For every 1,000 rapes in the U.S., fewer than 5 perpetrators will end up behind bars. Mine was one of them. I documented my years-long journey to show why so many rapes go unreported. Throughout the process, one thing was made clear: The justice system is not set up to protect survivors.
Despite having an official police report, an incriminating rape kit, and video evidence, it took six months for my case to even get picked up by the district attorney at the LA County Sex Crimes Unit. In total, it took nearly 4 years, 4 district attorneys, countless status hearings, 2 preliminary hearings, and numerous defense attorneys to finally put my rapist behind bars.
My rapist was sentenced to up to 6 years in federal prison and has to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life. And while my case is seen as a victory in the eyes of our legal system, my story is sadly the minority of cases. I’ve even been told to consider it to be ‘the best case scenario.’
77% of incidents of rape or sexual assault were not reported to the police in 2017 — and while women of color are even more likely to be assaulted than white women, they are even less likely to report these incidents. And who can blame them?
I’m sharing my story because my experience doesn’t have to be everyone’s experience, and because I don’t want my experience to be anyone’s experience. It should not have to be this way and it is time for a change.
If you or someone you know has experienced sexual abuse, help is available. Call 800-656-HOPE (4673) or visit RAINN.org.