Deborah Rose: How One Woman Found VICTORY in Testifying Against Her Rapist!!
By: Madison Jaye via Charron Monaye
Deborah is a Domestic Violence Advocate, Author, Motivational Speaker, and Sexual Assault Survivor. You might remember her story back in 2009, where she testified against her abuser and former Philadelphia Police Officer, which led to him being found guilty and currently serving 17 1/2 to 35 years. She shared her story of being raped, and further molested by him from 12 to 20 years old in the book, "The Shadow In My Eyes".
Now Deborah, uses her victory and survival by sharing her story, inspiring others to find their voice, and making herself available to coach and mentor others through their bondage.
Who is Deborah Rose?
Deborah is a force to be reckoned with NOW! I’m a woman of freedom, faith, strength, motivation, dedication, resilience, and transparency! When you can see your old journey and then make a shift to your new journey of endless possibilities, you know God has turned it around. You are FREE! I’m a Phenomenal Woman by nature. Surviving is what I do best, because God made me this way!
It’s been seven years that your abuser has been incarcerated, serving a 17-½ to 35-year sentence for involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, aggravated indecent assault, statutory sexual assault, and corrupting a minor. What did this conviction do for you?
Yes, it was a long time coming! The conviction was an eye opener that I thought would never come true. I thought he was untouchable. I told my story to investigators behind closed doors, which was hard, but leading up to court and being in the courtroom to face my abuser seemed to be absolutely unpractical and unfeasible.
But, when the verdict came down and he was found guilty of four felony charges, I was in disbelief! I immediately started crying hysterically. The conviction started my journey of learning who I was so I could be free. The conviction gave me life, strength, more faith, and a jump-start with gaining the clarity I needed to try and deal with it.
We heard that you testified against your abuser. Speak to us about that experience. How did it affect your life being that you were a police officer at that time and had to face his friends and co-workers afterwards?
While I was testifying against him, I was afraid to look at him. He taunted me in the courtroom. He made faces at me, and if looks could kill, I would’ve been dead. I almost vomited while answering some of the questions. I was overwhelmed, and even though I was sweating, my body felt like ice. Sometimes my attorney had to move up close to me and ask me the question. It was hard to look at my attacker, but I did. I kept asking the judge for breaks so I could go to the bathroom and calm down. There were many police officers there for him. I heard some of them in the hallway saying, “Why did I get subpoenaed to come as a character witness? I didn’t know he did that to her”, “He’s on that boat alone,” and “I don’t want anything to do with him.” That made me feel good. Some of his family who I’ve never seen before was there. The presence of officers started to dwindle down as the second week of trial approached.
My experience with officers at work? Since starting at the 39th District, I felt uneasy. One day I asked for backup and hardly got any. I’m thinking it’s because I told on a police officer. It felt like everyone was against me. So, I called the Internal Affairs investigator, and he had me transferred to the 14th District. Some officers didn’t know it was me who they were talking about, and I would overhear them saying the girl was just mad that he didn’t leave his wife. I was too weak to speak up then; NOW I would definitely speak my peace. Before when I walked in the office, everyone would get quiet sometimes, but so much has happened since then that I’m not the talk of the town anymore. Now people want the book to read, and some officers walk up to me and express how proud they are of me.
In 2017, you released your memoir, A Shadow In My Eyes, which recounts your experience with your abuser starting at the age of 12 to witnessing a jury convict him. What made you want to relive six years of sexual assault and share your story?
Yes, I did release my memoir in 2017. Well, prior to doing so, I’ve taken the proper steps to help myself be better and do better. Before the trial started, I went to counseling several times a week. I was tired of being consumed by him. Sure, he wasn’t physically harming me anymore, but he was mentally destroying me. I was still in counseling when I decided to tell my story publicly. I thought I was ready.
When the information for Pen Legacy’s founder and writer, Charron Monaye, was given to me, I was ecstatic! I called Charron the very next day and told her that I wanted to write my story. I started sobbing while explaining to her what happened to me. I pleaded for her help, and she said yes! After I hung up the phone, I was happy, but there were also some thoughts running through my mind that it was going to be hard. But, my road has been hard, so I told myself, “You can do it.” When I finally met with Charron, OH MAN! I thought I was over a lot of things, but when I had to dig deep and go into detail all over again, the sobbing started and continued the whole time I was telling Charron what happened. Every time we met to work on the next chapter, I would go through a box of tissues. I know Charron couldn’t even understand me sometimes. It got so bad that I began dodging Charron’s phone calls and picking up extra hours at work for an already demanding job just to keep my mind off of it. One day, Charron said, “If you’re not going through with this, don’t waste my time. I’m going to drop you off my schedule.” I found the strength to tell her, “NO! I’m going to finish. People need to hear my story.”
I was willing to relive my story if it could help save others who think their life is over because of their tragedy. It’s not! I must say, digging deep again was worth it! I wasn’t out of the woods yet when the book was completed, but it was the start of cracking that hard shell.
The one thing we find intriguing about your situation is that your abuser was a police officer and you became–and still are–a police officer. What inspired you to want to have the same career as your abuser?
Before my abuse started, I would see him come to karate class with his uniform on, and he would say he helps the good people and puts away the bad people. I immediately decided I didn’t want to be a lawyer anymore. Instead, I wanted to be a police officer. He was a role model in the beginning. However, after the abuse started and he threatened to kill me and my family if I told, I became very confused. I thought to myself, How can he say he helps people but is threatening to harm me?
So, I then wanted to become a police officer to prove that everyone is not like him. I’m different. I wanted to help those who were fighting monsters like him, in all different forms! He was no longer my inspiration. My inspiration was to save those who couldn’t save themselves.
You are now using your platform to help other survivors share their stories in your new anthology titled Praise God I Don’t Look Like What I’ve Been Through. Tell us a little about this book?
Praise God I Don’t Look Like What I’ve Been Through is very special to me. This was another way to help the women around me who are born survivors by nature. When they saw that I told my story in a public form, this gave them hope. Even if they only step out and tell their truth in a chapter, it’s a start that, for some, they never would have imagined themselves doing. Being there for these survivors touches my heart in the broadest form; it’s more than words could ever express. This is my passion! I’m going to live through and through!
In the wake of the #metoo and #timesup movement, what advice would you give women who are sitting on their truth but are afraid of the retaliation from telling?
The advice I would give the women who are sitting on their painful truth is to let it out. I would remind them that holding it inside keeps the chaos in their heart, resulting in lingering thoughts that will cause them pain on a daily basis.
Even if they don’t tell their truth publicly, they can start their process of healing by writing a letter to themselves, seeking counseling, or even writing a letter to their attacker. Some movement is better than none. Keeping this inside is toxic and will prevent you from living freely.
I would tell them, “None of this is your fault. It’s time for you to free your heart, yourself, and to love yourself abundantly! Letting the truth out will be painful, but keeping the truth inside will destroy you! You can do it! Don’t take it to your grave! Let God free you right now! The journey will allow you to face any and everything head on.”
What’s next from you? How can people reach out to you to purchase your book, join your platform, or gain a sisterfriend?
What’s next for me? This is only a strong beginning! (LOL!) Anyone can reach out to me via the following avenues:
Facebook ~ Deborah Rose
Instagram ~ DebI’mMovingOn
Twitter ~ Deborah Grooms
Email ~ email@example.com
I’m also a transformational coach and a speaker. I am working to build safe havens for those transitioning from leaving their abuser, and I hope to have it off the ground in the next three to five years. I’m always looking for sister survival friends who want to help shake the nation with me! I’m READY! God is AWESOME!
Edited by: U Can Mark My Word Editorial Services