My father got 7 years and 9 months.
My Bear, my youngest sister, my brother, Benny, and I were all in the courtroom for his sentencing.
His (our) family, his brothers and sisters, his nieces and nephews, were in the courtroom to see him go down.
They heard everything – every messy detail, including the rapes, the molestations, the breaking of limbs, and the starving of children. Sad to say but it was very validating.
The judge had to sentence him according to the law in 1970-1980. If he had been sentenced under today’s law, he would’ve gotten a lot longer.
He never made eye contact to us, not once.
His lawyer apologized on his behalf and said: “The defendant wants his children to be happy.”
What an asshole! If he wanted us to be happy, why did he damage us so?
The Crown Prosecutor and the Legal Advisor given to us said that our Victim Impact Statements were among the most powerful they’d ever read.
The judge personally thanked us for our “courage”. Not once did I ever feel courageous. Messed-up in the head, alone, angry, guilty, vindictive – yes, but not courageous.
When my father stood up to be taken away by the guards, he waved at his supporters and smiled, as if he was going away on holiday. “I love you, family!” he shouted out.
Not one of his family responded to his avowal of love. They were too stunned by all that they had heard.
Outside the courtroom, as I left tightly clutching Bear’s hand, they surrounded me. I felt apprehensive, but not afraid. If I was going to cop shit from them, I wasn’t fazed by it at all. Let them do their worst, if they dared!
But to my surprise, everybody was crying. Weeping and trying to touch me. Hugging me, and telling me to “come home”, saying “sorry” over and over again.
It was a healing and victorious moment.
My counsellor once told me that beautiful things can still be made from broken objects, like a mosaic. That’s me. That’s my life.