Oct. 14, 2020

Jury Duty

Jury Duty
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My sister Chie and I discuss most survivor's worst case senario heading into jury duty: being interviewed for a sexual assault case. We share our own experiences with this process and share advice for preparing for and handling this should it happen to you.

Tw/Cw: sexual assault, trauma, PTSD, Anxiety, abuse, the court system, mention of medical marijuana, mention of Eating Disorders, CPS, and stalking.

Diamonds by Climbing PoeTree - heads up, this song might be triggering and make you cry. It's probably the most powerful survivor song I've ever heard.

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Hecate: Your honor I will freak the f*** out. *Intro music by Ramshackle Glory*  Hi, thank you for joining me. I'm Hecate and this is Finding OK, a healing podcast for survivors of sexual assault and abuse. I'm here today again with my sister Chie. 
Chie: Hello!
Hecate: Chie has joined me a few times before.

Welcome to season 2! 
Chie: Thank you it's very exciting! 
Hecate: it is! And now it's time for *sound of Supreme Court "Oyez Oyez Oyez!"*

Trigger and content warnings for this episode include the following: sexual assault, trauma, ptsd, anxiety, abuse, the court system, mention of medical marijuana, mention of eating disorders, child protective services, and stalking. Please check in with yourself and make sure you're all right to continue. Hecate: We both had, i don't know about you but i kind of considered it my worst case scenario going into every jury duty summons that i receive my worst case scenario is always - what if i'm interviewed for or selected for a jury on a sexual assault case and uh and then it happened and it actually happened to both of us so i wanted to discuss what that experience is like. 
Chie: Yeah i think it's a really good topic and something that i was very worried about going in to my first time on jury duty as well and yeah it's exactly what happened so i think having something out there that people can kind of listen to would would have been really helpful for me um calming those fears as far as what's the process like, you know when do i when do i bring up these issues kind of thing.
H: Are you able to kind of walk me through what your experience was like?
C: Generally you know i got the the jury summons in the mail and i had never gotten it before so it was like, ah! this looks very official and scary! 
H: Wow, i didn't realize you had never done it before. 
C: no no i had never gotten it before so i got this thing in the mail that you know that was from like the courts and i was like aaah! um and i think it said like jury summons or something and i was like oh the time has arrived! you know 
H: you found me! 
C: you found me at last i somehow made it through you know 30 years of life without this happening *laugh* 
H: i don't know, i've i've received them like five different times  *laugh*

