Wednesday, April 5, 2017


Source - National Sexual Violence Resource Center
I caught up with a friend on Monday. She is an American living in Australia as well.  Approximately two years ago, she was a college student (still in America), and she was sexually assaulted.  She reported her assault to police, was questioned by over five different police officers including a sergeant and a detective (all male) and had the invasive rape kit conducted at a medical center.  In her interview, some questions posed to her were about sexual positions and specific times that each act occurred.  She tells me that the interviews were as emotionally damaging as the actual rape itself.

Police were trying to be thorough and get details.  Fine.  As long as they are just as thorough with their investigation into the allegation and with the accused.

No one from law enforcement ever initiated any follow-up with her.  She called the detective in charge a number of times to ask about her case.  Eventually, she was told that there was not enough evidence to press charges.  Her alleged perpetrator only spoke to police after agreeing to do so with his lawyer present.  His version was that everything that happened was consensual, then they got in an argument, he left abruptly, so she accused him of rape.   One interview was conducted with the perpetrator (in comparison to the five interviews that my friend experienced; six if you count the rape kit/test/and questioning at the medical center.)  During that interview, he was never questioned about sexual positions or specific times that each act occurred. 

I wasn't there.  I don't know exactly what happened.  I am hearing one side of the story.

What I do know is my friend is a smart, educated, well-spoken, reliable, ambitious person.  She has never given me any reason to doubt her word or her integrity.  I support her and believe that she deserved to be treated with respect and fairness.  I do not believe this has happened for her since reporting the incident. 

The rape kit cost her personally $900 (it was a total fee of $1600, but insurance covered $700.)  She applied for "victim's assistance" but was denied due to the police determining there was not enough evidence to file charges.

Her parents have doubted her, have blamed her for having a boy in her apartment alone after she had been drinking with him. Her brother has told her "she's different", "angry", and not as fun as she used to be.  As if, these things are her fault as well.  Her response is "damn right" she feels different and angry.

Sadly, so many of us know people who have experienced the same.  I know people who have similar experiences.  Some of us have our own personal experiences as a victim as well.  It has to stop.

I don't have all the answers.  I know these cases must be difficult to prove.  I know both parties deserve respect and have the right to be treated fairly and lawfully.  But, I am so, so, so tired of stories like this one.  And, I didn't read this one in the newspaper or online.  I heard it from the mouth of someone I know, someone I respect, and someone I care about. 

Awareness is key.  Education is imperative.  Knowledge must help.  So, I've shared this story from my friend to add to the awareness of the sickening situation.  And, I encourage you to read Steph's post Sexual Assault Awareness - Do We Need a Month for This? because she shares a lot of research and statistics. 

Most importantly, what can I do?  I can support my friend.  I can let her know that I value her.  That I admire her courage and strength.  That I am always available for a phone call, a cup of tea, or a drink.  I can encourage therapy if she feels that's something she is interested in pursuing.  I can locate resources for her.  I can hold her hand and tell her that I believe her.  Right now, I think that's what she has valued from me the most.  She doesn't think the police believed her.  She doesn't think her parents believe her.  She needs to feel that someone believes in her, and I am honored to step up to the plate in that role for her. 


  1. oh my goodness, this made me tear up. this post makes me feel all the things. from madness to upset. but i am so glad you are not only there for your friend, but you told this story. this needs to be talked about. and i have no idea why i didn't know that women have to PAY for the rape kit which i cant even begin to describe how much that pisses me off. among well, so much else. anyway, i could ramble on about a lot but i honor you friend, for being an amazing human to your friend there <3

    xoxo cheshire kat

  2. I expressed this sentiment on Steph's page - it is a shame that we have to have an awareness month for an act so vile, so humanly indecent, that it should never exist to begin with... Yet it does.

    It is imperative that we talk about this and not sweep it under the rug. Most importantly, we need to have discussions with the youth of today as to why this act is not ok.

  3. I understand innocent until proven guilty. I get that. But at what f*cking point does that "proven" part take effect?! Honestly. I can't stand the way survivors are treated. It's disgusting.
    You don't need to know what position she was in, what she was wearing, what she drank or ate, where she went, or what she does in her free time. All you, as an enforcer of the law, need to know is that she was violated and attacked. It makes me fly-off-the-hand mad. (And it's no help as to who the shithole troll in the oval office is. GAH.)

  4. This enrages me - we crap all over victims under our current system.

  5. She had to pay for her own rape kit? Is that normal? Regardless, it's fucked up. FUCKED. UP.

    Your friend's entire situation makes me simultaneously sad and angry. I wish I could give her a hug.

  6. I didn't know you have to PAY for a rape kit. That is horrible. And I'm so sick of the "women shouldn't be alone with men or put themselves in a bad situation" excuse when it comes to sexual assault. I'm so angry and sad for your friend. Just by writing this you are a supportive friend to her and I send all my support and love as well.

  7. Thank you for sharing this. How truly awful. :( I think awareness and education 100% help improve how we view and treat others in these situations. Thank you for sharing!! XO - Alexandra

    Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things


  8. Wow, that's absurd that not only was she brutalized, she literally had to pay for it. That's fkn disgusting.

    Ugh. You know this hits close to home, this month.


  9. I'm so, so sorry to hear this. For one thing - nobody should EVER have to pay for their own rape kit. Like really? And that guy should have been questioned the same as her. It doesn't matter if they believed him over her or whatever the case might have been - they shouldn't treat the alleged victim and the alleged perpetrator different, if that means the victim goes through worse trauma.


  10. This makes me so unbelievably sad for your friend :*( I'm so sorry that someone you know and love went through this--I have a friend who also was raped but the details are vague at best because she has completely blocked out the details. I also didn't realize that rape kits are so damn expensive and had no idea this would be an out-of-pocker expense though I guess I shouldn't be surprised. Ugh. I'm just so sorry to read this :( it's upsetting that men and women would have such vastly different experiences when recounting their narrations to police officers.

  11. This is so sad. I have a friend who had a similar story. The hospital actually sued her because she didn't have the money to pay for her rape kit. It was a scary mess. She had to move from the state she eas in because it was just a sore spot thst reminded her daily how she was let down by the system. More awareness is definitely needed. Thanks for sharing.

  12. Oh how my heart hurts for her. I am so sorry that this happened to your friend and that the system has failed her.


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