Rough Draft- Rape: One of the Most Challenging Crimes to Prosecute

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So I have been working really hard on my Rape paper for my Psych and Law class. The rough draft is due this Wednesday. I have a full draft done and wanted to post it because, one I am proud of tackling such a tough subject, and two because I think it’s an interesting paper that talks about something relevant in our society right now. So, if you take the time to read this paper, I would welcome any feedback to make the paper better for a final draft. Thanks in advance, XOXO Anna!

*I put all my block quotes in the block quotes button at top because the formatting was strange without that.*

Rape: One of The Most Challenging Crimes to Prosecute

Introduction

One of the most challenging prosecutions, both criminally and psychologically, in today’s courts is the question of rape. The very definition of the crime varies from state to state. The issue is further composited by the evidence and a prosecutors confidence that is sufficient to sway a jury. Ironically, when fight or flight instincts kick in, no one talks about the freeze instinct, thus leaving no physical evidence behind. If a trial comes out of a reported rape, the question of “who really is on trial” arises. Victims often become objects of intense scrutiny, having their character, motivation, and possibly their sexual history questioned. When on trial, the focus should not be questioning the victim’s character, but rather questioning the perpetrator’s character. Solutions to rape are not clear-cut. Some possible solutions could be addressing the definition of rape, making it universal across the country, having education on rape and consent at a younger age, and having psychologists as expert witnesses explaining why a victim might freeze over fighting when questioned on the stand. Rape ranks as one of the most challenging crimes to prosecute in today’s courts: the absence of a unilateral definition of the crime, the too frequent lack of compelling physical evidence to prosecute, and the likely attack on the character and integrity of the victim, all contribute to the difficulty of bringing this crime to trial.

Part 1

When someone is raped, how do they know they have been raped, legally speaking? Living in New York versus Connecticut, two people could experience rape, yet the legal definition is different in each state. Connecticut, for example, does not have the word “rape” in their definition. Connecticut’s laws on rape are defined using the term “sexual assault” (Attorney S.N., 2005). Using the terms “rape” and “sexual assault” interchangeably is confusing to a victim. Some states define sexual assault as everything but penetration, but if one lives in Connecticut, sexual assault includes penetration. In Georgia, a man cannot be raped because they definition is gender specific. Some of the definitions are old fashioned based on gender stereotypes of men being the aggressors and the women being the victims. These definitions were so outdated that if one were married in some states their husband could rape them and legally it would not be considered rape because the definition goes back to when women were the property of men (Deisen & Diesen, 2010). This is why definitions are important. Someone who has been raped might not come forward because they might feel that what happened to them does not meet the criteria, or they might think they were only sexually assaulted- which has a connotation of being a lesser crime than rape- based on the state’s definition. Definitions also challenge the prosecution. If what happened to a person does not meet legal definitions then the case cannot be taken. With legal definitions, there are two types of definitions, ones based on consent and ones based on violence,

“Rape has been commonly viewed as a crime involving assault with a sexual dimension, in which the violent force is the punishable component . . . modern rape laws are based on non-consent . . . indicating that the crime is viewed as an offense against personal integrity” (Deisen & Diesen, 2010, pp. 331-332).

The rape laws involving the definition of the use of force or threat implies that the woman is accessible until there is violence, and evidence is left, meaning the crime has officially occurred. Most rapes are assumed to be violent, and when they are not, the second problem arises- lack of physical evidence. When there is a lack of physical evidence then there is a lack of confidence in the victim reporting the crime.

Lack of physical evidence is one of the reasons rape cases can be so difficult to prosecute. Most rape victims are raped by someone they know, which increases the shock in the victim, and could lead to the victim having a “freeze” response. Most people, when talking about traumatic events, mention the “fight or flight” instinct but often forget the third response of “freeze.” This is where psychology comes into play to explain why there are many rapes that are not violent. Neuroscience is the best way to explain what happens when a person is attacked. Essentially the pre-frontal cortex is incapacitated and the person is relying on survival instincts and habits. James W. Hopper, PhD., wrote an article for the Washington Post explaining the neuroscience behind trauma explaining that, “Freezing occurs when the amygdala – a crucial structure in the brain’s fear circuitry – detects an attack and signals the brainstem to inhibit movement. It happens in a flash, automatically and beyond conscious control.” During this instinctual reaction, the pre-frontal cortex is overloaded with stress hormones, inhibiting rational thinking. This author makes a great point when mentioning that humans evolved as prey. Humans were not always the most dominant species, and so, humans have prey like instincts to survive a predator. When someone gets raped the three survival instincts kick in- fight, flight, or freeze- and that is how one rape might have left no marks and another rape could leave the victim covered in bruises. Police often believe a woman who reports the rape immediately and has physical evidence, leading to a stronger case for the prosecutor, making them more inclined to take the case. Women often wait to report rapes due to the trauma, causing emotions of deep humiliation, shame, and self-hatred. Often after such a psychologically detrimental attack the women may not feel strong enough, psychologically, to report the rape, or might fear not being believed by the police.

