How to Prepare a Victim Impact Statement

You never know when you might need to write a Victim Impact Statement. I wish this on no one. But if you do, here’s what I learned while preparing my statement for the Joseph DeAngelo sentencing hearing. I hope you find this helpful.

Important Note

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For some darn reason, Minnie Mouse decided to enter my body and speak during this podcast. It’s on speed and I can’t change it. So you can either save time and listen to me talk even faster (as if that was possible), or use your device to slow down the pace.

If you look at how the legal system works, Victim Impact Statements play an important role. They are intended to help the judge to understand three things about the victim, relative to the crime: the physical, emotional, and financial effects of the crime. From there, the judge may use that information to determine sentencing and financial restitution. We address our remarks to him, not the defendant.

This nuance, not being able to address DeAngelo, has made several of his victims really angry. 

The reality is, while we won’t be censored, we do need to follow the rules of the court. Rage, sadly, is not part of the process. It’s interesting that it isn’t. If I think about it, it’s a by-product of the men who shaped our legal system. Feelings are eschewed – well, they are in court. Instead, feelings are shifted to punishment and that punishment has become more and more severe over the years. 

Yes, I know old punishments included the stockade, physical abuse and more, but let’s focus on the our times where incarceration and the death penalty are where we are likely to see our rage turned into action. Maybe if we could get more of our feelings out directly, at the convict at sentencing, we might all feel a bit better. At least, it would allow convicts who deeply regret their mistakes to listen to the rage and understand the consequences of the actions on those they hurt. 

But no, instead we are to be civilized, address the judge and mind our manners.

I give absolutely no fucks about DeAngelo. 

He got away with it as far as I’m concerned. Justice isn’t possible in this case. How could we ever punish him for his crimes in a method commensurate with what he’s done. The death penalty would not have been enough. He will likely die at his own hands because he seems hell bent on staying in control. But that’s what it is. 

The good news is there’s opportunity to change things with defendants who do regret their behavior and are seeking rehabilitation or just opportunity. That’s where your Victim Impact Statement can truly make a difference. It allows you to examine your humanity. Your resilience. Your commitment to making the world a kinder, gentler place.

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It’s Time to Let Go – Full Moon Renewal Ceremony

The full moon in July is referred to as the “Full Buck Moon” because this is the time of year buck’s antlers are in full growth mode. According to the Farmer’s Almanac, the July full moon is also sometimes called the Thunder Moon, Hay Moon, or Wort Moon.

July 7th UPDATE: The ceremony was great! Thank you to those of you who joined me live. There are a few photos below and the video and podcast if you’re interested. I have not paid a lot of attention to my spiritual side lately, and this is just what I needed. 

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On Monday, July 6, at 8pm PT (and you can do this from wherever you are), we will gather at the Guy West Bridge over the American River on the Sac State side, to release the negative energy Joseph DeAngelo released on all of us. This is for anyone who’d like to participate. And yes, technically it won’t be the exact full moon, but I think the Universe will understand.

The full moon is a time for renewal

Tammie Fairchild, founder and CEO of Serenity Spa in Roseville, will get us started. She’s put together a lunar renewal ceremony that she’ll deliver via Zoom. This allows anyone, anywhere to join us. You’ll need to register to participate. Do that, then download the Zoom app to your phone and bring your phone with you (if you’re attending in person, everyone else, computers are fine).

Then, based on a Jewish Tashlich ritual, we’ll release bread (or flowers – must be organic and environmentally friendly) onto the moving water below. This symbolizes the negativity being taken away, and for me, the release of my dad and Charlene’s pain so they can move on.

This is our chance to come together in light. To move past this moment in our shared history and set intentions to make the world a better place. I look forward to having you join us.

Remote attendees: just register for the Zoom and we’ll see you then.

If You’re coming, How it will work

  1. We will start at 8pm.
  2. The moon rises a little late so bring a flashlight if you need visual assistance.
  3. We can park at Sac State in the parking lot (not the structure and absolutely not on the road – that’s fire access). See image below for clarity.
  4. Follow the balloons to the bridge. It’s not that far and I think it’s a pretty flat walk until you get to the bridge.
  5. If you want to participate in the Zoom, register and then bring your phone. You’ll need the Zoom app so download it. Then you’ll just tap the link in the email confirmation, and you’ll be connected.
  6. Bring old bread or flowers if you’d like to release anything onto the water.
  7. Wear a mask, prepare to socially distance. I don’t want one darn person getting sick from this.
  8. This is a life-positive, community get-together. My goal is to be done by 9pm and I’d like to leave the place looking better than when we arrived (you know what I mean).
  9. If there are any night photographers planning to come, bring your camera. Would prefer no flash photography.
  10. If there’s anyone who can lead a song, we might all know, your leadership would be cool.

