police

day 28: old & fat

Saturday, 4/2/2106 

So I recently bought a book called Ten Reasons You Feel Old and Get Fat. No, I am not kidding. Ha.

Ok before you freak out - no, I do not think I'm fat. No, I do not think I'm old. Am I sometimes afraid that this experience has aged me? Yes. Is that the reason why I bought the book? No. The book is just a KILLER lesson in all things health and wellness, and with a title like that- also a little convicting.  

A few days after the assault, I went to a voice lesson that happened to be recorded on video. I took an Uber with the windows rolled down. Being in the subway, or any confined space, gave me severe anxiety. I felt like I was going to explode while simultaneously crumpling up into a screaming, crying, hyperventilating ball on the floor. I didn't take the subway for weeks. I needed to feel the air on my face. To know that I was free to stop the car and get out at any time. 

When I watched the tape back that night, I realized that the girl on camera didn't look like me. She looked sad and despondent; unable to connect, lost in a million thoughts. Her face was dark and lifeless. I was really taken aback. I'm not sure what I expected to look like. I guess I just didn't think I would look so changed. After the experience of seeing myself in the hospital mirror, I hadn't really looked at myself in the days after the assault. I couldn't. 

"What were you wearing?"

     "The clothes in your evidence bag. My favorite blue long sleeve sweater, leather leggings, booties, and a leather jacket" 

What was I wearing? The question struck me as odd. I guess that if I had been discovered with no clothes on, or had arrived to the hospital in different clothes, it would make sense. But considering the clothes were sitting in an evidence bag in the same hospital as we were, the question seemed redundant. Unfair. If it had been summer, I'd likely have been wearing cut off shorts and a flowy tank top. Or a summer dress. Would that have made some sort of difference to the crime itself? 

They never asked, but I've asked myself, "what was your face doing? It couldn't have been the clothes - leggings and a sweater aren't exactly 'come have sex with me' attire. My hair was frizzy from the rain. So it wasn't like I had sex hair. It had to have been my face. What was written on my face that made them think - 'yes - that girl is the perfect target.'?" 

Some experts say that predators can spot easy targets. Easy targets meaning a person who has already been assaulted or abused before. Did my face unknowingly give me away? 

Or what if it wasn't my face at all? What if it had nothing to do with me? Maybe what I looked like meant nothing. Maybe type was irrelevant. Maybe it was simply because there were only two of us, instead of a group of girls, and two was the only number that fit within their well thought out, and perfectly executed, plan. 

Or maybe type did mean something. Maybe one of their ex-girlfriends looked just like me, or just like my friend... 

I could go on and on and on and on and on and on and on. The rabbit trails are endless. But why keep trying to find logical reason for an illogical display of human behavior? Let's say that in an alternate world, Olivia Benson and Elliot Stabler were assigned to my case. They met me at the hospital to ask about the events of that night and sent Finn (Ice-T) to the bar of the incident. He scared the owner into giving him the security footage that showed my friend being carried into a cab and me being led "like a dead fish" (to use the bouncer's own words) in the opposite direction. Through unrelenting detective work they found the guys and dragged them down to the precinct and Elliot questioned them until they broke and admitted to drugging me and then having what they deemed "consensual sex." Rafael Barba prosecuted my attackers and in a ruthless line of questioning managed to trick them into saying why they did it, and actually classifying it as rape. So after a long and arduous process, I get the reasoning behind the crime - the why behind the 'why me?'

...

 I don't think I'd find it comforting. It wouldn't change the events of that night. Understanding why people felt that I fit the bill, won't help me reconcile that I was used to pay it. 

I had to learn to love the girl in the mirror again. To see her beauty. To not study her features looking for the trigger. That took time and patience. And bravery. For a good, long, while all I saw was someone weak. Someone who couldn't fight back hard enough. Someone who questioned her ability to read others. Someone who was angry and defiant, reckless, and stupid. Then, I saw a girl who was tired, who didn't think she could fight anymore. A girl who was broken, hurting, and ashamed. A little while after that, I saw a liar. Someone so full of pride, that she couldn't admit to the pit she was living in. A girl who was past redemption. Unworthy of anything good. Totally and completely alone. Hopeless. I saw a girl who needed help, who desperately longed for it, but didn't know how to ask for it. A girl who was embarrassed that she'd waited this long. A girl who thought she was unloveable. Then that girl let go a little bit. She agreed that she couldn't do it alone anymore. After that, I saw a girl who accepted help, who opened up, who was brutally honest with herself and others, and who made the decision to find healing. Then I saw a girl who leaned on others. Who believed them and allowed them to speak truth over her. Finally, I saw a girl who decided to talk to God again - to ask him why, to beg Jesus to heal her. To throw her anger, hurt, pain, frustration, and deep loss at the foot of the cross and wait. She decided to walk with Jesus again, even if at a slow pace. To believe him, and to stop running from him. And after walking a while, I saw light, and maybe even a little joy. I looked in the mirror and saw a woman who realized she was FREE.