Police play a huge role in rape cases. Prosecutors may not take cases they believe to be too challenging to prosecute, but the police are the ones who determine whether the claim is unfounded, which means, “A complaint is considered founded when it meets state or federal crime standards; therefore, unfounded claims are claims that are not considered true crimes” (Mennicke, Anderson, Oehme, & Kennedy, 2014, pp. 814- 815). Society has many stereotypes about rapes and rape victims, so it is extremely important to make sure officers do not fall into the false beliefs out there, and yet most do, which often proposes a challenge. A study done in Florida with 148 officers on attitudes towards victims and rape resulted in,

“Most officers (79.7%) only provided a partial definition of rape, leaving out at least one of the four key components. In addition, most officers (80.9%) reported that the rate of false rape claims was much higher than current best estimates (2%–8%; Lonsway et al., 2009). These two findings taken together suggest that law enforcement officers still hold stereotypic and harmful attitudes” (Mennicke, Anderson, Oehme, & Kennedy, 2014, pp. 824).

The fact that officers leave out parts of rape definitions and believe that false rape reports are higher than they actually are, indicates a problem for victims. If police officers are having biased or stereotyped beliefs then that is going to affect their ability to handle a rape case. Police, using the training they have for dealing with other crimes, might come off as insensitive to a victim, or ask questions that make the victim feel as if it is their fault they got raped. Cops often are not trained in psychology, and may not have had the correct training to understand a victim’s reaction to rape, so when cops see a victim who is emotionless while describing the rape they might assume the victim is lying- “Cops learn to interview victims based on interrogation practices, which emphasize establishing a timeline and key facts” (Ruiz, 2013). Reasons victims do not report their rape not only can come from not knowing whether what happened to them legally is a crime, but also from the simple fear of police not believing them or making them feel guilty for a crime committed against them. Some “lucky” victims have their case taken to trial, but what really goes into the decision making on the prosecutors end? “Some studies suggest that prosecutors attempt to predict how the background, behavior, and motivation of the suspect and victim will be interpreted and evaluated by other decision makers, and especially by potential jurors” (Beichner, & Spohn, 2012, pp. 4). Not only do prosecutors look at the legal facts of the case -seriousness of the crime, amount of physical evidence, responsibility of the defendant- they look at the victim and make sure the victim has a “good image,” and if all the boxes are checked off that gives them confidence in prosecuting the case, that is when prosecutors take the case.

“CJS personnel often prosecute cases in which they believe the victim will make a credible witness. Therefore, a case might not be prosecuted if officials do not think that the victim will make a credible witness even if they believe that a rape occurred” (Patterson, 2011, pp. 1350).

Prosecutors also fall into stereotyping like cops. Our society has this image of rape being a stranger jumping out from a hidden place and attacking a victim with a weapon, and if a rape case that comes to the law enforcement or prosecutor does not line up with that “real rape” case scenario there is often hesitancy, “Because simple rape cases are not considered real rapes, such victim characteristics would play a more important role in determining the outcome of these cases” (Beichner, & Spohn, 2012, pp. 6). Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners play a role in the justice system as well, and the nurses often witness the treatment of victims from law enforcement, and they

“described police, medical systems, and legal system as wielding power to revictimize rape victims. In fact, SANEs felt that rape victims were particularly traumatized when members of such systems engaged in victim- blaming behavior or questioning, did not believe them, pressured them to recount the events multiple times to multiple people, failed to give them adequate information, or refused them help or treatment” (Maier, 2012, pp. 297).

The nurses who care for the victims even witness the harsh behavior that can come from the criminal justice system.

Part 2

Solutions to rape are far from simple. There are many parts to the solution to rape that will be discussed because rape is such a complex issue -criminally, mentally, and psychologically speaking.

Definitions of rape, as mentioned, are not universal. Each state has their own definition and statute of limitation. Why does rape have a statute of limitation when rape is the second most heinous crime that can be committed against another human, following murder, which has no statute of limitation (Giacalone, 2013).

“The crime of rape is not considered the most heinous crime (number 2) . . . but some, including myself would disagree. When someone is murdered, the pain and suffering lives on with the family and not the victim. Often rape is a crime that leaves the victim violated, their life and relationships in ruin and sometimes emotionally distraught. Sometimes the victim takes her own life because of it” (Giacalone, 2013, pp. 189).

Seeing that rape is such a monstrous crime, the definition and statute of limitations need to be changed. Bill Fitzpatrick, New York District Attorney of Onondaga County says,

“In terms of atrocity, in terms of the breaking of the social contract by the defendant, in terms of the impact on the victim, does it really matter to her at the end of the day if it was a penis or some kind of foreign object? . . . In my judgment, no” (Cowan, 2016).