that's awesome you didn't 
C: i i think it must be um, side note there's that whole John Oliver episode um of Last Week Tonight that's talking about jury selection and just like how weird and inconsistent it is in our country um so anyway it's it's i found it really interesting uh to learn a little bit more about that as far as, you know, who's being selected from different states and i guess in i think it was connecticut they had a huge issue of just like some counties were just not put in the pool like at all.
H: Oh! C: yeah um and so it's yeah it's just like a huge a huge thing that we need to address 
H: there's a lot of racial divide in certain counties in connecticut that's pretty problematic.
C: yeah exactly exactly *laugh* um i think that was part of the point he was making is that you can't just leave entire entire counties out because, you know, it's supposed to be a jury of your peers and, you know, that's a huge issue but anyway 
H: yeah 
C: so i got it in the mail it had i think a date that you had to report on and so i let my employers know, "hey i have jury duty this week" and you know they were supportive and also like "oh you poor thing" *laugh* H: yeah it's one of those just like human commiseration things where you know if your employer isn't a dick about it and just sort of blaming you which which can happen but for the most part humans interact in terms of like, "oh i'm sorry! that sucks! we all hate this!" *laugh* C: and you know i was actually kind of a little excited to do it because i had never done it before um and so i was sort of the nerd person who's like, "i get to do my civil duty and maybe make a difference in the world! yay!" H: sorry Ima girl scout, "i'm gonna participate in the justice system!" 
C: oh wait it's terrible *laughter* but yeah i had you know sort of that wide-eyed idealism yeah that sort of idealistic uh viewpoint of you know everything's f****d but maybe my little drop in the... drop in the hat will somehow ripple goodness out into the world and you know i i don't know it is what it is
H: Pollyanna's gonna make a difference! C: yeah! 
H: so you went there on your day 
C: yeah and it was just i think more awkward than anything else because 
H: yes 
C: you have to go in you know there's metal detectors they have to like check your bag and that whole whole nine yards and then you go in and you have to be there on time and they show you a video talking about jury duty and how it's you know your civic duty and you're part of the justice system of the united states and you know it's got sort of like patriotic music going and people talking about how meaningful it is and and that's true... i think... 
H: somebody's waving a flag...*laugh* C: yeah i think there's like usually a flag in the background in most of the scenes H: yeah 
C: but yeah it's just generally them giving you a lot of rules and information and saying you have to stay in this room for these amount of times and but yeah at some point they were they were saying your your group number is going to be called and you know you'll go with the person and you'll you'll go to a courtroom and i guess go through the the process and ask questions and they'll give you more information along the way so for most of the time it's basically just sitting in a room with with a bunch of strangers then at least in my experience like people not talking.
H: yes 
C: it's you know it was kind of an old decorated sort of room H: lots of folding chairs? 
C: yeah i think we didn't have folding chairs i think they were actually like pretty decent chairs and it was nice and that they had outlets so i was able actually to plug in my laptop and like actually work because yeah cause i work from home so i was just able to to do that but yeah it was just kind of sitting around some people read everyone just seemed kind of generally unhappy to be there i made a point to like bring water and you know some snacks because you know blood sugar and and all of that and it just made me i think anxious being in a a new place and i'm just like have this fear of rules and like i'm terrified of the idea of breaking a rule that i didn't know was there that's another weird like psychological thing to delve into at another time um but yeah so i just wanted to kind of make sure that i had everything i could possibly need with me in my bag and yeah so eventually our our numbers were called and we went up to a courtroom so we kind of waited outside and it was really quiet and awkward and it's kind of this weird thing where they kind of discourage you from talking to your other jurors but also you're stuck with them for hours doing nothing so it's like you're not allowed to talk about the case but it was early in the morning and everyone just kind of huddled around their phones because you know we hadn't been selected yet so we didn't have um you know any bands on communication with the outside world or anything like that at that point in time but yeah so then basically we we went into the courtroom and they had us fill out these questionnaires that were fairly in-depth and i'm assuming that for different cases i'm i'm guessing the questions are different based on you know the case and ours yeah there were just a lot of questions about my history my background how i feel about various different things you know how do i feel about you know i don't know like law enforcement or how do i feel about like moral stuff or ethics or you know kind of the basic stuff it's like oh they're clearly trying to rule out people who are very very decided in certain ways yes and no it depends on the case a lot of a lot of these forms it's my understanding that a lot of these forms are if they're not like a general one that's given to like the overall pool that when it comes down to selecting a jury for each case that that's actually like a really big deal and they're like jury selection advisors that work with lawyers on that in order to select a desirable jury and those questions are formatted in such a way to find ideal people and you would think that that has to do with finding people that fall in the middle but sometimes it's finding ways to get a balance of people and sometimes it's finding a way to trickly like sneakily like find the perfect jury that might come down where you want them to come down like it honestly like it really it really varies and it's an interesting process hmm yeah interesting yeah it sounds very complicated yeah so so there were a bunch of questions that we filled out and then we had to go into that little side room to wait for a while what was your anxiety level while you were waiting i was a little anxious at first but more it was just awkward and then i think when we got into the courtroom the judge explained what type of case it was and then i got nerfed like real like anxious because he explained that it was uh i think a federal rape case and it was like oh well this is exactly what i was hoping wouldn't happen so it kind of made my stance really clear it's like oh well they're not gonna pick me um but there was also still that creeping fear of like oh my god what if they pick me anyway so yeah there was a fair amount of anxiety um and i did have some like ptsd medication with me in my bag just in case i didn't end up taking it but yeah like decently high anxiety um especially while filling out the questionnaire um because yeah i think they told us the type of case before we filled out the questionnaire yeah and then they took us to the little room and we all kind of sat and basically i think it was at the end of the questionnaire there was a question that said do you want to be questioned individually by the legal team basically or or you know are you fine to be questioned in a group with the rest of the jurors and so i know that a number of people in our group selected that they wanted to be questioned individually and i didn't and in retrospect i'm glad that i didn't do it individually just because i had never done it before um i think maybe in the future i would choose to be questioned individually but yeah i'm really glad that i got to kind of see the process and how it went on a few people before they kind of turned their laser focus on me because it was really intimidating but yeah so we waited in the little room and they called out individual people you know by name and they were the people who had wanted to be questioned alone which i think was kind of frustrating for the group because there were a lot of them which meant that we were sitting there for hours and hours and hours doing nothing but also you know i think that's absolutely people's right and also it was a really sensitive you know topic and i i totally get that people would want to do that um so yeah we we ended up breaking for lunch one day and we didn't get through all of the interviews um the first day so i actually had to come back the the second day and waited around um again and then when they were done with all the people who wanted to be questioned individually they brought the rest of the group out together into the courtroom and had the legal counsel questioning us you know by name so individually but with everyone else present you know i think at some point during all of this i think on the first day we had to swear in and promise to tell the truth and etc etc when we all went in there as a group we were actually like across the i forget the name of the the gate line so there's like the audience side where there's like sort of the they're almost like church pews that you can sit in if you're watching oh yeah they had us initially like in the area where the jurors would actually sit in the courtroom oh interesting so we we sat there um when we got called in for the interviews in the in the jury section yeah but on the first day when they were explaining to us about the case we weren't in there okay um we were just you know sitting in the audience section but yeah so when they called us in to ask us individual questions we all got called into the jury section and you know had our own individual uncomfortable little wooden seats and yeah it was pretty pretty nerve-wracking so even though i knew that i was likely not going to get picked uh because of my experience with sexual assault they are very thorough and yeah it was uh challenging but luckily for me there was one other person with experience of sexual assault who didn't ask to be questioned individually um i'm assuming there were more and they just all went you know alone privately but there was one one other person who was older than her her assault had happened you know years years ago but i kind of got to see them question her first and it was like a little brutal you know i know it could have been a lot more brutal but like for someone with an experience of you know ptsd kind of watching them ask her these really intense questions it was sort of like oh my god like just let her go can you tell me what kind of questions they asked yeah it was um just like asking you know when it happens you know how long ago was it you know what was the outcome you know did she take it to trial or not you know what did she report it or not i'm trying to think what else it's kind of hard to remember because i was just so anxious yeah everything kind of gets you're on full alert and everything gets fuzzy yeah crystal clear in the moment but uh yeah but recalling it's tricky and i'm trying to remember um because it would probably be pretty helpful um getting to hear her go through it oh a lot of the questions were like around um do you think you would be able to give this person a fair trial based on your experience and she gave a lot of probably the responses i would have given if i hadn't heard her go first it was a lot of well i don't know like you know i try to be a really fair person but you know i have this experience and and so it was a lot of like really ambiguous like i don't know i don't know yeah i don't know man this is intense yeah like i don't i don't know like i'm a fair person are you trying to get me to say that like no i wouldn't be fair like no person wants to say that about themselves but basically the they just kept asking her questions sort of in that same vein until she started to get kind of choked up and like almost crying and at that point one of the the legal counsels you know said am i hearing some emotion in your voice ma'am and she said yes and then and then they said like all right we're gonna choose to you know let her go or i can't remember what the what the term was but they were like yep she's out yeah but yeah so it was really actually helpful getting to see her go through it and see that like that was how intense it was and that they really did not want to let people go obviously because everyone's always trying to get out of jury do lady but yeah so kind of getting to see her go through it and be like oh man they're just gonna like keep at it until basically i break down unless i give them a really clear answer up front that's a really good observation and i think that's really valuable in terms of like something to offer within this podcast is if you should have this worst case scenario they will ask you that question of like do you think you can be fair don't say maybe if you have to say i want to say yes because i believe in being a fair person however you know like and then be honest about how it affects your life or any feelings that you have like say what you mean but don't say maybe because as if you keep saying maybe or i don't know they're gonna keep asking you questions because they're there for definitive answers and they need to figure out how you actually feel about something and if that's gonna put you in a situation like this this poor lady um was put in just be mindful of your options and uh and think through how you actually feel about this i'm so sorry that happened to her but i'm i am glad that you were able to to be present and learn from that so that you hopefully when it was your turn had a slightly better experience yes and and again i felt so bad for her because you know this was something that had happened to her maybe you know 30 years in her past and you know clearly it still had this effect on her and and she was calm and collected and you know obviously at the beginning felt grounded and stable enough in herself to not feel that she needed to be questioned alone and and still it rattled her eventually and so i am really actually grateful to this woman whoever she is uh wherever she is in life because it really was helpful because eventually when they got around to me they were asking the same questions and so i ended up saying almost exactly what you said just now was basically you know i believe absolutely in fairness i want to be able to give this person the fair trial that they deserve but i've done a lot of research into you know sexual assaults and rape i know that it is statistically under-reported and i personally had an experience of sexual assault that i chose not to report or to take to trial so in my opinion i don't think i can give this person the fair trial that they deserve wow okay which like you know is how i feel and that i and i was and oh so one of the things that i found most jarring and very difficult is that the defendant is in the room during this process yes um you know there was this person sitting at this table watching me get questioned watching all of us get questioned and basically having this person staring at me while someone's asking me can you give him a fair trial and having to look this person you know in the eyes maybe not right as i'm saying it but you know like after i'm done talking looking at him and basically saying like i can't like i think you did it i'm sorry i'm sorry i'm not sorry like sorry not sorry but like knowing what i know i think you probably did it like yeah sir statistically you are probably a rapist yeah like and and again like i don't want to to not be fair i don't like i should not have been on that jury and i'm glad that i wasn't but yeah they really they pushed it to a point of and i think they asked me a few times um even having said you know those that what i just said they the judge i think still asked me again are you saying that uh what was the phrase it's something very judgy judgey

