Some of you may remember that I published a piece about a year and a half ago about a friend of mine who was raped. She has since decided, with much strength and bravery, to proceed with pressing charges. Below is a Piece of her story, in her words, written by her. I emphasize piece because there is much more to tell. Stay connected here for more of her story. For tonight, this is what she has to say. It’s an important and insightful read.
In Her Words: The Police Station
I hail a cab, knowing I have just short of an hour to get to the precinct, find the detective, get any updates on my case, and do the photo identification. I tell the cab driver I am “in a bit of a rush.” Lucky for me, it’s just past rush hour and there isn’t much traffic.
When I finally get up to the correct floor, the detective comes out to meet me and greets me with a warm hand shake. He takes me to a meeting room with a large table, a couch, and pamphlets about “victim’s rights.” One such pamphlet was for a program called VINE that gives you updates about your case if your perpetrator is behind bars. I make a mental note to Google it later.
The detective sits down across from me, with one of his partners to my left. He explains that he met with my rapist’s attorney and encouraged him to tell his client to give a statement. Yeah, right, I think to myself.
“He seemed convinced when he left, but we will see,” reported the detective, trying to make me smile.
“Ok,” is all I can manage in response.
A moment of silence passes. It feels like hours.
I snap into reality and ask what the process will be like. He explains that he will write the police report by the end of the week and send it over the District Attorney.
“That’s great, thank you,” I say. It will take way longer than that.
“You look upset,” the detective notes.
Well I guess he can read people who are totally transparent. Of course I’m upset. This has taken months and I know it’s going to take many more.
“I’m fine. Just wish I knew what was going to happen,” I say, stumbling over my own tongue.
“I know. I wish this was moving faster, too. It’s just sitting on my desk and taking too much time,” he says, chuckling.
Yea, thanks. You’re telling me.
“So, before I go, did you want to do the photo identification?” I ask, reminding the detective of the main reason I was there.
“Oh, yea, that would be a good idea,” he says.
He consults with his partner: “We should probably do that, right?”
“Yea, might as well,” responds the partner.
“I will go get it,” he says as he stands. “Would you like anything?”
“Maybe some coffee?” I might as well get what I can from these people.
A few minutes later, he comes back with his partner, a folder, and a cup of coffee. He hands me the coffee, places the folder on the table, and slides it over to me.
“Whenever you’re ready.”
No point in waiting, I think. I abruptly take the folder and open it. I am greeted with a full-size photo of Him, in black and white.
“That would be him,” I blurt out, and pass the open folder back to the detective, frantically wanting to get it out of my sight. Even with it across the table, all I can do is stare out of the corner of my eye at his face, his smile.
Chills. My arms are crossed across my stomach as tightly as possible. Maybe I was trying to hug myself.
In the moments I have to create any cogent thoughts, I wish that I had said something better like, “Yes, that’s him,” or “Yes, that is the man who raped me and took away a piece of my soul.”
But I didn’t. The detective writes the date and my words identifying my attacker at the top. I sign my name at the bottom.
That was it. I knew the detective had a grand jury to attend at 10:00 and it was now 10:05. I expect to be rushed out of there. Instead, we continue to chat, the three of us, like old friends.
What about your client who is waiting for you in court, I keep thinking. Fifteen more minutes pass.
We talk about how I work with victims of violence and those who have fallen to homelessness. It’s rough “out there,” we agree.
“What they are doing now is lacing their weed with other forms of hallucinogens and it makes people crazy,” his partner says.
He then proceeds to tell me a story of one of his cases:
“I have a case now, where my victim is in the hospital because her attacker was on this stuff, and he fisted her so hard that he damaged her internal organs. It’s crazy stuff! It makes people nuts!”
Well, I’ll say – did you take some? This is great small talk for a victim of rape.
Why would you tell me the vicious details of another victim’s story when I just identified my own attacker? As if that’s not going to give me some horrible mental images.
Of course, I don’t say this to him.
My mind is racing.
“That’s crazy,” is all I can mumble in reply. My eyes dart to my detective, who is staring at his partner and attempts to change the subject.
The rest of the meeting is a blur. As my detective walks me to the exit, he has the file under his arm. We shake hands again, and he says he will be in touch.
It’s now early 2014, and I have no news. No developments. I write this story here because there is no other outlet. Because I have been given the run around and I have been told by the people I call for help that they can’t help me. I’ve been waiting for months for my case to “get somewhere” and it.is.not.moving.
I know that the “wheels of justice move slowly,” and this is not written to be an attack on the police. This is just the reality. As victims, we have no control as soon as our cases are in the hands of someone else. There is a reason that people say the justice system rapes victims all over again. Re-read the previous statement and you will understand why.