I seriously don’t even know where to start. More and more people are coming forward with sexual harassment and sexual abuse claims across the country and my head is spinning. This is a watershed moment and I really don’t know whether to cry because so many people have been affected or to be proud that people feel comfortable coming forward. I guess that I can feel both, but it is overwhelming.
There is power in numbers. Why are people comfortable speaking up about past sexual assault and harassment claims now? I’m sure some out there think that this is a big witch hunt going after wealthy, famous men in power. I mean, really, how could this many men really have been such filthy, slimy perverts. This just simply can’t be true, right?
It boils down to the typical he said/she said scenario. I’ve lived it and let me tell you it majorly messes with your mind when you are not believed. I had evidence of my rape and it still wasn’t enough. I was still attacked on the stand after the guy was convicted because, well, I don’t know. Because they could still mess with me I guess.
She Said –
Guess what? The detectives knew who my rapist was within 48 hours. They were able to convince the apartment manager to call him up & tell him that there was a noise complaint about his condo. He said he had a female guest over and said it wouldn’t happen again. All of this was heard by detectives. Put himself there. Evidence.
The first detective (we’ll call him Detective 1) on the case called the guy and wanted to talk to him and the guy said, “talk to my lawyer.” Know what? There was no attempt made (that I know of) to talk to the guy or his lawyer for over a YEAR. A year! I felt completely sabotaged from the beginning.
Do you know why they didn’t talk to the guy? Well, there was a video of the both of us in the apartment elevator. On the video I appear coherent, am talking and laughing and get out of the elevator before the guy. That obviously means I’m consenting to having sex with him right? Right. I mean every man I ride an elevator with I end up sleeping with. That’s just how I roll. (sarcasm) That couldn’t be further from the truth.
So, Detective 1 calls me into the police station to take a look at this video 5 months after my assault. It is amazing how two people see two different things. I was excited that they had a video and evidence that I was there.
“See? I was there and you can tell who the guy is. You’ve got him!”
Yeah, not so fast. I quickly learned that I am very naïve and what I think looks obvious is definitely not obvious. Basically, the consensus between Detective 1 and several others on the force is that this video looks bad for me and the case should be closed. WHAT? Yep. They said my case will never get past a District Attorney because I appear to be just fine in the elevator. I must be crying wolf or blowing things out of proportion. Case closed. Move along…
Talk about a slap in the face! I was completely blacked out during that whole time and remember nothing, even to this day. So, even though they didn’t talk to the guy at all they were going to close the case. Never mind all of the evidence collected in my rape kit (which took 10 months to process, but thankfully was processed) and my testimony. Case closed.
You want trauma? Get told that your rape isn’t worth pursuing.
“Sorry, the District Attorney won’t let this go through. It’s weak evidence.”
“Can you at least TRY talking to the guy?”, I pleaded. “I just want you to talk to him.”
It wasn’t even he said/she said at this point, it was she said and it’s not worth much. It was finally my THIRD detective (Detective 3) that talked to the guy & got him to confess. That was 16 months after the assault.
Now, I want to shift your focus to the people coming out in the last weeks about sexual harassment and assault. I’ve heard some pundits say that these women are coming out and attacking powerful men to get their ’15 minutes of fame’. Seriously? You think anyone wants to be known as the person who was assaulted? Guess again. I’m not popular by any means and my rapist isn’t either, but it is hard enough coming forward and talking about it. If you think people are so starved for fame that they would falsely accuse someone of heinous acts, you need to rethink your idea. Survivors already wear a scarlet letter of shame. They don’t need your dismissive opinions.
I do believe in due process. That is why I stayed with my case for almost three years. Just because a person is accused of assault or harassment, should we jump to the conclusion that he is guilty? Absolutely not. There should be due process. But, how people treat victims needs to change. What I experienced is that the defendant was innocent until proven guilty. I was guilty until proven believable and we struck a plea deal.
Why does the victim have to prove their validity over and over again? I’m the one who was poked & prodded in the hospital. I’m the one who had countless sleepless nights because of nightmares of the assault. I’m the one who put my career on the line to deal with the assault head-on. I’m the one who lived through PTSD. Sure, test my validity. I dare you.
They did take that dare and I had to prove my validity at sentencing of all place. The guy already confessed and we reached a plea deal of 2 counts of sexual battery, but I was still being drilled by the defense attorney on my story and if I’m being truthful. I still wasn’t believed even though he was convicted. The judge warned the defense attorney to stop this line of questioning, but he continued until he was warned again. Until the very, very end I was guilty until proven believable. I can promise you that these people coming forward in recent cases aren’t out for 15 minutes worth of fame. They are looking for justice, to be heard and to be believed. Being famous for being a victim is one of my worst nightmares.
Maybe women finally feel comfortable coming forward about being assaulted, and that is a good thing. For the record, there should be no ‘crying wolf’ for the sake of attention. That is disgusting and there is a special place in hell for those people.
So, maybe instead of jumping to conclusions that these women coming forward are lying, why not take the time to think about me. I didn’t lie and still wasn’t believed for 16 months. I was completely dismissed. These women in the news are someone’s daughters, mothers, sisters, friends, etc. They all have names and have lived with these secrets for a long time. Think about what you would do if your daughter came and told you about these assaults and harassment. Would you not believe her? Would you?