Attempted rape victim's speech to her attacker in court
Here is a transcript of the speech given by Heidi Damon who faced her attacker, Javon Cooper, in court today. He was sentenced to 15 years in prison followed by 10 years of probation. "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. You know why? Because I'm alive. I'm alive, alive, alive. I lived to tell the truth. I will not address you by your birth name. See, you're already ashamed. You can't even look at me. I will not address you by your birth name but what I feel you should be called – guilty, guilty, guilty. You may have hurt me, but what doesn't kill me makes me stronger. You have not broken my spirit. 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. You picked the wrong woman on Aug. 19, 2009. When you attacked me, my will to live is much too great. And my love for life is way too strong. And my desire to be all that I can be cannot ever be broken by you or anyone.I survived. You have simply victimized yourself. I will be free for the rest of my life. You will be a prisoner for the rest of yours. You may think that you may be in jail for 15 years and serve 85 percent of that and be a person on the street with an [ankle bracelet] for 10, but big brother will be watching you. You are a boy. Always will be. You'll never be a man. I know this because a man would have never done what you did to me. I will never forgive you, because what you have done to me is unforgivable. So don't expect me 20, 30, 40, 50 years or on my deathbed to ever say I forgive you. I am a go-getter. You obviously aren't. I contribute to my community. You help decay yours. I am loved and respected and known for all the things that I help with other people. You are known for being a convicted sex offender and someone who attempted to murder someone. I have been awarded the many blessings in my life. I will leave a legacy behind - that I was loved, I succeeded, I made a positive impact on others' lives. You, on the other hand, are inadequate. And you will never be trusted by anybody. The title Sex Offender will follow you to your grave. You have chosen to make yourself the property of the state of Florida. Congratulations – you are now the property of the state of Florida. You did this horrible thing to me, and you allowed yourself to go to the dark side. Well, you know what? You had a choice – just like everyone in this world. You have no one to blame but yourself for your actions. You alone have destroyed your life. You are the architect of your own agony. And I am so happy that I get to look at you in the face because who would have thought, who would have thought I would be sitting here, strong-willed, being the person I am – this you'll never be able to say. Ever. My life will never be the same. You know why? It's going to be better than it was before. You actually helped. Because now I can help other people from being sabotaged and brutalized by people – creatures – like you. So when you're sitting in that cell, I would suggest getting a job in jail. Because you have a lot of money to pay. Nobody is going to get you off the hook. I obviously see your huge support system behind you. They won't be there either. So I would suggest that you take this time to do something with yourself positive. Maybe you should consult with someone on what positive means, because apparently you haven't been taught that lesson. So my tears are of joy. Because you're going away. And I will never see you again. Ever. So big – what used to be 320 pounds – they're going to love you in jail. Oh and by the way, I do have one more thing. 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."