If you knew my dad and my stepmom, you know this is exactly the kind of event they might have held and certainly would have attended. They believed in the power of community, coming together and shared intention. My dad knew how to move people and Charlene knew how to make them feel at ease. Throughout this process, I have received tremendous support from so many. For that, I am deeply appreciative.

This is our chance, to come together, share our common experience and move forward together. See you Monday night.

Here are a few photos from the evening

Guy West Bridge at Sac State. Mini Golden Gate!
Just a few of us, but it was perfect.
My poor kid was the videographer. She's so durable.
The view up-river, a turtle kept us entertained.
The view down-river. Two geese floated past for effect.
Gratuitous puppy shot. I mean PUPPY!

Joseph DeAngelo is Dead | What If?

It’s fall and we have a new house in Sacramento! I won’t be living there full time but at least I can come up and hang-out now – for at least as long as the kiddo can handle me. It’s just a bus ride away from court so I’m ready baby. Bring it on!

Ever since the last hearing in August, I’ve been thinking a lot about the health and well-being of DeAngelo. He has lost considerable weight. Enough, in my humble opinion, to make me wonder if he’s getting enough nutrition to stay coherent. I have no idea if he’s eating and what he’s eating. I realize he has very little to live for, but at a minimum there are three daughters who deserve to work through this with him. And at least one grandchild. His legacy will haunt them for the rest of their lives; he should at least make time for them. To my knowledge, this hasn’t happened. But if it has, good. They deserve answers.

The DOJ said, “that two primary causes for jail suicide exist: (1) jail environments are conducive to suicidal behavior and (2) the inmate is facing a crisis situation. From the inmate’s perspective, certain features of the jail environment enhance suicidal behavior: fear of the unknown, distrust of an authoritarian environment, perceived lack of control over the future, isolation from family and significant others, shame of incarceration, and perceived dehumanizing aspects of incarceration.” read more

Whose responsibility is his health and well-being?

It’s interesting, I’ve been asking this question of lots of people, but I never get the same answer. Some say it’s the jail. Some say it’s a medical professional. Some have pointed to the District Attorney (in this case, Sacramento’s since he’s lodged in their county jail). Others have said it’s his attorneys’ job. Here’s the code on imprisonment, it goes on forever, but I can’t find the part where someone actually owns responsibility. It seems as though it’s up to someone, at some point, to decide he needs medical help. My issue is, without clear definition, this seems woefully ambiguous. The easiest way to ask the question (especially in a post-Epstein world), who will be held accountable if he dies or suffers mental decline? Seems like we should have a name.

Is it ethical to let him starve or choose to starve himself?

I have been searching for an ethicist with whom I could discuss this topic, but I’ve had no luck. In fact, in doing a quick survey of the literature I could find online, this issue hasn’t even been academically tackled in a long time. Most articles are from the last century or early 2000s. I feel like maybe we are all in denial about this. (Author Al Tompkins has written a good article about suicide in jails – versus prisons – in August of 2019. Interesting read.)

People in jail are seven times more likely to take their own lives than those housed in prisons. Al Tompkins, Poynter, read more

So without outside help, you get to think about this with me: he has not been convicted. He’s a suspect and while we (The People) are detaining him based on good evidence, he’s still – theoretically – innocent and entrusted to our care as an un-convicted suspect. Do we owe him more because of this? Do we have a duty to keep him from hurting himself, or more importantly, to keep him cognitively sound until he has a trial? What if he was allowed to starve, stop getting nutrition and then claim he’s mentally unsound for trial? Who worries about that besides me?

If he dies without conviction, what would that mean?

For me, it’s easy. The minute my District Attorney told me it was a 100% DNA match to what was found in Charlene, I knew we had the right guy. I don’t need a trial or all the other claptrap. He’s guilty in my mind and I’m good. But for many, they want to see him convicted. I’ve had some survivors tell me they wish they’d simply prosecute Ventura – because it’s pretty open and shut – so at least he’s been found guilty of that crime. It’s absolutely possible that he won’t make it long enough to stand trial for all the crimes for which he’s charged. I bet there are odds somewhere. Many might feel cheated if he dies without a conviction.