but it was something very you know reminding reminding me of my legal responsibility to withhold judgment to hear all of the evidence to give the person the benefit of the doubt and to know that people are innocent until proven guilty knowing all this do you still think that you couldn't put your personal feelings aside and give this person a fair trial and so he asked that i think a couple times and i had to eventually say no like very clearly no i don't think i can give him a fair trial wow and like that was that's a big deal for you yeah and and it's something that i really value is being able to to be fair and to put my personal feelings aside but i also you know brought up in their their questioning you know before that final moment you know they asked if anyone else had personal experience that would you know i can't remember the phrasing they use but basically does anyone have any personal experience that would create bias or yeah um interfere with the presumption of innocence yeah interfere with their ability to give a fair um a fair judgment and yeah so we kind of like had to raise our hands um which also is really awkward um so it's basically just an entire couple days of really awkward and uncomfortable and self-disclosure to an entire room full of strangers about you know a very painful personal experience and i think the thing that that helped me during that was remembering like i don't know any of these people they don't know me i'm never gonna see any of them again like most likely so it doesn't really matter what they think and especially it was really helpful because as soon as i got excused from the jury i walked out you know i think i had to go back downstairs and i think technically they're supposed to put you back in the pool as a potential juror for the rest of the week and just the the clerk or whatever who i went down to see saying like hey i got excused um you know do i go sit back down he was like you know you did it you showed up you waited they considered you for for a jury you know i'm gonna call you done and it was like that's interesting that must be like a weird state thing because in in my state once you show up even if on like the initial questionnaire you answer something that like 100 makes it inappropriate for you to be on the jury like the first time i ever went to jury duty i knew somebody that was an expert witness and it was a psychiatrist that had done something awful that had been working with adolescents when they shouldn't have been when they didn't have proper credentials and they said the most horrific traumatizing things to me in the in a time of great trauma and they showed up as an expert witness like a decade later and i said like yes i know this person blah blah blah like in my opinion they shouldn't be practicing you know you know just 100 leaned into that bias and was like [ __ ] this person forever and and they dismissed me and that even just me sitting in a folding chair for like a couple hours and saying that on a form i performed my duty and i was out of the pool for like however however many years is appropriate and wasn't summoned again um until later so because i i was down as having done jury duty that that's interesting that in in your state you potentially might have to go back into the pool well no no no so so what i mean is um i won't get called again for whatever the rule is um but in at least our state i was supposed to after having been questioned and getting excused from that jury i was supposed to wait in the little holding pen of potential jurors for the rest of the week of my jury duty so this is so messed up yeah so my week of jury duty was assigned it was like monday through friday and so monday we started i got called for a possible jury and then tuesday was the day that i personally got questioned in the group and then i got let go you know it was probably four o'clock on a tuesday and the guy downstairs in the basement of the little holding pen said you know you showed up you did it you got questioned they considered you they didn't want you you don't have to stay here this whole week you can go home i'm considering it served for the whole week thank you nice man yeah like seriously thank you and i think it i think it's not something to be assumed that that will or won't happen i think it's really creative based on you know how many cases they have how many potential jurors they have i think if they had a lot more cases and not enough jurors i think they absolutely would have had me wait and possibly go to a different one so i think it really was just luck of the draw and a nice man i've never been called in for an entire week i've only ever been called in for a single day of jury duty which obviously can turn into weeks or months depending on the situation yeah yeah i have a friend a good friend of mine who she has some some pretty intense medical um medical difficulties and they wanted her on this jury so much that they tried to insist that she reschedule like 40 doctor's appointments to to be on their jury for a month i remember that and she was just like like not like no that's unreasonable it is it's unhealthy it's what are you doing and they were like yeah they were basically like is there some reason you can't do this and she's like yep i have a lot of doctor's appointments well how many do you really have 40 like and you really can't reschedule them no like like you try rescheduling that many doctor's appointments it's ridiculous yeah you've probably been waiting for months for them yeah um anyway but yeah you know and i get it like a lot of people are trying to get out of jury duty who you know just just because just because they don't want to do it which you know i think that isn't necessarily right like if you are gonna get paid for it which again not everyone does or the rate is so much lower than you know what you would be doing at work at least for that selection process um yeah i think for like two days of of sitting waiting i think i got like 20 bucks or something that's what i got the first time i got i think like maybe 60 this last time that i went in it was somebody who as i was checking out they said like i'm gonna go out of my way to try and get you 80. and i was like thank you they were like you were here almost the whole day like you know your time is worth something and you were questioned and you know so i was like nice so it was somebody who was really being sweet how were you after you left it was difficult i definitely felt rattled and it it was a really weird experience walking out of the courtroom while everyone else was still seated um and that i think to me just felt really intense because again i had just shared something very personal and actually funny thing is i think that they were faster to dismiss me than the other woman because of the fact that my assault was more recent and because i up front said this happened you know like i did the math ahead of time and i said um you know this happened what was it like six years ago or whatever it was at the time and i think i gave the number of months too which like i don't know if that helped but i i kind of wonder if it did if i was like it was six months and or it was six years and three months ago yeah if it sounds like you're still counting that probably says something to people yeah i'm like i know the day i know the month i know the year and i look at your watches yeah like i know exactly how long it has been um and i'm still affected by this and i still have ptsd and like you do not want me on your jury seriously like there is a there is a very real chance i would just like break down and you know have flashbacks in your courtroom is that what you want uh i'm thinking no did you kind of say did you say that did you mention that you had ptsd i mentioned i had ptsd i didn't mention the whole like i will i will lose it in your corner because that's you know like maybe taking it a little uh a little your honor i will freak the [ __ ] out yeah um yeah because you know you want to be respectful yeah honestly but no like i did mention i think when they asked me um you know whatever the question was about like what's your personal experience that you know would hinder a fair judgment or whatever the phrase was um it was like well i was sexually assaulted six years three months ago or however long it was and i still have ptsd and i'm being treated for ptsd and i think that may have helped just being really upfront about like i have a diagnosis i can give you paperwork on this like seriously but i would say even if you don't have you know a doctor that you can fall back on i think you know it's still just really really helpful to be able to own that even though it's really intimidating to do it in front of a bunch of strangers you know at the end um basically ended with me saying no i don't think i can be fair basically which was really challenging personally for me to say yeah i think the judge asked the defendant's uh council if they wanted to excuse me and it just felt like being x-rayed the entire time like they're really watching you they're really watching everything about you from the way you sit to you know your micro expressions body language yes everything like the the tone of your voice you know is there any shake like where does it raise where does it lower you know how confident are you and and what are you saying and it's just all these tiny little things and it just was this person staring at me and it took her like a couple moments before she answered so even though the judge was like you know basically the way it sounded to me is like do you seriously want her on your jury it's like it really like you know and i don't maybe i'm reading too much into it but it just kind of had that sound of like really like like d do you do you want to excuse her like i would

