One Woman's Story
What does it take to prove a rape?
By Kaitlyn Brown
Last December, I was raped during a date with a man whom I had not known previously. I went over to his house for the date, and we started kissing and engaging in consensual sex. The man then became very rough, and I told him to stop. He didn't listen and continued. I screamed and yelled. From this point, it was nonconsensual.
I had scratches on my neck where he held a metal object to my neck that I wasn't able to identify. I had a small bruise on my back where he pushed his hand with force to keep me beneath him. I had a cut on my genitals and a small amount of blood in my vagina.
When he went to the bathroom, I was able to get dressed and call the police. A detective from the Santa Rosa Police Department interviewed me and let me know that if the man claimed it was consensual, there wasn't much he could do by arresting him. The man claimed it was completely consensual yet also told the detective that I had asked him twice to stop. The man reiterated that when he physically forced himself upon me, I asked him to stop each time. He said he had stopped after he heard me the second time.
I said to the detective, "Even though his story's not completely true, isn't he making an admittance of attempted rape by saying that he heard me ask him to stop but didn't until the second time I said it?"
"No," the detective replied, "because it was without fear or force."
"Well, he did use force," I said, "because he ignored me and was forcing himself on me, and I was afraid."
The detective shrugged at this comment.
I made a complaint against the detective, because I didn't feel my case was being taken seriously. The complaint went to his sergeant and lieutenant, but I didn't get a helpful response. They both told me that the detective was trying his best and that I should put more trust in him.
With the police, I made a pretext phone call to the man who raped me. "Why didn't you stop when I asked you to?"
"Sorry," he said. "I'm sorry."
"Didn't you hear me say stop?" I asked.
"No, I didn't," he said.
When the call ended, I asked the detective if he could arrest the man now. He told me he couldn't. He said that an apology is not admittance. I made a complaint to the Sonoma County Grand Jury about the Santa Rosa Police Department, and they are currently investigating.
When my case got forwarded to the district attorney, a deputy DA told me he could not file my case. He said there was insufficient evidence to present to a jury and that the physical evidence could be consistent with rough sex. By those standards, I reasoned, any man could get away with raping a woman as long as he claimed it was "consensual rough sex." I asked if he had seen the pictures of me, that I was bleeding, had a scratched neck and a cut in my vagina. I asked if he got the medical examiner's report, and if he thought all of this was consistent with "rough sex." He replied that it could be.
"This is ridiculous," I said. "A woman can get hit on the head with a shovel by a man claiming it was consensual, if rough." The deputy DA agreed but told me that there was nothing he could do because he thought a jury wouldn't find my defendant guilty and that my case wouldn't get filed. I asked if I could press charges myself, and the DA told me that people can't press charges in sex crimes or child-molestation crimes.
I am outraged by this, thinking about the many people, including parents of children who have been molested, who cannot press charges because a DA won't file the case. I think of how sex offenders get away scot-free because of this. And I think about how my own rapist is also free, and how he lives alone with his young daughters.
If anyone who reads this is as outraged as I am about my experience and have an experience of your own to share, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would like to hear from you and possibly start a support group.
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