How to find Justice

Not By Chagall
Not By Chagall

This is part 3 in an ongoing series by a special contributor who is taking us behind the scenes of her life as a rape survivor.

We heard about how rapists are not always strangers.

How people w know can go too far.

And today, how she, like most survivors, are left to pick up the pieces, and difficult questions.

—–

I went to the police station after I told my parents. I had to relive my assault over and over again, in gruesome detail.

“Do you want to press charges?” The police officer asked.

I was still figuring out what happened to me. I could barely respond.

“He drove hours just to do this to you. You don’t have to press charges, but he could do this to others.”

It was the first time I realized that rape had been his intent the whole time. He was going to do that to me with or without my consent.

That’s when I decided yes. I was going to press charges.  My night got longer.

I had to go to a victims’ advocate unit. I was lucky they had one — most people have to go the hospital and wait.

I was able to go to the Center and talk to the detective.  Then came the nurse to do a rape kit. They were moving offices and that most of their stuff was boxed.

I went with the nurse. I had to tell my story again, and answer all her questions — no matter how uncomfortable.

Because their adult room was boxed up, and I used the children’s room. I was left alone in a room with a safari mural and many stuffed animals. To a child these were probably comforting. To me it seemed like a joke.

I was swabbed in every area — embarrassed and demeaned all over again.

Although this time I understood the reason behind it.

I was then prescribed medicines: pills to help protect against STDS, antibiotics and also the morning after pill.

I didn’t know who I was.

I had to see the detective. I told my story once again. I was sick of hearing it: sick of talking about it.

I was given options as to what came next.

The first was a one party consent call where I would confront my rapist over the phone. But the night before, I deleted all I had from him, thinking I deleted him from my life. I told them I would get in touch if I changed my mind.

I had to keep going. I went to my college orientation. For my scholarship I was required to be in the honor program and that’s when I learned how difficult this was going to be. They said it was the program was going to be extremely hard, and they didn’t even know all I was dealing with. I wanted to break down. I had to keep going, to keep trying, and that’s when I decided to do the one party consent call. I ended up doing it while taking classes, it also happened to be my birthday.

I walked back into the office with the detective. I would call the rapists and try to get information — hopefully a confession.

Hearing his voice took all the air out of me. I said what was written by the detective.

To me it seemed like he confessed: he said he did it. That he raped me — that he assaulted me. Hearing him say it, hearing him admit it, I almost broke down. I was feeling so many things I couldn’t comprehend them all.

But he only spoke in small words saying “it” and “that.” Not naming the act.

I celebrated my birthday eating cake with my family, not letting them know what I had gone through an hour earlier.

I heard nothing, not a word. I focused on school, on life, on anything that could keep my mind occupied.

I didn’t hear back for months.

I lost my scholarship. I couldn’t keep my grades up.

I couldn’t focus. I couldn’t adapt. I couldn’t cope. I was destroyed.

College was one more thing he took away from me.

I ended up working at a fast food restaurant. When a person came in that resembled my attacker I got angry and upset.

A year passed since my assault. I got a call. My detective told me that my case fell through the cracks for a while but he stayed on it and found John Doe who had said our intercourse was consensual. I was so mad to hear this, to hear him lie.

The case would now go to lawyers in my district and they would decide if they would prosecute.

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