“My friend worked in Waikiki â€” she was a bartender â€” and I was meeting her to go out dancing when she got off work,” Walker says. “I was intoxicated and went out the wrong door of the hotel where the bar was that she worked in.”
Walker found herself in a dark alley, where she was approached by a man she didn’t know.
“All of a sudden, he grabbed my breast,” Walker says. “I said, ‘What are you doing?’ And he said, ‘Shut up or I’ll kill you.’ “
The man punched her in the face, then strangled her as she lay helplessly on the pavement.
“I just thought about my daughter,” she says. “I was a single parent of a 5-year-old daughter and the only thing I could think of to say to this guy was, ‘I have a baby.’ “
The man stood up and ran away.
“The police came and the ambulance came, and I was assigned to a psychologist named Harold Hall,” she says.
During therapy, Hall encouraged Walker to apply for college.
“I didn’t finish high school. I only finished the ninth grade of high school,” Walker says. “Before I got attacked, my life was really pretty much dead-end … I think I really was depressed even before it happened.”
She finally enrolled in college, and ended up loving it.
“A year after the attack happened, I decided I wanted to be a lawyer because I was interested in justice,” she says. “I finished my bachelor’s degree at the University of Hawaii and then I went to law school in Boston.”
Seven years after the attack, she graduated from law school and took the Hawaii bar exam â€” at the same hotel where police found her that night in 1976.
“The person who hurt me, he was never found,” Walker says. “That incident has really motivated my work that I have done in restorative justice, working with people who have been victimized by crime and also working with people who have committed crimes.”
Walker says she has deep empathy for other victims, and she also feels for those who have performed acts of violence.
“I still think we have to give people hope that they can change,” she says. “I think that restorative justice is about helping people heal.”
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