and and yeah like they just took it took a minute and they were just looking at me as i'm like waiting with baited breath you know making eye contact with them and it felt like a weird sort of challenge like and on a very like primal sort of level of like this woman was looking at me and i was looking back at her and like trying to stay grounded but feeling really anxious and just sort of like you know talking about this this stuff and you know nervous system just amped up and yeah just she just took a few moments then was like yeah well excuse her and it was just like

oh yeah and then i had to get up and like walk out of the little gate and walk through this very quiet courtroom of everyone else sitting down and go out the doors into like empty hallways that were really quiet and yeah so i just i went to the bathroom first before going back because i was just feeling really rattled and just like you know took a took a moment in a bathroom stall just being like whoo like breathing and just sort of like i can't remember i might have cried a little bit but yeah just kind of like letting my nervous system like chill a little bit because it was really intense yeah and yeah then after that i went back downstairs and it was kind of anticlimactic the guy said i could leave so that i left well for mine i was only i was called in for a day yeah showed up and uh had you know said goodbye to my to my partner uh in the morning and you know had had articulated you know every every time i go in like you know or or i'm summoned like i'm always just like terrified that um you know i articulated like my worst case scenario is being interviewed or called in or like selected for a jury on a sexual assault case and and i was like but you know i know the statistics like they're under-reported and so few of them actually even make it to trial so like i mean in the wide array of things that do make it to trial like it's i know i'm just worrying about nothing and that's literally what happened um this last time yeah and it was a lot of waiting around in rooms uh that experience of being in an elevator with strangers except in folding chairs in various rooms um you know so that same experience of being in like the entire day's selection of jury uh so a couple hundred people or something like that maybe less i'm not good with numbers an auditorium of people watching the you know the patriotic flag waving information um videos and then being you know cut down into smaller groups and i think we like took an elevator and uh and went down and you know like these little hallways into the deeper into the system and we're alone sitting in a room and then eventually we were led into like the into the courtroom which is straight out of a movie you know everything's hardwood and uh you know you're sitti you're sitting where the jury would sit you know and we were told what the case was and it was a federal sexual assault case that involved a minor and the defendant as you said was in the room and it was a man and you're left just kind of staring at him and uh you know so many thoughts go through your head so many thoughts and uh and i just remember when the judge when he said what kind of case it was my whole body froze and just like every muscle just tightened up i think i like stopped breathing for a second and then just like force myself to like take a breath in or like let a breath out but i'm aware that it if anybody was like really close to me it like could have sounded like a really controlled gasp um which isn't ideal but it was just like i just went completely rigid and was just sort of like oh [ __ ] this is actually happening god damn it and um and then you realize what kind of courtroom you're in you're like oh [ __ ] and uh and you and you realize who that person you know across from you might be and uh and it's intense there was no like grouper individual thing that i can recall we were all just like sent back out into the room into the tiny room to like wait together and then we were called in individually to be interviewed and i just i remember sitting in that room and again knowing statistics was aware of i found myself wondering who else in the room was going through something similar to what i was going through i knew that there were other survivors in the room i remember you don't talk to each other yeah yeah and i it was just this weird um moment of your you're simultaneously really separated from each other but also this feeling of camaraderie with people in the room that you can't identify but you know they're there and that there are people who are sharing your experience but you can't reach out to them but it was just this really interesting experience and i remember just kind of sitting there and thinking i don't know who you are but i know you're here and i and i'm here for you and just trying to just like embody some some calmness and the hopes that it would reach them somehow like in the air that i could share it maybe and um and i sat in that room just really taking stock of everything really working hard on self-regulating because i knew that what was about to happen was my worst case scenario and it was gonna be probably pretty intense and also just like really asking myself those those questions of of can i be fair and um and what will i say and i went through it in my head and uh and they called you in and you sat where a witness would sit in trial which was like right next to the judge so you like look so i looked up and like in the little like podium the hardwood podium like the judge was sitting there and so you kind of look up and feel like a child because they're towering over you in their little box and you're sitting in your little box and then straight across from you is a potential rapist and then are all the lawyers so that was intense and i got in and they explained again what the case entailed um just to reiterate like you know it's a minor and we had been we had been told uh when we were given like the initial summary he had said these are some of the issues that are at hand like this is a federal case it's very serious it's a sexual assault case it involves a minor so someone under age and he said like we take these things very seriously and he's i can't remember the specifics or or like the words he used but he said i don't expect this to drag on very long this should be done in a week and i found it very interesting that he said that and i think he mentioned like looking over the details of the case and to me i found it very interesting that he said that and that he shared that and that to me made me wonder like doesn't that mean that there's a preponderance of evidence or doesn't that mean that he's speaking to the evidence somehow like if you can make an assumption about how much time it's going to take and for some reason i heard that and in my head i was wondering like are you presuming in a sense and and i i don't know like i still kind of hear that and i'm like what did that mean um but i guess you that's odd yeah but i mean i he's been a judge for a long time i assume so i guess you know you get a feel for things but i found it an interesting thing to share with a potential jury but in any case i went in there when it was time my time to be interviewed i was in a little witness box which i've never reported anything i've never been in a trial in any way so that was my first time like in the box and certainly for a sexual assault survivor who didn't report for me a number of of assaults uh and has never had their own day in court it's interesting sitting in that box for somebody else in any way and it was just it was it was very intense sitting in that witness box and staring at a potential rapist and uh you know and he's trying to connect with you they're they're trying to ascertain whether or not you can be impartial he's there and he's using that time you know in this case it was it was a cis man you know whatever their gender is but that defendant is there and that's time that they can use to try and sway a jury even if subconsciously so he was trying to make eye contact and look as innocent as possible and make use of the time that he had to look as human and innocent as possible and that's that's just whether they're guilty or innocent that's something that most people would use that time that way like i don't i don't think of that as being necessarily incriminating that's just a fact they're gonna try and make a connection with you usually so that's intense um having them look at you and trying to forge some kind of connection or sway you in some way or make like an emotional connection with you as you're speaking so that was intense but they did ask me you know have you or anyone that you know or close to experience sexual assault and i said yes uh i have and uh and he said okay you know i i know this is a you know a delicate subject matter and it's very emotional but i need to ask what were the circumstances and so i had to go through it and i said and this is where therapy really helps because you're able to just run through it bare bones clinically if you're able to just say xyz happens without getting sucked into details or reliving it that's really helpful because that's what i had to do i had to say well when i was 14 i was in a three-year-long abusive relationship that involved multiple sexual assaults you know a year or two later i had another relationship that ended in a sexual assault and then a few years after that i was stalked and molested by a monk in another country and i was able to just say that really succinctly without getting too caught up in it that was good you know so my adrenaline is through the roof and my heart is pounding and all systems on red alert but at the same time i'm very calm and collected and professional and that's what i'm going for is maintaining composure and so i was able to say that and and he said oh i'm sorry that happened i said thank you you know it was it was some years ago i think he asked how long it had been and uh and i said the last incident was in 2006. i think i s you know i i may have been asked about like you know how was it how was i doing or you know like i i said i'm you know i'm doing well i've uh i've done a lot of work with it i've done a lot of therapy basically like i i don't know i i blanked out like a decent a decent amount of like the the less important particulars um or the full range of the conversation but then i was asked um do you feel having had those experiences that you could provide an unbiased judgment for this man you know and pointed at this man sitting across from me and uh yeah and and looking at a potential you know child rapist i had to give the answer and what i said was yes i do and he said really