The reality is that our experiences do age us - but age isn't ugly. It's beautiful. 

My face never did look the same as it did prior to that night. Instead, it looks unmistakably different. It looks like I gained a little wisdom and allowed myself to be humbled. Like I learned to love myself and do my best to see myself the way Jesus does. Like I found unshakeable faith, dealt with real pain, and found healing. Like I stood in the face of opposition and asserted strength. I look in the mirror now and I see a woman I'm proud to be, and for a while there, I didn't know if that would ever be possible. 

I sought the Lord and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame. - Psalm 34:5
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day 13: disbelief: my experience with the NYPD

Friday, 3/18/2016

When I stumbled into the police station that morning I was fading fast.

I wonder if I’ll ever get over the fact that there was a police station on the same street as the bar that I left that night; within blocks of the apartment that I was taken to.

Survival instincts are fascinating. After he threw me into the street, threw my shoes and bag at me, and shut the door to his building, I remember laying on that concrete, breathing a sigh of relief for freedom, and closing my eyes for just a few seconds. I was so tired. I likely would have gone to sleep right there on that rainy street had I not been glaringly aware of the fact that my friend was still gone.  

Once I got up off the ground, I stumbled, yelling my friend’s name, until I made my way back to the bar of origin. I don't remember how I figured out where that was or even what it was called. At this point, it had been almost 12 hours since my friend and I left my apartment to go to dinner. The bouncer told me that she’d tripped on her way outside to look for me, face planted, and the friend of apartment guy picked her up in a cradle and put her in a cab. A few minutes later I was escorted out by apartment guy “like a dead fish.” 

Five months after my attack, President Obama and Vice President Biden launched the “It’s On Us” campaign. I'm so grateful for it. While it seems obvious to me that men should step in if they see something fishy going on, this is a re-education for a lot of people. I don’t say that condescendingly, but with full awareness of what rape culture in this country is. My friend who picked me up later that morning told me that it was very obvious to anyone with a pulse that I was off. Not drunk. Off. But nobody stepped in to ask if I was okay. In fact, at least one person, the bouncer, saw that I resembled a “dead fish,” needing to be propped up against a wall to stand, and just let me go. 

Confession: I feel this [I know, unnecessary] need to justify myself every time I tell this part of the story. To justify why I remember certain things, like my encounter with the police, so vividly. Except that there is no justification. I don’t know why. To try and come up with an answer would be useless. Being drugged is a jarring experience. Pieces of that night are completely black, other pieces are blurry, some are flashes, and then there are a couple of very clear moments. When people ask about it, it can often become, “Well if you were drugged, how do you remember that but you don’t remember this?” I don’t know. I just don’t. I wonder the same thing, but why is that even a question that people ask? 

I’ve read through my friend’s and my texts from that night a hundred times. I’ve tried to piece it together. To make sense of a timeline. To figure out how this happened. I have racked my brain and I’ve racked her brain. Neither of us know. Her memory goes dark about two hours before mine because she passed out and proceeded to sleep for hours. I’ve been told that I have more memory because I didn’t sleep until I got to the hospital. How much I believe that logic is questionable, but it’s vaguely comforting, so I’ll take it with a grain of salt.

The door to the police station weighed about 50 million pounds. There was a female cop and two male cops that I remember. Male cop A was older, balding, tall, and kinda fat (if I’m honest.) Male cop B was young. 

“My friend is missing. I went to look for her and she wasn’t there and something bad happened to me and she’s gone.” 

Female cop: “Is she over 18?" 

"Yes"

Female cop: "How long ago did you last see her?” 

“I don’t know."

Female cop: “Has it been 24 hours?” 

“No. No, not 24.” 

Female cop: “Well, there’s nothing we can do to help you until she’s been missing for 24 hours.” 

“No you don’t understand. She’s never been to New York. She wouldn’t just leave me. Something bad happened.” 

