Chapter 4: It's an INJUSTICE!
Updated: Jun 4, 2020
After that fateful December evening, I chose to move forward as usual. But things were definitely a little different for me. I cared less about everything but tried to act normal. I was more aggressive in my conversations with my mom, but nothing too severely different. My dad left to serve over seas in the Navy for his second but more brief time… He would be home within 6 months this time around. I found myself sleeping in my mom’s bed at night while he was away. I think I didn’t really want to be alone. She didn’t mind, she didn’t like being alone either.
This is around the time that the obnoxious dancer and his kissing request flared up at Nationals in March. So not only was I mad at the world and boys in general- but then this cocky little jerk made passes at me.
I wasn’t really down for anything I wasn’t proposing or pushing… Now, I can say- thankfully- that I never turned to drugs or alcohol to numb myself, but I also wasn’t really dealing with it either. I was chocking it up to be a bad sexual encounter. I hadn’t grasped what it was yet, and my best friends were not concerned so why should I be?
I spent my summer between junior and senior year at early morning practice for ballroom. I focused on the new routines and started a job at a day care center. Things were relatively calm. Until one night when an old secret friend with benefits sent me a text that would foreshadow my next couple years. This friend sent me a text that would tell me what happened to me in December was more than bad sex. His text read “Hey… so uh, I met your friend…. Gary. Sounds like you guys hit it off pretty well ;)”
Immediately I was overcome with a weight and anger unlike anything I had ever experienced before… Like lightening and without checking my spelling I responded “Don’t you DARE say his name to me ever again! You have no idea what happened between us and I never want to talk about him again!” He was quite confused and he said “Woah, woah, Alli, what happened?!?! I recounted the experience and he said to me “Alli, that’s not okay… You realize what he did to you right? Please tell me you reported him!”
I was confused but said “No, why would I report him and to who?”
“THE POLICE?!? Alli he raped you. You didn’t want to have sex with him right? You told him you had to leave? Guess what, that’s rape. I am so sorry! I should have kicked his ass! If I ever see him again, dude, he’s getting his teeth knocked in!”
I let those words sink in… “He raped you. He raped you….. Alli!?! HE RAPED YOU!!!!” Why had no one else put this into perspective, why had no one else seemed bothered or cared?!?!!! That is exactly what happened… I was raped. 6 months later, I was finally understanding and absorbing what happened to me. As a lay in bed next to my mom, I silently sobbed myself to sleep… I was slightly awakened, but lay still unsure what was happening when I felt my phone sliding out from under my pillow.. I pretended to stay asleep, and was seething with privacy violation at my mother taking my phone and going through it while I slept… The next morning I was ready to talk to her about it. I was upset and ready to let her have it… But then she suggested a shopping spree. I guess I could let it go. Who doesn’t love a little retail therapy?
As we shopped I actually enjoyed myself. It was light, fun and took my mind off of everything.
Things were great… Then on the way home, my mom says to me… “Hey can I ask you something? Last night you were crying in your sleep and yelling out… You said “Don’t touch me” and it really worries me…” I looked out my passenger side window as I started to shake involuntarily and tears raged down my cheeks… For two reasons, ONE: I knew how she found out and it wasn’t because I was crying out in my sleep. It was because she had gone through my phone and read my texts. TWO: how dare she bring this up… She had no right! I wasn’t ready to talk about this…
“Alli, who hurt you? Was it that kid you went to that dance with? The bad boy? Why wouldn’t you tell me?!?” She said, tears streaming down her own face… I shrugged… I couldn’t form words… “Did you tell anyone?” “...Yeah…. Shaina and Conrad…” (no, not their names) “Why didn’t Shaina tell me? Why have you been going through this alone?!” “I don’t know mom… They didn’t seem to think it was a big deal, so… I decided it was just a misunderstanding and to let it go… “ “We have to tell someone… We need to report it and get you some help. To see a therapist.” “Why? What good will it do now? It was a long time ago. I don’t want to see a therapist. I’m fine…” “You are NOT fine… Crying in your sleep is not fine. I have noticed you have been different and I didn’t know why, but now I know… NOW it makes sense!”
Basically, a lot of tears and a lot of worry later… I resigned myself to report it. After I told my father who was coming home within the week. Thankfully, my mom told him for me. But he comforted me and he took me in to our local precinct to report. He literally carried me in because I was on a badly sprained ankle from Ballroom the day before…
Nearly 8 months later and I was finally reporting my rape. I reported to Sergeant Yolanda Stewart… She was suggested to me by my school’s officer on duty. He spoke highly of her, so I was hopeful. I went in with a positive attitude and now with my school officer in the know he promised to look out for me and be an advocate if I needed one at school. I sat down in a room with Sargent Stewart. She was a little rough around the edges…. Not like the beautiful Mariska Hargitay in my favorite series of Law & Order: SVU as the amazing Detective Olivia Benson. Boy that show gave me the wrong idea of how this would go down….
