The worst part of the aftermath of being raped was being told over and over again that I must report the rape. Every health professional saw told me how important it was that I report the incident to the police. When I would tell them I had decided not too, every single one of the people who were supposed to be there as my doctor launched into trying to guilt me into doing something I didn’t want to do. “If you don’t report, other women will be raped.” “You have to report or you will never heal.” “The only way to be a true feminist is to report.”
Honestly, I have never wanted to kick more people in the balls than I did these “medical professionals.”
The thing is, I know what happens with rape reporting. In California, at the time of my rape, there were 35,000 backlogged rape kits. That means 35,o00 rape victims were in front of me to have their cases looked at. Even if I offered to pay for the processing of my own kit, I am not allowed to move to the front of the line. The fact that I was not conscious enough after being roofied to seek help for three days eliminated the possibilities of getting evidence.
If I would have reported the rape, then I would have been intensely questioned about my behavior, what I was wearing and if I had done anything that would have made my attackers believe that it was okay to roofie and gang rape me. The benefit of the doubt is always on the side of the rapist. Police are trained to look for reasons someone would want to be roofied and raped (hint: no one ever does this).
Finally, on the off chance the case ever made it to court (which would never have happened in my case) I would have been intensely cross-examined just in case there was some reason to let the rapists off. Even men caught in the middle of a rape serve no time in CA. Brock Turner is the most famous right now. He did three months and was caught sexually assaulting an incapacitated woman. This week in northern CA, a man admitted to police of going into rooms with incapacitated women and raping them. He is on probation with no jail time. In multiple jurisdictions it is now completely legal to force oral sex 0n someone drunk or asleep.
Judges, doctors, politicians and police are actively working to make rape legal, or at least one of those crimes where there is no punishment.
Rape victims are routinely implored to report, submit to physical and emotional probing by strangers, and are always told they have to prove they were raped. If we actually cared about rape victims we would do something to stop rape. Right now, we are creating a culture that encourages rape.
We do not process rape kits in any timely fashion. Several different jurisdictions have been pushed to process their backlog. Not surprisingly, the evidence reveals serial rapists. In Chicago, processing the kits finally found that one man had raped more than 100 women. But these kits sat on the shelf so long, no body intervened after 5 or 10 or even 50 rapes.
We allow rapists to go free or serve minimal jail time because rape is always the victim’s fault in the United States.
In CA, the state allocates less than $2 in services per rape victim per year.
If we wanted to do something about rape, we could. The thing is, people like to rape. They see rape as a sex act. They see rape as “legitimate” or a “misunderstanding.” Until we change this, it does not matter at all if I or any other rape victim ever report.