I experienced something this weekend so traumatic, it was the worst day of my life and the effects will last a very long time. But I know that God will use it for His good. It has given me a “tip of the iceberg” sense of what these women who are being trafficked are going through. (And I mean the very tippy-top of the ice berg!)
This past Saturday, I went for a run on the bike trail that runs from Morton to East Peoria (which are neighboring towns). I ran for a while, it was a busy morning on the trail, because it was so nice outside! I said good morning to everyone I passed including to a man on his bike. He was wearing blue jeans and no helmet, which is not unusual because the trail is fairly mild. I then went home and got my bike and went back out on the trail. I rode in the opposite direction than I had ran. On my way back home I passed the same man in blue jeans with no helmet, he was sitting on a bench next to the creek. I did not say anything this time. I continued to ride and he passed me on his bike going fairly quickly. I was riding a constant uphill so I continued in a higher gear and a constant speed. I then passed the same man again who was walking his bike up the hill at this point. He said “This is harder than it looks!” I replied “yeah this is the uphill, the other way is a lot easier.” He then passed me again. At this point I thought, ‘he must not know how to use the gears on his bike’. I passed him as he was leaning against a fence, and I didn’t say anything. I then made it to a more flat area of the trail and was almost home.
I heard him coming up behind me once more. Out of the corner of my eye I could see him quickly turn his bike as he rammed it into the side of mine. (The trail is paved and more than the width of a large truck, he had plenty of room to pass.) I fell of my bike, (was wearing my helmet!) and got up quickly to look at my now road-rashed arm. He said “Oh my gosh I’m so sorry, are you ok?” I was very annoyed at this point, I could tell that he had intentionally knocked me off my bike, so I said “I’m fine! Just keep going!” He kept getting closer saying “No I’m sorry, are you ok?” I said “I’m fine, go!”
At his point he grabbed my shoulder and pulled me to the ground. I was caught completely off guard and of balance. I screamed as loud as my lungs could handle! I thought ‘I can’t believe this is happening! Where are all the people who were around earlier?’ He pulled out a cloth soaked with chemicals. He held it to my face. I tried to kick him in the crotch but couldn’t get enough leverage. While holding my head to the ground he moved behind me so that I couldn’t see him and tried to wait for me to pass out from the chemicals. I took my hands and dug my fingernails into his arms and pulled down. It seemed that I wasn’t making much progress, and I was running of of time before I needed to breathe. I I could now see his head over mine, so I braced myself with one hand on the ground and formed a fist with the other and started to hit him as hard as I possibly could on the side of his head. (I bet he was wishing that he had worn a helmet to ride in!) I got four or five good hits in before he stood up and wobbled away. (I think that and a combination of the fact that someone was beginning to ride up in the distance made him get up.) I jumped to my feet and kept screaming at him. He got on his bike and rode back downhill.
I looked around and saw that an older man was coming our way so I rode towards him and asked him to stop. He was about my grandfathers age, and he was as nice as him too! His name is Bob and his is from Morton. He rode next to me as I made my way home. Brian was out mowing the lawn. I shook Bob’s hand and he said he would go back to the trail and see if he could find him. I motioned for Brian to come inside and he did. I was still hysterically crying at this point and Brian called the Police right away, (well after I convinced him to not go back out on the trail so that he could clobber the guy to a pulp).
Within minutes an East Peoria Police Department car was at our house. He told us to get in and that they thought they had caught the guy already! I was so excited as we drove back to the trail. We could hear the radio say “They are fighting him right now..” As we pulled up to where it happened, I couldn’t see the man who was standing in the middle of all the cars and cops. But when I finally did, it wasn’t the same man. It was a stout looking man, who weighed more than the guy that attacked me.
We continued to drive up and down the bike trail, and go to a few other places to look for this man or his silver/gray bike. No luck. It was an interesting ride though, listening to the cop. He told me that if it should ever happen again, get a good grip on his ear and pull. It only takes 5 lbs. of pressure to RIP SOMEONES EAR OFF!!
We then got into a large truck with a man named Neal from the Fondulac Park Police Department. He was great as well. We went back to spot where it happened to look for anything he might have dropped. No luck again. We went back to our house and the Chief came and took pictures of my scrapes, and Neal took a statement. Turns out he knew some people that I work with. Small world.
Since then, it has been a roller coaster of coping for me. I go from sad, scared, angry, empowered and back to sad again. Sleeping at night has proven to be difficult. I have tried to occupy my mind with TV and fall asleep to that, wake in the middle of the night and try to sleepwalk myself into bed. I’m low on my sleep-ege hours so I’m dragging a bit. I’ve tried just going to bed when Brian does, but my heart begins to race and I can’t fall asleep.
This event has had a few negatives so far:
– I’m scared to be alone. Noises scare me, and people I don’t know getting to close scare me as well.
– I can’t sleep.
– I now worry a lot about it happening to someone else, because he was not successful the first time.
On the more positive side:
– Brian and I have a new view of life. Circumstances could have turned much worse very quickly. I could have either been raped, dead, or both. We had many small fights in the works, and those are now buried in the deepest part of the sea as far as we are concerned. We are happy to be together and he has been so great in discussing things with me and helping me work through it. It has of course been a very prevalent part of conversations since Saturday, and he is as passionate about it as the day it happened.
– I feel more confident that I can pack a punch. 🙂
– I know am more aware of my surroundings.
– (Tied into the title) my heart falls even deeper for the women who are suppressed everyday through trafficking. They are forced to do things they never wanted to, and in their minds they also think “I can’t believe this is happening!”
Please continue to pray for the women who are suppressed everyday. Pray that the police will catch this man so that he cannot repeat this action.
Kiss and hug your loved ones, tell them how you feel and move past your arguments.
And praise God for Bob, for the great folks at the East Peoria Police Department and the Fondulac Park District Police Department, and for my huge muscles! Ha!