By having a universal definition of rape, sexual assault, and all other sex crimes, people can avoid the confusion, and victims can be more confident coming forward, knowing that the definition does not discriminate against gender, object used, or what body part was penetrated. Adding to those standards, rapes, whether there was a weapon or not, should be treated equally by the law. Just because one rape did not involve a weapon does not take away from the fact that the rape was a horrifyingly traumatic experience for the victim. Along with a definition change, the statute of limitations should be abolished. Having a statute of limitations on a crime that violates the very soul of a human being is adding injury to insult at best and at worst just plain insulting.

Changes should not only be made in the law, but also in the preventative care. Instead of focusing all the efforts on after the crime has occurred, efforts should be put forth to educate the youth better. When teenagers are taught sex education in school, they should also be taught about consent and body language. Not all victims scream, struggle, or say no. Some victims freeze, dissociate. That should be part of the sex education taught. The younger generations should learn not only about STD’s and safe sex, that only skims the basics of having a healthy sex life. A healthy sex life requires two consenting people that are of legal age. Teaching teenagers in sex education about the psychology of rape and consent would be beneficial in preventing this crime from taking place.

“Enthusiastic consent essentially means that both people want to have sex with one another…If a person is unconscious, unresponsive, or not providing any sign of a ‘yes,’ then it definitely means no. No one is entitled to sex, Stamoulis states, and ‘even during sexual activity, you should check in with a partner if you feel that their interest has waned’” (Bushak, 2017).

When talking about rape,  another problem must be addressed that is considered “taboo” to talk about, which is porn. These days men and women are exposed to hypersexual images in our culture and are further exposed to pornography at such young ages, that it impacts their brains development in their sexual tastes, that our culture has become desensitized to rape, and

“regular exposure to pornography increased risk of sexual deviancy (including lower age of first intercourse and excessive masturbation), increased belief in the ‘rape myth’ (that women cause rape and rapists are normal), and was associated with negative attitudes regarding intimate relationships (e.g., rejecting the need for courtship and viewing persons as sexual objects)” (Anonymous, 2010).

Most people do not like to talk about porn, and think porn is harmless, but,

“this study showed the strong link between men’s viewing pornography and behavioral intent to commit sexual assault. Furthermore, when men view sadomasochistic and rape pornography, their danger to females increases concurrently. Using these two types of pornography makes men significantly more likely to report intent to rape, stronger beliefs in rape myths, a decreased willingness to intervene in a potential sexual assault, and a lower sense of efficacy about intervening in a potential sexual assault situation” (Foubert, Brosi, & Bannon, 2011, pp. 227).

Along with adding in consent education, education about porn and the harmful effects should be another addition to sex education in high school. If the younger generation has a well-rounded sex education, that goes into all the complexes of human sexuality, there will be more informed people that will hopefully be respectful of those around them.

Educating the criminal justice system is needed as well as educating the youth. As mentioned earlier, cops and lawyers might not be well versed in psychological knowledge, and thus treat victims skeptically or not give victims the chance to get justice, letting a criminal go. All police should be trained at the basic level in how to respond to a rape victim because detectives might not be a responding officer to the crime, and if a responding officer does not know how to create a safe environment to get the information needed, then that can affect the entirety of the case. Detectives should have more in-depth training, and there ideally should be a special victims unit in police departments, where those detectives are highly trained in rape psychology.

“[A] victim will attempt to avoid reminders of the rape or the offender for a long period of time following the rape. Therefore, a detective who questions a victim in a forceful, blaming manner is likely to resemble the offender, creating an uncomfortable and intimidating interview environment” (Patterson, 2011, pp. 1367-1368).

If someone is to help a rape victim, they must understand the psychology of rape for victims and perpetrators. Victims lose credibility because they report late, yet most victims have signs of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and thus, they avoid any reminder of the traumatic experience, leading them to report late. The detectives that handle rape cases must have education in psychology, rape, and trauma, whether it is a class that they sign up for before they become a cop, or whether a psychologist comes into the department to teach the cops over the course of a couple weeks to months depending on how extensive the material is.

Along with educating the police, lawyers should have at least the very basic psychological knowledge of rapes, and how rape can impact a victim, so they know why a victim they originally might think would not be credible would actually be credible if presented in a psychological perspective. This is where the use of psychological expert witnesses come into play. In rape cases, there should always be a psychological expert witness to testify to explain the neuroscience behind trauma and the extent to which rape myths are rampant and should be excluded from people’s minds because it is not legally nor logically relevant to why a person might rape. Expert witnesses in rape cases are not limited to just testifying, they can even help the prosecutor evaluate the case and come up with strategies, help with voice dire questions, aiding in jury selection, and helping to prepare the victim if they are going on the stand (Lonsway, 2005).  It is important for people -police, lawyers, civilians, victims, and jurors- to understand the neuroscience behind trauma so that rape myths can be challenged head on in the courtroom. Mentioned earlier, the three survival instincts were described – fight, flight or freeze. People know of animals that play dead, like opossums. They go into a state called tonic immobility, and humans go into that state as well, usually during rapes and sexual assaults.