For others, they want a chance to confront him. They have waited a lifetime to have their moment in court. It’s bad enough most of the rape victims won’t get to face him, but several will that have the kidnapping charge as part of their crime. While they struggle to deal with the idea of testifying, there is some comfort in knowing they got to face him in court. It would be awful to cheat them of this.

For a long time, confronting him wasn’t even on my radar. But over the months, I’ve changed. Now I do want to see him sit at the defense table and face his accusers. I won’t be an accuser, I won’t be testifying, but I can vicariously experience that confrontation. All I know is right now, it’s very unsatisfying not to be able to speak to him. It’s one of our most human traits and yet, it’s simply not allowed. I suppose I should consider that a gift. I’m pretty sure nothing decent would come out of my mouth.

Sacramento County, please don’t mess this up.

I’ll continue to ask questions and seek to understand. I hope there is someone in Sacramento County who is taking responsibility for DeAngelo’s physical and mental health. At this point, his work here is not done. He might think taking the easy way out is his best option, but no. He still has work to do. He needs to sit with himself as he wastes in jail. He needs to have the awareness that we know him now and live with the consequences.

He has a duty to his family. He has a duty to his victims. He has a duty to everyone who lived in fear because of his horrendous behavior.

 

Justice Fatigue: It’s a Thing and it Happens to Many of Us

Epstein is dead. I did not see that coming. Sometimes I am so naïve. I think good things happen to people who are good. I think the bad guy gets caught. I might as well add unicorns and fairies to my list because I’m clearly delusional. I heard one Epstein victim anger crying this morning because she’ll never get to face him and hold him accountable. Kinda relatable.

This justice thing is exhausting.

I don’t have to tell the thousands of you out there who are still pursuing answers for your cold cases, your rape, or your abuser that the pursuit of justice is tiring. I follow many of you on Twitter and I watch and support your efforts to keep hope alive: to fight for answers, seek justice, pursue the truth. But it can be so slow and painful and sometimes we just want to give up.

I totally get it. I lived 20 years thinking my dad and Charlene were killed by a local. Someone in their world who had had enough. Maybe a boyfriend of Charlene’s. Maybe a business deal where my dad was just a bit too clever and screwed someone over. Never did I think it was a stranger; that it was not motivated by passion or jealousy or anger. Low and behold, it turned out to be a demon. Pure evil. Or was it?

Oddly I have spent this summer binging on horror movies.

Some have been really good and some have been awful (my little list below). All of them, for me, have been funny. That’s because I don’t believe in demons. I don’t. Having lived for almost another 20 years in fear of an unknown assailant, who had eluded the law and managed to hurt so many people, I’ve had my fill of fear.

I do think, maybe, there are monsters. Sociopaths who don’t belong with the rest of us. People who have no empathy, sympathy or connection to others. I suspect they do have feelings, but they aren’t like the feelings we have. I suspect their feelings are more like a hunger or compulsion to do the evil they do. And whether or not the monster has been caught, all the waiting is so damn cruel.

I think that’s what makes “justice fatigue” so much harder.

Justice presumes the bad person will get what he or she deserves. That’s a good outcome for normal fuck-ups. Humans make mistakes – sometimes bad ones – and there should be consequences. As I write this time is still ticking on an acquaintance who committed several bank robberies and crossed state lines in the melee and he’s still serving his 35 years. Basically, his whole adulthood. Ironically, he’s at peace with the consequence. Hopefully he’ll be paroled next year and he has every intention of quietly trying to make a contribution and live a good life. That’s how it should work.

Instead, whether we are searching for or have arrested a real monster – DeAngelo, Epstein, this trash human in El Paso – justice turns into an obscene dance that’s about everyone else except the monster and the victims. For those with a vested interest, I don’t know, say like the victims, it becomes an uncomfortable journey of hearings, news stories, missing the point, speculation, and fatigue. And this is what happens when someone gets caught. We know there are many, many others out there who haven’t been arrested. Some are monsters and some are just really bad people.

I don’t have a remedy, but I encourage you not to give up.

Justice fatigue, regardless of whether or not your crime has been solved, is just that. Instead of drowning in it, I encourage you to name it, put it in a jar and set it on the shelf. For many of us, we might not get the answers we seek. But I assure you, if your intentions are honest and your efforts sincere, you’re creating energy that helps us all. I am buoyed by those who won’t give up. We all have days when a pity party is justified. But when you’re done being sad and frustrated, get back to work.

