Grace desperately wanted things within our neighborhood to return to normalcy. She hated for anyone to be upset with her. One of her endearing characteristics starting as a child was to always seek reconciliation. If we’d had an argument or falling out of some kind as all families do, of our four children, she was the one who always circled back and verbally apologized. Dissonance with those she cared about bothered her, and she longed for peace and closure for our family, friends and neighbors.

We’d never at the time called what happened to her ‘rape’ because she didn’t term it that way. She’d felt responsible for getting into a situation she couldn’t control. We’d had conversations about the dangers of drinking with all our girls and she told me one day, “Mom, you were right, it is exactly what happened”. We had not pushed for charges given the situation and the fact that the young Howard County Police Officer David Vo, (who was actually filling in for someone on vacation, and in a hurry to go to the beach at the end of his shift) acted as if there were no other options. As far as I am aware he did not investigate the case that way or collect any evidence in this regard. I did not yet know about Drug-assisted rape, though wondered how a 14-year old was not protected in some way. (In Maryland, though the official age of consent is supposedly 16, in order for an act to be considered statutory rape, there must be a four year age difference.) Either this needs to change or public/police education about consent needs to change!

Our once strong, confident, and outgoing child was deconstructing right before our very eyes. Known for being contagiously happy and often hilarious, she was fun to be around. Grace would be the first to welcome a new face. She’d been the one to stand up for kids being unfairly treated. When one of her good guy friends was struggling with coming out and was being bullied in middle school, she’d stuck up for him and I found out much later that she had been knocked to the ground in the parking lot and menacingly threatened for it. She’d apparently taken this in stride. But what we were seeing now was entirely different.

During her freshman year she’d played on the high school volleyball team, played rec soccer, and been actively involved in school/teen/church life. This fall she didn’t go to Homecoming or any of the events associated with it. She was frightened and intimidated by ____ and his friends. Her world was getting smaller.

Over time we came to realize she was suffering not only from cyber harassment, intimidation and character assassination, but also from intense shame, powerlessness and post-traumatic stress related to that one evening in June 2011.

We were shocked to the core to later witness a PTSD flashback, in late October 2011 for which she was hospitalized.
On October 29th Dave and I are out in the early evening when Grace logs on to the home computer and sees something in regards to _____ that upsets her. Though she had not touched alcohol since June, she takes a drink, and feels more calm. So she drinks more. When we come home we find her in her upper bunk-bed in disheveled clothes partially on…. I roll her towards me and find her incoherent, eyes rolling around in her head and observe she has vomited. She can’t see us, but instead begins screaming, is enraged, cursing and is clearly having a flashback of a sexual assault, and is reliving it with terror, shreaking ‘NO! Get off of me’, “LEAVE ME ALONE!’ I have my hands on her shoulders and my face right in front of hers telling her I’m there and she is o.k. and safe, but she can still not ‘see’ our presence.

I find her phone and see she has texted friends that she wants to die. Supremely frightened we call for an ambulance.

Two Howard County Police Officers arrive first (Drummond & Patterson) . They are in the hallway outside her bedroom and witness the flashback. I ask them to help us get her down from the high bunk, but they don’t want to because they say they don’t want to upset her/manhandle any further since it is clear to them what she is experiencing.

They tell us they want to look into the incident at Family A’s home last summer in relation to it being a sexual assault. They are older, seasoned officers who show reason and empathy, and are especially supportive of Grace’s father David.

Paramedics arrive and get her to the ambulance. I thought they’d left, but am surprised to see them a little later still in the long driveway as they had gotten stuck in the mud as they had tried crossing driveways instead of backing up.(This left deep ruts which come spring deeply embarrassed/reminded her as the grass started to grow in the spring and can’t be mowed, as it sits on the edge of Family B’s driveway) I went outside to see how Grace was, and felt intense anger as I approached the back of the ambo and saw Father B and a hooded teenager standing near and looking into the windows. I was really mad and thought it was ____, but it turned out to be his sister. The dad asks if she was going to be o.k. and I replied, (having just found out that the June incident was absolutely a flat-out rape,) that I didn’t know if she’d be o.k., and it was because of his son.
Grace’s friend, the sister of her bully/rapist, later tells our Grace that when they returned home that night, the mom described our daughter as ‘a drama queen’. The knife turns.

When Grace comes to at the hospital, she says she just wanted all the pain to stop and to die.

Needing hospitalization, no suitable psychiatric beds can be found locally, so we spend a long time in the emergency room. (We are not willing to have her be in a co-ed ward with adults or adolescents.) Eventually, Grace goes to 3 day hospital stay over an hour away, and misses her favorite holiday, Halloween.

After her death, we found this, which was written at this time:

“It started with a drink-
From there flows the memorys,
His creepy hands all over me,
That stupid smile on his face,
The arms that wouldn’t let me escape,
I hate him but I bury it down,
Until I take that one drink,
The feelings come up like vomit,
Something I can’t escape,
I want it to be over, forgotten and done,
I run away, hoping the feelings will go astray,
All I want to do is take a knife and carve away the pain.
(crossed out: Maybe one day I’ll feel sane)
______ you’re a monster
(crossed out: and I pray that no one ever goes thr…
)”

 

Spring09-_Allie_shower,_meg_confirm,_shows._cara_grad._005[1]2012-04-15 Grace Funeral flowers and gifts 042

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