“One such response is tonic immobility . . . the body is literally paralyzed by fear – unable to move, speak, or cry out. The body goes rigid. Hands may go numb . . . Some people describe feeling ‘like a rag doll’ as the perpetrator did whatever he wanted . . . Sadly, many investigators and prosecutors still do not know some or all of these brain-based responses.” (Hopper, 2015).

Expert witnesses should be assigned to rape cases, and be included as part of the criminal justice “team” that is involved in rape cases, that way the victim can have hard science on their side as evidence.

The criminal justice system is in place for a reason, so why is it that college campuses have started taking on the responsibility of the police when it comes to rapes and sexual assaults? The idea may have started out positive, but in reality, the schools are more about protecting their image (and star athletes) than protecting the victim (The Hunting Ground, 2017). “So now colleges are conducting trials, often presided over by professors and administrators who know little about law or criminal investigations . . . The process is inherently unreliable and error-prone” (Rubenfeld, 2014). Having schools have rape trials has many problems being, the “judges” are biased because they work for the school and protect the school first, they do not have the legal knowledge that is necessary to conduct a fair trial, and because of those factors rapists walk among the campus raping other girls as they please.

“Rape on campus is substantially enabled by the fact that rapists almost always get away with their crimes. College punishments — sensitivity training, a one-semester suspension — are slaps on the wrist. Even expulsion is radically deficient. It leaves serial rapists free to rape elsewhere, while their crimes are kept private under confidentiality rules. If college rape trials become a substitute for criminal prosecution, they will paradoxically help rapists avoid the punishment they deserve and require in order for rape to be deterred” (Rudenfeld, 2014).

With campuses handling rape cases, it leaves rapists at large to rape again, and it essentially protects the rapists, which means having cases go to the proper authorities would be the best for the safety of the campus.

Conclusion

Rape is one of the most complex crimes to prosecute because of the psychological nature involved. There are no easy solutions to the problem, but if steps are taken to change the culture, definitions, education, then maybe one-day rapes will go down. Having universal definitions for the different sex crimes with no statute of limitations would make reporting the crimes less confusing, and victims might feel more confident that what happened to them is a crime. If teenagers have a well-rounded sex education, that is one preventative measure that can be taken against rapes to hopefully reduce the crime. Cops and lawyers having education in the psychology of rape and the traumatic reactions will have a huge impact on how they treat victims and more importantly, see victims. Having the police handle rape cases instead of college campuses would be more beneficial because cops are supposed to be impartial, whereas the school might have their best interest at heart instead of the victims. Finally, having an expert witness in rapes and trauma alongside them would be beneficial so we have all perspectives involved – investigative, legal, and psychological- would help improve the problem with rapes being one of the most challenging crimes to prosecute.

Reference List

A. (2010, March 31). National Review: Getting Serious On Pornography. Retrieved April 17, 2017, from http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=125382361

Attorney, S. N. (2005). Retrieved April 13, 2017, from https://www.cga.ct.gov/2005/rpt/2005- R-0857.htm

Beichner, D., & Spohn, C. (2012). Modeling the effects of victim behavior and moral character on prosecutors’ charging decisions in sexual assault cases. Violence and Victims, 27(1), 3-24. doi:10.1891/0886-6708.27.1.3

Bushak, L. (2016, June 17). After Brock Turner, How Should We Teach Boys Not To Rape? Retrieved April 17, 2017, from http://www.medicaldaily.com/brock-turner-rape- consensual-sex-education-389909

Cowan, S. (2016, June 29). See How Your State Legally Defines Rape (or Does not). Retrieved April 17, 2017, from http://www.takepart.com/article/2016/06/29/state-rape-laws

Deisen, C., & Diesen, E. F. (2010). Sex crime legislation: Proactive and anti-therapeutic effects. International Journal Of Law And Psychiatry, 33(5-6), 329-335. doi: 10.1016/j.ijlp.2010.09.018

Foubert, J. D., Brosi, M. W., & Bannon, R. S. (2011). Pornography viewing among fraternity men: Effects on bystander intervention, rape myth acceptance and behavioral intent to commit sexual assault. Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity, 18(4), 212-231. doi: 10.1080/10720162.2011.625552

Giacalone, J. L. (2013). The criminal investigative function: a guide for new investigators. Flushing, NY: Looseleaf Law Publications.