If you need help, join me on Twitter @jcarole. There’s a whole squad there who fight through justice fatigue every damn day.

Jen’s Little List of Summer 2019 Horror Movies on Netflix

The Perfection: cello music and rage

Woman in Black 2: period piece, good story

The Autopsy of Jane Doe: thriller, autopsies

American Hangman: Donald Sutherland slays it, some cheese

The Rite: gorgeous Italy, devil stuff

The Endless: weird cult stuff with a monster

Now your turn – what else should I watch?!

I Used to Hate Him, But Now I Just Resent Joseph DeAngelo

The El Paso shooting has just happened and I am heartsick. I’m sure you’ll be shocked to learn I’m anti-gun – particularly when it comes to using them to kill one another – but I even feel like it’s not a fair fight when hunting. I don’t mind hunting, but use some skills darn it. I’ve fired a gun. It’s unforgiving. [Sunday morning: another mass shooting overnight. Hard to get out of bed. But I had a comment about guns for legit protection and I agree. There are horrible moments in life when you need to protect someone or save yourself. Damn.]

As the August 22nd hearing grows near, I’ve realized I’m really starting to resent these quarterly treks to Sacramento just to watch an aging monster, age. This thing is moving at a snail’s pace and honestly, there’s no story here anymore. He’s been caught. He’s been vilified in the media. The survivors have proven their resilience. The investigators can finally sleep. Even his family must have figured out some way to get up every morning knowing the horrific legacy he’s left them.

So yes, I’m way over it.

I resent he hasn’t just died and given us all an out; allowing us to go on living without his god-awful name ever having to be mentioned again.

I resent he’s taking up space.

I resent my taxes are paying for him.

I resent he’s going to cost our state tens of millions of dollars.

I resent politicians – whoops, I’m sorry – district attorneys who will use this as leverage in their next election.

I resent this gives any fuel to the death penalty debate.

I resent watching his female attorney look at him like he’s a small boy who’s lost his way.

I resent that we have to shut our mouths in court because “decency” and “rules” as if this was in any way related to how he behaved.

I resent family members and survivors are living with the dread of having to testify.

I resent every trauma he caused, every person he hurt, every life he stole.

I resent the years we all lived in fear because he could still be out there.

I resent every damn breath he takes.

Yes, I’m going to be there. My expectations are minimal. I’m much more excited about seeing my kid (who lives there now) than being ushered into that tiny jailhouse courtroom in the August heat.

Stay tuned.

The Unbearable Burden of Owning Your Truth | An Open Letter to Jeffrey Epstein’s Victims

When I found out the series of southern California murders were connected to the rapes in northern California, what I fantasized was one day I would meet the amazing rape survivors and somehow find common cause among them. While I wasn’t raped, the monster that had attacked them had raped my stepmom and killed both she and my dad. Somehow, I imagined, they would understand.

I’m happy to report they did understand. These women are now my friends.

I’ve have watched these women of incredible strength, face their attacker in the courtroom for the first time. I’ve watched their hands shake and their faces flush. And this wasn’t even about testifying yet. This was just being in the same damn space, breathing the same air as the man who haunted them for years. There are still some who have not joined us – for whatever their personal reasons – but for those that have faced the monster, over the course of a year, I’ve watched them change. From my point of view, its been for the better.

That doesn’t mean the change hasn’t come with pain. Even I was thrown back to my 18-year-old self and I’ve had to deal with “my shit” related to the crime. But I have to say, the impact has been tremendous. For me, it has meant a life change that I didn’t see coming. I’m committed to advocating for survivors and I’m back in school to become a certified life coach. It’s from that place that I encourage survivors of Epstein and his evil cadre of rapists, to consider coming forward. To step into the light.

Pain can live in you like a cancer. Releasing the toxins might be the answer.

None of us know the journey these victims have taken as they moved from children to adult women. I suspect they’ve told themselves a lot of rationalizations that somehow have allowed them to cope. But I’d like to push into some of the more common ways we “justify” what happened to us when we were children that may have helped us grow into adulthood, but now no longer serve us. That’s when we need to adopt new, healthier strategies for survival. Watching Christine Blasey Ford testify and then deal with backlash that triggered all of us who’ve suffered at the hands of men has led us to a new place.

The #MeToo Movement isn’t just about women.

