The whole ordeal was surreal. It was like watching the occurrence through the eyes of another.
I was first prepared for trial by meeting with the district attorney (DA) who worked with victims.
Although, I was not thee victim; I was considered a victim of Dale’s.
A victim of his psychological and physical abuses. The DA suggested, I might benefit from counseling. In hindsight, I agree; but in that moment I just wanted to be done with the entire experience.
The DA who worked with victims prepared me for trial by ensuring I understood what to expect. She let me know I would see Dale while I was on the stand; he would be looking at me as I testified; and perhaps trying to intimidate me. She instructed me to look at her if I needed support.
I met with the prosecuting attorney (DA) who instructed me on where to look (not at the jury), what to wear (professional attire), and what not to say.
What NOT to say was regarding a deal made between the defense attorney and the prosecution about evidence.
In my case, they agreed; the fact Dale abused me would NOT be brought to light.
I wasn’t present for the entire trial; which is typical for witnesses who are testifying.
I felt nervous and ill. I don’t like attention, I don’t like being the center of attention…yet, there I was being looked at, judged and having conclusions drawn about me.
I was also nervous because I didn’t want to see anyone I knew at the courthouse. I didn’t want to explain why I was there.
I saw Dale’s parents. They were there every day of the trial to support him.
I saw a friend of Dale’s ex-wife. I understand she was there everyday as well. It is pure conjecture, but I suppose she was present to report daily happenings back to Dale’s ex-wife; who could not be present due to testifying as a victim-witness.
I was called to the stand. It was very dramatic. The prosecutor came to get me from the corridor where I waited. I entered the court room and felt all eyes on me. I looked straight ahead as a made my way to the stand. I swore to tell the truth and was seated.
The prosecutor asked how I knew the defendant, Dale, and how long I’d known him. She asked what I knew about his relationship with his then wife and other matter of fact details.
The defense attorney approached and began his line of questioning. His aim was to discredit me.
He asked, “Is it true you threatened to kill Dale if he ever cheated on you?”
He asked, “Is it true you have two Social Security numbers?”
I responded,” Yes. It’s not illegal. My mother was given two in the 1970s by the social security administration in New York City, when I was a baby. One has my birth name; the other was filed for and received after I was given a Muslim name.”
The defense attorney appeared stunned. I think he was expecting an inarticulate response; and perhaps a lie. I can only presume what sort of picture Dale painted of me, for his attorney.
The last two questions were about my beliefs regarding Dale’s propensity toward violence.
The attorney asked if I thought Dale was capable of the crime he was accused of. I answered affirmatively. The attorney then asked what Dale did to make me believe he could be violent [remember there was a deal made and Dale’s abuse toward me was not supposed to come to light].
I looked at the defense attorney and remained silent. I was perplexed and looked at the prosecutor who understood my stillness.
The DA requested to approach the bench. During the sidebar, the defense attorney told the judge I should be compelled to respond to his question.
The DA didn’t argue. My answer would be in her favor. The judge instructed me to answer and she, the DA, smiled and gave me a nod.
Once everyone returned to their post, the defense attorney asked again, “What indication did Dale give you, that he was violent?”
I answered,”He was violent toward me. He hit me on approximately five different occasions.”
The jury gasped. Dale dropped his head and folded his hands. The defense attorney’s mouth was agape. The DA smirked.
No further questions.