Female cop: “Ma’am, as I said, there’s nothing we can do until she’s been missing for 24 hours. Go home.” 

I grew panicky and started to cry almost uncontrollably. Male cop A stepped in and told me to please calm down. I said something to the effect of, “I can’t calm down. You’re not listening to me. She’s never even been to New York. She wouldn’t just leave me because she will have no idea where she is or how to get home. Her phone is off. I went looking for her and something bad happened when I went where he said she was, please.” 

Male cop A: “Where did you go to look for her?” 

“An apartment” 

Male cop A: “Where?” 

“I don’t know. Somewhere close. I walked here.” 

Male cop A: “With who?” 

“I don’t know him. He said she was there. But she wasn’t and when I tried to leave he - they, wouldn’t let me.” 

 Male cop B: “Ma’am what’s your name?” 

“Becky"

Male cop B: “How old are you?” 

“23.” 

As he’s about to say something else, Male cop A stops him. 

Male cop A: “Becky, is it?"

“Yes."

Male cop A: “Becky - you’re a 23 year old grown woman, slurring her words, with a hickey on her neck. Go home and take responsibility for your actions.” 

I hadn’t looked in a mirror. I didn’t know I had a hickey. It was like being punched in the stomach. In that moment, I felt like I was stripped bare and attacked all over again. I caught my breath, turned around, and left; completely ashamed. Male cop B looked at me with such pity in his eyes I wanted to vomit. Male cop A just gestured for me to leave while he shook his head and muttered something under his breath. If any part of this experience has been the most difficult to shake, it was his words. “Take responsibility for your actions."

I did go home. When I got there and my friend wasn’t there, I called the police again. I didn’t know what else to do.

Two officers showed up at my door - one female and one male. 

This time it was the female officer that met me with the gut punch: 

“Ma’am if what you’re saying is true, and your memory is so foggy, the only explanation for that would be that you were drugged. But if you were drugged, it would be impossible for you to hold a coherent conversation with me right now (which is actually not true dependent on which drug was used.) I think you probably just had too much to drink. Your friend will turn up and you’ll both laugh about this whole thing over dinner.” 

By the time the SVU detectives arrived to the hospital, I was more human - fluids and some sleep will do that to you. They asked me a million questions and they asked them over and over again. They repeated the same questions, asked me in a timeline order, then out of order, and circled back again. They wanted to know if I’d ever had a one night stand before. Had I ever reported sexual assault on another occasion? How much did I have to drink? Did I do drugs? Had I ever done drugs? Did I remember saying no? Was I sure I’d said no? What was I wearing? How long did I talk to the subject?

Listen, I know that due to a flawed judicial system that those officers do not control, they had to go about it this way. After all, this is, they explained to me in no uncertain terms, how it would go down in court.  

Because my recollection was so foggy, because I’d been drinking, because my past wasn’t perfect, because I went willingly, and because there were three people in that apartment and two would say everything that happened was consensual, my case would be difficult to prosecute - if they even found the guys. If my drug test came back and the drugs had already worked their way out of my system, it would be even harder, despite the fact that the rape kit showed signs of sexual assault and physical violence, and that they were able to obtain DNA. It could take up to a year to get to trial, and the defense would rip me apart because of my past (which isn’t truly that much to write home about.) I declined to move ahead. Somehow I wound up feeling like I’d done something wrong.

Hating the police is a popular attitude these days. “F**k the po-lice” and all that. I see videos of the police all the time that disgust me and make me sick to my stomach. I also know that the majority of the police are good. I often wonder if the many people who so vehemently hate the police have never actually had their own negative interaction with the them. 

An internal affairs investigation was supposed to be launched in regards to the officers that I encountered at the police precinct. The call never came. I could hate the police if I wanted to, and with good reason. And for a while I did.

But I decided a while ago that hating them served no one. They didn’t know I hated them - the only person who felt that horrible fire burning deep within me, was me. The only person forced to face the ramifications of that fire, was me. Also, as a Christian, I’m called to respect those in authority over me. Romans 13 is pretty clear on that. 

     Romans 13: New International Version (NIV)
Submission to Governing Authorities
 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. 4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good

But this is also where it gets tricky for me. Because according to the above, in my situation, the police didn’t do what they were called to do: serve for my good. Unfortunately, that doesn’t matter. I’m not responsible for their actions or consequences for those actions. I’m responsible for mine. Their failure to fulfill the call on their lives, can’t be used an excuse for me to be disobedient. 

