We're back again; and onto Part 2 from last week's post!
❤️ thank you for joining us on another week; we pray you are healing, living, and loving yourself fully as much as we strive to do everyday!
So although Cristal and myself both have shared experiences of sexual assault, our responses to it varied.
As previously mentioned, we would like disclose that these experiences though shared by many, may not have similar responses as our own. In either case, we hope that whether you choose to report, or speak out, you do so in manner that is suitable and safe for you to do so.
According to (https://www.rainn.org/) '"1 out of 5 women will experience rape or sexual assault. However, "rape is still overwhelmingly the highest underreported crime in the United States."' In addition, out of those reported, an even smaller percentage go without rape kits being tested or processed for evidence in the case of a potential prosecution.
It is a unique opportunity that Cristal and I have to share because we can both allude from first-hand what our differing experiences were like, and if we believed we made the right choice.
THIS week, we are continuing the discussion as we hear DevinMarie's experience:
Personally, making the decision to report to authorities I was raped by a former student I went to college with was one of the scariest experiences of my life. I felt however, that deep down, if I didn't, I would look back and wonder, what if he does it again, and gets away with it?
The morning after I was raped, I attempted to go to class, however, my focus was rattled with emotion, and didn't last no more than 10 minutes in lecture before I stormed out the door, to catch my breath. I was suffocated in fear, and scrambled in my perplexed mind what it was I should do...I hesitated for a moment but felt I could
call on the one person who knew when something was wrong in between the pauses of my phone call to her that morning. So, I called my mother.
We went to a Planned Parenthood conveniently located across the street from my school's campus. The great thing about Planned Parenthood is they are sworn to anonymity when a patient comes in, especially a rape survivor.
I felt safe there for the most part, and was asked a series of questions, but to be honest, it was all a blur.
A nurse sat me in a private room, and I immediately took the morning after pill to prevent pregnancy from the assault.
I honestly don't remember how the police intially got involved, but my memory is a bit spotty from a day I wish I could completely erase from my memory but here it goes anyways:
Two male officers came and asked if I wanted to report the rape.
"So tell us what happened here..." one of them
I spent the next hour, of what seemed like a complete eternity of what felt more like an interrogation.
A woman officer came on the scene after, set me aside, and said "IF you press charges...we can lock in him for good, and you won't have to be bothered with him again." "We're gunna get this guy, don't YOU worry..." they assured me.
In that moment; the decision was up to me. Right then I saw two doors, the one with regret if I didn't report, and the other one of reassurance that these officers were going to save the day, and rescue me out of this fiery hell I have experienced...or at the very least, prevent it from happening to another.
While I was driven in a police car with my mother to the nearest hospital, the officers took the former student into custody.
I spent the rest of the afternoon and evening at the hospital where CIA followed, and proceeded to administer the rape kit.
**Essentially, this is point in which DNA Is taken from the survivor to use as evidence for the prosecution.**
A representative from a rape crisis center was there who couldn't be more than 25 years old who assured me "I'll be right here the whole time..."
The nurse asked me to disrobe completely, by then, a member from the CIA took photographs where bruising and marks were on my body. I can remember looking down almost relieved that the purple and blue discoloration from my abdomen, hips and arms confirmed that I wasn't crazy. That this rabbit whole I've fallen into wasn't a dream but REAL. That I didn't have to prove anything else because it was right there in candid Polaroids.
I then proceeded to lay on a hospital bed flat on my back, legs spread apart. The nurse had an assortment of metal tools and Cotton swabs used to collect DNA from myself and the hopes also from the man who raped me.
I will spare the details here, not because I don't think you should know them, but because at this point in writing, my peace needs to stay at the forefront, and I'm here to profess healing always.
But...before the healing came a lot of pain. More so because for first time I felt truly alone. My gracious mother sat in the waiting room while her 18 year old Daughter stared up and while fluorescent lights as the warmest tears fell silently praying this hospital bed could turn into a cloud and I float somewhere closer to the stars.
"How did I get here?" I thought. And will I ever leave these four white walls?
Later that evening I went home, and I don't remember much about the ride there except a flash of memory of me in the shower washing that entire day off of me. I scrubbed as hard as my skin could stand. Maybe...just maybe then I could get him completely off of me.
I took a week off from returning to my classes with note saying I had a flu or some made-up illness. I had to lie to my father and say the same thing... and continued to do so 6 years after that day.
I returned back to campus feeling maybe I could restart again, and focus back on my studies. Until one day, in the middle of the quad, there he was. Standing with a group of football players and Into a million pieces my heart broke and sunk to the pit of my stomach.
"This can't be real...I must be dreaming"
I called the detective who took over my case and was told "sorry ms. But it looks like he DA (district attorney) dropped the case."
"Okay..did they say why?" And why wasn't I notified about this?!"
"I'm Sorry, it happens a lot unfortunately but the DA has to prove to 12 jurors that without a shadow of doubt that man did this to you...and there simply wasn't enough evidence to prove that, and see it through that he get convicted and go to jail."
But it wasn't so simple... I mean, HOW could this happen, he is back to going to school, playing football, and living his life...and I have nothing...nothing to prove or validate that something was TAKEN from me.
Rumors spread, and for the next semester I was called a Ho*, slu*, Bitc*, and harassed by members of the football team, as well as his peers. I attempted to issue a restraining order on him, because we were attending the same school but the process was so incredibly strenuous I felt weak...and I just didn't want to face it anymore. For the next semester and a half I was in communication with the chancellor, my counselor, and teachers who had members of the football team in the same class and did their best to accomate me by having security escort me to and from class...(but let's be real, it was not the top priority for a few campus security on one college campus.)
Sooo...I sucked it up until he graduated...it eventually got easier; I had one really good male friend who was the only other person I told and since mentioning it to him, he became my confidant...walked me to and from class so I wasn't alone when he could, and picked me up from school if I didn't have a ride so I didn't have to wait on campus by myself...we lost contact...but to this day I know God sent him In that season to be my help...and I'm forever grateful for his friendship.
So you might be asking, like some professors and individuals encouraged me to do which was to just leave...and go to another community college.
And it's in this moment in writing this I knew deep deep down...that I could not. Not for "her". I could not leave for the woman I am now today...one who fought through Post traumatic stress, one who suffered from aggressive social anxiety and manic depression, one who wanted her education, and her dignity intaked even though it was threatened...
I did it for me...because for me, I spent my whole life running, and I had to face it...every single day I faced it. Some days were easier than others. But through the strength and power of JESUS CHRIST I made it though that valley.
I wish I could say that me speaking out ended in a happy ending as far as justice was concerned. But to be honest, there would have never been a happy ending whether or not the man who raped me was in jail or free. My freedom was still bound to that hospital bed, and that apartment where I was taken advantage of...and to a justice systemThat is unfortunately flawed and cannot save everybody.
If you're wondering if I'd do it again, I'd say, YES.
There is always a paper trail, and God-forbid he attempts to do it again, there will be evidence that this was not his first attempt in assaulting someone.
And if it never happens again, I'm left with the peace of knowing what it's like to make your own peace and form your own closure; creating a "JUST" world by speaking out about a truth that is relived by countless victims I pray can read this and say "I am with out a shadow of a doubt... "a survivor."
Till next week fellow survivors, Queens and Kings... we love you!
💗👑🙏🏽 - HERSTORY
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.