Hawaii : Handcuffs and Shackles

My greatest fear was that I would go to prison. This could have been a result of watching too much ‘Prisoner’ in the early 80’s. It was a successful Australian TV drama based on life inside pf Wentworth Detention Centre . I was completely terrified of going to prison. Then, my fear came to pass while on a holiday. It was as scary and terrifying as I imagined. Here is the story….

I was born with a special gift. I can open my throat and ‘skol’ liquid without swallowing. I was returning to Vancouver after a trip to visit family and friends in Australia. I was not walking closely to God and my behaviour reflected that. I had a stopover in Waikiki, Hawaii for about 5 days and I was ready to party. My accommodation was a hostel which provided instant drinking buddies. It was a Sunday night and I was due to fly out the following afternoon so I rounded up all my ‘new friends’ and we headed to the local pub. Fairly soon after we arrived I challenged a male German backpacker to a drinking comp. With one foul swallow he was done and dusted. As is typical with the male ego he re-challenged me and lost again. As the beer slid down my throat I formulated a plan – Mr Backpacker was part of a group. So I took them all on. The bets increased. Soon I was supplying all my hostel mates with free beers paid for by this largish German group of males who couldn’t seem to drink faster than one Aussie girl. Beer after beer I conquered one and all. I was the life of the party but I was also highly intoxicated. The manager stopped me as I went on a toilet break. He was very concerned for me and told me that for my own good he was asking me to leave. He escorted me to the door of the pub and when he let go of me I fell flat on my face.

I ended up heading for the beach as I wasn’t ready to return to the hostel. I met two Aussie girls and we sat and talked. Directly on the Waikiki beach is a police substation. Parked out the front there are numerous police carts. They are similar to a golf cart but on steroids. During the day they are a popular tourist attraction, many people posing for a photo’s in them. The three of us decided to muck around with one. When it was my turn I posed with the CB radio in my hand. No lights were on console so I spoke into the receiver. Code 10, code 10 there is a riot on the beach of 40 people. Within seconds police streamed out of the substation looking for a riot. Code 10 coincidentally means female officer in distress. I was arrested and charged with the obscure crime of ‘tampering with Police equipment’. I was read my rights, fingerprinted and locked up in a group cell. The toilet was in the cell. Disgusting and humiliating.

The following morning, sober, I was transferred to the courthouse. I was the last of about 50 to appear before a judge because I was the only non-American citizen. Customs were required to be there. I was informed that if I was found guilty and convicted I would be deported back to Australia – even though I lived in Vancouver. I took my chances pleading ‘not guilty’ and was immediately shackled (handcuffs for the feet) and handcuffed. I was transferred to another custody centre to be processed. I got one of those funky photos taken with the numbers and became somewhat of a mini-celebrity with my Aussie accent and upbeat personality.

After that I was transferred to the Oahu Community Correctional Center (OCCC) and upon arrival I was strip-searched, which included bending over so bits and pieces could be checked for weapons and drugs. I had to bathe in Lysol (bleach for humans),   to kill any germs and I was given a prison uniform to wear. I was placed into an 8 bed dorm. I went straight into the toilets to have a breakdown when I noticed there were no doors on the stalls. The only privacy afforded me was under the covers of the bed that night. Before bed I asked for my one phone call and was allowed to phone ‘my friends’ at the hostel. I had been missing for 24hrs. They were relieved to hear I was ok and they were able to put up the bond of $50 (out of my winnings from the pub) and get me released the next morning. That night surrounded by scary, dangerous woman who had done some bad things I cried silently for hours.  I wondered if I would still be alive in the morning.

The next day I was released and one of the prison guards gave me money for the bus fare and after an hour-long journey back to Waikiki I hugged my hostel friends like family. I had missed my flight, I had no money and I was in a lot of trouble. The hostel allowed me to work for my room and I put a reverse charges call through to my mum and told her my passport got stolen and she wired me some money. I contacted my friends in Vancouver and advised that I had missed my plane. I had to reappear in court in 5 days with a public defender. I was eventually found not guilty because they couldn’t prove that I was the one who made the broadcast about the riot and I lied to the judge when she asked me if I did it.

I landed in Vancouver a week later – safe but probably not sound. I had experienced my greatest fear and I was worse off for it. While utter foolishness resulted in that particular fear being realised some fears can’t be avoided so easily. Since the birth of my daughter my greatest fear now is that someone will rob her of her sexual innocence. I was challenged upon hearing this statement ‘your greatest fear is the area that you trust God the least’. What a confronting thought?

I came to this realisation. No matter how diligent I was I could not protect my daughter every minute of every day. I decided that I needed  to trust God to look after her no matter if she was in my care or not. With much tears and angst I handed my precious daughter over to Father God. He is now in control. My fear has not magically evaporated but I do now a experience a peace in this area. The issue no longer rules my emotions, my thoughts or my spirit like it did. I trust God to be her Elohim Shomri. (protector) at all times! Amen to that!

What is your greatest fear? How can you trust this fear into God’s hands?

Over and Out,

Catherine xoxo

2 Comments to “Hawaii : Handcuffs and Shackles”

  1. Thank you…..just living my life and sharing about!

  2. Good blog Katherine enjoyed it.

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