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10-19-2010, 12:15 PM   #1
Cat-a-Tonic
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A little freaked out

I just needed to have a bit of a vent. This is about my friend, but it's got me freaked out.

So last week my friend, who is also a crohnie, was assaulted. She was taking out the garbage when a man grabbed her from behind. She elbowed him and managed to turn around. He was trying to get her on the ground, but she was able to knee him in the groin, and then she ran away.

They caught the guy, because she was able to identify the man for police - he was her neighbor. He is of course denying the whole thing and saying that she assaulted him with the whole knee in the groin thing, but fortunately the cops laughed out loud at that and charged him with assault instead. But he's apparently going to plead "not guilty" so my friend will now have to go through testifying at a court trial.

I am just so freaked out. I feel so bad for my friend - obviously her health is already poor, and the stress has caused her to lose about 10 lbs in just a few days. She didn't eat for 2 or 3 days and she's in a lot of pain due to a burst ovarian cyst. She's incredibly anxious about going through the trial. I don't know what to do or say to help her. I'm also so freaked out myself because of this whole thing. It happened at the parking lot of her apartment complex - the same complex I lived in for 5 years! It could have happened to me, or anyone. It's freaked both of us out to the point where we now both carry pepper spray.

How does one go about helping a friend in a situation like this, and how can I feel less freaked out about this whole thing? I'm thinking of looking into self-defense classes that my friend & I could take together, but other than that I have no ideas. Can anyone help?
10-19-2010, 01:20 PM   #2
rottengut91
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Oh Cat...I'm so sorry this has happened to your friend. I was involved in a home invasion about 12 years ago. It was beyond tramatizing. The guy had a crowbar and a butcher knife with him. My 6 year old step-son was in the house at the time, how he slept through the ordeal is beyond me because their was alot of screaming involved. At least to me it felt like I was screaming. It's almost like a dream, things seemed to be happening both fast and slow at the same time. I was so lucky that I had my pitbull Daisy with me at the time. She kept the guy far enough away from me, and he eventually turned around and ran out the back door. I hate imagining what could have happened had she not been there. I truly believed she saved my life. I don't know exactly what this guy wanted. He told me to give him all the money, of which I had none at the time. It still gets my heart pumping fast just sitting here now and thinking about it in detail. I can tell you that things will never be the same for your friend again. I had terrible panic attacks for months afterward. Things happened so fast, I couldn't remember details of what he looked like. It seemed like ever strange guy I ran into was the guy that did this. And to this day, its the last thing I think about before going to bed for the night. I did have my house locked that night, he broke a window in the door to unlock it and get in. Now, I'm fanatical about doors and windows being closed and locked. Even upstairs. I have to take anti-anxiety medicine or I get severe paranoia. It totally changed who I am. Time has helped, but I still don't feel safe in my own home sometimes. It's getting better, but I have my moments.
My advice, besides carrying the pepper spray and probably taking the self-defense, be there for her. Let her know no matter what time of day or night, she can talk to you. If she lives alone, maybe invite her to stay with you or move in with you if convenient. She is not going to feel safe for a very long time. Talking about her fears will help her.
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10-19-2010, 02:31 PM   #3
Cat-a-Tonic
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Thanks for your response Julie, and I'm so sorry to hear about the home invasion you had to go through. I'm glad the guy didn't physically hurt you, although obviously he made a mental/emotional impact. I've been thinking of getting a dog, and your story has made me want a dog even more!

My friend doesn't live alone, she lives with her fiance and her son and her fiance's daughter. So she's got plenty of people to look after her at home and she's not all alone. But I will make sure she knows that she can talk to me about it at any time. I know she isn't going to feel safe for a long time - she told me that when she's alone, she carries her pepper spray in hand with her finger on the button. She also told me that she feels much better after having some conversations with the lead (female) detective on her case, so that's good.

I'm just so concerned about her health - as I'm sure we all know, stress and anxiety do us no favors. When I see my friend, I make sure she eats something, even if it's just an Ensure. I just wish I could make this all go away! I remember her saying to me before all this happened that her anti-anxiety meds weren't working, so she already suffered some anxiety before this awful situation. I just wish there were an easy answer to help her and put this whole thing in the past - but there's no putting this in the past at least until after the trial. And then, even if the guy does get convicted, what are the odds he'll be in prison for long? It just seems like it's going to get worse before it gets better. But thanks for listening to me ramble. Just venting about it makes me feel a little more clear-headed and less panicked about the whole thing.
10-19-2010, 02:39 PM   #4
MapleLeafGirl
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Tell your friend not to stress too much about the trial. Even though the guy says he is going to trial now, as the actual trial date gets closer, things change. Based on the investigation and things that come out as a result, he could plead guilty the day of trial. Your friend could be all worked up, only to have to not deal with a trial after all. I know that is easier said than done.

As to tips on how to feel safe, I don't really have any as I've never had a similar experience, but I do think over time, you will both learn to feel safe again. Sorry you both have to go through such an ordeal.
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10-19-2010, 02:49 PM   #5
Cat-a-Tonic
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Kelly, I hope you're right and he pleads guilty. Apparently this guy is a real piece of work and has already tried various excuses - besides saying that my friend assaulted him, he also said that she & he are dating and that him grabbing her was consentual. Fortunately it doesn't sound like the cops are buying any of his stories. Unfortunately, the security cameras in that parking lot weren't working, so there's no hard evidence of the attack. And to make matters worse, the attacker lived with his mother, and the mother is still living there at the apartment complex, so my friend has to see her and be reminded all the time of what happened. Personally, I think my friend needs to move!
10-21-2010, 05:36 AM   #6
Dexky
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Hi Cat! This may be non-PC, but what are the concealed carry laws in WI? I realize she probably wouldn't have had it to take out the trash but taking concealed carry and gaining confidence in it could give her some peace of mind. Hey, I'm just an old Kentucky boy really!! I've been steeped in firearm safety since I could walk. They are tools!! In the right hands, they are the best deterrent to victimization. OK, all the firearm haters can jump on me now!!
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10-21-2010, 07:16 AM   #7
Rob
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Ok I don't have much experience to help but, over here in australia there are personal safety alarms
you can hang it around your neck or attatch it to your purse etc
all you do is pull the cord out of it and it screams about 110decibels an doesn't stop til u put the cord back in (not as easy as it sounds)
another good weapon to carry/use is ya keys
hold them so a good sturdy key is clentched between each finger an protruding out like a spike- sorta like a knuckle duster
if u punch someone with it it will hurt like hell and if u drop them then they can't be easily used against u like pepper spray or a gun etc can
also there is no law saying you can't carry your keys with you in any country I know of

dogs are also good, they don't even have to be big
just noisy enough to attract attention of passers by etc
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10-21-2010, 11:57 AM   #8
Cat-a-Tonic
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Mark: As far as I know, Wisconsin is one of the very few states (possibly the only one) that doesn't allow concealed carry. I remember the state legislature trying to pass a bill about that a couple of years back, but the governor vetoed it. So that's not an option for my friend. And personally, I'm not a fan of firearms, but I won't jump on you for your views.

Rob: Good idea about the keys. My friend lives in an apartment complex that doesn't allow dogs (I know because I used to live there myself a few years ago - they allow cats and small pets but no dogs). Oh, and I used to own one of those alarms where you pull the string out - the batteries died all the time, I wouldn't trust it to actually work if I had needed it in an emergency (it doubled as a flashlight so I used it just a few times and the batteries went dead). Although I owned that about 10 years ago, maybe the technology on those alarms has gotten a little better by now. I'll look into it.
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