A Monday Two Octobers Ago

I write a lot of stories involving scary things on here, and especially since it is October people are watching and reading scary stories. Two Octobers ago though, I met the subject of many nightmares I’d have for the two years since then.

In October of 2016, a man followed me into an elevator at my law school and assaulted me. Today, I felt like writing it all down. It was mid morning, sunny and in the middle of a school building- not exactly a time where I felt like I needed to put my keys through my knuckles like a weapon. The man was arrested, but only after a camera got a view of him assaulting another woman a block away a couple of hours later. I remain very thankful that the City of Charleston’s officers worked quickly and that he was arrested the same night of the incident.

When he was sentenced, I learned that Bob Drayton, Jr. was a schizophrenic, homeless man who had suffered from fetal alcohol syndrome. Every time I think of this happening, I try to remind myself of those facts about him so that I am slow to anger. I try instead to think about if he had not been born into the conditions he was clearly born in, that maybe he would have had a chance to turn out differently. It’s not an excuse for him, but rather an attempt at understanding how a human being could be formed into what I can only describe as hollow.

Without going through every movement and every detail of the assault itself, the best way I can describe this was that it was mind altering. I grew up in a small town where I knew everyone and everyone knew me. I was never in a situation that I was worried for my safety, and I never wondered if I would be harmed or overpowered by a man. I understand how rare that feeling is, and how lucky I am to have lived in that bubble for so long.

Physically, I was fine after this. I was shaken, but as far as physical injuries go, there weren’t any thankfully. Mentally though, since that day I have not been the same person. I am a skeptical person now. I do not see the best in people initially like I once did, and I frankly don’t like being around new people who I don’t know in settings without other people around. It makes me incredibly uncomfortable, and I feel like I constantly have to keep my guard up. He shattered my trusting nature that had always come so naturally to me.

I do not go on elevators with men I do not know anymore. If someone isn’t with me that I know, I will wait until the next elevator comes or I will take the stairs. I’m not sure that this is something I will ever stop doing at this point.

For a long time I was angry at myself that I did not hit him or kick him or do something to stop him, so that at least he wouldn’t have done it to the next girl. I always thought that if I was ever in a situation like that, I would fight hard and that I would be able to defend myself. In actuality I froze, and I was unable to protect myself. My first instinct was flight, and as soon as the elevator doors opened, I ran. He got away because of me, or at least that’s what I told myself in the months following it. You truly don’t know what you’ll do in a situation like that. After learning about all of his mental illnesses, I started to forgive myself slowly, realizing that had I attacked him it was not out of the question he could have had a knife or any other weapon on him that he could have pulled on me.

My anger shifted more into just being thankful that it wasn’t nearly as bad as it could have been. The anger came back when he was sentenced. I wasn’t angry at the judge, or really even him- I was angry at the laws we have in place in South Carolina.

Ultimately, he was sentenced to three years in state prison, with credit for time served. When he was sentenced, he had been in custody for almost a year. When I spoke at his sentencing, where he plead guilty, I told the judge what happened and I asked that he be sentenced to the maximum amount he could be. The judge did sentence him to the maximum of three years, but first he expressed his annoyance that there was only a three-year maximum for this offense, when minor drug offenses carried much harsher minimum sentences. He implored me to try to make a change one day after I became a lawyer.

I have subsequently been pissed off since then at the lack of common sense sentencing guidelines. It is a slap in the face knowing that someone can steal your peace of mind and alter your view of the world you thought you lived in, and only have to serve two years of his three-year sentence. Our state needs to fix not only its mental health system, but many outdated laws and sentencing guidelines in our prison system.

I don’t know if I will ever be able to change the laws to make a physical/sexual assault worth more jail time. It seems like common sense to me, but quite frankly this isn’t an issue that men are prioritizing, because for them it doesn’t have to be a priority.

He is out roaming the streets of Charleston again now, because there is nothing to stop him from doing so. Since he had a record that was pages long before my incident, I assume there is no one helping him try to get his life in order by giving him the medicine he needs or keeping him out of trouble. He recently entered a store downtown that someone I know owns, and even though he isn’t allowed near the school again, I have no doubt that he frequents the bus stop right beside it. I also have no doubt that he will do this again to someone else.

Maybe one day I will get on an elevator again without immediately side-eyeing the person next to me, and maybe one day criminals in our state will at least serve their full sentence out, even if the sentence isn’t what it should be.

 

What I’m Reading Right Now

Hi friends!

I am having a little bit of writers’ block for my blog, also known as “blogger’s block”. So, I thought it could be fun to see what everyone has on their reading lists right now!

Currently, I am reading Carrot Cake Murder- A Hannah Swensen Mystery- by JoAnne Fluke. She’s a favorite murder mystery writer of mine. Her reads are easy and fun. I’ve been reading her books for probably thirteen or fourteen years, and I have always enjoyed them.