um and i said yes because as much as i am formed by those experiences that i've had i have also had the experience i might have called it a trauma but i said i've also had the very traumatic experience of being accused of something that i didn't do and not having the presumption of innocence i know how important it is and i do believe that i could provide that and he said okay and you know and they were about to move on and i said however

i do need to put it out there i am diagnosed with ptsd and there is the distinct possibility that during this trial i could have a panic attack or a flashback and i said is that something that this courtroom can make space for and i just left it out there as a question because i was honestly like i wasn't gonna tell them whether or not it was appropriate that's up to them and i just said like are you gonna make space for that if you're gonna pick me pick me but you need to know that that could happen and you know basically it was me disclosing a medical condition and saying like are you gonna provide space for a medical condition and uh and it was the judge that answered it wasn't turned over to the lawyers at all and the judge said uh something along the lines of he said he said some really personal stuff he said i'm he said something along the lines of like i'm profoundly moved by your honesty i i can't remember what what he complimented but he complimented me like as a person or the way that i was like holding myself or i don't know or comporting myself and uh he greatly appreciated how difficult it was to talk about those things and he appreciated me disclosing them when he knew that it must have been difficult and um that as much as he believed and appreciated my ability to provide a fair judgment that considering my condition he felt it would be unfair to me to ask me to be on the jury because of the potential for it to be traumatizing and to cause me act of harm and he said thank you so much for your time but i'm gonna say uh you know he said you're done basically thank you so much and said some like really lovely things to me as a person was like bye this will [ __ ] you up by let's let's not so he thanked me and was really lovely and um and really considerate and sensitive and then uh excuse me and i went and the person said yeah i'm gonna try and give you 80 and i was like that would be great and made my way all the way back down the elevators into the into the lobby you know back past the um the metal detectors and uh and i wasn't able to have any of my medication with me uh that day because my medication is marijuana which is still a federally illegal drug and is not allowed in a courthouse and so i really held it together and got to my car in the parking lot and before i started like the half hour drive home or something i really just um made space for catharsis even though like i felt like hey like i can suck it up and get home i was just like you know what let's just like do this and just like force catharsis a little bit and i played the song diamonds by alexa and nima or climbing poetry uh which if you don't know the song it's such a great song it is so intense and so i blasted that in my car in the parking lot and just sat there and i think i played it like twice but like staying along and it was just like sobbing and so like got halfway through the song or something and was just sort of like okay there it is and it just kind of just like came pouring out of me and so i was like whatever like people can see me there weren't many around in the parking lot but i was like [ __ ] you it's been a day and i'm sure loads of other people at the courthouse have had a day as well so i i was just kind of um yeah i made the space that i needed to make in order to have like a safe drive home and in order to to just you know when i had to interact with my family again so that i could have already had some kind of release so i i gave myself the release that i needed and um and just really processed all the feelings that had been building up in all my muscles and through just hours of uh of red alert so i felt a lot better having done that and then i think when i was in after after we were told uh what kind of what kind of case it was i you know we're told not not to share any details uh and i didn't but without sharing details i was able to to text my partner and and just let them know what was up by just saying you know i just texted him and i said it's worst case scenario and he was like oh [ __ ] so he knew what that meant and uh and so he you know was able to come home knowing that i had had a day and would need support and i was okay by the time he came home i just really took the rest of the day uh and possibly the day after that and just just gave myself the space that i needed to recover as much as i was feeling okay i was also just uh just acknowledging that that had been intense that it might surprise me that it might pop up uh in weird ways and so i um i just kind of practiced really good self-care as much as i could gave myself time and space to to relax and self-regulate and you know work or escape or get distracted when that felt necessary um you know maybe i binged watched a show or something i don't know but i think i just had a lot of quiet time maybe like took a bath and like disappeared into into some fan fiction maybe i don't know i can't remember what i did um but i do remember that i made space for myself and i think that was really important but it was uh it was a really intense experience uh and it was also an experience that that i dreaded and then it happened as as far as it being like oh was it as bad as you thought it would be i don't really think of it in those terms i i think i think of it more in terms of um yeah that sucked and and then i got through it which is honestly most things like this in life um i think uh i think hearing about the various steps of the process and the experience and and kind of what came up from from both our perspectives um i think that it might be helpful to other survivors in case they end up facing worst case scenario jury duty for a survivor well thank you for for sharing that sounds uh very intense it's just interesting like hearing the similarities and also the differences and that you know i think it's way more intense that you had to sit in the um the box whereas we didn't do that and i wonder maybe that's something that they did with the people who they were interviewing one like individually but yeah very very interesting um and i expect that that would have been much more challenging if i had done that because there there was sort of the strange feeling of you know sitting you know we had our own little chairs they're not like benches or something uh in the jury section but it was still i was surrounded by other people even if i felt really isolated i still kind of had that feeling of like there's people around me who are also on edge um you know for different reasons but yeah it felt less less isolating still isolating but less so um but yeah i think the the thing that kind of stood out to me as you were as you were talking was um you said something about uh how how you related to the experience having been a person who never reported any of your assaults and that was something that i also remember noting at the time was that strange just that relationship of being in a courtroom for a case and actually my my case was also involved a minor um i forgot to mention so yeah intense stuff i'm sorry can i just clarify um when you say your case involved a minor do you mean your experience of sexual assault or the case that you were asked okay yeah the uh the case that i was asked um to interview for jury as a potential juror yeah i believe the the plaintiff was a minor so was not present in the proceedings um so it was literally just the legal teams the judge and the defendant which yeah was an interesting dynamic in the courtroom and i can't really speak to how it would have been if say it had been a plaintiff who was in the room i imagine that that would be a whole different level of challenging if it's that kind of situation i think they avoid having them in the same room with the defendant as much as possible recognizing how challenging that is yeah yeah yeah anyway it was just interesting to me um and you you mentioned just thinking of of being in in that space in the courtroom and it being something that you had never had never done for yourself and my situation was a bit different just i was at a different stage of life um and had i think a lot more support than you did uh surrounding my recovery and just healing from the assault and yeah it was a very strange experience being in in that environment in a courtroom because i did seriously consider pressing charges um after after my sexual assault and i thought very hard about it and decided not to mostly just because i didn't want to put myself through that additional trauma um and also honestly because i didn't have a lot of faith in the court system around sexual assault cases and i i honestly thought that it would be a lot of additional trauma for myself with probably an unsatisfactory outcome that likely wouldn't make me feel any better that was a part of my decision as well yeah so and again i i have no idea how it actually would have been and and that's not saying that like i don't necessarily recommend that that's what other people should do i think it's a very individual choice um with pros and cons both ways but yeah it was it was a very odd experience to get you know forced into this situation where i had to be in this courtroom talking about something very personal very traumatic when it was something that i had purposely chosen not to do for myself and i still had to be in that room talking to these strangers and and basically you know tell them i chose not to report this and you know they didn't really delve into it i think one of i think the the woman who had gone before me had reported it so it was on record um i think she said um so i just included that when you know they asked for the details and you know i said like it was unreported and i think the judge kind of clarified like you know you didn't report it at the time and i said yep yep regarding the abusive relationship when i was still young because i was a minor at the time and so was the person that assaulted me i did actually at one point when i got more serious about insisting to my parents that or our parents that it had been a sexual assault that there had been things in the relationship that weren't right and it was after the end of the relationship but regarding sexual assaults that had happened earlier in the relationship and that was something that i had disclosed since the first time so the first time you know i came home from a party and i said hey i need the morning after pill and then you know there was a whole conversation with my parents um i was 14 and i disclosed in that conversation i said well i said no and that was given space and it was questioned and it was discussed with the boy's parents but then it was just kind of swept under the rug by everybody and never was never really explored or given i think the weight and i think it was kind of just kind of assumed that that it was a regretted sexual experience and it was certainly something that fell into you know the quote unquote like and this is this is a term that i use with disdain but something that fell into the gray area and that was a part of why i think everyone just felt more comfortable just kind of sweeping it under