You don’t really think about it until it happens to you. You talk about how messed up the legal system is and how much reform it needs, but until it personally affects you, those are just words and ideas.
On April 6, 2019, I had a boy over. We had been talking for about a month, and I set boundaries for him. I told him I do not have sex with people I am not in a relationship with. The night he came over, we consensually hooked up. He asked me if we could have sex, and I reminded him, saying, “No. I don’t have sex with guys I’m not dating.”
“Oh, I should have taken you on a date then,” he said, probably thinking he was being witty.
He continued to make uncomfortable comments to me about having sex, and I ignored him. We laid down in my bed and continued to consensually kiss, and it wasn’t until he started rubbing himself against me, and then inserting himself into me, that I froze up.
It is common knowledge that victims freeze up when sexual assault happens; your body reacts with the fight or flight response and tries to protect itself from harm.
My body was trying to protect me. I was shocked. I was scared. I had said “no” less than five minutes before, and he didn’t listen to me.
After he was done, he had the nerve to ask me, “Are you on the pill?”
I said no, still shocked and terrified of all the things that could happen.
I immediately made him take me to buy Plan B, then sent him home. I reached out to him later that night saying how awful I felt and how he never should have done that.
After talking to friends and my therapist, I made the decision to report my rape. I knew what I was getting in to. I knew this almost never works out for girls. But I had to do it. I needed justice, and he needed to be held accountable for his actions.
I went to public safety at my school. They reported it to the police and I was questioned by police officers and detectives from 4 p.m. till 10 p.m.
The police asked me all the questions I knew they would: What were you wearing? Were you drinking? How come you didn’t push him away while it happened?
All questions that shouldn’t have been asked. Questions that were irrelevant.
I said no. I told him I didn’t have sex with guys I’m not dating. He did not have my consent, yet he did it anyway, and I was the one being asked these questions.
I didn’t push him away because my body froze, and words would not come out of my mouth.
That doesn’t change the fact that I had verbally told him no just a few minutes before.
After talking to the police and not getting much help from them, I decided to go to him myself and get a confession.
I met him in public, and I didn’t have to do much talking. He immediately said how sorry he was and how he knew he was wrong. He knew he shouldn’t have done that because I had told him no. He said he had been thinking about it all week, how this could affect his job and his boss’s reputation. He said I was a sweet girl and he shouldn’t have ever done it, and that he wouldn’t come close to doing anything like that again, and he would cover any medical attention I needed.
I sent the recording to my detective with the hope that maybe it would work out in my favor this time. Maybe I would get justice. He confessed, and I had a recording — a shitty one, sure, but he said he knew was wrong and that he was sorry.
The next day I got a call from my SVU detective. He told me the District Attorney declined my case because I did not say no or push him away while it was happening.
It didn’t matter that I had said no before. It didn’t matter that I froze up and couldn’t speak. It didn’t matter that he literally admitted that he was wrong.
I can not express the anger that I am feeling. That my rapist confessed to what he did, but because I did not say no while it happened, the legal system doesn’t see that as rape.
I have put my hope and faith in a system that is not on my side.
People wonder why we don’t report, and this is just one of the few reasons. Why go through a process that will ultimately fail us anyway? The people’s whose very job is to defend us and fight for us don’t even believe us.
Think about that the next time a woman doesn’t report her sexual assault.
The very system that is designed to bring us justice and closure does not hold criminals accountable.
I now have to deal with the possibility of STDs and pregnancy.
My rapist confessed to what he did, and he gets to walk free.