Tag Archives: victims rights

Breaking the Silence: What Rape Feels Like

The investigator leaned across his desk.

“What were you wearing?” He asked as if that made a difference. When my answer didn’t satisfy him, he asked the next one.

“Had you been drinking/”

Questions like these not only signaled to me that somehow this person felt it necessary to place partial blame on me for the crime I was victim to.

By U.S. Air Force photo illustration by Airman 1st Class Kenna Jackson [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By U.S. Air Force photo illustration by Airman 1st Class Kenna Jackson [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Here’s what really happened.

It was 11:30 pm.

I left my job and walked to my car. Jolted by the cold wind, I unlocked the door and slipped inside as quickly as I could.

Before I could insert the key into the ignition, I felt his arm around my neck. I smelled the stench of his breath and felt its heat on the back of my neck as every hair raised in a cold chill. His other hand came from the side, showing me the gun it held.

He somehow pulled me into the back seat and held the gun to my head as he demanded I remove my slacks. His assault was brutal, each thrust a pain like a knife as my body rejected him despite the gun. By the time he was done I was swallowing my own vomit to prevent him from pulling the trigger.

After relieving my stomach and finding what was left of my clothing, I drove to my apartment and stumbled up the flight of steps. Without thinking, I ignored my roommates and went immediately to the bathroom, where I threw up again and began filling the bathtub. I wanted the smell, feel and memory of him gone.

It took four days for close friends to talk me into reporting the incident.

After picking the person out of a photo identification process, I was told to go home and I would hear something soon. I’m still waiting. This happened in 1980.

I still carry the scars today. From the PTSD diagnosis to just not feeling at ease around strangers, daily reminders of my nightmare creep into my current world.

We have gained little since then Рin how we handle rape victims and in how we punish the rapist. 68% of rapes are never reported to the police. 98% of rapists will never spend a day in jail or prison.

The most offensive are the men that take it upon themselves to discuss rape like they are an authority on the subject; unless they are a rapist or a victim, they are not. I hear politicians say things that not only are insulting, they continue to place blame on the victim. Our justice system will be more lenient on a rapist than any other charge – because they think it is a “he said, she said” argument.

And now – to make everything even worse – we are hearing discussions about the rights of the father and how a raped woman should not be allowed to abort the unwanted pregnancy. Forced indenturehood has a name in our country, it is called slavery.

This is no longer a women’s issue. This is a national crisis. We have all the money in the world to pour into a military budget, so men can go blow things up somewhere, but we will not spend an additional dime to protect our own mothers, sisters, daughters and wives. We expect them to protect themselves, and if that plan fails, we blame them by asking what they were wearing, if they had been drinking, or did they¬†ever smile at the person.

What are you going to do to help change this?

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Isolation Nation

By Andrew Bardwell from Cleveland, Ohio, USA (Jail Cell) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Andrew Bardwell from Cleveland, Ohio, USA (Jail Cell) [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Few victims of domestic violence ever get their day in court. When they actually do, it represents a person who has been attacked so heinously that the authorities who wish to dismiss domestic “disturbances” can not turn a blind eye. And the victim will sit through court, hearing the defense for the abuser attack personal character, behavior, values and judgement so as to cause the court to determine what was meted out was asked for, and the REAL victim is the person on trial, as if a marital contract or a “relationship” gave someone control over another.

And every once in a great while, the abuse victim can still win. The abuser is sentenced according to the laws of the state and the federal government of that jurisdiction. The abuser spends time waiting for release so revenge can be taken somehow on the cause of all their troubles, since taking actual responsibility for one’s actions is completely foreign to this type of person.

In a recent article, The Price of Principle, we talked about a personal story with a much larger meaning. Following the posting of that story, I wrote a letter to the organization that oversees a competition, where the winners go on to represent their state in an international competition. When the organization awarded a spot in this competition to the convicted felon, they were not aware of his infractions with the law. When I notified them, their consultation with the parole officer resulted in the exact opposite of what I had hoped for, but points to the larger problem within our society.

The convicted felon’s parole officer was already aware that the felon was breaking the terms of his “extended supervision”; but also stated that he supported the felon in doing so. The parole officer felt it was important that the felon adjust and “be social” rather than live in isolation. As a result, the organization has decided they will take no action or withdraw this person from proceeding in the competition.

When the very authorities given the responsibility to see that the terms of parole and extended supervision are met, instead choose that the criminal be more “adjusted” and “social” in their world than the victims they have created, there is something seriously wrong. Not only with our criminal justice system, but also an obvious failing in the protection of public safety by those who can not or will not demonstrate enough remorse to fulfill the length of their sentence for the crime committed against another.

What we see as the REAL issue and the most fundamental part of the problem: Until our society begins to show more regard, respect and thus more protection of the VICTIMS of these crimes, NOTHING will ever change.

In this particular story, I again am forced back into a life of isolation so that the convicted felon can exercise his “right” to circulate in the very vicinity of where his actual victim, not myself, currently resides. SHE has no protection, even after winning in court and surviving her injuries. I am reacting to the panic disorder and PTSD left by my own abuser, who will never see the inside of a jail cell as a result of his abuse.

In cases such as these, where EXACTLY is justice served?

Victim’s Rights are Human Rights.

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