We are going to be driving to Nashville next weekend, and it’s about a nine hour drive. So, by pure necessity since most of our trip will be while it’s dark, I have the first book from the Nocturne Falls series queued up on my Kindle App on my phone. The first book is titled: The Vampire’s Mail Order Bride. This book series was recommended to me by a follower. It reminded me a lot of the Disney movie Halloweentown (that I was OBSESSED with as a kid…and still am), so I was excited to hear about these books. They seem like a light, easy read also, so perfect for a long road trip.

My book is…umm coming along….sort of. It’s so easy to get sidetracked from writing, so I really need to take the time this weekend to sit down and write some more.

Happy Thursday 🙂

 

Audiobooks- a Love Affair

Hi, my name is Julie and I love audiobooks. I feel like a weight has been lifted off of my shoulders.

I am old school when it comes to reading. I refuse to get a Kindle, because it feels like I’m cheating on my books. Maybe one day I’ll break down and get one, but nothing will ever be able to replace the feel and smell of a real book.

One thing I have no problem welcoming into my life are audiobooks. They are the best thing to ever happen to driving. They allow me to “read” while I otherwise cannot, whether I’m driving or it’s dark in a car I’m riding in. They also give my eyes a rest, and after a day of staring at my computer and going through files, my eyes thank me for not reading a normal book. .

I’m currently “reading” (listening) to John Grisham’s The Whistler. Per usual, it’s an incredible book and he is everything I aspire to be in an author. It’s about judicial misconduct, murder, money, and a whole slew of other topics.

Audiobooks are easy to download and easy to listen to, but my favorite recent discovery is the app OverDrive. It has won me over even more for audiobooks, because it utilizes my library. You enter in your library card information and link your library, and you can check out ebooks and audiobooks onto your phone. I love this, because for me anything that keeps the county library relevant is a good idea in my book. (No pun intended).

What are you currently reading? I would love to hear from you!

Who’s Your Favorite Author?

Happy Thursday! I’ve come to my followers looking for advice.

So, I tend to stay in a small section of authors, and I am pretty set in my ways about what I read. I like to stick with mysteries, detective stories, and classic novels, and I shy away from stepping out of that comfort zone.

If you were to suggest one author that does not write mysteries or crime or thrillers to me, who would it be and why? What books of theirs are your favorites? It’s not that I haven’t read other genres, but I’m curious about new authors to check out. I’m sure that I’m missing out on a lot of good books, and I want to check out some new things.

Thanks guys!

 

Mr. Confidence- A Book Review

book review pic

About a month ago I was contacted by Laura from Prodigy Gold Books, and I was asked to write a review for a new book they have coming out, Mr. Confidence by Rahiem Brooks. Of course I said yes, so I was sent the book (which is only available by download since it has not come out yet). I finished it last night, and I immediately wanted to sit down and write out my thoughts on it.

It is not the genre of books I reach for when in a library or a bookstore, but I enjoyed reading something a little different. It still had an air of mystery, as well as the crime aspect that I enjoy, but it does not fall under a mystery category. So for me, it was a good change of pace.

I don’t want to give too much away, and being that this is the first real book review I have been asked to do, I don’t know what or if there is a correct way to do this, so forgive me if I give too few or too many details. I don’t want to ruin the book’s plot for any potential readers out there!

Don Juan is the main character, he’s just gotten out of jail, and he has a lot of drama. Drama is the best word to describe the book, as well as the character. He is thrown back into the middle of the world that landed him in jail in the first place: the mother of his child, a mistress, and a world full of drugs and lust.

Don Juan is determined to not end up back in jail, and he will do (and does do) anything to keep that from happening. His main priority is his daughter, and the picture of the relationship Mr. Brooks draws for us between Don Juan and his daughter, Trinity, is one of a gentle dad who always goes the extra mile for her. He is also a thief, a con artist, and a ladies’ man that has no regard for the feelings of other people, except for his daughter. Mr. Brooks takes us on a short journey where a lot of life altering events occur for Don Juan. Just when we think our main character is at the end of his road, Mr. Brooks throws in another curve and changes everything.

The only complaint I have of the book, and it’s a small one, are the different view points the book goes through. Most of the book is told from the point of view of either Don Juan or his friend/business partner Lex. Several other instances in the book though, the story felt like it was being switched to the viewpoint of several background characters. The story still made sense, but a couple different times I had to look back and see why we were being told the story from that character’s point of view. Other people may enjoy the different view points of each character, no matter the significance, but it just didn’t feel as natural to me. Again, a very small detail in the scheme of things and likely just personal preference.

Mr. Brooks does a good job of capturing the dialog and the mannerisms of the area and the culture. It was an easy read, and one I enjoyed each night after work. It had it all: betrayal, love, crime, and greed. I would not recommend this book to young adults, as there is some explicit content, but it is a great read for a more mature audience.

I will be reading another book by Mr. Brooks, A Butler Christmas, that is already available to the public. I will make sure to update on that one as well!