Also, hating the police would be a waste of time and energy. What would it accomplish? 

Romans 13: The Message (MSG)
11-14 But make sure that you don’t get so absorbed and exhausted in taking care of all your day-by-day obligations that you lose track of the time and doze off, oblivious to God. The night is about over, dawn is about to break. Be up and awake to what God is doing! God is putting the finishing touches on the salvation work he began when we first believed. We can’t afford to waste a minute, must not squander these precious daylight hours in frivolity and indulgence, in sleeping around and dissipation, in bickering and grabbing everything in sight. Get out of bed and get dressed! 

That night did end. Dawn did break. And I’ve got bigger fish to fry than hating the police. I'm on earth for a limited time (let’s be real, we’ve all got our expiration date) with a purpose in mind. And I highly doubt that hating the police is that purpose. I don’t want to fritter away my time. 

In my big and grand dreams of what I ARISE could do as an activist organization, I have four initiatives that I would love to pioneer. Police response and protocol to situations involving sexual assault is at the top of that list. Instead of hating the police, I want to get to know them. I want to be a friend and a partner of the police. [“I get by with a little help from my friends…” and all that.]

I think there needs to be massive reform and re-education, and I want to be on the front lines of that movement. But in order to do so, I need to learn, and I can’t do that with bitterness in my heart. I want to learn and understand exactly what police officers are taught about sexual assault and how they are instructed to work in those situations. And then I want to help them be better. Just like I want my friends to help me be better. 

I mean can you imagine being a police officer? The stuff they must see every day? Especially in New York City. It’s no wonder that jadedness takes over sometimes. But that doesn’t mean it should. If officers, or just the general population for that matter, viewed the women who report sexual assault the way they would view their wives, sisters, daughters, or mothers, I think the general attitude would change. If there was education on the statistics, on just how common sexual assault and sexual violence is, maybe it wouldn’t be so quickly cast aside. If people weren't judged by their past, but viewed as survivors, the ability to listen and hear the truth could increase. If there was re-education in place to teach that rape is not just the lady grabbed in an ally at knifepoint, but also the girlfriend or wife that says no and is forced against her will, the girl who is drugged and seems to “willingly” leave with someone she doesn’t know, the drunk girl who passes out and is used while unconscious, and the consenting participant who changes her mind at the last second to no avail, not only might there be a real desire for change, but the actual response itself could shift. 

I know the statistics. I’ve quoted some of them on this blog. I know that it’s bigger than just re-education and reform. But we’ve got to start somewhere. Small change encourages big change.

That may seem naive, but nobody ever accomplished anything by not trying because it seemed naive. And nobody ever changed anything by focusing on hate.

I won’t hate the men and women who have bravely vowed to protect the citizens of this country and I won’t support people that do. I won’t respond to my own experience with the police by inciting negativity towards them. I won’t participate in discussions fueled by anger and hate. I won’t encourage people to act out against the police or disrespect their authority. I won’t do any of these things, because my experience with the police is a part of a greater, collective experience. And I won’t allow that experience to perpetuate any more negative experiences. 

But I will allow it to positively change the world. 

&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; Dawn always breaks&nbsp;

                            Dawn always breaks 

day 10: what if?

Tuesday, 3/15/2016

Blerg blerg blerg blerg blerg (sung to the tune of Rhianna’s “Work.”) 

My favorite word to chuck around when I’m less than amused my something is blerg. Oddly close to the word blog.. 

I am feeling blerg about my blog. That is to say, I am feeling afraid about my blog. 

In the past five minutes, I have realized that in my beckybrain, fear (my arch nemesis,) is almost always accompanied by two small, yet mind-numbingly frustrating words… “what if?” 

What if…. what if…. what if….

“what if I tell my story and am forever labeled ‘Becky - you know my friend that was raped?” 

“what if people, much like the police, don’t believe me?” 

“what if no one reads it?” 

“what if this insight into who I am (aka, me sprawling out some of my innermost thoughts for anyone on the internet to read) causes people I know to dislike me?” 

“what if I like a guy (and we're friends on Facebook so he knows I have this thing) and he reads it and he is like 'whoahhh, no thanks?'” 

“what if people ask me questions that I don’t know how to answer?” 

“what if I tell my story and those involved feel disrespected?” 

“what if giving people such unfiltered insight into my soul is a horrible idea?” 