Hopper, J. W. (2015, June 23). Why many rape victims do not fight or yell. Retrieved April 13, 2017, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/grade-point/wp/2015/06/23/why- many-rape-victims-dont-fight-or-yell/?utm_term=.d08c30e6a1b4

Lonsway, K. A. (2005). The Use of Expert Witnesses in Cases Involving Sexual Assault. Retrieved April 14, 2017, from http://www.ncdsv.org/images/ useexpertwitnessessexassaultcases.pdf

Maier, S. L. (2012). Sexual assault nurse examiners’ perceptions of the revictimization of rape victims. Journal Of Interpersonal Violence, 27(2), 287-315. doi: 10.1177/0886260511416476

Mennicke, A., Anderson, D., Oehme, K., & Kennedy, S. (2014). Law enforcement officers’ perceptions of rape and rape victims: A multimethod study. Violence And Victims, 29(5), 814-827. doi:10.1891/0886-6708.VV-D- 13- 00017

Patterson, D. (2011). The impact of detectives’ manner of questioning on rape victims’ disclosure. Violence Against Women, 17(11), 1349-1373. doi: 10.1177/1077801211434725

Rubenfeld, J. (2014, November 15). Mishandling Rape. Retrieved April 17, 2017, from https:// http://www.nytimes.com/2014/11/16/opinion/sunday/mishandling-rape.html

Ruiz, R. (2013, June 19). Why Do not Cops Believe Rape Victims? Brain Science Explains. Retrieved April 13, 2017, from  http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/jurisprudence/2013/06 why_cops_don_t_believe_rape_victims_and_how_brain_science_can_solve_the.html

The Hunting Ground (2017).The Hunting Ground Book. Retrieved April 17, 2017, from http:// thehuntinggroundfilm.com/2016/05/the-hunting-ground-book/

I’ve Been MIA

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I know I’ve been MIA. I haven’t been on for many reasons. One being school, and the second reason I will reveal next week. School has been keeping me quite busy. I am writing a paper on Rape for my Psychology and Law class. I am writing about how rape is one of the most challenging crimes to prosecute in today’s society. I am very excited and passionate about my paper.

Through doing research and reading articles for my paper I feel much more informed than I was when I was sexually assaulted and then raped two times. I truly wish I had the knowledge I have now, so I could go back and make sure I didn’t shower, or wait too long to report. I also have gotten quite angry, thinking back to when I did report. I could tell the officer who was taking down my statement and interviewing me for Monster didn’t take anything I said seriously or thought I was lying. I hated that feeling. The worst part was weeks later when he called me to tell me the DA didn’t want to take my case, and that Monster said he didn’t rape me. As if my rapist saying he didn’t rape me equivalated his innocence. That officer took my rapist’s side. The second rape that I reported was for Owen. The initial report wasn’t with the officer who I would be getting a formal interview from, but the first officer wanted to take down as much information to pass along to the officer I would be meeting with. The officer I eventually met with seemed kind, sensitive, and understanding. I really had hope. This officer seemed to, at the beginning, want to investigate the case. Of course, once we did the recorded phone call, and Owen denied everything and attempted to gaslight me, the officer said he would call me with more information. He never called. I called, he said he didn’t have anything and that he would call me. Again, he never called back. Another officer lets me down. I only hope that my rapists don’t go on to rape other women. I hope my sexual assaulter, Peter, doesn’t go on to assault other women, though I would think that Peter would be. I regret not reporting Peter because I personally feel like he had done that before to other women and that I wasn’t the first.

The first part of my paper I am addressing the problems that make rape difficult to prosecute, such as different definitions in each state for rape and sexual assault, the fact that victims are the ones that are often questioned on their character rather than the suspect, and the lack of physical evidence in rape cases. The second half of the paper is on trying to offer solutions to the issues. I think rape should have a universal definition across the country, and sexual assault should have a universal definition across the country. There should be education at a younger age about rape. I think the first time rape was really talked about and explained was in college, possibly high school. When kids have sex-ed they should also learn about consent and rape. Then, police should be trained, or have a forensic psychologist or neuropsychologist present in interviews so that the psychologist can explain the victim’s behavior instead of the cops just assuming the victim is lying.

I’ve only gotten my introduction done so far, but next week is spring break and I will be working on the paper all week.

XOXO Anna

It’s Been 2 Years…

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Yesterday marks two years since Owen raped me. I didn’t blog yesterday because I ended up being busy. In fact, I forgot about the rape because Cody and I were doing so well. Cody gave me the perfect night last night and didn’t even realize it was the anniversary of one of my rapes.

It’s honestly crazy to think two years have passed since I went to SCAD. Time seems to have flown by. I definitely believe everything happens for a reason. I know that if Owen hadn’t have raped me, I wouldn’t have left Savannah and moved back home, and then I’d never have met Cody.

Having gone through a sexual assault and two rapes in the course of three years completely changed the way I viewed myself. The aftermath of those trauma’s was me thinking I was trash, worthless, an object, and unlovable.

