13 months after my assault I was able to take the first step in regaining some control of my case. I was finally able to make a decision about something. Up until that point I felt pretty helpless. I could e-mail, text or call my detective to see what was going on with my case, but after the first couple months I didn’t hear much anymore. I felt overlooked and like I didn’t matter. Where are the results of my labs? Who is this guy? What can I do?
It was two years ago that I finally met an ally who would talk with me, listen, be brutally honest and respect my situation. My case had landed on his desk somehow. He gets the strange cases that nobody else wants. He wanted to meet me in person to see if we should shut the case or move forward. All the other detectives thought it should be closed, but for some reason he saw something in my files that the others didn’t. Thank goodness.
He was also trying to get a good read on me. Was I being honest? Of course I was being honest! But, I soon learned that there are a lot of liars out there and people calling wolf on sexual assault is an everyday occurrence. So, I had to prove that I was telling the truth.
So, Detective 3 came to my apartment to meet with me. I cleaned my place like I was having The Queen over. I didn’t need him judging me anymore than he already was. What does a dirty apartment say? Being a good hostess, I figured that I better have some cookies or something available and some coffee. I’ve never had a detective in my house before, so I should be ready. (I chuckle now thinking of this, but my Grandma would be proud)
I asked a friend to be there with me when we met so that I would have a second set of ears to listen to information, and because having a stranger in my own apartment freaked me out. To this day, I still don’t like being alone with men I don’t know.
Detective 3 went through everything he knew about my case. I found out that he was actually at the scene of the crime right away. I guess they sent out a group of detectives to go through everything at the apartment.
We didn’t really have too much evidence to go from, but I thought it was enough to move forward. We had the guy putting himself at the scene by talking to the building manager & video of the guy with me in the apartment elevator. I kept on thinking to myself and eventually asked, what is the big deal about talking to this guy? Nobody has tried. I need someone to believe me and help me. The Detective told me it’s not that easy. All the guy has to say is that it was consensual and it is case closed. There is no evidence to the contrary saying that I didn’t want to be there. If there is no evidence, there is no case. He needed to figure out a way to catch him off guard and gain his trust to see if he could get information.
He laid the options out about closing the case or moving forward and was brutally honest. Everyone on the force wanted the case closed because it is near impossible to prove any wrongdoing. He said that, honestly, until he met me he thought the case should be closed too. Also, moving forward has the potential to be just as damaging emotionally and psychologically as the actual assault.
I’m sitting there thinking, “I’ve been through hell and back since the assault, I think I can handle this.”
Again, boy was I wrong. Granted, I did handle it but it about sent me into a nervous breakdown.
We met for 2 hours and they were intense. We went through options and he asked me a few times what getting justice meant to me. I didn’t know. I wanted the guy caught and serve time for what he did. But, what if that didn’t happen? There was a good chance that nothing would happen to him. How would I feel about that and move forward with life? Good question.
I was pleading with him, “Just talk to him, please! Please try!”
How can you close a case if you have never even talked to the guy? That just seems insane to me.
Then, we had a good discussion about what I have faith in.
Did I have faith in the justice system? No.
Did I have faith in him as a Detective? Questionable.
As I sat there weeping with red, swollen eyes I told him I have faith in God. That is all I have and that is enough. I don’t think that I have ever so intently stared at someone as when I said those words. I just felt this strength inside me that told me to not give up. Do not be shaken. TRUST.
During this time I had my television on playing some music and the song ‘Riser’ by Dierks Bentley came on at that exact time. It was a song I clung to at the time. If you haven’t heard the song, I encourage you to check it out. It talks about rising above hard times. Here are some of the lyrics:
And I’m a riser
I’m a get up off the ground, don’t run and hider
Pushin’ comes a-shovin’
Hey I’m a fighter
When darkness comes to town, I’m a lighter
A get out aliver, of the fire, survivor
I’m a trier
I’m a get down low so I can lift you higher
An army couldn’t keep down my desire
That sealed the deal. I wanted to move forward with the case. At least talk to the guy and see where it goes. I will not be the one that willingly closes the case. I will leave it up to the Commonwealth of Virginia to close my case. I knew that I couldn’t live with myself if I gave up. I would always wonder, “what if?”. I’m going to push through until they tell me to stop. The Detective warned me that he has seen trials ruin people because of the stress. I’ll be fine. I’m tough.
At the end of our meeting, I asked the Detective why he took my case when nobody else on the force would.
He said, “I believe you & we did not do our best work for you.”
Those are the most empowering and beautiful words I had ever heard. He believed me! Someone actually believed me! Wow. Looking back I never knew that telling the truth could be questioned so much and not believed. It took one person believing in me and I do believe it was heaven-sent.
So, for the first time in over a year after the assault I finally got to take some power back and make a decision. It was more difficult than I thought to make that decision because I knew that moving forward would open me up to more scrutiny and attorneys questioning my every step. Do I want to put myself through this? Do I want to put my family through this? Do I want to waste taxpayer dollars on this? (Yes, this was an actual thought). For the first time in my life I realized that I deserved to be heard and I deserved to fight for justice.
From that day forward, two years ago, Detective 3 and I were a team. I had to be completely honest with him and he had to be completely honest with me. If we were going to make a go of this then we had to be on the same page. He said that I could change my mind at any time if it got to be too much. There were a few times that I thought about quitting, but it never happened.
After the meeting I felt like a ran a marathon. I was exhausted, but I felt good. I had faith that God would lead me and help me move forward. That is all I had and it was enough.
I’m sharing a photo that I took of myself immediately after the meeting with my detective. Why did I take this photo? Because I wanted to remind myself of the day I started to reclaim my life. It is still emotional looking at the photo, but it now makes me happy instead of sad.
**Featured image credit to Acrylics 139**