TruckerDesiree

Texas Bill HB 2932 and SB 1558

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This is why I Support Texas Bill HB 2932 & SB 1558

Another twist of fate occurred while I have been trying to finish my student trucker story on “Ask the Trucker “ in a section created for me called,  A Day in the Life of a Lady Trucker .

In December 2008 I received a notification from Dallas Police Headquarters that my DNA was matched to the man who raped me in front of my small children in 1989.

Some of the difficulties I had from that crime were from the way it was mishandled by DPD in the eighties. I just last month learned more about the man who did this cowardly act.

At the time, the organizational structure I reported to and sought assistance from failed me and I did not trust them.

I carried a lot of bitterness toward this organization until about 6 years ago when I saw a woman on CNN speaking about how she took the initiative to follow up on her own rape case with the Dallas Police Department. As it turned out, a suspect was apprehended who was a radio personality and serial rapist. I learned later that Dallas, Texas had a rash of separate serial rapes that occurred in the eighties.

I was motivated to take control of my bitterness, so I called Dallas Police headquarters and with relative ease made contact with a Sergeant who listened to my story and my hostility.

He did not dismiss me; rather he treated me with respect. He said he would look up my case and he did. I didn’t believe he would call me back but again he kept his word. He called me back to tell me that a good sample to make a DNA match still remained in evidence. He sent me a fed ex swab kit and apologized to me for the way I was treated in 1989. He assured me that the Dallas Police Department had changed over the years and expressed to me that they did not have proper training to handle the trauma that occurs to people who have had sexual crimes made against them. He also told me that they continue to learn more and implement new programs to assist victims.

My life has had some major ups and downs in the 6 years since I spoke to that Sergeant and I lost touch with him.

When I became a truck driver, I often passed through Dallas and wondered how I could locate his number. I didn’t even know if he would remember me. Funny thing was while I was wondering about contacting him; he located me through my family in California. In December 2008 I was notified that a DNA match was made in my case.

As it turns out the perpetrator has been a career criminal over the past 20 years. The man now resides in Louisiana. He has never been identified as a sexual predator. He has been in trouble for drugs, domestic violence but never rape.

The statute of limitations has passed to prosecute this man. He is free to live his life without anyone knowing what he has done.

I was invited to meet this Sergeant at Dallas Police Headquarters with other members of his unit including victim’s assistance. These were the people who worked on solving my cold case. This is what I told them about what happened that night and what happened afterwards:

It was Sunday May 30, 1989 Memorial Day Weekend when my life and the life of my two children changed forever:

I had taken my children ages 9 and 4 to Wet n Wild theme park, it was an incredibly hot day and I became sick from too much sun. I drove by blockbuster video on the way home and rented “The Life & Times of Judge Roy Bean” to watch in bed with my kids.

We arrived home to our one bedroom apartment in Dallas, I felt sick, feverish and exhausted. I passed out in our one room apartment; I had neglected to lock the sliding glass door.

I was awakened from my feverish sleep, by my nine year-old daughter who shook my arm to wake me. I saw a knife pointed at her face and a man who then pressed the blade to my face. In front of my two children, he raped me.

I was traumatized by the incident and it caused me to feel unsafe in my own home. I had recurrent thoughts of rage and insecurity that left me depleted for many years. Perhaps the greatest shock to me was awaking from such a deep sleep in my house, in my own bed and having this man face to face with me.

One single thought has always remained with me, I will never be safe anywhere ever again. If I could not feel protected in my own bed, under my own roof was there anywhere I could go and be safe? There was really nowhere to go.

After the rape I could not return to my apartment so I stayed with friends. I could not mange my children; I had to send them away for a period of time. I had difficulty sleeping. When I stayed at my friends, I often had to sleep in the bed with them because I would wake up choking and gasping for air, I was disoriented.

For 2 weeks I could not return to my apartment but finally 14 days later, a Sunday night I felt I could go home and sleep in my bed. Someone had given me a puppy and that night the man came back to get me. The puppy started barking and woke me up. I caught the man coming through the window and he jumped out and left. That was the last night I ever slept there.

My life as a single parent was difficult before the crime but after that night I experienced much greater difficulties. I attempted to move ahead, put my life together. Years later I managed to put myself through college and almost graduate from University of Nevada Las Vegas but I was unable to finish.

One thing that really ate at me about that night was that I was not afraid to fight that man. I’ve taken down bigger men than him but I had to practice restraint in this instant. This man had a knife and my kids were small. I could not take the chance that they see me get cut or mortally wounded in front of them.

