Monday, September 30, 2013

Opening Eyes

At this point I have let everyone have a birds eye view on my latest adventure in the court world and how everything went down when it first happened. I told myself if I was going to do this, if I was going to let the world into my situation I would tell every bit, even if the picture painted isn't a pretty one. So here it goes.

After I pressed charges my world turned upside down. I wasn't sure if the friends I had spent all my time around were my friends any longer. Some proved to be the truest of friends while others drifted into the world that I no longer fit into. Which, isn't a bad thing or a good thing... it was just the way it was. The life I had before was gone, along with what I considered fun. My weekends weren't filled with drinking and my fears were no longer if the outfit I had on was cute or not. So, I lost some people. Which doesn't say much because I had lost myself too.

Next came the harassment. These people, some I knew, some I didn't... saw me as a bad person, a liar. Someone who was out to get the person they all loved. So first went my car, their warm up. Second went my dignity. Pounding on my door at midnight was when I lost it. I had been scared to walk outside for a couple days before, and I guess I had a reason to be. I had knifes hidden along with pepper spray all over my apartment. So, I grabbed both and crouched in a corner facing the door. I called a couple of the close friends I still had to have them come over. Then, I called the police. As I waited in the corner all I could do was cry, and come to the realization that this is what my life had came too. When the police showed up, they scolded me for calling my friends first, and without even writing a word down, they were gone.

The next day I went to the apartment management and begged them to let me out of the lease. They didn't. Regardless, I got a job lined up, a new apartment, and packed what I could for one trip to Kansas City.

For the next few months, I slept on a mattress in my new living room and watched blockbuster movies on my 32' television. I went to work and then to my apartment. I put on about 30 pounds and had no intention of meeting new people, or making new friends. As I dove deeper into depression, I started drinking... a lot. That's when I started being more social along with not treating people well, but I didn't seem to care. I wouldn't let myself. I was the worst version of myself, in the darkest place I had ever been.

I didn't see myself being that bubbly girl I once was, not until my mom had a talk with me which probably saved my life. She told me that she hated to see what I had become. She hated that boy for doing what he did. She said she hated him for taking away her happy girl... and most of all for taking her smile. At that moment, I knew I had let the situation not only hurt me, but everyone around me. The situation had came in like a tornado and completely destroyed my life... and I had let it. But, hearing the woman who raised me and who cared for me when I didn't even care for myself say what she did I knew I had to change. Not only for myself but for her.

I took baby steps. I read some books on the subject and finally put myself in counseling. I think I hadn't for so long because I didn't want to really see what this situation has done to me. Who it had made me. The thing is, people shy away from rape like it doesn't really happen. Is this why? Do people turn away from it because they don't want to see that this is what happens to lives of the people they love? Daughters, mothers, teenagers, young adults... everyday.

Once again, I am lucky. I had someone open my eyes and save me. Some aren't so lucky. Which is sad, and it's sad that people make excuses for it and it's even MORE sad that people aren't educating others so that this stops ruining lives.

Parents who see this, read this to your teenagers... BOTH genders. Guys, read this to your frat bothers. Girls, read this to your friends. Read this and realize that this is happening to more people than you would ever imagine and if you want to stop the cycle then open your eyes.

Monday, September 23, 2013

What We All Deserve

So I needed to let myself soak in everything that happened Thursday before writing this. Basically Thursday was a train wreak.

I went to the court house for yet another court hearing on my case. This time it was for my rapist breaking his probation. What punishment did he get you might ask??? Nothing. Not even a slap on the wrist. What makes this worse is the fact that the prosecution who is fighting for me, did not show up.

After an hour of waiting, there was only my best friend and I, and his family and him with his attorney. So after chit chatting with the judge, he was told everything was fine and he could go. Even if that is "normal" for the first violation I would have at least liked someone to be there to say something! Just to try, and for the judge to have a little more respect than to play best friend with a rapist while his victim watched.

My pride was extremely hurt. I show up to every single court hearing (which so far as been more times than I can count on all my fingers and my toes). I go because I want the judge, the rapist, and everyone else there to know that I take this very seriously. That I will be there every single time, because I am not letting this go. I refuse to bust my ass and go through the degrading process of prosecuting this man and let it slowly become just another case that ends with the man getting away with everything. All I have ever asked of the prosecution team is to do the same. To be there with me, so I don't feel like I am defending myself. So far, that is exactly what I have done. It will be what I will continue to do, even if no one is in my corner.

