TW/CW: rape, sexual assault
Maybe this is a cry for advice, or a call to action? Or a desire to be guided or maybe just to help others?
I don’t know what to fucking do and I’m fucking scared.
Getting to this very point was what I always wanted and now that I have it, I’m lost.
On November 2 2020, election night eve if you will, I was subpoenaed for the case The People of the State of California vs. Christopher Clark.
My rapist had been arrested for the felony crime he committed against me and I need to testify. Most people would believe that someone like me would be estatic, after all I am a self proclaimed advocate for survivors of trauma -more specifically sexual assault.
Like the movies it’s the survivor’s dream to get their day in court and tell the one who ruined their life to fuck off and live happily ever after.
And I expected that when that day would come I would feel that way too but I didn’t. I felt the exact fucking opposite.
My parents had called to tell me that I had been served for court and as they were frantically trying to explain to me what was happening I fell apart.
I felt my chest getting tight, my legs started shaking, and I started hyperventilating. I was having a panic attack realizing that the dream I had of taking my rapist to court had just become a reality and I was fucking terrified.
Terrified because this is uncharted territory, terrified because my life was about to be exposed to the public, terrified because my rapist had actually been arrested back in May but I’m just now being notified 5 months later, terrified because I am a Black woman going up against a white man.
There was so much confusion on my end, from being told my case was closed because there wasn’t enough evidence, to randomly getting a restraining order the week prior, to finding out that my rapist had been full on arrested five months ago. All of these things were not something I could have anticipated but suddenly had to come to terms with.
But let’s talk about my emotions, my thoughts, my panic attack and where that all stems from. Over the course of the next 72 hours let’s examine the most prominent and recurring three feelings that have struck me out of the hundreds that arose.
Confusion was inevitable because initially my case, like the millions of other cases and rape kits, got lost in the world and never recieved even a glance. The process I went through reporting was arguably one of the most arduous and painful processes I’ve ever had to deal with. To give you some perspective, I was paralyzed after my assault and had to live at a rehabilitation facility and bound to a wheelchair relearning how to use all of my functions again, yet I’m saying that reporting was the absolute worst part. Why, because no one seemingly cares, I had to advocate for myself and be uplifted by my community and strong Black women to find the strength to keep going. I was left in the dark and seemingly screaming for help at the bottom of the ocean while drowning on my own crippling mental health.
I’m 23 years old, I’m a Black woman, and I reported my white rapist to a white police department. I was forgotten, ignored, and disregarded much of the past year and a half by the criminal justice system.
1 in 3 women are victims of sexual assault and over 60% of rapes are not reported. Moreover 15 out of 16 rapists will walk away free and the stats for actual prosecution and conviction are beyond low.
With those types of numbers it’s incredibly rare that I would meet anyone who’s gone through this process that I can connect with.
I feel alone and lost. I just want a hug and to be guided and reassured that everything will be okay but I can’t be because truly no one knows and that’s the worst part of it all, no one knows because no one gets to this point. You want to know your feelings are valid and not just validated by a friend or someone who’s going to support you regardless but really be reassured that everything you’re feeling has been felt before.
But I won’t get that feeling because again 15 out of 16 rapists will walk without an ounce of repercussion coming their way.
I’m sure guilty is one that throws people off, I mean it threw me off. As all the traumas of the night that I told myself I forgot began to flood my head and give me flashbacks again to the incident, I felt bad. Not bad for myself but bad and I’m ashamed of myself for even writing this out. Not many people understand what it’s like to know that someone went to jail because of what they did to you, or going to court because of their misogynoir, or has a record because of the hurt they brought to your life. But what people do know is rape culture. Rape culture is the same thing that tries to make us empathize with the predators because it was a “mistake” or “boys being boys”. Well that same culture that I so desperately try to unlearn is so ingrained that my mind immediately reverts back to victim blaming and telling myself I’m the problem and that
fucking sucks. I want to feel happy and relieved that justice can potentially be brought but instead I have to sit with myself and unlearn what the world has forced upon me.
I’m writing this because I’m hurt and don’t know what to do with my emotions. Of course I have friends, a therapist, and family but no one can truly understand unless they’ve been through it themselves. I would never want anyone to have to endure what I have, and unfortunately we know a majority of women will and 1 in 6 men will, but I say this all to say that I don’t regret it.
I don’t regret reporting, I don’t regret fighting, I don’t regret becoming the advocate I’ve become, because look my rapist is known, my rapist has a record, my rapist is going to spend every fucking day of his life regretting what he did to me and I couldn’t be happier.
But not yet, I’m happy in theory but terrified in practice and that’s okay. I have to sit with my emotions, find my inner peace and strength, and feel what I need to feel so I can be ready to fight when the time comes.
For anyone else who’s a survivor like me I just want to say you are not alone, you have a voice, and silence isn’t surrender, it’s a brutal fight but it’s worth it to get the justice you deserve and to see the person who hurt you rot.