|Source - National Sexual Violence Resource Center|
Police were trying to be thorough and get details. Fine. As long as they are just as thorough with their investigation into the allegation and with the accused.
No one from law enforcement ever initiated any follow-up with her. She called the detective in charge a number of times to ask about her case. Eventually, she was told that there was not enough evidence to press charges. Her alleged perpetrator only spoke to police after agreeing to do so with his lawyer present. His version was that everything that happened was consensual, then they got in an argument, he left abruptly, so she accused him of rape. One interview was conducted with the perpetrator (in comparison to the five interviews that my friend experienced; six if you count the rape kit/test/and questioning at the medical center.) During that interview, he was never questioned about sexual positions or specific times that each act occurred.
I wasn't there. I don't know exactly what happened. I am hearing one side of the story.
What I do know is my friend is a smart, educated, well-spoken, reliable, ambitious person. She has never given me any reason to doubt her word or her integrity. I support her and believe that she deserved to be treated with respect and fairness. I do not believe this has happened for her since reporting the incident.
The rape kit cost her personally $900 (it was a total fee of $1600, but insurance covered $700.) She applied for "victim's assistance" but was denied due to the police determining there was not enough evidence to file charges.
Her parents have doubted her, have blamed her for having a boy in her apartment alone after she had been drinking with him. Her brother has told her "she's different", "angry", and not as fun as she used to be. As if, these things are her fault as well. Her response is "damn right" she feels different and angry.
Sadly, so many of us know people who have experienced the same. I know people who have similar experiences. Some of us have our own personal experiences as a victim as well. It has to stop.
I don't have all the answers. I know these cases must be difficult to prove. I know both parties deserve respect and have the right to be treated fairly and lawfully. But, I am so, so, so tired of stories like this one. And, I didn't read this one in the newspaper or online. I heard it from the mouth of someone I know, someone I respect, and someone I care about.
Awareness is key. Education is imperative. Knowledge must help. So, I've shared this story from my friend to add to the awareness of the sickening situation. And, I encourage you to read Steph's post Sexual Assault Awareness - Do We Need a Month for This? because she shares a lot of research and statistics.
Most importantly, what can I do? I can support my friend. I can let her know that I value her. That I admire her courage and strength. That I am always available for a phone call, a cup of tea, or a drink. I can encourage therapy if she feels that's something she is interested in pursuing. I can locate resources for her. I can hold her hand and tell her that I believe her. Right now, I think that's what she has valued from me the most. She doesn't think the police believed her. She doesn't think her parents believe her. She needs to feel that someone believes in her, and I am honored to step up to the plate in that role for her.