It’s also about aligning with the men who see what’s been happening and are just as disgusted with this kind of behavior. It’s about healing and taking back what’s ours regardless of gender. We have the right to be honored for who we are – warts and all. We have the right to be heard and to be believed. And bit by bit, this evolution is happening. If there’s a “yeah, but” forming on your lips, I get it. There will be bumps in the road.

But right now, let’s be clear about a few things we all tell ourselves when we’ve been abused that are absolutely, positively false – regardless of what anyone, including our President says.

I deserved it. Nobody deserves to be hurt. It doesn’t matter how old you are, what you are wearing, whether you agreed to go to the party… I could go on. The point is, one person does not get to hurt another person.

I’m unworthy. This one is a hard one to fight when you’re really in the shit, but it’s wrong. Everyone is worthy and your story matters. Adding to the collective consciousness helps us all and as you start to share, you may find you feel stronger and more worthy every day. If you aren’t ready to share, that’s okay too. Just know, your worth is not connected to those men or their crimes.

Nobody will understand. Oh, but we do. You know who really understands? Olivia Benson, aka Mariska Hargitay. There’s a reason Law and Order SVU is so popular. And Dateline. It’s because we DO understand. Good people have come together to pursue true crime and help victims get answers. Mariska has a foundation with a mission to “transform society’s response to sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse, support survivors’ healing, and end this violence forever.” Your advocates are legion.

We are on the precipice of living in a world where women have true power.

A future where women’s values, talents, capabilities and genius will help humanity evolve to embrace human rights, civil rights and true compassion. But that change does come at a cost. The cost of owning our truth. Speaking out won’t be perfect, there will still be mistakes and unintended consequences, but that’s how change happens.

Your strength at this moment will make a difference. Stand tall. Be strong. We are here for you.


If you were victimized by Epstein or his associates, the FBI wants to hear from you: 1-800-CALL-FBI. I recommend having a friend (or rape crisis counselor) help you with this call. Have her/him sit with you, conduct the call on speaker, take notes, and don’t agree to anything unless you’re ready. It’s good to listen and then tell them you’ll think about it, so you have time to consider what you need. Self-care is vital during this process.

The National Human Trafficking Hotline is (888) 373-7888.
Please report any suspicious activity in any language.

Deep Dive: “Man in the Window” and the Therapeutic Technique Many of Us are Using

I have a lot to say about Paige St John’s podcast. All of it good. But let’s start where she left off. In the final episode, Resurrection, she talks about the therapist Phyllis and Kris are seeing and she speaks briefly about the therapeutic technique. For those of you interested, I thought I’d provide more information so you can investigate this kind of treatment for yourself. It’s exceptionally helpful for anyone with PTSD or deep trauma.

I didn’t realize I was doing the same thing as Kris and Phyllis until I spoke with Kris a couple weeks ago. As you know, what happened for me (and my family) was different. Most had personal contact with and survived the monster. We have just the memories of how our family members were killed. Thankfully, as a group, we don’t bisect the two kinds of survivors, yet the trauma is different. I don’t have body memories like they do. I wasn’t terrorized by him afterward (except in my head). And yet, this kind of therapy works the same way regardless of how you’ve earned your trauma. It’s called Brainspotting (not to be confused with Trainspotting, the 1990s Scottish drug movie), and it’s almost a hybrid of EMDR.

As I understand from my therapist, a psychologist in Santa Cruz, Brainspotting is fairly new. The training is coming out of California and most of the early adopters are actually in the Sacramento area. It’s seems extremely easy but that’s the rub. It works almost like popping a Pillsbury biscuit roll – once it’s open, you can’t shove the stuff back in and save it for later. Let me slow down and explain.

The Brainspotting process.

I have eleven planets in Aquarius, I’m up for almost everything, but when I first heard about Brainspotting, I thought it sounded like magic. In fact, I likened it to when Dumbledore pulls the memory out of his head with his wand and drops it into that pool so Harry can see Dumbledore’s memories. It’s kinda like that.

First the client (you) think about the traumatic event you want to deflate. I usually start thinking about it when I wake up on a therapy morning, knowing my appointment is at 10:45. It makes for a rather unpleasant morning. I get anxious knowing I’ll be spotting soon and I make a point of avoiding caffeine. Because I’m a big chicken, I usually babble a bit when I get there until Lilli looks at me and says, “Ready”? I say no but I know it’s time. She hands me an iDevice with headphones; the music playing softly moving from one ear to the other. For me, I find that highly stimulating. I really have to carefully adjust the volume to be loud enough to hear but not so loud as to distract.

