept upon receipt.  My story, my assaults, and my abuse, where I’m trying to do my six-year-old-sexually-assaulted-self proud, did not go unnoticed.  My body and my life mattered enough to someone who validated my abuse and the systemic infrastructure who ignored and intimidated me into silence, both as a child and as an adult.

On that note….if someone stayed after an attack, that changes nothing.  It could be fear….it could be hope…..but the fact remains, it does not change the details of an assault. It does not turn a “no” into a “yes” or a plea to “stop” a violent attack into an “if you can convince me to stick around later, that makes this assault completely acceptable.”

4. POLITICAL ACCOUNTABILITY
I implore you to consider your votes.  If these officials remain in office, your daughter, your sister, or your mother could be a future victim.  Do not contribute to political campaigns of candidates who have participated, ignored, and/or concealed our narratives. Most of us cite the exact same individuals and agencies who were involved in concealing our abuse and subsequently, intimidating us.  You will see a common thread of judges, government officials, prosecutors, law enforcement, lawyers, and agencies in the aforementioned links.  Elected official’s first priority is to protect its citizenry and their rights – not fortify and conceal collusive illicit conduct of their buddies.

Encourage governmental organizations not to wait for a lawsuit by the victim.  Press them to step forward acknowledging awareness of the wrongdoing defining their plans to correct the unlawful activity and share their outreach of assisting the respective victims.  Again, I’ve never been able to place a monetary figure on what has occurred.  I simply want to be unassaulted, unabused, and unharassed with three years of life returned.  I would take that over anything tangible in a heartbeat, and to be frank, I think it cheapens life to force me to statistically quantify a breath within life.

5. MEDIA ACCOUNTABILITY
Tag your local newspapers/news stations asking them if they have covered our stories, via links to our publications. Boycott news agencies who ignore such serious matters.  I think we’ve learned that had the media exposed Weinstein’s abuse decades ago, the avalanche of victims could (and should) have been spared.

6. BOARD MEMBER ACCOUNTABILITY
Hold board members accountable.  As seen in the case of Nassar, how many children would have been protected had the board taken action?  All too frequently, board members attempt to utilize the indemnification principle of mystic discombobulation. They divert knowledge in hopes that if the institution is sued, they are free from liability.  Willful blindness warrants as much responsibility as direct participation.

7. ATTORNEY ACCOUNTABILITY
While I understand that everyone is entitled to representation and false reports exist (approximately 3%), I do take issue with law firms who knowingly harass victims, sustain the chilling effect, and/or neglect their due diligence of vociferously representing the victim. I, and other victims, have contacted attorneys across the state of Ohio regarding our abuse (yes, many of us had a retainer).  When they learned of whom we were (pre-super-sealing), they immediately declined – as again, the network is deep and well-connected within government.  I recently learned that Ohio does not possess a provision for sealing a case, yet my case was not only sealed, but even super-sealed which precluded my ability to access my own docket which ultimately caused the ongoing heinous procedural injustices to occur and ultimately, sabotaged my case.

My assailant told me that I would never be able to find an attorney in the state of Ohio. I didn’t believe him at the time, but now, I do. His previous victims confirmed this unconscionable power.  The attorneys that I retained have unequivocally cooperated with a system inauspiciously compromising my afforded vociferous representation.  When I asked why we weren’t conducting fundamental legal 101 basics of discovery, etc., I was told to shut the “f*^k” up.  Yes, I have that text.  My recorded evidence was not submitted on the record but hand-delivered to the law offices of my perpetrator.  (Pause and think about this for a moment.)

Magistrates and judges have horrifically silenced me with gag orders and other threats of contempt if I exposed my assaults.  Those enlisted to protect the law participated in a public smear campaign that no reasonable person should ever have to endure. At one point, I had an overly-broad injunction order where I could not speak of my assaults to police, medical professionals, support groups….in all actuality, I couldn’t even file a lawsuit/claim with my perpetrator’s name on it.

I was verbally assaulted by a magistrate…and even a judge.  Now, it probably helps that the court and law firms are situated in close proximity both physically and relationally (by marriage, familial connections, etc.), but how I was treated by court officials, administrative assistants, and clerks was absolutely horrific. This recorded and documented abuse continued for over three years where I held onto the words of my fifth grade social studies teacher who stated that ultimately, with checks and balances, justice would prevail.  I panhandled across the state for someone/anyone to assist.  I had the recordings, I had the emails, I had the proof…..How was this happening?  I didn’t want to configure a world that did this to people.

