Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Survivor Manual: Detective speaks about Report It.

Check out this video of an officer speaking about reporting sexual assault.
The Survivor Manual: Detective speaks about Report It.

This is a good idea to get a perspective from a police officer. I think some of what he says is good, but there are several areas of concern for me.

1. It is underreported. It should be reported more. While victims would like to report more and should report more. It is not the victims fault for fearing reporting. He is right they have nothing to be ashamed of, but our culture still asks for silence. Not only should victims not be ashamed of being raped… they should not be ashamed if they didn’t report it. It is not their fault that they live in a climate that does want them to tell. As a survivor myself I can tell you that it takes a lot of courage to report. This feels a little like victim blaming to me when we say the problem is with the victim. Let’s encourage reporting but acknowledge the courage it takes.

2. In response to the question about his concern for victims fearing/suffering re-traumatization in the justice system... I think the concern is misplaced. He seems to be concerned about how it affects him (or the reputation of the "system", not the victim. Shouldn't the largest concern be the fact that the justice system can and often DOES re-traumatize the victim?

3. The suggestion that the victim needs to pursue it to the fullest extent of the law by and saying “they need to FORCE the officers who come out to file reports” bothers me so much. How often does someone feel comfortable forcing those in positions of authority to do something right after someone has raped and disempowered them? Again this is victim blaming. Why do they have to FORCE an officer to do their job?

4. The next suggestion that they need to pursue these cases all the way through trial is also upsetting. I was raped and while I personally had great interactions with the police… the prosecution was another story. I was ignored and they tried to dump the case. My detective even told me that prosecutors often ignore victims in rape cases hoping they will just give up and go away. I didn’t give up. I got the prosecution I sought. BUT it wasn’t easy. It had a disappointing result too. A couple of days before the trial the prosecutor accepted a guilty plea to a lesser charge. She did not ask if I wanted to accept that plea because she knew I would not want to accept it. I had fought so hard to go to trial… only to be let down. As I understand it he didn’t really want to plead guilty either.

So after I discovered that RAPE IS A CRIME AGAINST THE STATE and I begged for a chance at justice (considering he basically confessed) and the prosecution first said no… then yes… then let a plea I didn’t want happen…NOW he is free. He only has a year probation and sex offender counseling. NO JAIL TIME and he is NOT being listed as a sex offender. I was told that even if my case went to trial and I won… he probably would have just got probation. I understand that is a typical result of rape cases too.

I still think that victims should report… even given the troubles I have had and the truths I have learned, but I suggest that the system fix its issues and stop blaming reporting issues on victims.
After all RAPE IS A CRIME AGAINST THE STATE not the person who suffers the rape… so wouldn’t it follow that they need to make it easier for people to seek justice? So… in the effort to increase reporting of the crime and incarceration of these sexual offenders… I suggest it is the justice system that has the most work to do. They victims have already faced their nightmare… don’t make them face the bureaucratic nightmare of the legal system too. All the victim should have to do is have the courage to speak their truth of violation and humiliation. I cannot believe he says that “their job is not to continue to be victimized and traumatized by the perpetrator” Isn’t that the “Justice System’s” job?

5. Comments like police officers don’t like handling domestic violence are not good. Guess what? Women don’t like being the victims of domestic violence. Who is supposed to help them if the police don’t want to?

6. Lastly when it comes to his suggestions for other officers in regards to how not to re-traumatize victims of sexual assault. Why does it have to be them putting themselves in the shoes of the husband, father, or brother? HOW ABOUT PUTTING YOURSELF IN THE SHOES OF THE VICTIM? I know this is an attempt to get through to other male officers but… These victims (generally women) are human beings who have been violated, terrorized, de-humanized… they are not simply a belonging or property of a man, father, brother, or husband. This really demonstrates how many men think that they could never be a victim themselves… and they don’t feel the fear of being raped every day of their life… or even one day of their life. It also seems to say that the real damage would be the damage to the men in her life… not to her. Just like the real damage in the eyes of the law is done to the STATE… not to her. This is a big part of the problem.


EVEN considering all this… I still think victims should report it… even though in the criminal justice system… I had no voice and no choice… and I did not have enough money to pursue a civil suit. I was shut out of the justice system. BUT I still want victims to report. Because they need to be heard. They need a chance… any chance at justice… hopefully soon the system will step up and start taking the victims of sexual assault seriously… THEN you will see more reporting.

The system doesn’t seem to even have the capacity to process all the victims that currently do report. If you want everyone to report… they need more prosecutors, more money in the budget, more money for crime victim’s compensation (rather than cuts in the budget), and sensitivity training for the system…. THEN we will see justice and rapists will not be walking the streets free.

I do have to say that he is right about changing the culture in the community perception of victims. He is also right that some police officers have background and personal issues… and that they need to be trained.

I know there are no perfect answers and he is really trying to help. I don’t want people to stop trying to help… I just want people to really THINK about how what they are saying is perceived.

My new favorite! Shirley Chisholm!