Someone call Hogwarts, we found a wand.

The next step is where the wand comes in. My therapist calls it a pointer, my friend calls it a piece of shit, I think everyone has their own pet name for the damn thing. It is irritating. But it works. While you are thinking about your trauma (and it’s usually just a slice of the trauma because there’s only so much one can handle in a single session), the therapist is moving the pointer around. Slowly. Back and forth, up and down. They are watching to see if your eyes do a flicker or movement. When they see that, they stop and either ask what’s going on or wait to see if you speak. This is the moment that distinguishes therapists.

When there’s a hit – that point where your brain and your memory come together and deliver feelings that can be breathtaking, how your therapist makes space for that moment is everything. In my case, my therapist says she will be quiet until I talk. This works for me because sometimes, it’s almost like I’m having crashing thoughts. Lots of noise, memories, feelings, words, images, skin crawling or numbness. It’s not predictable other than, for me, it will require Kleenex. I’ve found I rapidly move off the “wand” and fixate on an object in her office that’s in the same location as the wand and I usually have her stop wanding (look how I made up a verb) and she just let’s me sit and stare.

The science of Brainspotting.

Yeah, I don’t know how it works exactly, but there’s something about the music bringing together both sides of the brain that helps the memories come back. As they do, the tide of emotion is huge. Like its more of a tsunami of emotion and I can only do it for about 20 minutes. Then I need to spend the rest of the hour settling back down – like you might do to reduce anxiety. Breathing, observing, discussing key parts of the memories all help to deescalate the situation. The rest of the day, I’m kind of trashed – I go back to work, but I plan to do the things that don’t take a lot of brain power because I find I am scattered on Brainspotting days. And I usually need a nap.

Lilli warns that self-awareness and self-care are extremely important for anyone doing this kind of work. The door has been unlocked; the book has been opened; and memories can creep out when you least expect them. But the benefits – as far as I’m concerned – outweigh all the work. I know I have PTSD from the murders. I also have a few other things that have happened to me that fit PTSD. I did a ton of therapy in my 20s and did not want to go back. Dealing directly with the trauma, at age 57, is about all I can handle right now and it’s been incredibly successful for me.

It’s worth a try if you’re stuck.

If you’ve got PTSD or love someone who has, it’s worth looking into. If you can’t find Brainspotting, you can start with EMDR. Now that I’ve done these sessions, when I’m struggling, sometimes I just put headphones on with EMDR music and meditate on the thing that’s troubling me. That can be enough to provide insight into why I’m sad or stuck. You can find EMDR music – that moves from one ear to the other – on Spotify.

One more thing: the trauma will never really go away, but this process takes the sting out of it. For me, it’s turned things into memories more than things I hate to think about. It’s also left space for many good memories to come back. I think they all got packed away in the same suitcase, and now that I’ve re-opened the case, I realize it wasn’t all bad.

If you have questions, leave me note in comments and I’ll get back to you.

 

 

True Crime Preliminary Research Results | Infographic!

[UPDATE: I have fixed the Infographic – now all ages are there and I added an explainer to the impact question.]

Okay you wonderful people. I am thrilled to tell you about my research! Over 600 people took my survey and the results are compelling. I’ve created an infographic of the basic findings. I do not have my analysis done because it’s a lot of data! I want to do more with the data, but you guys have been asking about this and it’s time to share something!

I’m telling you, women have your back!

You’ll quickly see that adult, white women is the primary audience. I don’t think this would surprise anyone over at MyFavMurder – the Murderinos are indicative of this demographic. And we know I love me some Murderinos. Karen and Georgia are the humorous overlords of these wonderful women and they blend true crime with wit and snark. I mean how is that not delicious.

I heard from almost all the states. 20% of the respondents were from outside the US. Within the US, California had 16% of the respondents and then it dropped to about 4% for Texas, Florida and Pennsylvania.

Crime has touched many of us; but that’s not necessary to care.

More than 75% of respondents have been physically and emotionally harmed. For the 36% of you that haven’t been harmed, please don’t feel left out. That’s actually how life is supposed to work. When I get a chance to compare groups of people to answers, I think we’ll learn more about this. I will also be going through the qualitative answers and publishing a longer report in the coming weeks. I need a little time to crunch the numbers.

If you like true crime, get involved. Here’s how.

