Thursday, December 8, 2011

Victim No More: Woman Confronts Attacker At His Sentencing

Heidi Damon refuses to be a victim

A woman who suffered through a vicious attack and sexual assault bravely confronted her attacker as he was sentenced to fifteen-years in prison for the heinous crime.

Heidi Damon was attacked by a then 16-year-old Javon Cooper as she parked her automobile in a parking garage in Ybor City, Florida, in 2009. After striking Damon in the face, Cooper began to choke her until she lost consciousness,  removing her clothing and sexually assaulting her.

As Damon stood in the court where her attacker was to receive his sentence after pleading guilty to attempted murder and sexual battery, Cooper shifted uncomfortably in his seat and averted his gaze from a triumphant Damon. "I just want to tell you — and I want you to look at me when I address you — I woke up ecstatic today, happier than ever," she told the disturbed teen defiantly. "You know why? Because I'm alive. I'm alive, alive, alive."

"You have not broken my spirit," she continued courageously. "You have not changed my belief in God. If anything, you've strengthened both. I am not a victim. I am the victor, the stronger and the winner. My desire to be all that I can be cannot be broken by you or anyone," Damon informed Cooper. "I survived."

Heidi waived all her rights to anonymity by addressing her attacker in court, as she railed at him, "I will never forgive you because what you have done to me is never forgivable. I contribute to my community. You help decay yours."

 "My life will never be the same. You know why? It's going to be better than it was before. My tears are out of joy. Because I'll never see you again. Ever. Oh and by the way, I do have one more thing," she added in closing, "My name is Heidi Elizabeth Damon. I have a name. I have a name that will go on forever. You have a number and the title of the crimes that you've committed. Your name is Sex Offender, Attempted Murderer. Nice to put you away," she finished with aplomb, as her attacker was lead away to the cold, cramped cell that will be his home for the next fifteen years. 

And millions of women from around the world who have suffered abuse at the hands of a monster like Cooper stood up and cheered...

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