Still trying to smile | Squamish Chief

Still trying to smile

Squamish woman on how assault changed her life

More than a week after hearing about her assailant’s conviction, Jayme Schmetterling’s face is lined with a tired expression.

Sitting in The Squamish Chief’s office, Schmetterling said even though she wants to talk about it, it’s been taking a lot out of her to speak about the incident that left her with broken orbital bones and bleeding in the brain.

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The last two years have not been an easy time for her, as she has been wrestling with the psychological and physical damage that she sustained in an altercation.

The assault occurred outside her place of employment, the downtown Dollar Tree, though she was not working at the time it occurred.

On Oct. 15, 2018, Cody Jamie Eric Nelson punched Schmetterling after the man and the trans woman confronted each other outside the store.

On June 25, Justice Patricia Bond convicted Nelson of aggravated assault in the beating of Schmetterling.

“[I feel] a great sense of relief. Because it was nothing but an aggravated assault. Someone beats up a 60-year-old woman,” Schmetterling said.

“I’m very pleased it was a conviction for aggravated assault, not a step down or not guilty, because that’s exactly what it was. It was an assault.”

But while there’s some relief, Schmetterling faces ongoing challenges.

“I never had that feeling, physically, of being afraid, and since then — it’s only settled down, recently — I’d come into town and overwhelming anxiety,” said Schmetterling.

“And for months and months and months, I’ve walked through this town — where I’ve been for 10 years — with such anxiety and I wondered why I’m feeling this but also knowing.... Just feeling it.”

Schmetterling said she’s uncertain about the future. Before she was able to work and earn a decent living.

Now her brain injury has severely compromised her ability to hold a job and thrown her ability to provide for herself into question.

She is dependent on the food bank and disability assistance, she said.

Before the incident, Schmetterling said she was hoping she’d be on her last job before retiring here in Squamish.

“All that work is stripped away from me, because I cannot do that work anymore,” she said.

It’s been frustrating for her.

“I’m angry, but I’m still always trying to smile and be kind,” she said.

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