the rug but years later i said hey now this happened a bunch of other stuff happened and i actually had my mother called child protective services cps came to interview me about the relationship and about the sexual assaults and so i had an interview with them in in our house when i was still a minor and that was that's very fuzzy to me once i was across from that person i think i backed off a lot from what i had been asserting had happened because i was so i was invalidating my own trauma it was hard to own it and it was terrifying thinking of the ramifications for my ex-boyfriend at the time and knowing like where this could potentially go and knowing the pushback that would occur and i found myself thinking but can i win this and i kind of found myself thinking i don't think i can i don't i don't think i've got the stacked evidence on my side and and i backed off of it i made it clear that i can't remember what i made clear to be honest but what i did made clear was that i had concerns about him hurting other people and that at least that at least i'm glad i didn't back off of because um you know and that that was honestly like why i ended up in that room with cps having that conversation was because i exited the relationship realized that it was abusive realized that there had been sexual assault and realized um that he was going to be dating other people and that he was abusive and that there was the potential for me to stop it from happening to other people and then when i was in a situation i i found myself realizing like that can be my attention and i can assert that that is my intention and what my concerns are and i said you know and kind of found myself thinking like i don't think i can win this and i don't yeah and you know i expressed concerns and i i think that's you know the best i could do with the state that i was in at the time looking back and understanding more about consent i think it it's an interview that would go very differently i think it's very difficult when you're a minor and uh and you've been gaslit for three years and abused and you still don't understand what consent is especially when it's when it when you've never been given that full understanding in the first place and then when it's been violated consistently for years and undermined standing in a place of i did not give consent and these things were wrong when you're in a place of blaming yourself it's it's hard it's really hard yeah that was the most like legal situation i was ever in for myself and everything else was not reported either because i didn't feel that i would win it or because i made that choice um considering my belief in whether or not the person would reoffend and then in the last case it was a situation of me being in a different country recognizing that as a woman i would be blamed that considering the circumstances that i would be blamed that i would lose my position that i would lose my housing that i would lose my standing in the community and i would be forced to flee that i would face possibly assault by police or at the very least i would be asked to pay bribe money and that that it was a no-win situation situation for me and in that country the way that that country works for women and that was why i never did anything in that situation so yeah it is it is intense and you find yourself thinking about a lot when you're in that courtroom not for yourself but for somebody else and a great point that you brought up is that you being in the courtroom isn't voluntary and that's sort of like a weird like potentially you know re-traumatizing or triggering experience is being forced uh or compelled to appear and then being selected for that conversation um intensely personal uh triggering conversation and not having any say in that and that being an underlying triggering uh potentiality just that whole that whole dynamic that you being there is non-consensual it's really weird i think that's actually you kind of really hit the nail on the head there um and that i think that was a lot of what i found actually most difficult about the whole jury duty experience was you know yes i i experienced the sexual assault it was very difficult you know still have some ptsd difficulties from it but to a large extent processed it in therapy you know doing doing quite a bit better with it but that situation was really difficult psychologically for me because it really you know like you said put me in a position where all of the things i had learned about consent and my own empowerment my ability to say no to situations that i'm not comfortable with that i'm not okay with all of that was really taken away in this jury selection process for me as a survivor because you know i potentially could have gotten in a lot of trouble if i hadn't shown or if i had shown up and just refused to talk about my experiences they might have selected me so it really put me in this difficult position of if i refuse to cooperate i could get in a lot of legal trouble or they could select me and force me to serve on a jury and i could experience more psychological trauma as a result and so it really gave me two shitty alternatives which honestly i i really think they need to figure something out because that's not okay it's not an okay situation to make survivors go through that yeah and i i think that was a lot of the disquiet that that stayed with me the most from the whole experience was yes on the one hand it was empowering to be able to be in this room full of people and say this is what happened to me and i'm not okay and also i should have never been in that room to begin with because if i had had the option of seeing on a questionnaire or to a to one person not you know a judge and a legal team you know hey this is something that's psychologically not okay for me because i did on the questionnaire right that i had ptsd like they had this information already i really do think that some sort of screening should happen and i do understand that it's difficult that people are constantly trying to get out of jury duty and that you know people lie and there's some people out there who would have no issues lying about having ptsd to get out of something they didn't want to do oh that's a shitty thought that's totally true god damn yeah no i think honestly i think that's why we get forced into these situations and it's because there's shitty people out there who would lie about it which is why you know they really forced the issue with us making us really defend ourselves and our own well-being and i just it's problematic yeah as a psychologist i think that's incredibly [ __ ] up that we're in a country that makes people who have been victimized who've been hurt by sexual assault defend themselves so intensely in the justice system like in a situation that's not even about their own experience like that to me is not right but obviously our justice system has a lot of issues that's just one more yeah i wonder if there you know could be a way to um to preempt it by giving people the opportunity to submit like doctor's notes exempting them from particular cases or something like that but you know something i will say is another part that i didn't speak to was me being excused even in the moment when the judge was you know said some very lovely things to me and was very compassionate and understanding and i appreciated that about him but i also experienced some yeah it was some frustration it was some anger because as i was excused from the room i was being excused from the room because i was i had experienced something that was similar to what this young girl had experienced so it being a sexual assault case and me being excused because i had experienced something similar and knowing that a lot of the people that were being kept on the jury were being kept on the jury because they hadn't that was frustrating and i had feelings about it because there is the thing of you're supposed to get a jury of your peers are people who have experienced sexual assault the majority of which are women cis women are they honestly getting a jury of their peers if we are consistently excusing or not not excusing but if we are consistently choosing people who have never experienced it over people who have and that's me saying that understanding the complications of choosing people who have experienced it that it's a psychologically distressing thing but i think a lot of the time jury selectors will opt for someone who just has no experience with it which is [ __ ] because another part of me knowing the stats was looking in the room was looking at the jury and was fully aware that when i was asked the question have you or someone that you loved experienced sexual assault knowing the stats i knew that there wasn't a single person who could honestly answer no and if they in full honesty said no i have never experienced it nor has anyone that i love experienced it all that means is that they're ignorant yeah that's someone and that no one has exactly that no one's trusted them with their story i promise you every single person has a loved one or a friend who has experienced this it is statistically impossible for you to not yeah actually i remember answering that question on the questionnaire and it was asking like have you or do you know anyone and i was like yup me also you know my sister one of my first uh you know girlfriends like another friend in college another friend like it the list just goes on yeah and every single one of those people knows somebody else like there's we all know somebody and ignoring that is detrimental and it's it's you know it was me like sitting in the courtroom like in the witness box and looking up at the judge and looking at the lawyers and just sort of wondering like do you know the stats are you aware of what's going on here um and uh and it's in it's just sort of like a surreal uh it's very much a surreal experience and and there was some anger there and i i did my best to to make space for that as well but to to realize that like yeah it wasn't the time or the space i just i just had to to take care of myself in retrospect i go back and and i just kind of you know fantasize about saying something different and and it it does have to do with with kind of educating them on the stats of like you do realize that that question is ridiculous right your honor like that everybody knows somebody and just like saying the stats allowed in that courtroom across from that man you know and and i look back and you know i honestly like i'll bet i could find the information i should look up i i think i like tried once and and wasn't sure if i was looking at the right thing but i should look up what the results of that case were whether or not you know he received a innocent or guilty verdict um because i'm honestly curious and verdict's um verdicts don't always reflect the truth and that's a sad fact so if he received an innocent verdict that doesn't necessarily mean that he didn't do it well yeah and i don't think there's any vice versa not guilty yeah not quite the same not quite the same yeah so what advice would you give survivors of sexual assault heading into jury duty about facing this you know what is for us kind of our worst case scenario i would say uh similar to to what you described is just really prioritize self-care uh both going into it you know get a good night's sleep the night before and all the night stirring really make sure that you have time set aside to really take care of yourself you know one of the things that i think of is have meals