“what if people close to me are shocked by decisions I made (that they don’t know about and I may write about) in the aftermath and push me away?” 

“what if I’m an idiot?” 

Two tiny words…. but oh so much power. What. If. 

But then, almost out of nowhere - 

What if in someone labeling me in a way I fear, they immediately think to reach out when they have a friend who goes through something similar? 

About a year after my attack, one of my guy friends turned to me and said, “but that can’t be right. Things like that don’t happen to girls like you.” What if the realization that things like this happen to girls like anything changes how he sees the women around him and it has a ripple effect?  

What if even one girl reads this who needs a voice? 

What if reading this blog causes those I love to understand me more

What if I like a guy and he reads it and thinks, “wow, she’s [insert positive notion here]?” 

What if people ask me questions and I’m honest? 

What if in writing about it, it lets those who helped know how grateful I am for what they did? 

What if giving people such unfiltered insight into my soul does just that - gives them insight into my soul? 

What if those decisions I wish I’d made differently resonate with somebody going through a similar time and it helps them know that nobody gets to judge or determine your path to healing? 

What if I’m smart? 

And the biggest one - WHAT IF this is not about me and not about you but about the person that reads it that needs to know she’s not alone? That needs to know the pain ends and the joy does in fact come? 

And just like that, what if, has become a phrase I love. 

PS - Coldplay has a song called "What If," as if I needed anymore of a reason to decidedly love the phrase. 

day 9: yoga + police reports

Monday, 3/14/2016

Yoga is changing my life. I will say it 45,000 times no matter how cliche I sound since we’ve already established that I semi love cliches. 

But for real - I did two catch up yoga sessions today (writing takes a lot longer than I thought - lesson 87 million in 8 days.) And my body and mind feel 75,000 times different. Can you tell I’m into big numbers today? 

My mind feels so much clearer and my body so long after yoga. I have never had so much awareness of what it is to feel physically squished as I do now that I’ve started regular yoga practice. No more squish for me. I used to have a fish named Squishy actually. 

&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;RIP Squishy

                       RIP Squishy

.After yesterday’s entry, and my digesting it, I decided to request a copy of my police report. So I emailed the detective who was in charge of my case for form clarification (the NYPD website, like all government websites, is hella confusing.)

I've got a lot of mixed emotions about filling this piece of paper out but also a weird peace in knowing it will provide me something tangible. Almost as if in some weird way, it's proof that it happened - why I go through spells of feeling that I need that proof is complicated. Partly because my memory is so foggy and partly because the police didn't believe me. One of these days, we will get to that part of this experience. 

It’s crazy to think that I’m almost two years down the line and only just now getting to this point where I'm ready to read their take on it. That’s a lesson in being patient with others and myself. 

I doubt that it will shock you to learn that I do NOT excel at patience even a little bit, 

day 8: rape & the righteousness of God : a glimmer of grateful light

Sunday, 3/13/2016

I watched the documentary “The Hunting Ground” today. I also had a conversation about the righteousness of God with one of my pastors. Talk about juxtapositions. 

These are two conversations that don’t go together. And yet, deep down in a place somewhere looking to get a little light, I know that they kinda do.

I know this because the idea that God is righteous in ALL circumstances, even circumstances that are heinous, is at the very core of my grievances with Him and this whole experience.  

Only 36% of rapes, 34% of attempted rapes, and 26% of sexual assaults get reported to the police. (National Institue of Justice)

26% of rapes reported to the police lead to an arrest. Of that 26%, 20% are prosecuted.” - FBI Uniform Crime Reports - 2010

The documentary is full of statistics, but these two haunt me and I have to do the math for myself:

- In 2011 reports from a 2010 study called "the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey” (which took place with the support of the National Institute of Justice and the Department of Defense) stated that 1 in 5 women had been raped or experienced attempted rape. Other outlets report 1 in 4, and some 1 in 6, so to be somewhere average, we’ll go with 1 in 5.

Ok so:

If 1 in 5 women in America are victims of sexual assault and there are about 157 million women in America   - that takes us to 31,400,000 women assaulted.  

- only 36% report their rape = 11,304,000 reported rapes 

- only 34% report attempted rape = 10,676,00 reported attempted rapes

- only 26% report sexual assault = 8,164,000 reported sexual assaults

The math in all of those situations brings you to at least 20,000,000 unreported assaults. So regardless of the fact that we can’t measure which 1’s in 5 experienced what version of assault, we can assume that 20,000,000 sexual assaults of some kind are unreported. 

