In the second week of December, I was assaulted where I sell the The Contributor in Hermitage by another vendor from another paper. It was a scary situation not only for me, but I can imagine for anyone driving by. Witnesses stayed, police were called and 90 minutes later, they arrived. Statements were given and a citation was issued to the other vendor and he was given a ride back to the Hermitage Inn where we both reside.
I went back to my spot the next day and he showed up again. I was hoping to be able to work together, but nope. Someone would roll down their window to buy The Contributor, and he'd run up to the car screaming and yelling, “That's not her money it's mine. She's not doing it right.” I decided right then and there that I would have to wait until a time where all would be safe before selling there again.
For the next couple of weeks, I went across the street to the Thornton's and sold the paper there. Then snow and ice came, the bitter cold set in, and other days fear and anxiety kept me inside. I couldn’t live like that; something had to be done.
I started making some calls and tried to find out about a restraining order or order of protection. I was finally put in touch with the DA and the case was discussed. I told him of the problems since the assault and he gave me the phone number to the Victim's Advocate. I asked myself why hadn't someone contacted me until now? Why have I had to do the research over a violent act toward me? I knew then that I was on my own.
I contacted the advocate, and they told me to come downtown and they'd help me with the paperwork. So the next morning, I hopped on the bus and went to their office. I was met outside the office by an officer asking for my ID and such. I'm glad that this area is well-protected, I felt safe. The officer returned my ID and handed me a packet of papers telling me where I could go to fill them out and where to take them once completed. Well, so much for the assistance of the advocate.
After filling the paperwork out and walking them over to the night court, it was signed off on. I received the instructions on yet another hearing after the man who assaulted me was served. Now we have a hearing for the order of protection and the court case – each separate. This has become a whole job in itself. Where is the justice in this? The defendant in this case just has to show up, that's it! This long and timeconsuming trail of paperwork is just a piece of paper that I can show the police if he comes within a certain yardage from me. Why is the victim having to do this? I know my case wasn't and isn't taken seriously or the order of protection would have been acquired days after the assault happened. The police would have said something to the effect of, “Now call this number for the victim’s advocate right away and they can help you.” Why didn't they take the crime against me seriously? Was it because I sell The Contributor? Was it because I live in a hotel? I wasn't physically injured, just shaken up a bit, so maybe that's why. Still, it would have been helpful if someone had contacted me and informed me about the services they could have or would have provided.
Vicky B. is a homeless vendor of The Contributor.