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Though Cody had his own issues he brought into our relationship, Cody has given me the gift of knowing I am lovable. The guys I dated bailed on me with time due to the PTSD I had. Cody never even thought to leave when I had flashbacks. He held me and reminded me where I was. I never thought I would have come to the day where I forgot I was raped. In the past  each anniversary had so much hold over me.

I have grown so much over the past couple years, and I am so proud of myself for doing all the hard work of recovery. I do still on rare occasions have flashbacks, or relive feelings from the trauma’s, but they don’t disable me the way they used to. I used to feel handicapped every day. I feel much more free and confident these days. I know that I am worth more than sex, I am a human being that deserves respect. It took a while to get here, but I am glad I’ve gotten here.

XOXO Anna

“Nice Titties”

I need to blog about this right now if I’m going to make it home on the train ride without crying. 
For those who read my blog, you know I have been sexually assaulted and raped twice. I have PTSD but have been treated for it with EMDR and I have been doing really well. 

After I got out of my Cognitive Psych class, which I got an A on the exam, I was walking down the stairs and when I got to the bottom a guy said “hey” to me, I nodded and kept walking unsure of why he tried talking to me. He said, “stop” so I stopped, and looked at him and then to his friends who had smiles on their face. 

I asked if they were doing a psychology experiment because of the strange behavior they displayed. He said no, and that he stopped me because he thought I was very attractive.  I said thank you and was going to keep walking but he kept talking. He kept saying how attractive I was and if my eyes were real or colored contacts. I said real. He then proceeded with saying, “don’t slap me when I say this.” I said ,”okay” and he said “you’re very attractive, your eyes and hair, and I noticed you because of your blouse and well, you have nice titties.” He also asked for my snapchat and I told him I was in a serious relationship and he gave me his name and said if he saw me again he would stop me and talk to me.

I feel completely objectified and gross after that. I wear the outfit I’m wearing today (jeans, low cut tank top and a jacket) every week. It’s nothing new or flashy, just my every day casual clothes. I am so jumpy and scared and just stupid PTSD reaction… I just want to be home with Cody so he can hug me and I can feel safe. 

I know most girls like getting hit on, but I don’t at least not like that. That was very vulgar and gross. It made me feel so uncomfortable. Especially given my history. 

Is this normal behavior for a guy? I’ve been hit on but never like that…

XOXO Anna 

The Hunting Ground

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I just watched the documentary The Hunting Ground on Netflix and it was amazing. As someone who has been sexually assaulted, and raped twice, it really hit home for me. Honestly watching the documentary was terrifying. Terrifying because of how rampant a problem it is, not that I didn’t know, but hearing their stories, and seeing how poorly College Universities handled it was sickening. It makes me not want my kids to go to a college one day, because I would hate for my kid to have the same fate as me.

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I went to the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, Georgia and I somewhat reported what Peter did to me. I talked to a therapist who was extremely helpful to me through the situation, and when going to the person who handles reports, she explained to me what would happen if I ended up reporting through the school or through the police. I know that if you report through SCAD it protects them, and when if reporting to the police I believe they don’t reveal that the student went to SCAD because it’s a private college. Personally I think that’s stupid. I went to SCAD and yes, it was a SCAD senior at the time who sexually assaulted me, but it wasn’t on campus but at his apartment. I ended up not reporting Peter, as you know if you’ve read my blog.

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I did end up reporting Monster, the boyfriend who raped me, a year after it happened. He went to GCSU (Georgia College and State University) in Milledgeville, GA. I remember reporting was not fun. The police officer was a man, and I could tell how skeptical he was of me reporting. He asked why I waited and I told him it was because I thought no one would support me, and at the time I didn’t have anyone who would come with me to do it. Milledgeville is a three hour drive from Savannah, so it’s a long trek to go alone, especially when I could have run into Monster… In the room was the officer, myself, and a person from the university who handles cases within the university. In the end the police didn’t convict. They said they didn’t have sufficient evidence. The school however said they were still looking into it. I remember, and still have, the letter I got from the school saying they didn’t find sufficient evidence. I do have to wonder if they talked to any of Monsters friends who were there that night who witnessed how drunk I was and the fact that I had a flashback and I couldn’t walk…

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When I reported Owen to the Savannah Chatham County Police, that was a completely different experience. I remember going there with Ramone and the woman at the desk was very supportive as I was breaking down crying waiting to talk to an officer. Ramone explained to the desk officer why I was breaking down, because my parents told me not to report. The woman told me I was doing the right thing. Eventually we saw an officer and he took down my statement and said he would pass it onto the sexual assault officer and I eventually got a call from that officer a couple days later. He again took my statement and worked with me. We did a recorded phone call and of course Owen had known I reported and played as if nothing happened that night. The officer told me he would do what he could and still investigate after that. He called the Rape Crisis in Savannah since I was in a suicidal state after that phone call. I went to Andy’s apartment where Quick Silver was also at. That night was terrifying and sad. Andy and Quick Silver kept me from doing anything to myself and helped me through the night.

