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legal experiences anyone? 
4th-Dec-2004 10:50 pm
Hi everyone,

This has been x-posted to 4 survivor communities, so I apologize if you see this more than once, I'm really looking for some help. I am looking for someone who has gone through the legal process who would be willing to talk w/ me on AIM. I have a lot of questions and I don't have a lawyer yet. I think I'm going to do this, I live in Oregon, I will be 23 next April and the statute of limitations for childhood sexual abuse here is until the age of 24. I am looking for someone who may have a similar experience (I was abused around the ages of 4-6 I think) and the perpetrator was a neighbor (a teenage boy who lived at the house I stayed at when my mom was working).

1) I am broke. My therapist suggested I find a pro-bono lawyer. Is this easy to find? I have some numbers I am going to call, but I just want to hear if it would really be possible for me to get good legal assistance completely for free and about anyone's experience.

2) I fear that he could come back to retaliate if I send him to jail. I feel safe now, he’s always been in and out of jail and I have only seen this guy once since I was a kid - it was last spring and we spoke very,very briefly, and after seeing him I spiraled into some serious PTSD action. Anyway, I don't feel like he would try to hurt me again right now, but I feel like if I take this to court, he could come back to get me...either if I loose he could come immediately, or even if he gets some jail time, he could still come find me when he's out.

3) I need to talk to my mother. I know my father knows about most of what happened I think (I told him when I was little), but I'm not sure about my mother. Any tips on how to break it to my mother that the home she left me in was a bad choice?

4) How long does it all take? I am a graduate student, is this going to seriously interfere with life? Are they really going to search my journals, my history, my personal life, everything about me? All I really know is from what I've seen on TV/movies, and the little bit of online research I've done. I just want to get an idea of what this is really going to be like.

Ok, if anyone has any advice/experience on any or all of those points, I'd really appreciate it. Thanks so much and I hope you are all doing well.
(Deleted comment)
6th-Dec-2004 07:39 pm (UTC)
Hi, thanks so much for all of the advice and information. I didn't even think about things like a "no contact order," but even w/ that I'm still paranoid, restraining orders and such don't always do much I guess...but that is good to think about and makes me feel a lot better. I'm also planning to go to the women's center on my campus and see if they have a advocate or something available, that sounds like a really good idea. Thanks so much for your help, take care
7th-Dec-2004 07:34 pm (UTC)
I need to talk to my mother. I know my father knows about most of what happened I think (I told him when I was little), but I'm not sure about my mother. Any tips on how to break it to my mother that the home she left me in was a bad choice?
I don't have a lot of legal experience, but regarding talking with parents... I don't think I would do it as long as I felt I was blaming her in any way. Once I could go to her and tell her without saying her choice was the reason, I might say something though. Either way she'll most likely feel guilt and if you can smooth some of that over because you've already worked it out, that helps.
Not saying that she's more important than you but just that it will probably make it easier for you in the long run.
Good luck with everything!
8th-Dec-2004 02:15 am (UTC)
that's a really good point. i know i have issues w/ blaming her, but it stems from a lot of other things, and i know the abuse was not her fault. thanks, good advice.
22nd-Dec-2004 06:18 pm (UTC)
I don't know if I can help you very much, but I'm in the middle of my process. I don't live in the state where I was abused as a child, but I contacted that county's children's services via email and told them my story. They said to contact the county police. So I did and I got hooked up with the crimes against children unit. This was back in May. I waited for a few months before contacting them again, so by October I went in for an interview with the detectives. Now they are SLOWLY collecting my evidence and will contact me about a preliminary hearing eventually.

I'm hoping that this process will speed up after the holidays, but I understand that there are more pressing cases to deal with. My abuser was in jail, which is why I felt safe enough to go to the police after so many years. However, he's out on parole now but I was assured that even once they approach him, my name won't be shared unless we eventually go to trial.

I don't have a lawyer but I do have an experienced psychologist helping me through this. I don't think I would have been able to start the whole process without him!
22nd-Dec-2004 06:22 pm (UTC)
BTW... I was six and my perp. was a teenage boy who babysat me. Weird.

As for the interference with your life- they need to collect as much evidence as possible from you. It will definitely stir up a lot of stuff. I ended up having flashbacks and remembering everything that happened to me after the first interview. This process will interfere with your everyday life even while you wait. It's always in the back of my head and it's very hard to just let it sit there.

But imagine if you didn't do this... I know I need the closure.
22nd-Dec-2004 09:14 pm (UTC)
hi, thanks for all of your information. i am so uncertain of everything right now. i feel sick at the thought of doing this and sick at the thought of not doing it. i just want to make the right decision. it's also hard cause i was so young i don't know if my memories are accurate, but i also have a psychologist helping me, and it's been a tremendous help. thanks for your advice
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