Rape & Sexual Abuse Survivors Share Why Experience(s) With Cops Was Worse

“I thought my rape was the most traumatic experience of my life, but I was wrong. What was more traumatic was the way I was treated by the police.”-(see below)

I’ve seen too much working in the fields I have; so much that nothing surprises me but it does sicken me. If a cop has no empathy, compassion, understanding,…soul- they have no reason to say they can serve and protect. That’s the last thing they’re doing really. People who harm children are in prison a short while and then have to ‘alert’ the neighbors of their presence. A few years back the day after one of these sick pedophiles was released due to a loop hole, he was found video taping children at the play ground.

On more than one incident have ex-officers told me they either have or saw another officer throw away the r*pe / sexual assault claims, making inappropriate comments while doing so. And you don’t think we need a change, huh?

No matter what you say, I’d feel much more comfortable living in an area with some drug issues than a neighborhood of pedophiles. I can’t write on this topic; it enrages me far too much. Thankfully, the below survivor is strong and articulate. Please listen to her tell the story of too many women in America and England (all over the world, for that matter).

Off topic again sorry! Alright, so, I will say is this lady has the right to tell her own story for she is brave, strong and powerful for standing up, not letting her attackers bring her fear. She inspires me, and I hope if you need inspiring, she will you, too…

OH! Sexual abuse, ra*e – all things that there are no justification for. Men do not need to be “trained” to not ra*e us! I have yet to meet a good man or woman whom thought taking something extremely personal and vulnerable  – by force. People, such as rapists, belong either in the place of all the drug users in prison (letting the addicts free to get help) or on death row. Science proves these sicko’s don’t change. Why do they get a slap on the wrist, but when a kid smokes his first joint and faces prison time? Victim blaming, that’s what it comes down to.

Not on this page. On this page the victim is the survivor, and as survivors I wish we were fighting harder to make that a reality. Not out of revenge; but so it will happen to less and less children.

As the author warns, if you’ve been victim or abuse, please read with caution.
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*Trigger Warning*

“I thought my rape was the most traumatic experience of my life, but I was wrong. What was more traumatic was the way I was treated by the police.”

So began several hours of powerful testimony by survivors of sexual assault in Washington, DC, at a hearing of the DC City Council last month. The Council is considering a bill that would increase public oversight of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) in the wake of a report by Human Rights Watch that described, in agonizing detail, the many ways that sexual assault survivors have been retraumatized by police officers.

Mr. Kristof, I was there that day. I heard the words of the survivors who chose to share their stories and the pain in their voices. That’s why reading your most recent op-ed in the New York Times felt like a punch to the gut.

Not only is it dangerous and wrong to congratulate our justice system for reducing rape incidence as a result of greater “punishment” for perpetrators, it also cruelly ignores the experiences of sexual assault survivors in this country who are victimized by the system that you laud.

Just ask the DC woman whose 11-year-old daughter was raped twice by the same perpetrators. She reported the crime to a police officer, who ushered the child alone into an interrogation room. During hours of interrogation, she was coerced into confessing that she had lied about the rape. Weeks later, officers returned to her home to arrest her for making a false report.

I invite you to come to our nation’s capital to see just how well our justice system, in its current form, works to end sexual violence. Talk to the survivors, whose energy represents the real hope for ending the horrible crime of sexual assault. What, after all, but immense courage could cause them to engage a system that didn’t listen to them the first time?

Those of us who are organizing to address our justice system’s shortcomings — work which you erased with your focus on punishment rather than the needs of survivors — would be happy to show you around. My organization, Collective Action for Safe Spaces, has been working for over a year to increase public oversight of the way of sexual assault cases are policed in DC. We’re now joined by a wonderful group of advocates and survivors, called the Justice for Survivors Campaign, that have turned our organizing effort into something powerful.

We’ll end sexual violence not with reliance on a single blunt tool, but with an organized group of people who are empowered to do the difficult work of changing the culture, as well as engage with — or make — our systems work for us, rather than against us. On that note, you, me, and everyone else in the United States who thinks about and works to prevent sexual violence could learn a lot from Kenyan organizations like GROOTS, which trains women to organize in their communities, on their terms. We should be inspired, every day, by the women who stand up in protest against the Kenyan government to hold it accountable for failing to protect them, even at great personal risk.

Survivors of violence are speaking out. All of us must be ready to listen.

Zosia Sztykowski is CASS’s Director of Community Outreach.

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