The Shadowbag, Intuitive Public Radio, Oct 13 2018 #WhyIDidntReport
Todd McCaffrey writes,
‘ We’ve got to change the attitude towards rape. It affects us all. ‘
Corey Bennett Williams writes,
‘ TW: Rape. Also, I’m mad, so my spelling sucks.
Ya’ll. I was raped and reported it. Went to the hospital. Got a very traumatic rape kit. 50 hairs pulled from my head and vagina- at the root. Vagina and anus painted blue and photographed to show tears and fissures. SANE (sexual assault nurse examiner) was kind, but volunteers for that job after her regular shift. By the time she examined me and collected blood, the drugs they put in my drink were no longer present.
At that point, I was a thirty something Ivy League educated mother of three. I was raped after chairing a fundraiser for a children’s museum. I answered every question. I was photographed from every angle, bruises measured (some in the shape of fingerprints) and photographed.
I hired attorneys. Defense attorneys to assist the DA in collecting evidence. A $20,000 retainer.
I say all this to say that (other than being black) I had every advantage a woman can have in reporting.
Guess what happened? Not a damn thing. I had to push and push to even get my rape kit tested. It took nearly a year, even with my well known attorneys pushing. The district attorney declined to prosecute. The video of them buying condoms wasn’t enough. The ever changing story they offered- there was no sex and then after they learned I had the rape kit done- admitted that there was sex but claimed it was consensual. Also, not enough.
I had been raped before and not pursued criminal prosecution. This time I did. It was awful. Traumatic. Insanely stressful on all of my relationships and was a big part of the end of my marriage. I was on truvada and kaletra prophylacticlly to prevent hiv. I lost weight from the drugs- vomiting and diarrhea . I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t watch a movie or eat at a table with anyone behind me.
So why don’t women not come forward? I’ll tell you why. Because we don’t actually prosecute rapes in this country. Whether someone sees their rapist arrested is up to the DA. When we do prosecute rape, we tear the victim apart. And more than 95% of the time, we don’t put rapist behind bars.
So, why don’t women come forward? Because they’ve done the math and they know the overwhelming likelihood is that it won’t matter.
So, when a woman sees her rapist run for a prominent position or be elevated to the highest court and the land and finally decides that she will come forward….do you know what that is? It’s a gift to us. It is her sacrificial gift.
My rapist still lives in our community. He opened an after school activity for teens. He has had charges brought against him since mine. But he’s still free and out there. It’s a matter of time until he does it again.
This next time, will we believe her? How many women will he rape before we actually see justice?
It is way past time for people to stop sitting on the side lines and assessing who is right. I can almost guarantee statistically that she is. And, even if she’s not we are NOT EVEN TALKING ABOUT CRIMINAL CHARGES. If he loses a job and this is not true it sucks for him. But it’s not the end of his life. It’s a damn job.
If you have other reasons that you’re ignoring the overwhelmingly likelihood that he did this, it’s on you. Want to do something for rape victims here are some options:
– volunteer at your rape crisis center.
– educate yourself. Don’t ask victims. Read some books. I’ll post options later.
– believe them. Listen without judging.
And if you can’t do any of those, keep your opinions to yourself.
EDITED 9/25/2018: Friends. I have been absolutely overwhelmed and humbled by the response to the post describing my assault and it’s aftermath. I have been heartened by so many of you who have listened to me and believe me.
And I’ve been brought to tears by the hundreds of your stories that you’ve shared with me. In response, I have created a community page for survivors like you and me. The goal of the Scarlet Letter Society is to give us a place to share our stories and support one another.
And in addition, we will be producing a set of sharable videos to help the world at large learn more about sexual assault and it’s impact on our lives. I hope that by dispelling some common myths and by bring our stories into the light, we can make the change we seek.
So please follow The Scarlet Letter. That’s where I’ll be posting on this critical topic, and where you are welcome to as well.
Corey Bennett Williams