YOU LET ME DOWN
Updated: Aug 29, 2019
I want to start off by saying this: I will never forget you, but I have chosen to forgive you. I forgive you boys. I forgive you Officer. I forgive you Detective. I forgive you DA’s office.
I really had a hard time deciphering what happened on that night in July; what was real, and what had my mind unintentionally labeled as an excuse. So I did what any other rational person would do; talk about it. About a week later, I talked to my sister, and then a close friend, and they both had the same verdict: my mind was lying to me. My mind was saying, “don’t worry about it, you’ll forget about it soon”, “that wasn’t the real you, so just pretend it never happened”, “you don’t wanna cause a scene; do you?” and “you didn’t exactly say no; right?”; all of these lies kept roaring in my mind.
The next day, nothing made sense to me. I was so disassociated from my thoughts, and very sleep deprived, that everything seemed like a foggy dream. It felt as if someone intentionally walked into a building that was covered with “No Trespassing” signs. I sucked it up, played my normal self, and worked the whole day at a festival, because I was on the Board and had a job to do. I didn’t know how to mend myself or mend whatever it was that felt not normal, or know what to think, but one thing was for sure; a part of me was gone. I shared the events that happened with two of my friends who were volunteering, and I could just tell that they saw right through me. They knew that I wasn’t 100% telling the whole truth, and that something was off. And then, as if things weren’t confusing enough, there they were, standing in line to buy tickets. I had a feeling that they were going to show up, I may have even invited them, but I thought so hard to never see their faces again.
They lurked by me through out the whole night; almost like we were long time buds, or had just joined the “Ya-Ya sisterhood” the night before. When all I really wanted to do, was scream “get the hell away from me”. One stalked along side me, completely naive to the fact that we weren’t the same friends we were a little less than a month ago. The other, had a boyish infatuation with me, and believed that we had some “special bond” – his words, not mine. They both sort of fought for my attention, as if they were waiting for me to choose the best one. The festival ended; I finished packing up and tearing down, and made plans with the friends that were volunteering. They both kept nagging me to go hang out with them, but I just wanted to go with my friends, and know that I was going somewhere where I could finally get some sleep.
They didn’t let me though. They continued to nag me all night; texting me, and calling me, until, despite what my friends voiced, I picked up. But, I did put the call on speaker for both of them to hear. They were calling to see if I was mad at them, and to check if I was still their friend. One kept saying that he had never met a girl like me before, and can’t imagine me not being in his life. He kept telling me that I had this “audacity” to me that he had never seen in other girls. Funny, how the girl he had dated for maybe 3 on and off years didn’t even cross his mind when he was on top of me. And the other, barely said a word; again, naive to my emotions. I convinced them that everything was fine, and hung up. All of my energy was wiped from that night, and from working about 12 hours that day. I didn’t have it in me to fully comprehend anything but sleep. I passed out quickly after that.
Flash forward a week and a half later, I reported them to Metro Nashville Police. My initial plan was to just forget about it – it’s done; I don’t care; recreate yourself and start anew – but through the wisdom and advice I got from friends, I was persuaded and about eeehh halfway convinced, that reporting them was my best option (as if there were more than 2 to pick from). And the most commonly used argument I got was this: “Think about all the people who didn’t report it, and wish they did. Don’t you want to stand up for yourself and them?”. My response to that was: “Yeah! (with my fist held high just like in The Breakfast Club) I’m strong (fist pump), independent (fist pump), and I’m not gonna let those boys get away with this! (fist pump)”.
I thought the process would be very easy. Step 1. I report it. Step 2. I get interviewed. Step 3. They get interviewed. Step 4. We both go to court. Step 5. The judge makes their decision.
NOT EVEN CLOSE. Half of those events happened, and those half events took around 4 months. After I reported it, I waited a few weeks to a month for my report to get processed and assigned to a Detective. Those were the most on edge couple of weeks. I would call into the Police Department many times a week to get any sort of update. Finally, I got assigned.
He called, we set a time, and I came in to interview and tell my story from start to finish, from detail to detail, from guy to guy. Although I had previously researched my detective, he was not the man that shook my hand, recorded my story in a noise proof/windowless room, and promised he would help me. He was not the man that had 17 years of experience, and had won awards. He was a man who had a mere 1.5 years of experience … I’ll let that sink in. I asked him if he had experience with sexual abuse victims, and if he understood the mind of someone who has had a lot of passed abuse. His mouth said “Yes”, but his body language said “No”. And honestly, I think I knew from that moment, nothing I would say would ever be heard outside of that room.
