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.

 

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!

The “Get to Know Me Tag”

Thank you so much GaillovesGod for nominating me to do this! I’m excited to share a little about myself with my followers 🙂

Below are questions & answers for all of the nominees  ❤

  • What are my strengths?
    • I’m not easily intimidated.
    • I don’t take no for an answer.
    • I can talk to anyone about anything.
  • What are my short term goals?
    • To continue to blog regularly.
    • To get my health back to normal.
    • I’d like to be accepted onto a baking show that I entered a contest for.
  • What are my long term goals?
    • To write my book and get it published.
    • To run for public office and be elected.
  • Who matters the most to me?
    • God
    • My family
    • My boyfriend Johnny
    • My friends
    • My English bulldog Nugget
  • What am I ashamed of?
    • That I’ve gained weight.
    • That I’m not always grateful for what I have in life.
  • What do I like to do for fun?
    • I love going to Disney World with my boyfriend.
    • I love going to Clemson football games.
    • I love a good glass of wine and a book.
  • What new activities am I willing to try?
    • I’d like to try white water rafting.
  • What am I worried about?
    • Not living up to my potential and wasting the talents I have been given.
  • What are my values?
    • My values come from God and my momma.
  • If I had one wish, it would be…?
    • to be able to talk with my cousin David.
  • Where do I feel the safest?
    • with Johnny
    • the Library
  • What or who gives me comfort?
    • Johnny
    • My mom
  • If I was afraid, I would…?
    • Call my Daddy
  • What is my proudest accomplishment?
    • Passing the Bar exam and being admitted to the South Carolina Bar
  • Am I a night owl or early bird?
    • An early bird
  • What does my inner critic tell me?
    • That I can be better than I am, and I’m not living up to my potential.
  • What do I do to show my self, self-care?
    • I love getting my nails done.
    • I love going to yoga.
  • Am I an introvert or extrovert?
    • I am an extroverted introvert. I enjoy talking to other people and being with other people, but I retreat to my corner as soon as I can.
  • What am I passionate about?
    • politics, a good cup of coffee, and Clemson football
  • What do my dreams tell me?
    • That I need to work on being less anxious.
  • What is my favourite non-fiction book?
    • The only Non-fiction book I read is the Bible. I read some biographies every now and then, but the Bible will always be my favorite non-fiction book!
  • What is my favourite fiction book?
    • This is the hardest question on here by far. I love anything by Agatha Christie, John Grisham, the Hannah Swensen mysteries by JoAnne Fluke, and growing up Trixie Belden and Nancy Drew were all I would read.
  • What is my favourite movie?
    • Beauty and the Beast
  • What is my favourite band?
    • the Beatles or the Eagles depending on my mood
  • What is my favourite food?
    • Burritos
  • What is my favourite colour?
    • Black
  • What am I grateful for?
    • That I have a family that loves me and has sacrificed to get me to the point that I am today.
    • That I have a God who forgives every wrong I have ever made.
  • When I am feeling down, I like to?
    •    Listen to Disney music
  • I know I am stressed when?
    • I feel anxious or my face is breaking out.

 

 

Thanks for nominating me GaillovesGod!

I nominate:

PerfectlyTolerable

Alexx’s Keto Avenue

BaffledMum

Georgia’s Pampering

 

My Book Title!

I am so excited, because I have come up with the title of the book I will be writing. I know many authors find the title as they are writing or at the end, but I have always found that when I come up with it at the beginning it gives my work direction.

So, unless something changes the book will be titled Best Interest of His Child. In family law, the standard judges look to is “Best Interest of the Child.” It is drilled into us in law school and while studying for the bar, so when I decided to write this book that centers around family law, I thought this title would be appropriate. Once I write a post explaining the plot, the title will make more sense.

I am excited to be making some headway though, even if it is not very much. Hopefully, I will have more updates for y’all soon!

Help Me Write This Book

For most of my life, I have had it in my head that I am going to be a published author. Generally, if I get something in my head I am going to dwell on it until it gets finished. The problem with writing this first book has never been my lack of desire to write it, but  that I have never been able to nail down a genre. I have a lot of different interests, and I hate the thought of being tied to one type of book. Some days I want to write a mystery, and others I’m more drawn to a fantasy, magic type book.

Your first book is going to set the precedent for your audience and for the people interested in publishing it, and I want to make absolutely certain I’ve got it right before I do it. So far, what I have is an idea for a book. I have an outline and I have the names of characters. The theme ties in my love of mystery and what I experience (to an extent) as a lawyer. John Grisham is an author whose ideas have shaped me, and being that he is an attorney also I think molding my career as an author after him makes sense.

I have always envisioned writing Nancy Drew type novels, so I’m thinking of this more as if Nancy Drew grew up and became a lawyer, what would her life be like?

I’d gladly accept any advice you might have for writing your first book. I imagine it won’t be nearly as easy or go as smoothly as I have pictured in my head. The big ideas are easy to come up with, it’s the details I struggle with sometimes. Any helpful tips or things you wish you had known when you started your first book would be a huge help!

I have to start somewhere, so I may as well start now. Maybe I’ll be able to cross this off of my bucket list before I turn 30 in a few years!