planned ahead of time you know have have the food bought know what you're going to have for what meal just you know as someone with an eating disorder um that's something that anytime i feel stressed that is the first thing that i just immediately forget about and it is a lot i mean first of all healthier um physically but it's also i think emotionally easier for me to be present and process my emotions when my body has been cared for both in the form of you know fuel and also rest i would say bring water bring some snackage if that's something that they allow bring something to do because yeah it is a lot of sitting around and there won't necessarily be a lot of chatting and if you do have ptsd and you have a medication that can help you that you are legally allowed to bring into the federal courthouse i would recommend having that on hand don't bring drugs don't bring things that are not federally allowed into of goes without saying yeah and otherwise i would just say think about it beforehand as as difficult as it is as traumatic a topic as it is really think about you know your worst case scenario if that happens you know think about some of the questions that we were asked and come come to a conclusion that you can live with something that you feel that you could say to a bunch of strangers completely on the spot under really stressful circumstances if that means saying no i don't believe i can be fair you know maybe practice saying it because i found that really difficult admitting that that is hard for so many people that something that they find in jury selection is that everyone wants to believe that they're fair everyone wants to believe that they could do that we alone are unbiased yeah everyone wants to believe they're unbiased and if and if that's untrue that's okay it doesn't mean you're a bad person it you know like well just on your truth go in there and speak your truth whatever it is and whatever it is it's okay it's you know yeah i i think i think that's really good advice i would say use use that time that you're sitting alone in that room to keep calm and self-regulate in whatever way you need to do i did some meditation i think i think i brought a book so i was like i'm probably gonna be bored and i got there and i was like i am so not bored this is whoo this is really intense um and so it was a lot of self-regulation and it was a lot of um of me sitting there and i took that time to just uh to just run through everything in my head and to really just ask myself how do i feel about this can i do this what am i capable of it was a very high stress situation i won't deny that but i think it was manageable once i was there for me and i was able to just feel my way through it step by step and be present for it and just be like this sucks and this is what i wish weren't happening like this is what i dreaded but it is happening and just take it step by step and just recognize that if you are present and honest that you're gonna be okay and that chance for better for worse chances are they aren't gonna pick you and uh and if they do they'll probably only do it if you're ready if you if you if everybody feels that you can't do it well and so one thing i'd like to to make clear as well is that one of the phrases you just used is you know think about what you're capable of and something that i'd really like to stress is that it's not just what you're capable of it's what is healthy and reasonable to be asked of you and yes this is a situation that is unavoidable and that legally you have to show up you have to be questioned you know you it's it's uncomfortable and it's really distressing at least it was for me to be put in that situation where i didn't have a choice about who i wanted to share my story with even if it was just a bare bones version and that to me is is really was really distressing because that was a big part of healing for me is that not everyone deserves to know my story you know it's it's personal it's mine and that is a part of claiming my own power back from a powerless situation and yes the the jury duty experience for me did stir some of that up but just remember that yes legally you have to show up you have to answer their questions you have to be honest but also i really don't think it's fair of them to ask you to re-traumatize yourself and i personally think it's really okay for you to bring that up if if they're trying to put you on a jury that will re-traumatize you i think it's completely okay to say that that is not all right for your your mental health silent applause for literally everything you just said um something that's uh that's that i've clarified lately that's a that's a question that i've been asking myself for years but i didn't really it wasn't really crystallized into words uh but a part of navigating uh ptsd for me has been asking myself in this situation which can be literally any situation even if it's like do i want to go to a do a party do i want to go to the social gathering do i want to leave the house um and it's asking myself like if i feel some discomfort first of all recognizing that you feel discomfort or anxiety and then next asking yourself am i leaning into discomfort in a way that is potentially beneficial or am i putting myself in a situation of distress and really starting to figure out which is which clarify for yourself when leaning into discomfort is healthy and when you're forcing yourself to to enter into a situation of distress when you don't want to and clarifying that for yourself ahead of time and choosing not to enter into situations that cause you undue distress that's a big one you know if if this should happen and you're sitting in that room and it's a sexual assault case ask yourself that is this reasonable for you and like you said not just am i capable of this but is this healthy and being able to sit you know wherever you sit whether it's in a in a group or in that super intense witness box and say this would be re-traumatizing for me and find things like that to clarify so so um yeah i think answering questions like that not just about impartiality ask yourself whether you can whether you can honestly give a fair and unbiased judgment be honest with yourself and then be honest and clear with the courtroom don't give maybes uh because they'll keep pressing you and it'll get more uncomfortable as we've learned from that kind woman that poor woman thank you whoever you are a really a really rough day has has now changed lives i'll never know who you are thank you be clear about that and also be clear about what's healthy for you and what you can do and if uh and since you're gonna be stepping into a situation where the people in that courtroom they might not know jack [ __ ] about ptsd or anxiety or being a survivor like that you know you don't know where their expertise lies you don't know how informed they are about xyz so be clear not just about conditions but be clear about the effects on you so when i said i have ptsd i didn't just say that and assume that people understood what that meant i said i could have a panic attack during the proceedings and i stated flat out that possibility and i said that um because ptsd is different for everyone and you don't you don't even have to have a diagnosis of ptsd maybe you don't have that maybe you got a lot of anxiety whatever whatever being a survivor is to you however it affects you be honest about how it affects you and if it'll affect the proceedings be honest about that because those are clear and definite things that they can better understand and also if you are in a place in your life and you've had an experience of sexual assault if you're at a place in your life where you do feel like you've done a lot of healing and you feel that you can be there and and and be part of that jury i would absolutely encourage you to do that if it you know obviously if there's no other hardship involved as far as finances or anything if if there's no other reason for you to to not be able to be on that jury and you think that you would be able to do it i would absolutely encourage it because you know as previously said there's a lot of people out there with these these experiences and we're i don't know what the statistics are as far as getting picked for juries or not but my guess at least from the couple experiences that you know you and i have had is we're probably not getting picked a whole lot and it means that people ending up on juries deciding these cases are not necessarily going to be people who have direct experience with it and that's not necessarily great either that's problematic that's that's a word that i that i lean on a lot because it just kind of acknowledges the complexity of the situation yeah yeah there's a lot there you were saying something about um how you decide like you know whether to leave the house or not or um you know discomfort versus distress exactly so when looking at discomfort versus distress one of the things that i've personally found really helpful because i've been you know recovering from being in a cult and also dealing with some some childhood abuse and trauma and just the way that that has affected you know really everything about me um um psychologically and neurologically as well what's i've found really helpful has been looking at who am i doing this for am i doing this for me or am i doing this for someone else am i doing it because i think this person is going to get mad or they're going to be sad if i don't do this thing or you know it's going to make this other person uncomfortable or it's what they expect me to do or am i doing it because i don't feel comfortable or i don't feel safe or i need to rest or you know whatever it is who is the motivation behind my action and is am i am i working to actively take care of myself or am i trying to take care of someone else first that's a really great point thank you yeah yeah but that for me has been has been helpful and clarifying because it can get really confusing especially if you do have um a history of abuse of of any kind or yeah and anything that has led to a devalued sense of self or or any sort of confusion yeah um there's there's a lot of feelings of obligation that are often a part of abusive dynamics and they can easily get built into your into your personality and uh into your your decision-making in an unconscious way feeling obligated to people in in on many levels and you're right that's a big part of decision making for a lot of people and it's one being aware of it being mindful of it is incredibly important obviously we're not uh lawyers so don't don't take any of this as legal advice um yeah you know if you have legal questions absolutely uh talk to a lawyer and you can also speak to people there at jury duty if you have questions i believe yeah i i think there's people there who you can go to with questions and just try and you know take care of yourself and and don't be afraid to ask people questions because that's what they're there for thank you so much for for coming and being willing to speak candidly about this experience it's really really funny that this happened to both of us uh and fairly close together uh in terms of i think months oh yeah i've had this experience and uh and i think this was like a this was like over a year ago yeah it was a while yeah this was like a year or two ago um that this happened but it happened to both of us that was that was pretty odd in different states yeah different states it's statistically unlikely however anyone listening to this has been the

