This week a woman may have to face the man she says ruined her life. Kia Graves says a pizza delivery man raped her while her 7-year-old daughter slept beside her at her apartment. Cesar Lucas will appear in court Tuesday, on his 17th birthday, and Graves dreads having to testify. She says she hasn't been able to sleep since the night of her attack. And though her daughter was mercifully unaware at the time of the attack, she now knows about it and lives with her mother's fear. "She thinks something bad will happen to me," Graves says of her daughter.
Lucas allegedly lingered in the hall of the large apartment building after delivering a pizza and broke into Graves' apartment. He clamped a hand over Graves' mouth so she couldn't alert anyone, then apologized before leaving. Later he said he committed the crime because he was "horny." Since then, Graves has suffered panic attacks and hasn't been able to work.
I have nightmares thinking that he’s getting out of jail, and I wake up all the time making sure my door is locked. I sleep with one eye open, basically ... I have panic attacks and I wake up in sweats.
Graves used to work as a talent scout and says she had an active social life. Now she only leaves her apartment (where she was raised and where her mother also lives) when absolutely necessary.
I think many of us want to believe we are resilient and would survive just about anything, even rape by a stranger. But Graves' story shows how devastating an attack can be. I think the shock of being woken at night in her own home must have been especially traumatizing. I'm just glad her daughter was asleep at the time of the attack and didn't actually witness it -- and wasn't attacked herself.
I hope Graves eventually recovers. It's been less that two years. Hopefully in the next few years, the horrible memory will fade and she'll be able to reclaim her life. And she may not have to testify this week -- if Lucas takes a plea.
As for Lucas, Graves admits she feels sorry for him as well, since his life is also ruined. He faces charges of rape, sex abuse, burglary, and endangering the welfare of a child. He could spend up to 25 years in prison. I wonder if Graves would feel any safer knowing her attacker is in prison?
How would you cope and recover if something like this happened to you?
Image via Dominick/Flickr