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The officer lied to me, I believe. My police professor at the college I go to now told me that a recorded phone call, if the perp denies anything happened then the case is ended. So I was pissed to know that my officer gave me false hope. I wish he was straight with me and told me there was nothing else he could do.

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I obviously am being more open about my experience with my assaults in this post, and that’s because I want to be. Before I was scared. I mean, why do you think my blog is anonymous. I fear the repercussions of standing up for myself against these men. I fear what people will think of me if they knew who I really was.

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Cody, India, Ramone, Quick Silver, and Andy are the only ones who gave me the reaction I was hoping for after telling them. My sister obviously told me it wasn’t my fault. Cody said the same thing and cried with me and held me and told me he couldn’t believe anyone could do such terrible things to me and that he wished he could hurt them in my defense. Ramone was horrified when I told him and he took me to the station, gave me the courage and support I needed to be able to report. Quick Silver told me that Owen raped me and reporting was my choice. Andy got angry and was about to go defend my honor. No one had shown anger for me when I told them except for Andy and Cody. Most just blamed me or asked why I did what I did, or what could I have done differently, or was I sure it was rape. Those were people I thought were my friends.

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For those who are reading this and have been through similar situations I am sorry. I wish that rape and assault could end and not exist. It is so prominent in our culture and it makes me angry. That is why I am posting and being open. This documentary made me so angry to see all these women and hear their stories and know how terribly the colleges handled it. If anyone ever needs to reach out or talk, I’m here to listen. Seriously, my email is on the side of my site, feel free to shoot me an email if you need someone to talk to. I know how crappy and terrible it is to go through such a scary experience. I know how scary PTSD can be. I’ve been through it and still sometimes suffer from it. But there is hope and recovery is possible. Also, I’ve written this before, but those of you have gone through this…you are not a victim but a survivor. It takes tremendous courage and strength to keep going after such a traumatic violation. Especially when people turn on you. So know that you are not alone and you are strong. I believe in all of you and know that you can get through this.

XOXO Anna

Tired and Want To Cry

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I am so tired right now, I can’t focus, and I feel like I’m about to pass out. Luvas kept Cody and I up all night last night. We also moved into our apartment yesterday. Luvas was crying because he was in an unfamiliar place, and he was extremely cuddley and affectionate.

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Also some stuff is going on with Cody. So if you’ve read my blog you know about his misstep or betrayal. Due to that, and wanting to rebuild trust and intimacy there are certain rules or understandings. If you read my post about his LARPing you will know some of those rules. So the other one is to tell me who he is hanging out with. There was this girl that was a friend of his friends. She friend requested him on Facebook. Cody and her barely know each other, besides in game(where they are characters) and so with my separation anxiety and Cody’s history I was annoyed that Cody didn’t tell me about this. More like hurt. If he had told me, there would have been no issues, I wouldn’t have thought too much of it, but it was the fact that I found out when checking his phone that was the trigger. It brought back all those memories from the past and feelings from the past. Our deal was total honesty and openness. Not omitting (which is a form of lying). I just …I can’t wrap my head around it. I think about it and make excuses for Cody to not have told me, but then I go back and realize there was no excuse. Then I’m hurt and mad.

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Actions like these make me feel like I’m in this alone- that Cody doesn’t care to keep us moving forward from the misstep. And I’ve been making steps forward. The other week a porn thing came on with a show we watch and because of everything he usually turns his head away for those scenes, but this time he didn’t and I didn’t say anything. That was me trying to move past it but I eventually broke down and said I couldn’t handle it and needed more time. I also accepted he was going LARPing, which causes anxiety. Then the LARPing girl thing happened and it made me feel like I just was right to be worried.

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If Cody didn’t have his history, if I was never with Monster who I really think was cheating on me during our long distance relationship, him going LARPing wouldn’t be an issue except for the missing him (which is normal). So yeah. I don’t know, I am so sleep deprived and cranky and upset right now. I can barely concentrate or think.

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All I know is that I’ve shown Cody articles on how most couples rebuild trust and there are certain things we have done and moved on from, but then there are key things that Cody keeps tripping up on, meaning I start worrying and getting anxious again, and it’s like we are back to the beginning. Also Cody is the first person I’ve ever tried to rebuild trust with. I’ve never done this before. It’s incredibly challenging. In the past, before Cody, if someone fucked me over there was no going back from that. That person was either out of my life, or if they were in my life it was never the same. Ethan for example. If you’ve read my blog you will know that our friendship was forever changed when he asked if Monster really raped me. After that we were never as close. It was because only one of us cared. I cared and wanted to have that friendship, but Ethan obviously didn’t care. So I want to know Cody cares, and if he does he will follow through with that we decided on. That is very important. Keeping his word is key to healing. It builds trust and assurance and a sense of reliability.

