Danielle Campoamor recently wrote a piece for BuzzFeed. How Police And Hospitals Shut Down Rape Victims. Simply put this is the kind of absurdity that is destroying feminism.
Let me start by saying Danielle is showing great strength in putting her story out there. It isn’t an easy task to come to terms with an assault well enough to sit down and describe the trauma in written words. Sexual assault and it’s aftermath isn’t easy for anyone. I don’t judge Danielle for her choices. What she gets wrong is the advocacy.
Most of the problems Danielle speaks of are not really problems. They where her attempts and mind reading and her passing judgement on her presumed motives and intentions of the police and hospital staff.
So lets start at the same place she does, the initial interview. He asked how much Danielle had to drink, not just once, but three times. He asked about what she said and did. This is exactly what he should have done. How much you’ve had to drink is a very important question on several fronts. First it is a very fact based question that can be used to determine the reliable of the rest of the statement. Significantly different answers to this very simple fact based question would indicate that your memories and cognitive process where impaired by the trauma. If you can’t remember properly if you had 3 drinks or 9, it’s unlikely that you would remember correctly if the attacker had brown hair or blond. Second it is important for him to know your level of intoxication. If you had nothing to drink and where consistent with that reporting, then your memories and description of the attack are a good source of information to aid in finding and prosecuting the rapist. If you had 2-3 drinks, enough to loosen inhibitions but not enough to be drunk, then your story needs to be taken with a grain of salt. If you where three sheets to the wind on the boarder to black out drunk, this is also very important to know. Someone in that state is incapable of giving consent and prosecution of the rapist will be very solid even without your testimony.
In none of these cases is he making a moral judgment on you as an individual. In none of these cases is he blaming you for the attack. In none of these cases is he even insinuating that the rape never happened. All of this is just insecurity in your own head. Phrasing it to sound like the officer was blaming you and unconcerned about a rapist walking the streets doesn’t help women questioning if they should come forward. It throws up walls to them doing so. It makes it harder for them to come forward and report their rape because they expect the police to not care. You are the one driving the low reporting numbers, not people whom want false accusers punished.
He asked about what was said and done. This also is important. This is exactly what he should have asked. While questions like “what could be unintentionally inferred” puts you in the very uncomfortable position of thinking about the situation from the rapists perspective, it is important for him to have this information. He didn’t ask these questions to make you feel better he asked these questions so that he could catch the rapist and convict the rapist. Knowing what you said and did that could possibly be interpreted as a “Yes” allows the detective to ask leading and loaded questions during interrogation. Questions that could very likely lead to an unintentional confession. While these probing questions where indisputably uncomfortable, they where not posed to make a judgment on you. They where posed so he would have the information needed to interrogate suspects.
He wasn’t making a moral judgment on your words and actions. He wasn’t judging you as an individual. He wasn’t blaming you for the attack. These are your own insecurities talking. Voicing these insecurities, positing your mind reading as his actual intent and motivation does not help other survivors. It hurts them. It makes them less likely to report the crime in fear of having an officer that actually thinks these things. It is your implications that the officer was judgmental that drives rape reporting down, not the assertion that the cloudy and distorted memories of a trauma are not a solid source of facts.
Next the hospital. I have no doubt this was a trying experience for you. Being poked and prodded and tested and photographed at a hospital is never a best case scenario. Yours was amongst the worst case scenario. Do you think that these procedures where unimportant? Do you think that they don’t help make cases in court? Do you think that real hard forensic facts are not significant in trying a rape case? Do you think that describing it as being violated again and intentionally signing pieces of yourself away will encourage more women to volunteer to have this done to them? Your story and others like it are why women don’t report their rapes.
Lastly, the detective. For this encounter you actually have a point. This detective was in the wrong. In your entire story there are 4 sentences of someone else actually working against you, shutting down rape victims. Women in your position do get “confused” more often than not. But it’s not that your defiantly lying until you can’t lie anymore. It is that you are genuinely confused. I don’t know what your personal mental state was, how badly the rape affected you, but for most victims it’s very traumatic. Medical Science knows what the affects of these kinds of trauma are. They can be very nicely summed up as confused. Memories are disjointed, distorted and cloudy. Some facts are forgotten while others are fabricated. While a trauma survivor may give factually inaccurate reports, the intent is not to deceive. He shouldn’t have doubted that trauma happened and insinuated that you where crying wolf. Had you been crying wolf, the lies would have collapsed without this insinuation.
Note:Had I wanted to I could have spun this to be in support of the detective. The general gist of the paragraph was again your own self doubt and shame, not that he doubted you.
In conclusion, if there is a “Rape Culture” it isn’t frat boys or the police or men. It is women like you. You are the one doing the most damage to women’s confidence in the police. You are the one creating an atmosphere of fear shame and doubt when reporting rapes. You are why rapes don’t get reported. You are why these unreported rapists are free to rape again. You are the one giving license and support to rapists. You are the one that through inaction isn’t just letting one rapist walk the street, but are convincing other women to let their rapists off the hook as well. So stop with the fainting feminist hysterics and “Man UP”. Do what needs to be done to stop rape even though it’s hard.