I did everything that he asked me to do, and I did it as quickly as I could. As soon as I got to a computer, I sent him all the evidence I had, which was not much. In my eyes, my evidence was vital, but of course evidence is always vital to the person who depends on it. My correspondence with the guys through text, was the only thing I had to rely on as evidence. Did I go to the hospital the morning after? Nope. Do I regret it? Still not sure. All I knew, was that I didn’t want attention or anyone else walking through my “No Trespassing” signs.
I waited and waited and waited. I called the Police Department multiple times, with anticipation of some news, any news. I finally got in touch with my Detective (he was somewhat more responsive over email) about 2 months later, and he informed me that the guys still had not been interviewed. He told me that one of them agreed to come in, but that the other shot the request down right away and hired a lawyer. By the time my Detective got around to reaching out again, the one that had agreed to come in about a month earlier, had hired a lawyer too. Both were out. Both were and still are cowards.
My Detective finally had the case all put together, just my one story, and presented it to the DA’s office. If you didn’t know, the DA’s office makes the final decision: it’s either Go or No. I’m sure by now, you’ve puzzled together what their decision was for my case. I received the latter of the two. More specifically, I got the response “There is insufficient proof to prosecute for Rape.”, sent to me via email by my Detective. Oh, and the above was underlined originally, no edits there.
I wasn’t educated enough, nor did I do my research on how these cases usually play out. So, if you’re in the same boat that I was back in July, let me give you a couple tips that I wish someone had given me, before you make a decision:
Unless you have some sort of physical proof or evidence beyond a reasonable doubt, like a video or recording, any evidence you may have, probably won’t be enough. And Rape Kits, yeah, they normally are recommended, but from what I’ve learned from friends, online bloggers, and nurses, all that proves is that sexual intercourse happened. Although, I may be wrong, circumstances are all different.
Expect to wait. Even though you may feel like your story is top priority, the government may not. They have so many other open reports and cases, so unless you feel like your life is in danger, it’s lower on their list.
The DA (District Attorney) is the final decision maker on whether or not to prosecute, no matter how much evidence you have. And from what I believe, the rule is that if you can’t charge someone for a Criminal suit, you still can try for Civil. But, from what I understand, you would need a lawyer to do this. So this all depends on how badly you want justice, and how much you’re willing to spend.
Do your homework. Research statistics, find support information, and read a lot of blogs/forums. This will help you decide whether or not to report it.
Legally you cannot force someone or coerce someone to interview. (One of my friends said they had a witness subpoenaed, but I wonder if that’s only for witnesses, not really sure.)
There is a difference between an interview and an interrogation.
Going through the process of reporting a rape can be very brutal. So, I advise you to really think long and hard about how it may effect you.
Your detective will have you recall every single detail of what happened, so be ready to go through it all over again. And if your story makes it outside of that noise proof room, be ready to have to do that again and again.
Therapy, specifically EMDR, is extremely helpful, but also extremely uncomfortable. (do your research on this one)
If I could go back, from what I’ve experienced, I don’t think I would have reported it. All that led to, was me retelling and reliving my story. All that led to, was me losing any and all trust in our government. All that led to, was me feeling like I wasn’t important enough to be heard. Sometimes, I was scared to go home at night, wondering if they were waiting for me on my porch. I was scared to let any guy touch me. I was scared that I was so desensitized at the beginning, that I almost didn’t admit that it was rape. I was scared how my mind fought against me. I was scared of what people would think of me. I was scared that this would only add to the problems that I already had (all stemmed from other guys). I was scared that I would never get out of my abusive bubble. I was scared to ever see their faces again. The list goes on and on.
Today, I’m doing well, but still in recovery. My therapist seems to think that I haven’t fully come to terms with what happened, and she may be right. Shame has a way of killing the truth in my life. I always default to blaming myself. But, I do have a positive outlook on the future, and I know that some day all of these happenings won’t be as detrimental as they have been.
I didn’t tell you all of this, so that you can take pity on me. I can’t be sorry for myself, and I don’t want you to be sorry for me either. All I know, is that my story needs to be heard, just like your story needs to be heard. Whether that’s reporting it, seeking out counseling, or just telling a friend; getting something off your chest always helps.
I’ve been dragging my feet on this post for months now, going back and forth whether or not to post it. Most of that came from my lack of passion due to all the events that had dominoed in this story. And now, almost done, I still don’t know how to end it. So, I guess I’ll leave you with this: Your truth, is the ONLY truth that matters. Don’t let anyone else tell you what is real, how to feel, or how you need to move on. This is your story, and you can edit is how you want.
p.s. If you’re interested in hearing the full story, I’d be more than happy to connect with you. For time sake, I only wrote about the main points, and not all the details.
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