I retold my experience in thorough detail. I answered and re-answered her questions and probes… funny… I was kinda getting the vibe she was trying to catch me in a lie…. Okay, she would NOT be my advocate… with a big sigh she asked “I have to ask.. Are you sure this isn’t just a bad choice you regret because you were taught not to have sex before marriage? Have you had sex since? Had you ever had sex before? Was it really unwanted or just regret?” Now, I get why those details are important…. I really do.
But I also think there is a tactful way, a kind way to ask a potential victim these questions… She literally asked me like I was a perp. I told her of my previous encounters (not the abuse part), I told her that I didn’t really understand what had happened to me until I was talking to a friend who pointed out what it really was. She shrugged and told me the next steps would be to call him in to the station, ask him his side and see if he corroborated my statements. She informed me it likely wouldn’t go anywhere because 'he said she said' cases were hard to prosecute… Wow what a downer… I thanked her for her time and rejoined my dad in the waiting room… I felt like crap… Why had I agreed to report it?
I’m gonna jump a little into the future because the next steps of my story are less focused on this… This becomes a side story.. So to give some closure…. Basically, they brought Gary in to question him, he of course claimed consensual. As they probed further and asked if I ever said anything that resembled stop or asking him to be done, he had a light bulb… “Well I guess she did keep telling me she had to get home” “Did you stop? Did you go home?” “Well… not right away… But eventually yeah. But she didn’t seem upset.” “If someone tells you it’s time to stop or they need to leave, that means stop. If you didn’t, that’s rape… SO. Did you rape her?” “Well not on purpose, but I guess?” Now this information took me MONTHS to find out.. She called him in a week after I spoke to her. Shortly after, he started showing up in random places… I requested a restraining order…
Did you know someone can stalk you 3x AFTER you file for a restraining order and they won’t issue one until the 4th? It doesn’t matter how many times they have bothered you before you report it… So I guess you could say Gary was mad…. He was given a warning about my pending restraining order with the details… He pushed it and tested it to the point of torment… He sat across the street in his car of places I was babysitting. Would be in the food court where I was eating with friends at the mall… “visiting” old friends at my high school after he had graduated… At my Senior Prom...He was awfully close… but after the 3rd time he never did it again….
PS…I had to call and leave messages asking for an update from the Sargent.. No response ever… Finally- my dad called her superior and demanded she get back to me… She called me to setup a time for me to come in... she was clearly annoyed… but never solidified.. So- we went in… Made her talk to me. She told me the conversation above and then said “No one will prosecute… They all say a ‘he said she said’ case won’t have results, so no one will take the case…” How messed up is that? Like what?!?! What kind of messed up judicial practice is that? So that was it… I mean in my mind, that conversation she shared with me -was an admittance of guilt.. Accidental guilt, but guilt none the less… THEN his stalking…. Shows some intense fuel… I feel like it could have been an easy case given his statement and his actions following my attempt to file a restraining order…. But I'm not a lawyer or a DA... So what do I know? I wasn't looking for some insane jail time... I just wanted it publicly known what he had done or for him to have to register on some list. He was 17, so he wasn't looking at adulthood problems.. At least not in my state at the time. Now, I know some of you may think that is harsh- especially given his "accidental" rape. But justice of some kind deserved to be served and other women protected. I'm sure I wasn't the only one. I eventually accepted the case would not go anywhere and started to look for therapy treatment… I found a little solace when I learned Sargent Stewart was let go for continued victim shaming… Any LDS girl who came in “crying rape” she treated poorly like she had me, and eventually it ruined her career. This definitely helped in my therapeutic sessions… One thing I must say- not every therapist is a good fit… I went through 3 before I found one I connected with and trusted… The real work would finally begin… This was nearly a year after I was raped though…
So what can we learn from this chapter… The reason rape and sexual assaults are so under reported is because of officers like Sargent Stewart… No one will believe us or prosecute even when proof is in the statements. We can also learn- if your first therapist isn’t a good fit, don’t give up, but try again.. Don’t stay with a therapist you cant connect with. Healing won’t happen. Honestly, I think everyone needs a therapist… An unbiased opinion who can tell you when you are justified or full of crap. They can validate you or set you straight, and it doesn’t HURT like it does from your loved ones. We can also learn- report even if results don’t come… The more statistics we can generate- the more change will occur in the future… Getting it on record could provide justice for another victim of your attacker down the road and prove pattern. YOU may not get justice…but someone else might… Report as soon as possible and keep all possible DNA samples, and get tested ASAP! It’s scary, and can feel like you are being raped all over again, but it can be the difference in a guilty or not guilty verdict. Mama, YOU are worth it! You are worth the fight, the effort, the therapy, the healing! You deserve it! I am here for you and I will be a listening ear, a sounding board, an advocate and a fountain of resources should you need anything. Together we will RISE from the ashes and be renewed. Til next week (some dark but mostly happier part of my story), hang in there everyone!
Next week's retelling is lighter and there is no reader discretion.