Shirley Chisholm is amazing! You can get Chisholm '72 - Unbought and Unbossed on netflix.

"In 1968, Shirley Chisholm becomes the first black woman elected to Congress. In 1972, she becomes the first black woman to run for president. Shunned by the political establishment, she's supported by a motley crew of blacks, feminists, and young voters. Their campaign-trail adventures are frenzied, fierce, and fundamentally right on!"

It makes me crazy that we had a shot at having someone like this in power and we missed it!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

"To believe in this living is just a hard way to go"

The trial that was to be. Was not.
The rape that should have met justice. Did not.

He pleads guilty holding me down on a couch...
and it will all go away after a year...
and no one will know what he did.

I am home now.
I think I am supposed to be relieved that it is "all over".
But it's not.

The sadness at the injustice.
The sheer truth of the dead end.
Weighs on my heart and crushes me.

The reality that this is how our system responded to my rape...
makes me want to kick and scream.

Overcome with the feeling that my hands and feet are perpetually tied...
I struggle to be free of it.

I am tired. Tired of fighting.
I see my life's work ahead now. I know it is needed.

I feel I am changing... so much inside.
I need to go away and be quiet... and let the pain settle.

I keep saying I want to go live on another planet.
It hurts too much here.

No choice. No voice. No justice.

The law - this world - has told me...
go ahead... scream.
No one will hear you.

My compassion goes out to anyone and everyone
who has lived long and ever wanted to fly away
to someplace better...


I am an old woman named after my mother
My old man is another child that’s grown old
If dreams were thunder and lightning was desire
This old house would have burnt down a long time ago

Make me an angel that flies from Montgom’ry
Make me a poster of an old rodeo
Just give me one thing that I can hold on to
To believe in this living is just a hard way to go

When I was a young girl well, I had me a cowboy
He weren’t much to look at, just free rambling man
But that was a long time and no matter how I try
The years just flow by like a broken down dam.


There’s flies in the kitchen I can hear ‘em there buzzing
And I ain’t done nothing since I woke up today.
How the hell can a person go to work in the morning
And come home in the evening and have nothing to say.

Make me an angel that flies from Montgom’ry
Make me a poster of an old rodeo
Just give me one thing that I can hold on to
To believe in this living is just a hard way to go

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Thanks for NOTHING... and the Repeat Sex Offender Punch Card

As I recently suffered through the "injustice system" I was retraumatized and felt very devalued and discarded. Rape is still a crime against the state. The concept of rape being a crime against the state is left on the law books as a carry over from at time when women were still considered property.

My rapist plead guilty to a lesser charge of Felonious Restraint. I was never advised of please negotiations and I did not want it. They are basically saying he held me down on that couch and wouldn't let me get up... which put me at risk of suffocation. He gets no jail time. No Sex Offender status. His Felony will only be discoverable by the public for a year. Then it disappears. It will only be looked at if he ever does something again (and gets caught).

So it will take him raping me, and maybe one or two others, before they take it seriously. One woman's life destroyed by his rape is not enough... they need 2 or 3 more women... in order to constitute a whole human over which to be enraged.

The message to rapists is that it is open season.
The message to victims is that they are sub human and won't get justice.

I made this card for the State of Missouri (and other states) who turn their head from this crime to demonstrate how ridiculous this is.

This system is messed up. When these rapists are set free they are allowed to continue to perpetrate these crimes. Then when they finally rape and murder someone... everyone acts all surprised and shocked... and they wonder what on earth creates these monsters....


It is not just the judges, attorneys, and outdated laws that are responsible, but the people who sit on juries and let rapists go because of sexist conditioning which encourages rape myths. We must stop blaming the victims and take the crime of rape seriously.

The criminal system gives rape victims no choice in prosecution. I had to beg for prosecution. Many say I was "Lucky" that I got so far. That is no comfort to me. Filing a civil suit is just as impossible.

Criminal Justice System: Rape victims have no choice and no voice. I am shut out.

Civil Justice System: Rape Victims are shut out if they are not privileged. I don't have enough money. I am not protected by rape shield laws.... and even if you win you many NEVER see a dime.

What is a rape victim to do?

"The world is a dangerous place not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing." - Albert Einstein

Monday, March 17, 2008

Film Documentaries on Rape - BRAVO!

I came across these video clips on No!

NO! The Rape Documentary: Ending Sexual Assault and Violence Against Women

Ending Sexual Assault And Violence Against Women: Breaking Silences Video

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Women Deserve Better

Sonya "The Drama" Boom Renee says it all in her 2006 poetry slam What We Deserve:

What We Deserve

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Monday, February 25, 2008

I got a story to tell... I am in love with Def Poetry!!

How did I miss this?
I remember it a few years ago... but I never sat and REALLY listened.

Take the time to listen now. It is worth it.
These amazing people will blow you away!

Mark Gonzales "As With Most Men"

Daniel Bady - "Knock Knock"
Rives - "Kite"
Nafessa Monroe - "White"

Oh and I gotta share this too :-)