The other night I forced myself to go to sleep early. That is always a problem for me because then I wake up in the middle of the night and can’t go back to sleep. I woke up at about 4 am and decided to check all my social media accounts. I came across a post on Facebook about a movie called “The Hunting Ground.” I watched a 10 minute trailer and found out that it was about a young woman that got raped by the star football player at FSU. When she tried to press charges, the officer in charge of her case tried to get her to rethink it because they lived in a football town and it would cause an uproar. It took TEN YEARS for her to finally get justice. TEN YEARS. TEN YEARS. TEN YEARS. Do you know how long it should take them to prosecute a rapist? In my personal opinion, it should take a minimal amount of time.
Here are some mind blowing facts for you (thanks to godtherapy.org):
- 60% of rapes are NEVER reported to the police.
- 97% of rapists NEVER serve time in jail. NEVER.
- only 37% of reported rape cases are ever prosecuted.
In case you don’t like percentages (like me), let me break this down for you a little more.
- 6/10 rapes are never reported to the police. Okay so that’s a little over half that go unreported. A 60% is a D, almost an F. That means we are borderline failing as victims. (I’m not blaming anyone, because I am part of this 60% that did not report so I can understand why they go unreported). How are we going to sit back and fail as victims though??? If you get your house broken into, are you going to report that to the police? If you are in a hit-and-run accident and you catch the license plate number, are you going to report that to the police? Most likely, yes. So why aren’t we reporting being raped to the police? There are many reasons, I will get into that later.
- However, one reason we may not report being assaulted to the police could be because only 3% of rapists serve time in jail!!!! Is that as alarming to you as it is to me? I really hope so. That is definitely an ~epic~ fail. Thanks, US government system! There are 97 out of every 100 rapists running around this country still doing only God knows what– probably raping other people!!!!! How is that all right?
- 37% of all cases are prosecuted. That is definitely a fail! Would you be satisfied with a 37% on a test? Hopefully not. So why are we okay with only 37% of rape cases actually being prosecuted? We probably shouldn’t be. But it is probably true that not many people know these alarming statistics.
I wanted to write this blog with these statistics to encourage all survivors to go and report their cases because there is no amount of time that you have to report the crime. However, the sooner the better. I would really like for the 60% of cases unreported to diminish, but it is impossible for me to encourage you to do something that I have failed to do as well. I have not reported my case to the police. I do not think I am brave enough to do that. Not yet, at least. Maybe one day I will find the courage. There are many personal reasons I have for not wanting to report it. I thought to myself, “well if I report it then I do not have to press charges.” But then I read on aftersilence.org (side note: this is a great website to find out about your options as a survivor!), “Rape victims are not required to report their experience to the police. Although it is unlikely that the district attorney will pursue the case without the consent and cooperation of the survivor, the DA does have the right to pursue the rapist even if the survivor choose not to participate.” I really do not want to prosecute at all because of all the time passed now and I do not want to reopen all my scars. Even if the DA decided to pursue him without my participation, it would be a huge mess that I would feel a part of.
However, after watching the trailer for “The Hunting Ground,” I stayed awake for another hour and a half and just cried. The full movie is being shown tonight (December 3rd) at Mizzou and as much passion as I feel about this topic, I will not be attending because I do not think I am strong enough to sit through a whole movie regarding this. I could barely get through the 10 minute preview. I cried so much over things I can not ever change. I wished more than anything that I could go back in time. If I could just go back to that day and go to the police station like I was encouraged to do, I would. Knowing all that I know now, I would. I do not want to think that because of my selfish decision to not report the case right then and there and have a rape kit to prove it, he could be out there doing this awful crime to others.
I cry over the things I cannot change still. I still wish I could go back and change what I did not do. But I can change my future. I can still go and report it to the police. I can meet with a counselor trained specifically to help rape victims and find out what they think I should do to finally have closure. It has been three years since my rape and not a day has gone by that I have not thought about it. I want to move on, I am just not entirely sure how I should yet. There are different options for everyone.
I need to find the strength to figure out my next move instead of sitting here crying over what moves I didn’t make.
Today, I am weak. Tomorrow, I will be strong.