Shannon, I have been reading your ask's, and saw that you booked a therapy appointment to help deal with your sexual assault. I was assaulted, and I have been in and out of therapy for years, however I have this excellent therapist at the moment, he is based in Marks Point (which I know is close for you). He was raped himself, and is really inspiring. All the things he says makes so much sense, because he has experienced it. Honestly, he is brilliant, I definitely recommend him.
thanks heaps for this! I think you are maybe the 3rd person to recommend a specific counsellor, which is honestly awesome and I am very thankful for the help you guys are giving me, but as I said to someone else: the NSW victim’s services scheme gives free counselling to people they identify as victims of crime. a while ago I was seeing a counsellor under that scheme, and after a bit of an administrative mix up I’ve been recommended a new counsellor which I’ll start seeing soon. they’re from a list of “Approved Counsellors” so I guess they’ve chosen counsellors who are specifically suitable for my situation? and it being free is a big bonus. however, someone else made the valid point that these counsellors are mostly designed to deal with emergent cases ie people who have been a victim of crime recently, or people who are suicidal etc. so in the long run it’s probably better for me to see a psychologist or therapist? but anyway for the time being I have a bunch of free hours left under this scheme so I’m going to give that a shot :) but I will keep this guy in mind after that! it might be a good idea in the future. thanks so much for this!
We're the police good to you? Like helpful/non-judgemental/not scary?
the police were MOSTLY great to me. I answered this once before quite eloquently and I am really dumb for not bookmarking it hahaha. so I’ll give it another go
when I first went to the police station, things were first dealt with by a female police officer who made notes on everything I told her and asked me a lot of questions. after that, she asked if I was comfortable speaking to a male detective, and I said yes, and so a male detective came and spoke some more. he mostly spoke about my options and what I wanted to do. I had to go back a few days later and I spent a few hours with him going over everything and making some decisions.
the female police officer was mostly fine. at one point she asked if I’d had anal sex before, which is a really messed up question because it doesn’t matter if I’d had anal sex FOUR HUNDRED TIMES BEFORE, it doesn’t change the fact that this time it was against my will. fortunately for me, I’d not had anal sex before, which gave the appearance of me giving the “right” question? and she goes “okay that’s good, I just thought if you’d done that before then it might have looked like…” and then she trailed off. it was bullshit. that made me pretty angry but I was too tired and emotional to say anything about it. she was pretty pushy with questions like “did you explicitly say no?” etc etc, and at times it felt like she was more interested in asking specific questions or attempting to seek specific responses than listening to what I was trying to say. but otherwise no dramas.
the detective was GREAT. he constantly emphasized that his main priority was my wellbeing and that I was in complete control of what would happen. that felt really empowering. he had to talk to me about a fair bit of legal stuff but he never spoke down to me, he spoke really clearly and intelligently and like he was speaking to a regular adult. I was clearly upset but I felt like he treated me as though I was strong and capable, which was great. I felt like his equal. it truly felt like an equal power relationship. which is so bizarre I guess haha. but yeah he was fantastic.
having said all of this though - as much as I believe that he was fantastic, I have to ask myself: would he have been as fantastic if I was trans? what if I was a sex worker? a PoC? did I just get lucky because I was a young white woman? I would still strongly advise anybody to treat the police with UTMOST caution and suspicion.
I really like biscuits that are white choc and macadamia but that’s honestly only because of the white choc and it’s a really brutal moment when you think you’ve bitten into a hunk of chocolate and it’s actually macadamia
Thanks for explaining the ins & outs of why you told the police & why you didn't press charges, it helps me deal with what i've been through. I don't actually know your story though, are you willing to share? As I think i went through something similar & its good to reach out to those in like-minded situations.
I don’t really know what information you’re after but there’s a pretty clear line for me in what I am comfortable discussing. I am happy to talk about my experiences with the police and my process of coping with it etc. but I have not and probably will not discuss what actually happened. I have a personal blog about it which might be good for you, but you’ll have to message me un-anonymously for the link. on this blog, shannonwest.tumblr.com/tagged/personal has all of the posts I made about my assault up until a certain date, and then I forgot to keep tagging them after that hahaha.
how do you feel about the argument that women who don't pursue justice for their own assaults allow their attackers to go on and victimise others, and that women should be legally required to follow their allegations through until a ruling is made in court?
well I didn’t ask to be raped so I certainly didn’t ask to be put in the position of ensuring that justice is done or what the fuck ever it is people expect me to do
women who are raped are women with jobs and kids and responsibilities and university degrees and aren’t necessarily in a position to just drop everything in order to see through a bunch of charges that in all likelihood are going to end in the perpetrators acquittal anyway. and even if it’s not an issue or whether or not a victim CAN pursue her allegations, it could be an issue of whether or not she WANTS to. I could not, in clear conscience, ever support legislation that would involve forcing victims of rape to respond to their assault in ways that they don’t feel comfortable. that is so dis-empowering for victims as a whole. when I honestly sit and think about how things would have turned out for me if I’d had to press charges and see it through to court….I can’t tell you how absolutely miserable I would have been. I would have wanted to kill myself. and my circumstances weren’t even extraordinary!
