I thought it best to give myself some time and space to reflect and recover and also to look at things from a distance (literally and figuratively as I went away on a little Vay Cay down the Garden Route after appearing in court).
If you were anything like me, you would have absolutely hated doing mondelinge and orals at school (It surprises me now as all I want to do is speak to as many people as possible) but back at school, one was usually given some arb topic and then had to stand in front of the whole class in a hideously unstylish uniform (usually in a colour that not even a chameleon would choose on a pantone chart or else a floral number that gave the classroom curtains a run for their money). Anyway, point being – I dreaded it, and yet I wanted to go first to just get it over with! Having my surname begin with a ‘W’ didn’t help my cause! Well, that is how I felt about having to appear and testify in court. At least this time I could choose the outfit; the topic however, was one of the most raw and emotional ones imaginable and certainly one that I would never ever have chosen for myself. On the day, I didn’t know whether to puke, pass-out or scream… yes, it was that bad! I was a bundle of nerves yet still felt sheer excitement about the prospect of having this horrendous thing finally behind me!
Throughout this journey I have had the most incredible people draw alongside me. Thank heavens for them otherwise I might have skipped the country a long time ago and not ever appeared in court. (I will admit that this was a very tempting option). However, on the day, I put my big girl pants on (some high heels for confidence) and prayed like crazy. I sat in that waiting room shaking! I needed a DRINK preferable one with lots of caffeine… and guess what happened next? A friend of mine, who is a newly qualified lawyer, smuggled a take-away Vovo Telo coffee and treat into the waiting room. I didn’t even need Aladdin’s genie, as I had my very own genius with caffeine in hand!!!) How she managed this I have no clue as Security confiscated a very girlie pink flask that my best friend attempted to carry into the high court building half an hour earlier! Maybe they suspected us of having something a little stronger than tea in that bright pink flask!? The caffeine fix was just what this girl needed!
My parents, my best friend and my cousin remained in the waiting room with me up until the point at which I had to walk into the courtroom. The police detective sergeant who had investigated the case and who had been involved in arresting some of my attackers had promised me that he would be there with me every step of the way and he honoured his word! I entered the room with such a sense of peace and authority in my heart (and my faithful detective at my side) He sat directly behind me in the witness box looking fiercely protective and ready to whip out his gun if any one dared try and mess with me! At that moment, if I could have seen the people who were holding me in prayer and the angels in that room I think I would have been speechless. (Thank you to all of you). Instead, I spoke and spoke and spoke, for an hour and a half! It felt like an eternity. I was determined to have my voice heard! I spoke with such a boldness and clarity of recall that even I was astounded!
It had been such a roller-coaster ride up until that point with trial dates shifting from one year to the next, the accused either changing advocates or refusing to be represented to mention only a few of the curveballs that were thrown our way. Each curveball somehow seemed to stall the matter coming to court. So to finally set these tiny size 3 feet of mine into that court room was an achievement in itself! A mixture of sadness and gladness filled my heart.
I told my story, answered questions and managed to not totally fall to pieces knowing that two of the five men who physically harmed me were sitting just a few steps away. God’s presence was so tangible in that room! Having to recall the whole story and give intimate details of the atrocities was extremely tough, but I did it! We did it! As I glanced back at advocate and sergeant they both had tears in their eyes. At that moment, I knew that both of these men realised only to well the horrors of what I had endured and as I looked into their eyes, I knew that they were both totally there in it with me. I felt heard and understood and less alone. I instantly stood taller, felt contained and totally gave it my all.
After I testified, I walked out of that room and into the waiting room and literally did star jumps! I was so excited to finally have had the chance to be heard. The rawness hit me only later! To celebrate I enjoyed cupcakes and champagne and just cuddled my sweet nephew until he couldn’t be cuddled anymore. (How perfectly timed is it that during one of the most painful periods in my life, God brought along a little bundle of joy who smells like ice cream and has the sweetest face)
My family and I were blessed to a week away along the garden route and oh boy did my heart need it! It was just so good to be away from the hysteria and bustle. The beauty of nature and the peace and tranquillity really touched our hearts deeply.
The verdict wasn’t reached as the case has been remanded until the beginning of June 2013. Initially, the thought if this frustrated me to the point where I thought steam would literally billow from my ears but I am now totally at peace about it, knowing that my part is done. The rest is beyond my control and it is not my fight to fight.
I’m excited about the new and next chapter in my life. It’s a closing of one, not a forgetting but oh so definitely an overcoming!
I have faced my Giants, and can now continue to walk forward in the fullness of that victory!