I hope that in my previous post I conveyed the idea that the Prosecutor – in order to test my trial worthiness – made attempts to mess with my account of what happened between me and Marco. Though I was supposed to be telling her the chain of events in chronological order, her constant starting and stopping of my story in order to ask multiple questions, made the ordeal tedious and severely impacted the emotional impact it would have had otherwise.
What I found really frustrating, and did not hide, was the difficulty in getting the interpreter to understand me enough to even trust that what she was saying to the Prosecutor was accurate. We hit stumbling blocks on the words “purse/pocketbook” “chandelier” “six feet” and the concept of “trying.” I will get to the latter in a moment. The words she struggled to translate were rather important ones.
One big error that caught me off guard, really got me going. About 30 minutes into the interview, the Prosecutor asked me if I spoke Italian. I was completely puzzled, as I was sitting with an Italian interpreter to the right of me, and she translated the judge’s question for me. I said “No. I speak conversational Spanish.” She said, “But the police report says you and Marco were speaking English and Italian!” I said “What? That’s impossible. We were speaking English and Spanish. At times, especially as the night wore on, he spoke almost exclusively in Italian, hence the breakdown in communication.” She said, “So, you are saying the police made a mistake and that you did not say you were speaking Italian with Marco?” She said it in such a way that made me furious. I pounded my fist on the desk and leaned out of my seat and told her “No!” I do not speak Italian and your police made a mistake. They have made many mistakes in the report and I cannot even get the interpreter here to understand what a purse is! This is ridiculous.” Yeah, I know, not my best move, but I was so frustrated that instead of me telling her what happened to me, I was wasting time explaining away errors that were not of my making.
We moved through the story at a snail’s pace. When I finally got to the part where Marco bit my lips and shoved his hands down my pants when I tried to leave, I met a huge roadblock. The Prosecutor seemed displeased with something I had said. The interpreter told me “The report does not say Marco touched you inside your underpants. It says that you said “he tried.” Stick with me here, because it’s a nuance, but an important one. My account of “try” was rooted in my belief that his goal was to shove his hand inside of me. But because I stopped his hand midway, I suffered scrapes and a bruised pubic bone, but no further violation. To the judge “try” meant he did not touch me at all. This is where I shot off my chair like a rocket and proceeded to show her exactly. what. he. did.
I told the interpreter from that moment on I wanted to demonstrate every part about his physical assault on me because I remembered every aspect of it. They agreed to let me do this, and for the next hour, I performed an eerie, slow motion reenactment of everything he did to me. I broke down several times because it scared me as if it was happening again. But I pushed through it. I did not totally lose it. I just kept telling myself to keep going. By the time I was finished, it seemed the Prosecutor and I had turned a corner. The interpreter seemed strangely moved. And I was spent. The Prosecutor’s last question to me was “Will you come back for a trial?” I told her I’d book my ticket tomorrow if I had to. I thanked her and was escorted from the room.
I walked to my parents and nervously smiled. I was a little shaky. But I told them and my attorney that I did well and that there were some issues with the police report that I seemed to work through. It had been hours that I was in there. The interpreter came out of the Prosecutor’s office and went straight to my attorney to which she told him I was a very good and credible witness and that I did great. I was composed and detailed and held my ground. That was the best news I had ever had where the case was concerned.
We gathered our things and headed back to the hotel. My attorney took off for the train station. And I began to process what had taken place, going over every possible detail with my parents. That one interview had done a number on me. And I had not yet realized it until I got back to the hotel.