Friday, April 30, 2010

Victim Impact Statement

If anyone is interested, the following is my Victim Impact Statement which I read to the court the day that two of the three accused were sentenced. One of the attackers received 8 years while the other received 7 years. Very emotional day to say the least.

"To completely articulate the impact that this attack and stabbing of Jim has had on us is really most overwhelming and near impossible. You would think that twenty one months would be more than enough time to complete this task, and in my head, I’ve easily written my victim impact statement at least a thousand times now, but when it finally came time to get serious about it, the task felt daunting at best. I wondered how I would be able to adequately convey the physical, emotional and financial traumas we were forced to suffer because of this event. The physical, emotional and financial impact that this attack ended up having on me has forced me to live a life I barely recognize anymore and become a person I don’t know.

In Sept of this year, Jim and I will have known each other thirty years – he was 14 and I was 16. For most of this time, he has been an integral part of my life. Both of our personalities just clicked and in no time, we had forged a strong friendship. Right away I knew he was someone that would always be an important part of my life. He made me laugh and cry and angry like no one had before or since. He was someone I knew I could always trust and depend on him no matter what. He made me feel safe and secure and gave me self-confidence and poise as a result of this. To me he was fearless.The day of the attack called all of what I believed into question. Everything I thought I knew was ripped away. This fearlessness, boldness, audaciousness that made up a large part of Jim and myself was torn from us that day. We are, and continue to be, in therapy because of the attack. Since the attack, I have had feelings of total loss and disparity. I have not really slept a full night. I require medication to assist my sleeping. I now have panic attacks and flashbacks that causes me to freeze. I have a fear of people in general. I will cross the street, rather than to meet and face people. I now have fears of something terrible happening to another family member, and am fearful for my safety and the safety of my family.

The attack itself was frightening but them to have to wait for hours to hear how Jim was doing was doubly so. He was so severely injured that he required over six hours of emergency surgery. I didn’t get to see him until close to 1am the next day. He was unrecognizable hooked up to all of the hospital’s machines. His body was bloated and initially he was unable to breathe on his own. He looked like the Frankenstein monster with staples all over his upper body, face and head. It was just short of a miracle that he even managed to regain consciousness and then finally return home. His physical recovery has been slow to say the least, but I will let him speak to this.

It has been our psychological recovery that is taking its time and toll, as well as the financial difficulties that have resulted because of the attack. In many ways, this has been harder than the physical and emotional recovery especially as none of this financial duress was a result of our own making. For something we had zero control over as well as nearly having to sacrifice a life for, it has been unduly stressful. It certainly has been a very bitter irony that one of the more dramatic consequences of the attack has resulted in affecting our family’s bottom line. While it is fairly easy to give a dollar value to our loss of income over these past twenty-one months, it is slightly more difficult to calculate other monies lost as a direct result of this attack.

As the attack occurred while we were fulfilling one of our job duties, our immediate supervisor was able to submit the appropriate forms necessary for us to qualify to receive Workers Compensation. Its another issue entirely though that the company we work for delayed almost three months in actually doing this. As neither Jim nor I were able to immediately return to work, we both began to receive Workers Compensation benefits which equal approx two thirds of our normal salary. Now, as part of our compensation package with our employer, not only did we receive our own two bedroom apartment, we also had our telephone, cable and internet paid for by them. Once we started to receive WSIB, our employer no longer covered the cost of the above. It was now our responsibility. So suddenly, not only were we receiving about a third less pay than we were used to, but from this reduced amount, we now had to cover these additional expenses of over $1000/month. This added stress is just one more thing that we’ve been forced to deal with because of the attack.

It hasn’t been just Jim and myself that have suffered because of the attack. Both of our daughters were teenagers at the time of the attack and as much as we tried to shield them from its effects, this proved impossible. They ended up being greatly affected because of the emotional and financial stress weighing heavily on me. While Jim and I attempted to adjust to each new change as it presented itself, I found myself getting increasingly angrier and bitter with our circumstances, and these feelings were then that much more difficult to hide from the girls. I was overwhelmed with feelings of self doubt and started to feel that I was failing them as a parent. I started to fall into a depression especially as relationships with my daughters started to change.

I have also just recently discovered that I may face yet another obstacle as a direct result of this attack. Currently, I have no job to return to as it has just been phased out of the company that employs us both since the beginning of the new year. Once again, we are victims not of our own making. Certainly, this will no doubt present another fairly large financial challenge to us – now just one of many. I really had begun to believe that we would soon be able to start to put all of this behind us, to make it a thing of the past. Yet, this seems near impossible as we seem to be faced with additional obstacles far too frequently.

Certainly the therapy that I continue to receive for my Post Traumatic Stress Disorder at Victoria Hospital has greatly benefited me, and is starting to alleviate a number of my symptoms. Jim has also started therapy with a different therapist and I believe that he too is finally starting to feel some benefits. Still, this offers only small comfort. Yes, we are all starting to heal, but in the end, this attack has fundamentally changed me as a person as well as the way that I now look at the world. I no longer recognize my reflection in the mirror and am not the person that I once was, or will ever be. This experience has so altered my life forever, as well as how I view life.

1 comment:

Gledwood said...

Bloody hell!

I wanted to say I'm glad you're all right now... but you're obviously not all right.

I would have loved to say, Well at least it's all over... but it's not all over.

What I can say is I sincerely wish you and Jim and family all the very best.

Take care


It's been a long time and I'm sorry to come back to a post like that ... I hope I don't sound patronizing ~ I just wish you well.