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Cody and I have been talking on the phone and I haven’t eaten at all today but he helped me distinguish that Ed was the one who didn’t want me to eat, and that I did want to eat. So I am happy he helped me with that. See, that, that act showed me he cares. That changed my mood by a lot. Even Cody being at our apartment right now to check on Luvas means something. Knowing that he is actually moving Luvas’s water and food into our bedroom and Luvas’s litter is something that makes me happy. I know it’s small and simple but it means everything. It shows me that Cody cares. He didn’t have to go home to check on Luvas during his lunch break, but I asked Cody to, and he did it. That is him keeping his word. That is an action that makes me feel like I can trust him. If he keeps that kind of stuff up we will be fine.

But I am hungry and I’m guna go get food.

XOXO Anna

 

Everything Happens For A Reason

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If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know the things I’ve been through since I went to college. It’s been over three years since my first sexual assault, over two years since my first rape, and over a year since my second rape. Going through that, I honestly thought my life was pretty much over. At least romantically… even friendships seemed too hard to have.

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This past year, being with Cody, he has taught me so much. I honestly never thought I would be “over” what happened to me. I live with it everyday, but it’s not as bad as it once was. Sure I have my off days where I will blame myself, or hate myself, or tell myself I deserved to be treated that way, but there are days where I know that it wasn’t my fault, and I love myself, and I know that I should be treated with respect.

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The progress I’ve made…I never thought I would get to such a good place, especially in the after math of it happening. Especially with friends either blaming me, taking the rapists side, or leaving me. I didn’t think I could heal. But I did. I have, and am still healing every day.

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There are days where I want to still curl up under the covers and cry because when I think back to it or if I have flashbacks -which rarely happen these days- I feel unsafe and scared. But those days are rare now. They are not my everyday experience. It’s taken a long time to heal, to really think that I can be loved after what I’ve been through. To believe that I should be treated with respect. For me to be able to believe that…it’s huge.

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Because of what I’ve gone through it’s made me want to do something. Do something to help other survivors, and yes if you’ve been through this or any type of trauma you are a survivor. It takes an enormous amount of strength to get through a trauma. Be proud of how strong you are. Acknowledge it. I did. That is probably one of my favorite things about me, is how resilient I am and how strong I am. I wouldn’t change a thing about what I’ve been through. It’s shaped me into the person I am today. I am strong, determined, resilient, brave, courageous, and I don’t back down and cower. For me, going through those trauma’s really in the end made me a better person. It took time to understand that though.

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After my trauma’s I hated myself, thought I was worthless, and wanted to kill myself at times. It’s taken a long time to get to this point of self-love, and acceptance. I still struggle, but for the most part I am okay.

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I am still not at the point where I feel I can be “out” about it, but I’ve made a lot of progress with it. I am pursuing a career in justice because of what I’ve gone through, and because of what almost every one of my girlfriends tell me they’ve gone through. I want to help the survivors and stop the perpetrators. I want things to change. I want there to be better sex education in schools. I think that over the past couple years, that there have been a lot of steps forward regarding rape issues, and talking about it. Rape used to never be talked about. Now it’s everywhere.

In my police class, my professor when talking about rape, I could see how disgusted he was. He hated how hard it was to convict a rapist, and he really was upset that rape is the only crime where the victim is accused. I personally didn’t have the best experience with the police and my rapes, but just seeing my professor be so affected helped.

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I know I can’t be a cop, due to my anorexia, and I don’t know if I could cut it as a lawyer. I do want to pursue my forensic psychology studies, but I also want to be a therapist. I have helped a lot of my friends, and even my own therapist said I would be a good therapist. That meant a lot to me. She was the therapist I saw for my traumas, and I worked with her until maybe a month ago.

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I want to be able to help survivors in some way. Whether it’s helping them through therapy, or emails and talking to them, or being a volunteer at a shelter. To me, helping others is the best thing I could do with my life. I love when I can really help  a person, and keep them from making mistakes I’ve made or I know others have made. I like seeing other people succeed. That is what brings me the greatest happiness. With going through what I’ve been through, it just made it so much more clear that’s where I want my life to go; to helping others.

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Hopefully through some of my blog posts I’ve helped people or at least they’ve learned through my own mistakes. If anyone ever wants to reach out, or even just ask me a question that you would want me to post about, or have a topic you want me to write about, email me and I would love to. I want to be able to write about things you guys want to read about.

Email: anonymousannaxo@gmail.com

(anything emailed to me will stay private if you want me to answer a type of question. I will just say Reader X asked this. As you know by my blog I like to keep things anonymous because it is safer and a more open environment)

XOXO Anna