um yeah but it's uh something worth talking about so thank you for for coming here and talking about it thank you yeah absolutely thank you for for having me and i i think it's a really a really great topic and i wish that i had had someone to talk talk about this with me uh prior to going in because yeah it was super nerve-wracking yeah um i think i talked to you like a day afterwards or something having someone like if you're not selected for the jury you're allowed to talk about it so that's important to know so call somebody if you need to and it's great to be able to talk to other survivors or having um other survivors that you can that you can turn to in a case like this you know talk to your therapist about it talk to other survivors that are part of your support system talk to a friend talk to whoever the hell you need to talk to but you know even if you think you're doing okay with it like i i kind of felt like i think i'm doing okay with this but i just kind of like need somebody else to hear that this happens yeah thank you for being there like on the other end of the phone yeah and i think you you reached out to me when it happened to you as well yeah afterwards and it's it's good to just kind of you know have have some support oh yeah you're welcome and also thank you for being there for me yeah thank you so much for coming yeah absolutely thank you for having me thank you so much for listening please write in with feedback listener questions or episode requests to podcast.findingo

let me know if you're interested in joining me on the show i'd love to have you finding ok is crowdfunded and paid for out of pocket anything helps you are the ones helping me make this happen thank you a link to the gofundme can be found on the podcast website and i post links routinely on my facebook page i also post relevant articles art memes and resources daily feel free to friend me hecate f-o-k h-e-c-a-t-e f-dot o-k-a-y you can also find me on instagram i have created a private finding okay facebook group for survivors you are welcome there and i hope you'll join us please take a minute to rate and review the podcast on whatever platform you use to help the podcast reach more listeners thank you so much for your continued support please share subscribe and donate if you can thank you again for listening this has been finding okay black lives matter take care of yourself your heart is a muscle the size of your fist keep on loving keep on pointing and hold on and hold on hold on for your life for your life

on two survivors of sexual assault going into jury duty who may face a similar situation neither one of us nailed that

it's a really good thing uh there's this nice little uh plosive shield on this mic oh the pop filter yeah exactly

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Chie has a BA in Somatic Psychology. She is a harpist, Champion Irish Dancer, singer, and practicing Druidic Pagan. She and her partner live in the Midwest where they take beautiful walks in nature and play music together.