I just blew up my facebook account…

well ok.  maybe not really.  I don’t know.  But it felt really important to me to say something all day long.  So I did.  I have LARGELY kept personal stuff off of facebook, because i kind of hate facebook.  And I have a lot of old friends, a few new friends, who don’t know about some of what has happened in my life.  Not necessarily because I don’t want them to… it’s just… you know… you don’t go around talking about that stuff everywhere, right?

Well, I just posted the following :

2 days ago I shared a link and I appreciate anyone who read it and took the time to contact their rep. But if you are anything like ME, you probably read it, liked it and moved on. I’m guilty of this all the time. But since initially sharing this, I watched the 2 hr congressional hearing the article links to. And I feel pressed to share something I never thought I would share on facebook, of all places. I feel I need to explain why this is important to me personally and ask again for you to take just a moment to contact your reps.

17 years and 29 days ago, I was assaulted in my home by a masked intruder who held a knife to me and threatened my life. I firmly believed that was my last night on this earth, but I lived. Before he left, he promised that he would
come back and kill me if I went to the police. I believed him.

The brain does a thing sometimes, and at this point, most of the details are fuzzy. But thanks to an amazing aunt and uncle who were able to be there when my parents could not, I went to the ER and reported the crime to the police anyway. I do remember I spent about 8 hours in the ER that night. A good portion of that time was spent on an examination table as my body became a crime scene. Again, about the only thing I remember about this was my aunt holding my hand, keeping eye contact, and giving me her love and support.

I was lucky, which is a weird thing to say after the preceding sentences, but my case moved quickly. Good law enforcement, a good prosecutor, and kind of a dumb perpetrator who didn’t cover his tracks well. They convinced him to plead guilty and he received a sentence of 10 years to life. It took less than 2 months for him to end up behind bars. He is still there, and hopefully he spends the rest of his life there.

But I know too many people who still don’t know who assaulted them. There is no tracking system for the backlog of rape kits still waiting to be processed. Estimates are anywhere from 100,000 to 400,000 kits in backlog. MANY have sat on a shelf well past the statute of limitations to even prosecute the perpetrator. If you know the statistics involving sexual assault, you know there is an average of almost 300,00 victims a year and 68% of assaults are not reported to the police. So for the small percentage of people who submit to lying on that table and being examined head to toe for hours after the most
traumatic experience of their life, it is absolutely DEVASTATING to me to think that that evidence then just sits forgotten on a shelf. We submit to that examination because getting that criminal behind bars is the only way we will feel safe again. We do it because we are told and convinced that this will keep the perpetrator from hurting anyone else. But when the evidence goes unprocessed, we don’t get either of those things. Just another traumatic memory and the message that what happened to us didn’t matter.

During the hearing, they tell many stories. One of a 13 yr old girl, assaulted at home in her bed. It was 20 years before her rape kit was processed and the perpetrator identified, again past the statue of limitations, the ability to prosecute gone. I only had to wait about a week before they had a suspect and a taped confession. But if I was still waiting, 17 years later, I’m honestly not sure I’d be here today. I know I wouldn’t feel ANYthing close to safe, ever. Having him in prision, has given a little of that safety back to me.

Turns out it was a neighbor, in the apartment below me. Someone who had always been nice and friendly. Someone I considered safe. Back then, I could not believe that this kind of thing could ever happen to me. I think most of us
try to convince ourselves of this. But the truth is that more awareness and education is some of the best protection we can have and the best way to create change. For years I have wanted to somehow be an advocate for this cause but
didn’t know how to do it without overtaxing myself physically or emotionally. But sharing a little of my story in the hopes that it will convince you to take just a couple of minutes to click this link https://rainn.org/public-policy/rainn-action-center and copy and paste a letter or tweet to your representative would help me in my hopes to be an advocate for change.

And please, feel free to share this. I hold my story close, not because I don’t feel I can talk about it, but because I don’t think people want to hear it. But in this case, I just couldn’t get rid of the feeling that this was the time for me to share something personal in the hopes of making a difference. Most likely, someone else you know has a similar story and might also be touched to know that you care about this issue.

So now I’ll get off whatever soapbox I may be standing on and just ask… please take the time to make a difference. Thanks and love.

In testimony to the Senate today, RAINN’s president called on policymakers to address the ‪#‎rapekitbacklog‬: “By not conducting DNA testing on evidence from open rape cases, we’re denying justice to hundreds of thousands of rape survivors while leaving communities at risk from serial predators,” said President Scott Berkowitz. “The rape kit backlog plays a big role in this state of affairs.” http://ow.ly/NdeC4

=-=-=-=-

So yeah.  A lot of thought and conversation with a close friend went into it.  I feel like it came from a healthy place and I don’t regret doing it.  I really really hope people respond to it.  But yeah, have to admit… there’s a little bit of anxiety about “crossing the streams” and sharing something that I have only written about here on a public forum.  But it feels right.  And if you’re reading this?  Maybe you could also click on that link and contact your representative, too.

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