I have a girlfriend who saw her Mother stabbed to death when she was seven. These were the things going through my mind. I wasn’t afraid of him but I couldn’t take the risk with my kids there.

The other thing that continued to flash through my mind was the newspaper articles you see every morning about someone who was killed. Their life condensed into a two-inch blip that you glance over and turn the page. I will say that the second time this man came back for me when my children were gone, I truly wished he wouldn’t have run away so fast.

Over these many years I felt I’d put much of the rage behind me, some of my friends felt I’d never really dealt with it.

After I shared my story at the Dallas Police Headquarters about the night of the rape & my feelings afterwards a lady in the room asked me for a hug. I was so touched be her gesture. I had carried so much pain for so many years from the way I was treated by the authorities. I felt such an enormous relief learning that this organization had been working on fixing their system during these years.

Everyone was so kind and nice. One gentleman had suffered a stroke but was able to remain working despite some paralysis. The Sergeant told me how much work this man did on my case, I was so grateful. The other woman in the room encouraged me to participate in support groups with other survivors who were determined to move forward with their lives and they told me about two bills that were going to be presented to the Texas Legislature called HB 2932 and the companion bill SB1558.

You can read more about these Texas Bills by clicking here:  HB2932 and SB1558

Basically though, these Texas Bills seek to include certain forensic DNA test results into the computerized criminal history to indicate a person has committed another offense.

I felt this was a great idea because if in 20 years he had committed so many other crimes he probably committed other rapes also. I think authorities should know in other states that he is not just a petty thief but also a sexual predator. Rape and Molestation are underreported crimes because the shame attached to them by the victims.

I was invited to go in person to Austin but because of the nature of my job as an “Over the Road” Trucker I missed first hearing which was scheduled with short notice.

Perhaps I will be able to go for one of the other hearings scheduled as these bills make their way through the Texas Legislature. (*see below where I was able to attend a second hearing)

Still, I wanted to participate despite being stretched to the limit due to my driving schedule, trying to finish my student trucker story on “Ask the Trucker” and other projects I contribute to such as “In Social Media” & “Pickens Plan”.

I decided to use my Twitter personality @TruckerDesiree to openly discuss these Texas Bills and their importance.  I committed myself to write even more to show my support of these Texas Bills.

There are many courageous women who are telling their stories to raise awareness for HB2932 & SB1558.

Many of these ladies have stories that are much more violent than mine, yet for every one of us who speaks publically there are many more who cannot bring themselves to do it.

The timing of this Bill resonated with me in particular because I had just emerged from the student trucker system where I was required to live on a truck with people of unknown origins who had criminal histories. I saw the high potential for predators to slip through the cracks undetected without any indicators.

The current trend in the student trucking industry is to target the recruitment of women but there is a total disregard for the prior “gene pool” of recruits. Most of the people I have met in trucking are wonderful people but it took a good deal of time to locate them because the nature of this job keeps you isolated.

I see how important the bills HB2932 & SB1558 are to public safety. I believe we have a right to identify sexual predators. The reality is that many females and children will never report sex crimes. A Predator knows this,  they count on it.

The State of Texas has an opportunity to stop career predators like the man who changed my life.  This might help others so he cannot slip through the cracks again. The valuable technology DNA has been used to exonerate innocent people of crimes they did not commit. This same technology can now be used to identify people who have committed criminal acts but are free only because the statute of limitations.

As it turned out, where I go controversy soon followed with my words again being misconstrued to drive traffic to other sites. One morning I was writing on Twitter and I was beginning to talk about the predatory nature of some people such as the man from my rape. Also, some of the guys I was teamed with as a student trucker who had criminal records.

Predators can come from any walk of life. They look for who they perceive as weaker than them to impress their will upon them. Sometimes it is physical, sexual or mental.

My Son uses the word Misogyny to describe this sort of person:

I say predator because it isn’t always directed at a women. These are also control freaks that play mind games simply for attention but are too cowardly to tangle with a true opponent.

In some cultures, Women are humiliated or beaten for the impulses a man feels when he looks at her.

One day, while I was beginning to introduce this Texas Bill through my Twitter personality I cited the Taliban who cover their women. They strike or beat them if they are uncovered in public. They punish the women because of how the man feels when he sees her. He cannot control his impulses so hit hits her.

Also, there are characters in my story that show mental predatory behaviors by trying to persuade me they were nice people but simply wanted to try to isolate me and see if they could bend my will.