Talking about rape only, 26% of the 36% of reported rapes (11,304,000) lead to an arrest - ok so that’s 2,939,040 arrests which = 8,364,960 cases without arrest. 

Of the 2,939,040 arrests, 20% are prosecuted - so 587,888 prosecutions, which = 2,351,152 cases without prosecution. 

So why does it shock people that survivors are hesitant to press charges? Especially when 98% of rapists will never spend a day in jail. (RAINN.org) Why report and go through the grueling process of attempting to bring a perpetrator to justice with those odds? 

Trying to give logic to that night and my decision not to press charges is a never-ending cycle. 

Trying to reconcile it with the righteousness of God is on another level.

But then I get a glimmer of light. And that inner conversation with God goes something like this: 

"What are you grateful for in that situation?" 

"What? Are you serious? What am I grateful for? Are you (expletive) kidding me?” 

“No.” 

“I’m not grateful. There is nothing to be grateful for.” 

“Really? What were you afraid of that night?"

“I was afraid that they wouldn’t let me leave. I was afraid that they would kill me. I was afraid that she’d been taken forever. I was afraid that I would have to call her mom and tell her that she wasn’t coming home and that I had no idea where she was. I was afraid that I was responsible for a horrible life she may be subjected to by whoever took her.” 

“And did that happen?” 

“No” 

Once I found one thing to be grateful for, it was a lot easier to come up with some more:

  • I’m grateful that my friend got out of that apartment.
  • I’m grateful that she doesn’t remember what happened there.
  • I’m grateful that this didn’t taint our friendship - she doesn’t blame me and I don’t blame her.
  • I’m grateful that I don’t remember the bulk of my time inside the other apartment.
  • I’m grateful that I had someone to call the next morning who answered the phone.
  • I’m grateful that my parents had the means to fly to New York from Europe.
  • I’m grateful that this was not the time that these criminals escalated to something even worse.
  • I’m grateful that I’m alive.
  • I’m grateful that I have amazing family and friends who have so graciously walked with me through the healing process.
  • I’m grateful that I’m not alone. 

I’m stunned to see even this tiny glimmer. 

Gratitude is a weapon of worship. It is allowing me a glimpse into where the righteousness of God exists in this situation.

My thoughts often veer off to,  “why did God save my life? Why me? Why not any of the other millions of people facing potential death each day?” 

In our conversation, my pastor stops me in my tracks - “stop trying to make yourself worthy of the righteousness of God; you’re not and you never will be. That’s the beauty of it. When you rest in your unworthiness, you honor His righteousness.”

This may seem harsh. I may never see the righteousness of God in that night. But somehow, it was exactly what I needed to hear. It removed the all-about-me attitude that was blocking me from seeing what I do see:  

- I do see that I not only survived, but fought my way through the recovery, and have come out the other side stronger and with a blazing passion to fight for change. So when God tells me that He will never let me be pushed past my limit, I know He’s right. (1 Cor 10:13, the MSG) 

- I do see that something guided me in the direction of home. So when God tells me that He will never leave me or forsake me, I know He’s true. (Deuteronomy 31:6, NIV)

- I do see that instead of this pushing my friend and I apart, we are closer than ever. I also see that my friend who helped me came, regardless of our history. So when God says that a friend loves at all times (is always loyal) and a brother is born to help in time of need, I know He cares about my heart. (Proverbs 17:7 NLT) 

- I do see that this experience has been one of the greatest trials I’ve ever faced, but that through it, I’ve experienced more growth than I could have imagined. So when God tells me to consider it a sheer gift when tests and challenges come my way because it means that my faith-life will be forced into the open, allowing me to become mature and well-developed, deficient in nothing, I know He is always on my side. (James 1:2-4 The MSG.)

- I do see that within hours of originally posting this blog, I had quite a number of people reach out to say that they were also survivors of rape or assault, and felt like they finally had a voice; or that their friend went through this and is struggling and they were sending it along so that they would know they aren’t alone. So when God says that He works all things together for good, I know that He can take even the most broken situations, and use them for good. (Romans 8:28 NIV.)

Now let me be abundantly clear - I AM NOT SAYING THAT RAPE IS RIGHTEOUS. What I am saying is that in my own personal experience, I am beginning to see that even in the most UNrighteous situations (caused by free will,) God can take what was meant for evil, and He can use if for good. And that right there, is in fact, the righteousness of God. 