I have lots of hypotheses about these answers and I know I’m going to need to do a follow-up. But let’s start with this amazing information: true crime folks are engaged. They watch shows, read books and blogs, subscribe to podcasts and participate in online groups. Some are even helping with crowd-sourced crime solving. That was asked about often in the open questions. I know Billy Jensen was doing something on this. I’ll see if I can get more info from him about what’s going on. I think the Murder Squad podcast with Jensen and Holes is also doing that.

If you have questions, leave a comment below and I’ll get back to you. Or ping me on Twitter (it’s where many of the truecrime junkies hang out).

True Crime Profiling Infographic from LawyersDaughter.com

Post-Court Gathering | Golden State Killer Survivors and HBO

Today I got my hands dirty planting some tomatoes and strawberries with the hope they will flourish. I used to be a great gardener, but the teen years and work pushed my avocation to the side. Well baby, I’m back. I read a beautiful quote from Virginia Woolf this morning (and good lord no, I don’t wake up on Saturdays and read classic literature! I was at Starbucks and it was on a cup). It said, “I enjoy the spring more than the autumn now. One does, I think, as one gets older.” We all need spring.

Post-Court Gathering | Golden State Killer Survivors and HBO
Oh sure I quote Woolf, but the reality is I take a photo of the Robin Williams quote.

Survivors, an incredible garden and HBO.

With court ending so oddly, we were a little bit all over the place (that’s probably just my perspective, we tend to squad and I’m a notorious loner until I get to a place). After the Orange County energy left, I wrapped up talking to a few reporters before I hit the road. You guys know I love journalism and I really enjoy talking with them about the case and what they are hearing.

We met at the same home with the incredibly manicured and curated garden we visited last fall. The garden has all these little mini-garden vignettes and I could play there all day. In fact, let me take this moment to announce I’m seeking a husband that loves gardening, photography and animals. Take that universe – I’ve officially put it out there. The overall effect of this lush place is calm.

Outside the front door, there was a sign posted by HBO. I had been told they would be there but at no point did they talk about filming. Based on that, I made a poor assumption: I didn’t realize they were coming to film. Duh. Some of the survivors had already been interviewed by HBO. I have not. I’ve met with the writer and a few other folks have called, but that’s about it. I’ve been constantly advocating for a female point of view on the story, but let’s face it: it’s entertainment and they need to produce something that will sell. I stupidly thought they were there for background and research.

Post-Court Gathering | Golden State Killer Survivors and HBO
This was the sign they had right outside the front door.

HBO hosted a late lunch for us, and it was lovely.

There were tables set up with flower arrangements that made the event seem much more formal. I immediately noticed the camera and HBO folks everywhere and I quickly figured out we weren’t going to be able to talk freely. When I walked in, the camera crew was with a couple I didn’t recognize. I later learned they were Bob and Gay, a still married couple, and this was their first time joining us. They did not go to court. They were basically putting their toe in the water but, HBO interviewed them, so you’ll learn more about them when the film comes out.

Post-Court Gathering | Golden State Killer Survivors and HBO
Tables arranged in the backyard looked lovely.
Post-Court Gathering | Golden State Killer Survivors and HBO
The cameras were on! The first thing I saw when I walked in.

I mentioned Bob before. I really felt connected to him since he is a lawyer who survived an attack. He was mellow and warm, and you could see the rapport that exists between him and his wife. For me, having them there was very meaningful.

Unintended consequences might be featured on HBO.

As I mentioned in another blog, we didn’t know what was going to happen in court that day and we really didn’t know why we were treated differently. As a result, that was much of the conversation. We talked about how most of the chairs in the courtroom were taken and why weren’t allowed in first (like normal) and that there was so much media there. It’s so funny how habit works because that’s how our expectations were set – by what’s happened before. Not being able to sit together threw us for a bit of a loop. It was much of our discussion at the lunch. I’m thinking HBO must have recorded a lot of that conversation.

We didn’t stay all that long. The incredible Carol Daly once again made her delicious ice cream and we got to play with a chocolate lab puppy that’s a new resident at the house. Overall, the vibe was so off on Wednesday, that’s why I needed time to sort out my thoughts. I’ve always been so protective of our privacy and now, as we all should have known, we’ve hit a pivot.

From politics to monetization, we are all making the best decisions we can.

The other thing that’s starting to be more apparent, is how each of us is moving through our “personal journey”. I know that’s a hackneyed term, but you get what I mean. I write and (sometimes) podcast. I’m trying to figure out if I can monetize my website, but honestly, it’s not very important to me. I’m much more interested in my readers and how we can possibly help one another heal.