one of my BIGGEST, BIGGEST pet peeves, and this is something that only came up through my experience (it had never even occurred to me before, really), is people whose anger towards rapists and desire to see rapists punished is stronger than their empathy for victims and desire to see victims recover. before I was assaulted, rape made me FURIOUS! I was so, so ANGRY about it. but now, as a survivor, rape just makes me feel incredibly sad and helpless. so while I can briefly understand the viewpoint of someone who would prioritize punishing rapists over everything else, it’s just not a viewpoint I identify with at all anymore. survivors come first.
yes I would feel terrible if I knew that the men who assaulted me had gone on to assault others, but it’s on them. I am not responsible for it in the slightest.
can i please ask why you didn't press any charges? It has affected you so much, everyone can tell. They should pay for it.
bleurgh I’ve answered this before I should have just bookmarked it so I could link back to it.
when you decide to pursue a charge, you have to be committed for it to potentially end up in court. I was not prepared for that:
as I said, I was in the middle of uni, I was an emotional mess, and I wanted my life to get easier and the whole thing to get smaller. pressing charges just represented a huge ball of time, energy and money
I know some of that sounds minor but pressing charges would have absolutely meant not being able to complete my assignments, which would have meant dropping out of my classes, which would have meant having to re-take them later, which would push back my graduation by a whole year. no way was I going to let it fuck up my life like that
probably most importantly was that there was no evidence and if it ended up in court it would have been my word against theirs. the detective who handled my case said himself that the chances of them actually being held accountable was incredibly slim. and he made the point that the defense WOULD grill me for being drunk etc etc.
we both agreed that it was in my best personal interests to leave the case as it was and not press charges
I think the main bit is that pressing charges wouldn’t have meant they would have paid for it? statistically the chances of them being found guilty are just so, so slim. I wasn’t going to gamble my time and energy on that slight chance
did you report your assault? and if you didn't, why not?
I did! it’s interesting that you have asked “why not” and that you haven’t asked “why” because honestly I can see so many reasons why you absolutely wouldn’t report and less reasons why you would
initially I had absolutely no intention of going to the police because
I wanted the whole thing to go away and get smaller, not get bigger
I was in the middle of the uni semester and I just wanted to focus on getting my assignments done
I thought the police would grill me about having been drunk etc, didn’t really trust the police
I had no proof of what had happened, I didn’t know the people who did it and there just seemed an incredibly slim chance that anything positive would result from it
I was mentally and emotionally exhausted and the little energy I had left, as I said, was spent worrying about uni. the idea of going to the police seemed like it would demand so much of me
I didn’t even know if I wanted to tell my mother let alone go to the police (which would obviously involve having to let my mother know in the end)
in the end, I decided to go to the police after a friend pointed out that maybe the men who assaulted me had done a similar thing to someone in the past, or might do something similar in the future. what if I went and described them, and the context in which it happened, and I was told that they were repeat offenders, you know? what if the police might respond by concentrating police presence on the area it happened in or blah blah I don’t know. I went and I reported it to the police but we chose not to press charges or take it any further. I’m happy with that decision.
“The only reason “coming out” is still even a thing is because it’s presumed that people are straight until they tell us otherwise. “The Other must identify itself, or else it is decieving us” is a fucked up, dangerous idea.”—Anon (via lavoiesacree)
Shannon - don't take depression lightly! Seek professional help because you may need to take medication for a short time until you learn coping mechanisms. The world is full of young people who suicide because they don't take this important step.
Everybody's sad mate. Happiness is an elusive bastard, but sometimes we get hold of him for an hour or two; that's all you can really hope for I guess.
I don’t really think it’s accurate to say everybody is sad because some people are actually really happy almost all of the time! and some people are just trying to make it through each day without killing themselves! I feel like some of my friends are so incredibly lucky and and I’ve watched their lives constantly get better and better, while other friends have had to endure assault, illness, injury, deaths within their families and circles of friends, huge mental health issues, unemployment, being broke, being homeless, etc etc etc. so I don’t think it’s really fair to say “everybody’s sad” because even from my own perspective there are people I am far sadder than and there are people far sadder than me. there are some people that hog happiness all the fucking time and other people who don’t get to be happy nearly as much as they deserve.
Just try to find pleasure in little things, such as: feeling the warm sun on your back after it has been cold all day; when the you find the perfect resource for the essay you are writing; and how so many people who have only met you via this website honestly believe you are wonderful. It is small things like that which keep me going. They are not time consuming, but they make everything a little bit easier.
“I have bi-racial hair because I have bi-racial blood. And I’m not talking about that cute “They met and fell in love” blood. I’m talking about that slave raped 6 times by the master,birthed 6 mixed babies and later hung, blood. I’m talking about that cross burning in the mud,blood. And you call me a mud blood? Slit my wrists, my blood does not excrete in black and white. I bleed in verse and in red, like what dripped from Emmett Till’s lips when he was killed for breaking the colored lines.”—Bi Racial Hair Poem (via grrrlstudies)
“The truth is, though, that it’s an incredibly simple and casual thing. I mean, I ask “honey, do you want to go for a walk?” too; I don’t just grab him by the arm and start dragging him down the street. It’s natural to ask someone before involving them in an activity.”—Cliff Pervocracy, “Asking.”