So I’m understanding it just a little through the lens of gratitude. And this little glimmer of light shines ever so much brighter with each passing second. 

day 6: answers wanted

Friday, 3/11/2016

Roomie night. Allow me to let you in on a little secret ladies who live with a roommate that you adore. Adopt the roomie night thing. For real.

Anyways - some things to know about my roommate and I before I dive in to the serious stuff. 

                [sidenote: I am aware that the real word is anyway, without the s, but I like the s better.]

&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;BeckY and BeccA

             BeckY and BeccA

  1.  her name is Becca. Yes. Becky and Becca. It confused our doormen for the first 6 months that we lived in our building. 
  2. we met in college but weren’t close friends. Different departments, different friend groups. Saw each other at parties - our mutual friend forced us to hang out when we first got to NY and it was an idea of sheer brilliance
  3. we are polar opposites. Firstly, she’s a blonde and I’m a brunette (as if that matters.) She’s messy, I’m a neat freak. She loves Kate Spade, Haute Hippie is my jam. She loves Seth Cohen, I love Ryan Atwood. (I will never stop loving the OC for all that it was and all that it is and I may or may not regularly jam to the OC mixes...) 

Our roomie nights, which happen pretty much every 6-8 weeks, consist of the following, in this order: 

  1. Champagne 
  2. Indian food 
  3. Cookies 
  4. Champagne
  5. Sex and the City 
  6. Champagne
  7. Serious talks
  8. Pajamas 
  9. The Dixie Chicks and Justin Timberlake’s Future/Sex Lovesounds album dance party

On this roomie night I expressed that I have a lot of questions about the morning of my attack and the only person with the answers is the one who came to pick me up from my apartment that day.

At some point after being thrown out with the trash, dismissed by the police (more on that at a later date,) and going back to the bar to ask for help, I made my way home and called to ask for help, even though we hadn’t spoken in six months. I don’t know how I made it home, but since the Lower East Side and it’s inconvenient subway situation is annoying, I’m going to go ahead and assume I took a cab. I don’t really remember calling, but I do remember sitting on the steps of my Upper East Side walkup at some point in the early hours of the morning, drenched by the rain, talking on the phone, and repeating versions of, “They took me and I tried to leave and they wouldn’t let me” over and over again.

My first recollection of seeing him that morning is that hearing him yell my name was like being ripped out of a trance. I didn’t know how long I’d been standing in the middle of the street, in the rain, but when I turned around to see him coming towards me, I understood something that was happening for the first time in eight hours. The age-old concept of cause and effect made sense - I called for help, and someone came. The next thing I remember is being in the East Village. I made us go down there because I wanted to find the apartment I had been taken to. In my nonsensical state, I thought maybe we’d find my friend, who I was still unable to make contact with. He convinced me to go to the hospital and the next thing I knew, I was standing in the emergency intake area desperately searching for words to describe what happened. 

When I crawled onto that hospital bed and was finally able to lay down, after being awake for over 24 hours, everything that had been remotely keeping me human faded away. I was seeing double and vaguely understood that my thoughts weren’t making sense, though I was desperate to explain what happened and for someone to take me seriously about finding my friend. I think I heard him say my name before it all went black. 

The day begins to become clearer when I woke up. I have no clue how long I slept. It starts in flashes and then slowly becomes long sequences. At some point I was given sweats to change into. My most vivid memory is when I saw myself in the bathroom mirror after they performed the rape kit. I couldn’t help but stare. My eyes were so swollen from crying that they were almost completely shut. I looked white as a ghost and my hair was ratty after being in the rain for so long. It’s a strange feeling to not recognize your own reflection in the mirror, to be observing your life from the outside. 

In the two years since my attack, the hardest part has been the not knowing. To have parts of your life be completely blank, as if those hours didn’t exist, when you know that they did, is infuriating. The doubt has, at times, made me feel crazy. And for a while, I thought that since I couldn’t remember, I could pretend it didn’t exist. Unfortunately, that doesn’t work. 

I have a long list of questions to ask about that morning that I’d like answers to. But complicated history well, complicates things. So I guess the question becomes, can I survive without the answers? And, without second thought, I know the answer is yes. Do I want to? That one’s a little trickier.

Sometimes it’s good to sit in the unknown. Even if it’s the most uncomfortable place to sit. I mean, seriously, I might as well be sitting on a hot stove. 

Sincerely, 

the girl with the burning bum