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Furrowed brows and sympathy aren't the responses she's looking for anymore. This month marks 10 years since the assault, and of her survival. Recounting the story to The Pitch is like putting a period at the end of a decade of victimhood. Maybe talking about it will help other victims, she says, let them know "they can still live — well."
And maybe, she says, there's still a chance to catch the fucker who did it.
Juliette has poured iced tea and set out a plate of snacks for her guests. Jane and Katie, two close, longtime friends, sit with her in the living room of the home she shares with Molly, now 14. Molly's not here now, which is part of the plan. She knows an abbreviated version of events, and Juliette doesn't want her to hear the rest. That's also why all of the names of the people in Juliette's life have been changed for this story. Jane and Katie are here for support and to fill in details that Juliette might forget.
With no Kleenex in sight, Juliette continues.
"I must have blacked out for a minute," she says. "The next thing I remember, I decided: I'm going to play dead. That's my strategy."
The man believed her act for a moment and started praying. "Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name ... "
It was as though he were asking for forgiveness, Juliette says.
"But then he cut me here," she says, pointing to her stomach, "and he cut me, like, sliced it down a little bit," tracing a finger down the left side of her neck and down past her collarbone, "and then here," indicating a puckered line traveling straight down the left side of her chest, ending in a forked shape visible above the collar of her V-neck shirt.
"Then, before I thought of another strategy, he stabbed me here and twisted it," she says, miming an imaginary knife gouging her right breast. "And then I'm like, I'm going to die. I'm gonna die. I'm 32, and that's OK. I'm cool with that."
For the first time in the interview, Juliette's voice breaks. "And then I thought, Oh, fuck, I have Molly. I can't die. That will really fuck her up.
"I cuss a lot," she says through her tears, and her listeners laugh again. Regaining composure, she goes on. "I'm like, That will really fuck her up. You gotta live.
"So then I'm like, 'You crazy motherfucker!'" she says. "I just started kicking him, and he must have been a pretty little guy because he slammed against the wall. It was a pretty small room, but he slammed against the wall and he said, 'Bitch, you got blood all over me.'"
Juliette takes a breath. "By this time, it seemed to me to be pre-dawn outside, and I just kept screaming, 'Get the fuck out of here!' And I didn't realize what was happening, but it was getting harder for me to scream because both of my lungs were punctured. I didn't have much scream in me."
Suddenly the man was rushing to leave. He charged about the room, collecting his evidence. "What'd you do with my glove?" he asked. Juliette assumes that he found it because he left.
She would later discover that the man stole only one thing: her driver's license.
Juliette tried to call 911, but her line had been cut. She crawled toward her landlord's house next door. Her left arm dangled uselessly because of a severed nerve in her shoulder. Another slash had nicked a carotid artery.