I think the catalyst among many dropped balls in why my ex step father never served a day in jail is Officer Underwood. I try not to think ill will of people in authority, especially legal authority like cops. Hell, I dated a fugitive investigator for 5 years! Trust me, I’ve let go of my *ahem* issues. And I also don’t believe Officer Underwood holds all the blame.
My ex step father, Daniel is to hold blame for abusing me.
My pastor is responsible for shutting me down that night in his office and not reporting it.
Certain family members are responsible for not reporting it.
I’m responsible for lying to DCFS when they came to my home.
The various adults who eventually found out about the abuse but kept my family’s secret are responsible for their silence.
The judge is responsible for downgrading Criminal Sexual Assault to Battery.
Daniel’s pastor is responsible for being a liar and saying he’s better.
His family is responsible for birthing a monster since his father is a pedophile and raped some of his daughters.
So its not just Officer Underwood.
But as mentioned in previous posts, when I was initially interviewed by the case work and the officers, I found myself in one of the most awkward, humiliating, difficult moments of my life. In front of my mother, I had to give detail of every sexual greviance my ex step father ever did to my body. They wanted every detail. They wanted to know what I was thinking and what I did as the abuse occured. They also wanted to know why I kept silent for so long. They wanted to know if he physically threatened me. (I’d assume that sexually abusing me is physically threatening me. I suppose the law doesn’t see it that way.) They basically lacked sensitivity and understanding in dealing with a 15 year old who had endured 7 years of abuse.
On a side note, I wonder…when slaves were rescued, or holocaust victims were rescued or children on sinking boats are rescued or people from burning building are rescued….do we grill them? Do we say, well did you cause that boat to sink? Why didn’t you stop the sinking from occurring? You just sat there and let the building burn? You didn’t put up a fight with the Nazi’s? Did you ever tell someone your white master was beating you? What were you wearing when the boat sunk? We never grill other victims. Just the ones who suffer from sexual crimes. I find it interesting.
Back to the point. Youl shold know that how they question victims isn’t how it happenes on Law & Order: SVU. It’s not as sensationalized. Its sterile, lonely and cold. It’s intimatidating and frightening. It’s fucking scary. Even still, I felt lik after answering HOURS of questions, justice would be done. After all, most victims don’t report it and here I was at 15 speaking this shit outloud even though everyone wanted my silence.
Then one frightful day, we got the call that they misplaced ALL of our paperwork. The paperwork of me reporting the abuse. The paperwork of the day he beat me. They misplaced all the notes on my interview. EVERYTHING WAS LOST. They lost the ENTIRE case file!
I personally didn’t have the strength or courage to repeat myself. In essence they wanted to re-interview me and I couldn’t do it. I felt nasty for having to say the things I did. I felt embarrased and I felt shamed. I walked away from that initial interview thinking the abuse lasted as long as it did because of me and my silence. Before the officers arrived, I had never believed that. I charged myself and was found guilty.
And then, they lost the fucking case.
Perhaps this explains my nuerosis on needing back up copies of everything. Perhaps its why I have to double check things and why I own three external hard disk. I know what its like to lose…just about everything and take on shame and guilt.
All this to say, here’s another image from the case. I have a whole file of all the shit that went down. I keep it for hope, for leverage, for justice and even for the book. In this interview with Officer Underwood, you read again another admission that the case was “misplaced.” You also read that he doesn’t believe we’d attend the court case but he doesn’t provide the context for why. Unfortunately, as of right now, I’m not at liberty to share those details. You also see his version of the abuse. I love how he so easily summed it up in one sentence. My victimization was anything but.
Long after I forgave my ex step father..although I like the word “Release” better…I realize I hadn’t forgiven the pastor. Then eventually I did, thanks to Shaun King. (You can read about the healing moment here.) I thought maybe dating that fugitive investigator would help. It did. He provided me with safety, security and love. But I have an admission…I’m still pissed at Officer Underwood and on top of that, if I’m honest…I haven’t forgiven him…for making me feel like the criminal, for the shit he put my family through that I can’t say on the blog, for losing my case, for his insensitivity and for his overall lack of support and help to a child that had suffered a huge trauma. I’ll get there. I will. But today, I’m still pissed at him, his partner and the state’s attorney.
This month is Sexual Assault Awareness month. Every day I’ll be writing all types of posts regarding this issue and my personal experiences.
I create videos as a way to share my story. You can watch three related ones by clicking the titles below.
If you are a victim of abuse and assault and you would like to seek help or report your crime, please find all kinds of resources at RAINN. If you would like to share your story with me privately, be featured this month either publicly or anonymously or you just need an encouraging word, please shoot me an email at SheenaLaShay [at] Gmail [dot] com.
I write my heart out. You can read some of my musings by clicking the titles below.