They seriously miscalculated as did a couple other people I’ve encountered this past year who permitted their predatory natures to be revealed as I told my story.

Most recently a story broke that the FBI suspected long haul truckers being serial killers. I was actually credited with causing the hysteria, even on a women’s trucking site!

Then when an arrest was made I watched the unusual reactions from the most unlikely groups. Some male truckers shared the links on their sites while some women in the industry attacked the FBI and me for discussing the topic of violence toward women publically.

Makes me wonder if the man arrested realizes how much heat I’ve been taking from his story because of the coincidence of timing.

I also received an email from a man who read some posts made by a woman condemning me for speaking out about violence against women. In it he said, “It is amazing in 2009 women still conduct them in this manner when talking about violence toward other women.” (*This was a Man who read the “Women in Trucking” Thread on the Serial Killer Story)

While I felt that story was much more complex than anything I was trying to address it did make something occur to me.

The FBI criminal database is used for the Hazardous Materials Endorsement through the “Transportation Security Administration” my fingerprints and background check had to be submitted through the FBI Computer as a student trucker.

I have discussed in my student trucker the lax federal clearance system because it seemed weird that I could have permission to drive hazardous materials when I was unable to drive a truck. I just had to pass 50 questions and the background check. As it turns out, a person who has been convicted of rape or a sex crime could get the Hazardous Materials Endorsement if the conviction was over 5 years old. Many other crimes are permissible also but as most of us are aware, sex crimes are generally offenses that reoccur.

So I have a question:

Should the FBI & TSA review their rules to give endorsements to sexual predators if this DNA indicator is present?

Should someone who has been identified as a sexual predator be permitted to hold a government endorsement that permits them to drive state to state and simply disappear?

What about people from other countries who are working on work visas?

There is obviously much more to discover about our homeland security measures and public safety.

Also, Should women who are being actively recruited into this industry be expected to live in a truck with someone from unknown origins in order to get enough experience to work for a reputable company? Is that part of the job?

All sorts of questions have come to mind when this event from my past emerged during the writing of my student trucker story.

Texas Bill HB2932 & SB1558 offer an opportunity to be pro-active with public safety.

For my particular situation entering this new field and having no plan for safe teaming put me at risk as a student trucker it also set of some sort of trigger that was related to this rape that had occured 20 years ago.

When that 1st guy I teamed with relentlessly badgered me for sex & screamed at me I wanted to punch him in the face but I knew I could be fired for violence. Instead I reported it to our HR department. Again, I practiced restraint when I wanted to beat his “effing” brains out.

I was still shaking in anger when I met up with Tony and I confided in him that it took everything I had to not react differently. I told Tony about my rape in Dallas and that the incident had prompted nightmares again because some of the things the guy said to me. It had been many years since I had those sorts of nightmares. It was that my co-driver had screamed for me to “Get the “F” off HIS Truck” and told me “He would never force me to have sex” that sent me over the edge. I wanted off the truck. He said it was because I was a racist.

Tony asked me why I would team with someone of that race if I had been raped by someone in that race. I said because I don’t judge everyone because one bad apple.

Later Tony capitalized on my nightmares which increased over time. He wanted to cover the things he was doing. Drinking, Partying, Tony was into many extracurricular activities but he had friends and I did not.

It is easy to say “She’s Crazy” or “She’s a Bitch”. I always ask, “How did she get crazy? What did you do?”

So in the midst of writing about a new traumatic experience I was having entering the trucking industry. I was revisited by an old traumatic experience.

Many of the petty crimes this man who raped me has committed were much less serious than some of the people I met during my orientation.  It was a week of “who’s who” of rap sheets, everyone bragging about who was worse. I wondered then, do they put people who have violent histories on trucks together? That seems dumb to me?

I write about the incidents of injustice I have experienced in the Trucking Industry which has a number of questionable recruitment practices that jeopardized my safety and that of the general public.

My personal wish is that industries such as mine who intend to actively recruit women should realize the unsupervised nature of this work has specific challenges when mixing these new recruits.

To me it’s sort of like opening an animal day care with one common area for both cats and dogs. Sure it’s cheaper to put them all together but at the end of the day what are you left with?

I am happy to say I have only admiration for the Dallas Police Headquarters Professionals who have helped me put this incident behind me. They have shown me that big organizations can change.

I have been submitting my statement to all committee members in support of these Texas Bills and I encourage other Texans to do the same.

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