This is post I stumbled up on the site Writing at the Top of My Lungs. As a victim myself, it infuriates me when questions like, “why didn’t you tell,” “why didn’t you tell someone else,” “why didn’t you escape” or “why didn’t you call the police” with a look on their face as if they know best in a situation they have never lived. Or maybe they have lived one of their own but they haven’t lived yours and they haven’t lived mine. It was a different time and a different place with different people and different situations with different happening so it’s insulting to ask these questions to someone who has been a victim of rape, at any age. These questions are so insulting, in fact, that when they are asked in such a judgmental fashion, such as the story below, it makes those asking them – Well let’s just say it shows their true colors. Colors that lack compassion and live in judgment, placing blame on the victims. Colors that, if I had to guess, will one day learn them a hard lesson. Maybe not on earth but for sure in Heaven because it’s just not as cut and dry or black and white as so many people would like to think. Every situation is different and we have been through enough trauma, we don’t need others to traumatize us further with their judgment and careless questions.
Ranting About the Big ‘R’
Anger and Sadness. These a$$holes have been digging their claws into me for the last couple of weeks. Everyday has been a struggle or debate about whether I should give in to them or not – but I’ve somehow managed to keep my head above water, even when I’m choking on it.
Anger. About a month ago, I took myself into the emergency room around 3am because I hadn’t slept for a few days. Aside from the fact that my psychologist had suggested I make the trip into the ER in these situations, I believe I was beginning to lose my mind at that point. A rather heartless nurse was checking me in and asking me questions about my PTSD diagnosis, and naturally, she asked what the trauma was that had caused it. I explained that it was a result of sexual assault and the next thing she asked was, ‘Well, did you press charges?’. When I answered no, she popped her head out from behind her little computer and blurted out an astonished, ‘WHY?’. I fought the urge to hurl things at her and imagined myself jumping on her back like a wild animal and reaching around her to scratch her eyeballs out with my fingernails – i.e., I was livid. Instead, I politely responded, ‘That’s my fu@ki#g decision to make and what does it matter to you?’ And that was the end of her. I literally killed her with kindness and the f-bomb (or it was the end of her shift).
This ER experience triggered some serious thought for me on this issue. I’m so tired of having to defend the ONE choice that I got to make throughout this whole ordeal. I am the only one that knows the particulars and the reasons I have for making the decision I did and, aside from saying that I’m just not emotionally capable at this point, I will not explain myself to anyone else.
And here’s where the anger really comes in. Why must a woman be assaulted and beaten to near-death for the general public to support her in these cases of sexual assault? Why are there ALWAYS questions about who she was with, what she was wearing, what she was doing, was she alone, where was she at, was she drinking? These questions are all heavily weighted with the stench of ‘How can we blame her?’It’s no wonder that people don’t want to press charges, dragging their own names, reputations and souls through the mud, especially in situations similar to mine where the survivor knows their assailant. In my state, less than 10% of these cases actually result in a conviction with sentences of 4 to 15 years in prison (which means the convicted felon can be released in about 6 months, maybe less).Sadness
So before any of you go pointing and shaking those fingers at me, please remember that I am the survivor. I am not the criminal. I am not responsible for any actions he may take in the future, he is (and a short trip to prison isn’t going to change that either). I am not the girl who cried wolf. I made the decision to keep out of the limelight because I have already been through enough trauma. I have 5 more years to change my mind, but I don’t have to.
It’s just not as cut and dry or black and white as so many people would like to think. Every situation is different.
I never understood why someone wouldn’t press charges. I just didn’t get it.