Having problems again

Hello Everyone,

My PTSD symptoms have gotten vastly better over the last year after doing EMDR therapy and finding a therapist who understands me. The problem is that the aftermath of my trauma goes on and on: I was sexually and mentally abused for months by a teacher at a boarding school just after my 17th birthday. I repressed all memory of it for 35 years, then had six years of full-blown PTSD when I was finally able to think about it, starting August 10, 2009. Last year, the abuser sent me a three page letter in which he confessed to "having relations" with me, but zero acknowledgement that it was wrong or damaging to me. Basically, he tried to paint lipstick on a pig, so to speak.

This man is still a credentialed teacher. He has three credentials, including special ed, allowing him to work one on one with a disabled student. I have Asperger syndrome myself (which was not a recognized diagnosis when I was growing up) and the thought of this creep in a room with students almost made me go out and kill him. No joke. Instead, I sent his letter to the Commission on Teacher Credentialing. They did an investigation and revoked his credentials.

But, he has appealed. Now there will be a hearing before an Administrative Law Judge in an open courtroom. I will likely be called as a witness. If the abuser decides to represent himself without a lawyer, I may even be questioned by him. I am not afraid of this. The truth is the truth, and luckily I have his letter and other documentation proving my age at the time and other relevant facts. There is no way he can say he did not have sex with me: He confessed it in his letter, although he carefully avoided using the word "sex" and instead euphemisticly called it "relations". But anyone with half a brain can see what it means.

It is the Credentilling Commission who will prosecute the case, not me. I will only be a witness. But it will be months before this hearing. I have been doing so much better, and now I find myself slipping back into the rage and obsessive thoughts. It has already eaten up so much of my life. Now I have to wait for months and months for this hearing, not knowing if or when I will be called to testify. Not knowing if I will actually have to speak to this pervert in the courtroom. I have had so many thoughts of doing violence to him. Not even thoughts, they are like waves of the most intense emotion I have ever had. Waves of utter rage. I am most afraid I will act on this in the courtroom, especially if he attempts the kind of mental manipulation he is so good at.

I don't have anyone to talk to about this. My sessions with the therapist ended, but maybe I need to keep going. I am really struggling with this, so that's why this post.

7 Replies

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  • Hi BearTree,

    Wow, that's going to be a tough situation to be in. But kudos for your courage to be available as a witness.

    I had to go to an administrative hearing before a judge for my disability hearing. The lawyer who went with me told me to just be honest, and tell the judge if I got anxious. After all, PTSD is an anxiety disorder. At one point I felt myself begin to space out, and get really anxious. I told that to the judge. I said I was aware I wasn't under threat in the courtroom, but that's how my PTSD sometimes manifested.

    Being honest about what I was experiencing helped me regulate and eased my tension. I was just stating the obvious - I think the judge could see it in my eyes. I think it actually helped, because I was awarded the disability benefits.

    I don't know if this will help in your situation, but I just wanted to say I've been in an administrative hearing in a courtroom, and I can understand your anxiety about it.

    Regards,

    Dan

  • OMG! The same thing happened to me at hearing. It's been about week and a half now since my hearing before an administrative judge for my disability. I was so nervous going in. The judge was nice as can be, but all I saw was judge and I froze. All I remember is saying sorry a lot and crying. I haven't gotten a ruling yet but I'm hopeful everything will turn out alright.

    BearTree, I hope the best for you. I know how intimidating a courtroom can be.

  • Best wishes, TeeG, for a positive outcome with your admin hearing. Great that the judge was so nice and understanding. :)

  • I commend your courage. I was not brave enough to face my abuser in court. I don't know if this will help or not but in the group of women I was in for therapy, when someone had to go to court & face their abuser, the psychologist went with them. They said it relieved a lot of anxiety just knowing they were not going into the courtroom alone, that if they did get overwhelmed that help was there for them and if the doctor spotted them losing it emotionally, she was able to speak up for them so they could take a break. If the attorney went too far in questioning them & it was becoming hostile & triggering, then the attorney & doctor could interrupt before the victim was pushed too far. I don't know if you have a counselor who would be willing to go with you but I just wanted to share the idea with you. Maybe that isn't feasible in your situation but I do hope you don't go in there alone. This was done at no charge thru the city's program for abused women and crime victims.

  • My dear. What an incredibly hard and tough time you have been going through; and now you are facing being a witness in a trial.

    A couple of thing that struck me when reading your post here....

    Well done - you did the absolute right thing in submitting that letter to the authorities. What a superstar you are!

    Secondly, you query the need for therapy during this tough time. I would certainly say go for it: any emotional as well as professional support that you can find, to get the strength you deserve to get through this, will be of great benefit.

    Friends, family, therapists, folk here - we're all with you on this to support and help you <3 Take care.

  • Do you live in a state that doesn't have time limitations for him to be charged? Reading your comments, I wonder if testifying will make you feel worse over a short period of time, but not facing him may cause more long term issues?

    I am sorry you are reliving this. Sometimes facing our issues can be healing but quite painful.

    If you do decide to testify, I suggest clarifying what you want as an outcome. The odds of getting full admission after all these years is likely small. You never know what he might say (full admission to full denial, likely something in between).

    Set a realistic bar on the outcome. Maybe just confronting him would be high enough. The outcome is beyond your control.

    Even if he "wins" in some way, he loses. He will be watched more carefully.

    You will need help through this from counseling. I would also suggest getting legal counsel with someone you can feel comfortable with, if anything just for legal advise.

  • Thank you everyone for your supportive comments above. I talked to my therapist today and have made arrangements to see her for some more sessions while I go through this. I am lining up a few friends and family to go to the hearing with me.

    In case anyone else out there is or will go through something like this, and in response to Ilhawk, I live in California and we do have an extension on the statute of limitations for civil damages (not criminal) for people who were sexually abused as a minor. You get three years after the time you discover the connection between your problems and the abuse. My three years passed before I could take civil action against the guy, because I was so messed up with the PTSD I could not get myself together to do it. And I did not have his confessional letter then. At least I am able to move against his teaching credentials now.

    Thanks again to all of you!

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