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.

Anatomy of a Rape: Part Two

by Devon Buchanan

This is the second part in a series about companion rape. Women are more often attacked by those closest to them than the stranger in the parking lot.

We need to speak out against violence against women and hold our legal systems accountable for light prison sentences.


The date was awkward as first dates go – made more awkward by the fact that he told me he loved me. I felt so strange. We had only known each other for a little over a month and during this time, one meeting in person and one phone call. A lot of texting.

I didn’t know what to say.

“I need to go to the bathroom.” I went to clear my head.

“I want to go home. I’m going to call my parents,” I said when got back to the table.

“I can take you home.”

I told him I would get a ride from my parents, but he insisted.

It’s a ride from my boyfriend I thought I can’t kept rejecting him. I’ll be the girl who couldn’t let a guy do a nice thing for me. A 10 minute ride. I shouldn’t inconvenience my parents.

2:00 p.m. in the afternoon. We went to his car. He turned on the air and we sat there.

“Let’s let the car cool down,” he said. He started kissing me. He kept kissing me despite me moving back. Part of me thought this is okay. Only a kiss or two. I felt a little uncomfortable but everyone kisses.

Then he started moving his hands to my pants.

I immediately told him no. I asked him to stop.

He kept going. Kept reaching into my pants. I pushed him away. No matter what I did he wouldn’t stop. I froze, terrified. If I did what he said, when he’s was done, when he’s got what he wanted I could go home, he would let me go home. It would all be over.

After it happened I felt so numb and confused. I was quiet.

As we drove on, I told him how horrible that was. I had no clue what happened and that I didn’t feel right about it. He told me it was going to be okay, to not tell anyone, especially my parents.

That night when I got home I could barely eat. I ate a few bites of food only to try to keep my parents from finding out what happened.

I couldn’t keep it from everyone. I ended up telling my brothers. They were the ones to tell me to call what happened rape.

I didn’t think that was what it was. It couldn’t have been. Rape was something done by a stranger. Someone following you late at night. Not someone you considered a boyfriend. I told my brothers I would get over it. This was something I would eventually get past and deal with. But it wasn’t a cold or some bad mood.

And that night my older brother convinced me to tell my parents. I felt so ashamed, like I failed them, like I failed everyone I knew. My parents, my grandparents, my friends my family, and even my high school teachers who thought so highly of me.



Anatomy of a Rape (Part One)

The Rape of Proserpina – Bernini – 1622 – Galleria Borghese, Rome

The news about young white male athletes getting off with light prison sentences for sexual assault filled the headlines this summer. Brock Turner, a Stanford swimmer, severed only 3 months in a county jail for his assault of a unconscious woman.

This type of horrific behavior – both by the court and the rapist – cannot go overlooked.

For the next three weeks, I’m hosting the story of a rape survivor.  We met on a comment thread on a Facebook article link about light sentencing. This is the first time that she’s telling her story to a wide audience.

Rapists aren’t only people who drag you by your hair in empty parking lots. They are people we know.

Read on for how it can begin.


I was an eighteen year old senior at a small high school. I was the president of most of the clubs. I was in the top of my class, an intern for the COO of the school and had already had a scholarship to go to a two year community college. Everything was going amazing.

I had everything I wanted. Everything I felt I needed. I was extremely happy. Unlike most eighteen year olds I did not have a boyfriend or really dated anyone. I was content worrying about school than worrying about a social life. I would be lying if I said I didn’t want one. Seeing everyone else with someone, and the way it made them feel I felt like I was missing out. Love would come eventually and I wasn’t going to push it.

Soon graduation came.

I met John Doe*I met him at Comic Con, a place I go every year where I was always safe and happy. That year I was old enough to attend geek speed dating. He was kind and sweet and seemed very interested in me – all things I wasn’t used to. When I met him there was no warning signs: no sick to my stomach feeling, everything was normal — nice even. We started talking and exchanged numbers. He lived an hour away so seeing him often would be difficult. But we talked every day for over a month. He told me what he wanted was a relationship where he could sit and talk and have deep conversations. He made me feel special. Like all he wanted was to be with me, and it was so lovely. He said he wanted to lay near me.

We decided we wanted to only date each other.

I told him I never really dated anyone before.

He told me he had dated a few people.

He talked me into sexting with him.

I told him I was virgin.

That sexting wasn’t real to me.

That when we would go out on real dates, I didn’t want to do anything sexual.

I wasn’t comfortable.

I told him this regularly.

I also told him I didn’t want to sext with him very often.

It wasn’t something I was into.

I told him I didn’t really want to.

He told me he understood, that he would respect that and go on my own pace.

We didn’t talk about that very often. Only once in our relationship. What always came up was that he wanted to see me in person and have real dates. As simple as this sounded, making it a reality was harder. I couldn’t drive and he lived far away from me.  But we made a date to go to the mall. One close to where I lived. I was so happy to learn that he was willing to go so far to see me. I would soon learn he didn’t drive there to see me.