Tuesday, May 6, 2014

A Demand For Justice

Trigger Warning!!!

It's estimated that every two minutes, a rape occurs in the United States.
Take a deep breath...count to 120. 
1 Mississippi
2 Mississippi
3 Mississippi
When you get to 120, that is two minutes.

Every two minutes.

Each year there are approximately 237.868 rapes.
That's the population of Bellevue, Washington...a midsize city just outside of Seattle.

Only 40% of rapes that occur in the United States are reported to the police.
97% of rapists will never spend a day in jail.

Her story:
"I had been staying with friends. It was their son who found me. He'd come to pick me up from work. He later told me he almost ran over me. Apparently when he picked me up, I punched him. He had a black eye the next time I saw him. I still feel bad about that.

He took me home. This was before everyone had cell phones so he had to leave me there to go find his parents. He took a moment to gather up the knives in the house. Maybe I'd said something...

I don't know how long I lay on the couch...I stumbled to the kitchen. Realized there were no knives. I took a glass from the cabinet and busted it in the sink. I was thinking clearly enough not to want to leave a mess. I got into the shower, turned the water on...nothing but hot...and got in...

The problem was, they had those thick glasses. I managed to scratch my arms up really well but not enough to bleed to death. So I took the pieces and swallowed those I could manage. I think I thought it would cut up my insides and I would bleed to death internally. It didn't seem to be working fast enough and I knew that I wanted to be "gone" before they got back. So I opened the medicine cabinet and began taking pills. I was being treated for depression and anxiety at the time so I had several prescriptions. My friend had some. Her husband had some for his health problems. I don't know how many I took. What I thought would be enough I guess. I put my night gown on and went to bed.

I don't remember the ride to the hospital at all. They tell me I tried to jump out of the car and the son had to slap me to calm me down. Guess that makes me feel a little better about the black eye. I came to in the hospital. They'd pumped my stomach. Apparently the glass was too thick too do much damage going down. When they pumped my stomach, they got most of that too. Or I threw it up. Whatever. It was a lot of trouble for nothing. I can't be sure but I think they laughed at me when I told them what the glass was going to do to me.

I was still in the ER when I came to enough to talk to the investigators. My hands had been strapped because I had apparently kept trying to pull out my IV. There was a man and a female. They were trying to ask me questions. They explained they needed to examine me. Gather evidence. I didn't want to be touched. Ever. I guess I'd voiced that because the male investigator got irritated with me. The female investigator talked to me about getting the guys back who had done that to me. Justice. The male investigator told me they already had an idea who'd done this to me. That there had been others. That the last girl had lain in a ditch for three days before anyone found her. She'd made it, but barely. He told me it was my duty to make sure these guys never got the chance to hurt another girl. That got me. So I let them.

I find it ironic it's called a "rape kit"...that sounds more like a tool box for a rapist than one to catch him. They clean under your nails. They take semen samples. It doesn't hurt. It's just...intrusive. Maybe it's because you've already been violated. Because control has already been taken from you. And the people who are helping you are violating you and it's for a good cause...but it's violation all the same. It didn't help that the investigator felt the need to tell me that by taking a shower I'd probably destroyed evidence.

I spent three days in ICU, a couple more days in a regular hospital room. I think that had more to do with the staff being afraid I was going to hurt myself than anything. I spoke to the investigators several more times. Answered questions about what I was wearing, why I was where I was...told the same story over and over...in case I missed details or changed my story I guess.

Two weeks after I was out of the hospital, the investigators told me the suspects had taken off...supposedly for Texas. I was told they wouldn't pursue them but would wait until they were picked up for something else...they were bound to get caught for anything from speeding, stealing, assault. Getting picked up for another rape wasn't mentioned. I guess they didn't because I never heard anything else.

...The rape kit? I don't know...never thought about it."

There are over 400,000 unprocessed rape kits sitting on shelves across the United States. Some of them have been there so long the statute of limitations has run out. Reasons such as lack of resources, staff, etc are blamed. Recently in Tennessee, a bill was introduced suggesting the state spend $2 Million of the $40 Million the General Assembly has in reserve to process the 12, 000 rape kits sitting untested in Tennessee. The bill was voted down 22-8 with two Republicans joining the six minority Democrats voting for the funding.

400,000 women were promised justice...or they were at least told it would be attempted. They endured rape kits after already being violated and that evidence sits on the shelf. 

Where are our priorities? Where is justice for these women? How can we encourage the 60% of sexual assault victims who will never come forward to do so if the cold hard truth is that coming forward will do them no good???

It is time for us to stand with these women and demand justice. 

Check out RAINN's Action Center for more information.

*Our story is true. And the teller will remain anonymous at her request.
* Statistics provided by RAINN
* Malignant comments will be deleted. Keep it positive people.

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