Some of us have agents and are interested in doing speaking. I think that’s awesome. I suspect we’ll all hear more about this going forward and I hope the community will support folks as they venture out. Screw DeAngelo. If survivors can get something positive from this – so be it. I trust this group can handle our individuality along with our common cause.


Post-Court Gathering | Golden State Killer Survivors and HBO

Couldn’t resist adding this pic – I got out of the car, started walking inside the hotel and I heard something. Never let the turkeys get you down! This is at the Marriott compound near Cal Expo. I suspect the high rivers have pushed them out.

So Now What? Kavanaugh, Trauma, Healing and Moving Forward

I have this fantasy of buying one of those sheds from Home Depot and having a friend sheet rock the thing, add some electricity and then make it the most girly place possible (that’s my taste, romantic, soft, flowery). There’d be a super big comfy chair, a laptop desk and it would smell like spring rain. And nobody will be able to find me. (The cover photo is where Roald Dahl wrote.)

Shortly after DeAngelo was arrested, a woman reached out to me who was sure he was her rapist. During the attack, her took her driver’s license. Her fear of him returning was so great, she left the state and lived quietly nearly 3,000 miles away – always looking over her shoulder, always wary of his return. She described herself as an introvert who rarely shared her experience with anyone.

This week, she sent me an email. The joy in her writing was evident. She was back in Orange County, she’d met with investigators there. She was even going to meet Orange County D.A. Investigator, Erika Hutchcraft (I’m jealous). I haven’t heard from her since, but what she said today made me cry! Because it was so beautiful. She thanked me and said,

“you listened and heard me, you stuck with me…”

I mean nothing, nothing could have gotten my attention more than these beautiful words.

The future of America sits on a precipice. The end goal is to divide us.

My goodness, I’m the last one to get all rose colored glasses and saccharine about things, but overall I’m an optimist. I love what John Legend said that about himself last night. If you watch the clip, he explains, “…I see a lot of opportunity for change [on the state and local level] even though I’m often frustrated by what’s happening nationally.” I have to say, this touched me. It stayed with me last night and today.

I have realized I have no control about what happens with the Supreme Court.

I was triggered, as were so many, by the rage demonstrated last week in the highest levels of our government. I truly had no opinion of Kavanaugh prior to his testimony – other than my political leanings, but I’m a grown-up, I know we are all different. Then he came to testify last Thursday. As he yelled and raged and obfuscated and lied (“it’s like quarters” – we aren’t idiots dude), my reaction to him came from the gut.

Clearly I am not alone.

I understand it’s hard for some guys to get this, but having a man rage at you is terrifying. God forbid it connects with any body memories, because that fight or flight instinct kicks in super fast. Heartbeat goes up, nerve endings start to twitch; I hear a roar in my head that is accompanied by this weird pressure. It’s kind of like having an earache and a headache and kind of not. The reaction is freaking out of our control and anyone with PTSD, male or female, understands. Anyone with trauma, understands.

But that’s not what this blog is about. 

This blog is about that beautiful sentence sent to me today. The gift I gave was unbelievable easy.

No matter what happens, we are still all neighbors*. Sure the guy down the street is an ass. But if his house burns down, I’m going to pitch in. Yes, the woman in the store seems rather racist, but if her kid runs toward the street, I’m going to grab for the kid. I’m convinced we can manage a lot of this crap locally. Individually. With our own actions.

And I want to share one example of what I mean.

When Black Lives Matter started, I took a look at my own behavior. Because I’m a compulsive talker in stores (again, this is why Katie won’t shop with me), I realized I had a pattern of who I would chat with: mostly white people. I didn’t know I was doing this, but once I was self-aware, I realized it was true.

That Christmas, I started talking to people not like me.

For example, someone of a different race, age, ethnic background; basically not a Rubenesque (see what I did there), short, white, mom who thinks she’s still cool. I started this two years ago and I’m still on board. Let me tell you what, it’s been awesome! My M.O. is to try and get people to smile or laugh and I’m proud to say, diversity pays! I am still stunned by how often I can get someone to smile or chat – even when they are incredibly different from me.

The point is don’t let them divide us. Reach out, listen, and hang in there. Observe your own patterns. See if there are adjustments you can make. I’d love to hear your stories. Anything positive. Now’s the time.

 

*I’m going to add a caveat because I’m not saying go adopt a white supremacist. I trust you understand my intent.