Why? Because it is the right thing to do. I will fight until I can't fight anymore. If that means I defend myself for the next 5 years, until his very last day on probation, that's what I'm going to do. I couldn't help but feel completely embarrassed that this disgusting man has his team there while my side was empty. I have a ton of support from family and friends, which is honestly what got me through until I calmed down.

I keep telling myself that I should be used to the justice system nothing having there ducks in a row, but I refuse to accept that. No girl should have to accept less than what she deserves. The court system is so stuck on "helping" offender’s change their ways that they let the victim deal with less than average help. All the while stripping them of any dignity along the way. It's safe to say the weather was fitting for the disappointing day. But, I'm going to stay positive, I've done all that I can do.

My case is considered a huge victory in the eyes of the law, which I am grateful for. But there are so many other case that should be victory's as well. I think that’s why I fight so hard. In my eyes, I use my case as my voice, and all the other voices that have not been heard.

I just have to keep using my voice to make sure everyone associated with this case knows what I expect and what I deserve. What we ALL deserve.

Friday, September 20, 2013

My Story

I've been trying to decide for a while if I should make a blog to add to everything with starting up this new company. If you don't know about it you can go Safe & Sound Refuge on facebook to learn more. I feel like I need to inform everyone of my situation first, and where I have been to make it to this point.

My story is simple really, I was raped. I was raped while I was unconscious. Well, at least for most of it. When I came to, I had a man I knew, on top of me. I didn’t fight back, I couldn’t move. I was frozen, in shock of what was being done to me by someone I trusted. When he realized I was no long unconscious he quickly tried to cover his tracks by pretending he didn’t just do what we both knew he had just done.

After, when I was no longer in his presence I completely lost it. I had no self esteem and for once, I didn’t have the answers.The only thing I knew was I was disgusting, and I had to wash myself until I was clean. So that’s what I did, in scolding hot water, until my skin felt raw, I scrubbed the dirty-ness away. But, it didn’t help. I just cried and cried until I couldn’t keep it to myself any longer.

I called a friend, and they begged me to go to the hospital. They finally convinced me to go almost 24 hours later and more showers than I could count on one hand. I had convinced myself I was not going to press charges and that the hospital visit would be useless.

By this time, I was a zombie. That’s the only way I know how to describe it. When we walked through the sliding doors and to the front desk I was to ashamed to let the words come out of my mouth of why I was there. My friends had to say it for me. I was taken to a room almost instantly. The nurses asked if I would like an advocate from the YWCA, to come sit with me through the rape kit process.

Reluctantly, I said yes. When she got there, she introduced herself. I didn’t know at the time how much I would truly grow to appreciate her and how much she would end up helping me. It’s crazy when I look back, because at the time I think I was more grateful to have a stranger there with me then the people who loved me. This stranger wouldn’t judge me, because she had never met me before this.

This stranger held my hand while I once again felt, in a way, violated by the doctor who was just doing his job. I felt like a science fair project being examined by nurses and doctors, scraping underneath my fingernails and pulling hairs from my head. Giving me medicine to stop any diseases I might have received, without a choice, from the person I thought I could trust. I made a police report, just incase I would decide to go forward with pressing charges, which I still was dead set against. This entire time, this stranger was still by my side, giving me calming advice as I needed it. For some reason, I could open up to this stranger more than I could with anyone else.

A couple of days went by with no sleep. Every noise scared me along with my memories of that night. I just sat there, in my room, on my bed, alone. My tears were gone. The longer I sat there the angrier I got. Angry enough to call the police station, and file that report. The stranger from the YWCM was the person I went to, every time I needed someone she was there, a phone call away. Every court hearing she was there. Her being there really helped me feel comfortable enough to walk into that courtroom and face my rapist. Which I did, with her, about a million times or, at least it felt that way. I was torn apart on the stand. All of my personal business down to what kind of underwear I was wearing was brought to question. It was by far the hardest and most degrading process I have ever experienced.

After a while she was no longer that stranger that helped me, but my advocate, Carrie, the person who lead me in all the right directions and helped me up, after being knocked down by our justice system numerous times. My rapists ended up receiving a 7 year prison sentence, reduced to 4 months of shock time, with 5 years of supervised probation. It doesn’t seem like a lot does it? But since there is no set punishment for destroying another life, I’m considered one of the lucky ones.

Since his sentencing, Carrie has invited me along to share my story and has given me the chance to help others with my words. By doing so, this had led me to my passion. I’m addicted to trying to help others, just like Carrie has helped me. This company will hopefully be successful enough for me to be able to. If you all would like to help you can find the company on facebook. Safe & Sound Refuge.