Today’s photo is about the problems in reporting sexual assault. As my lovely model Jenni pointed out, even when the survivor does everything the way the law says to do it, it’s nearly impossible to get a conviction. So, here is my half anecdote:
Let’s say that the girl in the photo has just been sexually assaulted by one of her best friends. He coaxed her away from the group of people they were with. He took her into a secluded space, so he could talk to her about something that was on his mind. Instead of talking, he starts to kiss her. She says no. Over and over. And well, there’s no need to get graphic here. You know the rest…
Once she somehow makes it out of the situation, she makes it to the campus department of public safety. It’s closed. The police are off duty. She picks up the after hours phone. She tells the police officer on the other line exactly what she just lived through. She’s reliving all of the horror, pain, and deceit to a stranger, and it’s over the phone. They advise her to go to the nearest hospital. She goes through the process of a rape kit, and is thoroughly examined. It’s a flashback to where she was just hours before being violated by her best friend. Next, she goes through several months of legal fees, attorneys, and processes. Her friends don’t believe that the abuser, their close friend, is capable of rape. He told them a different story, and he told them first. He told them while she was calling the crime in, and while she was being examined by a nurse. He says that he has never been sexually attracted to her. She wanted it, she has quite the reputation around town, and he was drunk. She’s fighting this battle alone, and her friends say this is her battle, not theirs.
When the trial is over, the defense makes the case that the accuser could not have been raped. She was wearing tight jeans, and those are too difficult to get off without assistance. This “denim case” was an outcome of a case in Italy, and you can read more about that here. The story that I wrote about is not that case, but it’s more of a compilation of other real stories. In all reality, most young women who experience the first part of this story, will not have it in them to go through the reporting and examination process.
Sexual assault is not about sex. It’s about power. It has repercussions that no one can understand (besides the millions of people who experienced the same thing). It is said that every two minutes someone experiences sexual assault, but it’s not said that every two minutes someone commits a sexually violent crime.
I love my family, friends, and fellow bloggers and supporters. I wouldn’t be able to keep going without you.
Lastly, I feel like I’m really reaching out to the hearts and minds of the people who read this blog, which is absolutely amazing. It makes me so happy to hear that people are talking about this and taking this cause to heart. My grandfather sent me the most amazing email, and I just thought I would share part of it with you all:
“You have made an old man think. I can tell you, that’s not always a good thing, but as i reflect on your April theme I realize that I have not given, over the years, enough weight to what you are saying. How can we stop such repulsive and criminal actions?
I fear, we must rely on the very person who is hurt. If the victim doesn’t come forward and demand that the perpetrator answer in court chances are good that they will offend again. According to statistics, of the 50 photos, about 16 have or will be accosted, have any come forward? What then is my role in seeing that such people are prosecuted and ostracized from our schools, work places and society? It is that I stand by each victim and speak out. I question every candidate that runs for office and demand that they not only talk about it, but do something. I must explain to anyone who will listen to my position and push them to do the same.”
Last night, I found a great article about medical reasons why victims of sexual assault cannot leave the scene. I edited my blog to include it, but I wanted to bring it to everyone’s attention again tonight.
Also, it sounds like my theme and my photos are going to make it to a student-run magazine! Awesome news for spreading awareness in the area. I’m pretty excited.
Here is a quiz you can take to tell you how much you know about sexual assault. It’s only seven questions! Tweet your score to me and tag it with #SAAM!
This is an awesome CNN video about the myths of sexual assault, including that only 6% of rapists see a day in jail.