** Trigger warning**
I have been dealing with my attack for over two years now and it feels insane to even say that it has been that long. It felt like just yesterday everything happened. You make progress…then you go backward…you make a lot of progress…then you go further back than ever before. It is a constant cycle to get to a place of healing and to truly accept what happened. Human nature is to convince yourself that no one is so evil that they would violate and abuse another person, especially when that person that attacked you is someone you knew and trusted. However, that is not reality. It happens, and it happens every day to men and women across the globe. After being in denial, I finally had to admit to myself that it did happen, and it was committed by someone I did trust and cared about.
Accepting that it even happened was a hurdle that I had to get over. But, with time and evidence, I could not deny that it happened any longer. I faced it and it hurt like hell. When you accept that someone would do that to you, you accept that they thought you were so worthless that you deserved to be treated like garbage. You accept that you were not worthy to be protected or to be treated as a human. You accept that, in that moment, you were so weak that you could not protect yourself in danger. You accept that the abuser had gotten what he had wanted and there was nothing you could do about it. It is harsh and brings a pain that I do not wish on anyone.
Over time, I accepted that it happened. I accepted all of those horrible thoughts and emotions and I decided I had to speak up for myself and protect other women from being abused by the same person. But there is a new hurdle that I am struggling to get over…accepting that justice has not come and is never coming.
A lawyer once told me, “There is no “justice” in the justice system.” I thought he had to be wrong. The justice system is created to GIVE JUSTICE. It has “justice” in the name for god’s sake….However, to my horror, it was the most honest thing I have ever heard. I have seen survivor friends struggle and fight for what they thought was right, all for it to go nowhere in the end. I have fought myself for a YEAR to get justice in my own case. I was interrogated (not questioned, interrogated) for days and days. I was threatened with jail time. I was hunted down at work and embarrassed in front of co-workers. I was called a liar, whore, manipulator…told I was money-hungry. I was torn down by my past being used against me. I was reminded that I really was nothing, just as the rapist had made me feel. I faced it all and went through 14 months of pure hell, convincing myself that in the end it was going to all be worth it. I told myself that I could not live with myself if another woman was beaten and raped by the same man. The end was not worth it. I went through court reports, attorney meetings, police questionings, wiretapped calls, medical appointments, Title IX hearings, investigations from criminal, civil, and school agencies. I went through protective order processes….
I wanted so badly to believe that justice existed. I believed it with every fiber in my being. But I wholeheartedly know now, justice does not always exist.
I have worked on cases in my professional career where the victim found justice. I have heard my own friends and colleagues get justice. I have stood in court with other victims crying, because their rapist was sentenced to 15 years and had to register as a sex offender. But that is where the pain is the worst for me. As much as I know they deserve the justice they got and as happy as I am for them, there is the sinking realization that it will never happen for me. I will never have that moment where I see my rapist have to plead in court. I will never have that moment of crying tears of joy that he is off the streets and not able to hurt me or anyone else. I will never have that overwhelming satisfaction that everything I went through was worth it. It is the most bitter pill to swallow and I cannot say I even know how to maneuver overcoming this.
To this day, I still remember those attorney’s words often, “There is no “justice” in the justice system.” How true those words are for victims of rape around the world. There is no “justice” in the justice system… Survivors pinned as liars, “scorned women”, manipulators, whores, sluts while we lay in hospital beds bruised, beaten, getting swabs of our privates for evidence collection and photos taken of injuries covering our bodies.. Being loaded up with medications just in case he had an STI or worse, he impregnated us… But he claims it was consensual. He claims we “like it rough.” He claims we wanted it…So it labeled a “he-said, she-said” by law enforcement and the case is never even presented to the prosecution…. Where is the justice in that? Where?