8. NONPROFIT ACCOUNTABILITY
Do not contribute to nonprofits who cooperate with the system. Believe me, despite their 501(c)3 statuses, do not assume that they are fulfilling their missions. Every single nonprofit organization in the state of Ohio whose mission was to assist me and my situation configured asinine excuses as to why they could not help, and they are listed on this government grant-funded document receiving money. Sadly, if I am ever assaulted again, especially in the state of Ohio should I ever return, I doubt that I would report unless I am assured that this systemic abuse is handled accordingly.

9. HOSPITAL ACCOUNTABILITY
Ask hospitals of any statistics of mysteriously lost rape kits. This is often a frequently ignored number when government officials tout their concern for assault victims. Often, the alleged assailant is a police officer, an attorney, a high-profile business official – but most assuredly, a well-connected man.  One nurse told me that her rapist was a police officer, and the hospital dubiously lost her rape kit.  He, then, sued her for defamation which is a new popular tactic of rapists to silence their victims. I didn’t report my assaults right away as I was receiving trauma treatment, and my assailant pounced during this time of healing.  It’s a sad, yet sinisterly brilliant, legal strategy.

10. ACCOMPANY VICTIMS
Don’t assume that justice prevails. Consider accompanying victims to court hearings. I was treated with an entirely different demeanor when I had supporters present – as opposed to attending by myself where I didn’t want anyone to know what was happening. I was embarrassed that this happened to me….me, the so-called smart person, the psychology professor who could assuredly assess danger, the supposed hypervigilant personality, the woman who knew how to do her self-preservation research, the middle-aged female who believed that she could protect that six-year-old girl….

The recorded tenor of the magistrate (who I reported a day earlier for disconcerting unlawful court actions in support of my perpetrator with perjured statements which could be corroborated had he considered the documentation) decided to intervene in my ability to secure a rightful restraining order.  It should be duly-noted that he was not the initially assigned magistrate of my hearing yet intervened assigning himself as my magistrate when he learned that I was at the courthouse to secure a restraining order. As can be viewed by numerous women in this particular jurisdiction who are victims of high profile men, this court official utilized the modus operandi strategy of crazymaking. When these recordings are eventually released, listen to them and ask yourself, “Was this a crazy woman or an abusive magistrate/judge?” I exhibited no signs of emotional instability. In fact, when I realized what was occurring, I said to myself, “I’m going to have to lose this battle and win the war.”

11. STATE LAWS
Oppose mysteriously passed state statutes abusively used to oppress and silence victims/witnesses. These statutes are often masked in an apparent attempt of genuine propriety but often abused to silence victims, witnesses, and Whistleblowers.  I remember my perpetrator saying to me that Ohio recently passed a civil commitment law where he appeared suspiciously jovial going insofar to state that he would have “used this on all of his exes.”  My research corroborates that this is commonly used to harass females into silence.  When I shared my story with a federal official in the state, she was very receptive – until I informed her of whom was involved.  She immediately ceased with her inquisitive questions and asked what medications I was taking.  I was stunned.  She dubiously did not have a business card and asked that I send her any such documentation via hand-delivery or snail mail, but not electronically.

Obstructing official business is another nefarious attempt to silence victims/witnesses. I was threatened by state employees that there were ways to make me go away if I continued to report. If a victim calls 911 regarding an ongoing assault and no one shows, should he/she not be able to call 911 again?  The ramifications are obviously disconcerting from an ability to secure immediate assistance and potential fear of the chilling effect possibility.

Write to legislators querying how such laws, while attractive and warranted on a presentation level, are being used and likely abused for sinister purposes. Ohio has numerous statutes that have been questionably instated yet used for politically oppressive purposes meant to silence victims and witnesses.

12. BASIC ENCOURAGEMENT
Sadly, an entire system has directly and indirectly informed me, and so many others, that we don’t matter. Over 70 individuals within the state have concealed my assaults and harassment with implicit and explicit threats. The police were regulars at my house with false reports often circling my cul-de-sac (which is cited by numerous victims), yet I did not feel as if I could call them when I had anonymous notes/items placed in my lawn/mailbox, friends/relatives/neighbors received anonymous letters with fallacious lies.  I came to terms that I could never contact the police for any safety assistance – no matter what the situation.

Let’s be honest, if I were the daughter of a government official, do you think the system would have concealed this abuse?  We know the answer is “no,” but for some reason, I didn’t deserve the same public outrage, judicial righteousness, concern, or compassion. The only way for victims to interpret this inaction is that we don’t matter. Our last names and familial lineage are not prominent enough to be considered worthy. Our lives aren’t important enough to warrant therapeutic jurisprudence.

Let victims know that they do matter so that a story does not end like that of Megan Rondini where if her situation would have been appropriately handled, she would most likely be with us today.  She mattered, yet it’s too late to let her know.