Why I didn’t report?

For 2 years, before I was ready to talk about my rape, I avoided anything around the word rape, as if my mind would explode at the slightest idea of it. So I didn’t much get to think about why I didn’t report it- and I didn’t get questioned about it, since I didn’t tell anyone the truth about what had happened.

From the people I chose to share that with in the past months, I got that questioned few times, and carefully, creatively, talked around it. Answered it without really answering it. Not because I didn’t want to answer, but because I didn’t know the answer even for myself yet.

For weeks now, I journaled less and less and blogged less and less- the more things I was getting back in my life, the less I thought about my recovery. And every once in a while, it came back to bite me- being sad on a day where everything was going perfectly okay, being overly emotional, not sleeping well again, having nightmares. A lot less severe than 6 months ago, but they still prevented me from getting rest. I knew I have more work to do to fully recover, but I was so glad to be feeling good again, that I postponed it over and over.

But it’s time. So here I am. I started reading about rape and recovery again, and the topic just popped at me, so I think I’m ready to answer now.

So why didn’t I report? I didn’t report it to survive.

Want the long answer? Here it goes.

People have spend years and years to build society based on ethics and rights. Reporting rape is done to fight for your right to see the person that has done that to you punished, and prevent him from doing that again. To protect your right.

People assume you don’t report /wouldn’t report out of weakness and fear or lack of knowledge what to do.  For me it was survival instinct and not of the sort you would think. It wasn’t because I was afraid of him- which I was, of course- it was because I was concerned for myself. 

Knowledge I had. I’ve read books, watched movies, and most of all I had a mother that thought me to have my pride and leave at the slightest beginning of abusive situation. Parents can’t always protect though, and as it happens, I got into abusive relationship, of which I wasn’t sure how to get out of. It took me about a month to do so, so I stayed, but for as little as I could. I knew what rape is, and it always was very black and white that if anything ever happened I have to report it.

But lets fast forward to when the rape happened. I was in a foreign country, having to spend weeks looking for a job to have what to feed me. I didn’t know how traumatic rape is in reality. I was barely able to go on when it happened, and went in denial so that I can do all the job search. If I had went through all the rape kits and telling the story to the police and all that, I would break. I would have to do the therapy needed then. Get him to court. That would take weeks. Weeks without a job to pay my food and rent. May be I’ll get my justice, but at what price- I would have to get through the therapy I’m doing now then. I wouldn’t be able to have the brain strength to be living on my own and looking for a job there anymore. I would have crossed the ocean just to get back home, only broken and in need of counselling.

I’m not happy that I had to lose 2 years to even start getting better- but I don’t think him getting justice and me going through the grueling process of courts and testifying would have been better alternative. I survived to the best of my ability then. I preserved my mind so that it gets to heal somewhat before I have to go through all the recovery steps. And now, for that reason, I have been able to make many healthy steps these months. I’m not sure it would be so otherwise.

So without me knowing it, my mind had protected me.

For a long time I thought that has been a waste of time- denying things, having to work through them  later, your mind lying to you enough so that you would go happily deluded about something.

Now I see it’s our brain protecting us. My brain was preserving what the rape has left of me, so that I can reclaim it again when I am strong enough and ready for it. I had to break down to do so, but at least I got to do it safely at home, where I had more possibility to take my time. If I had kept digging in the wound made by the rape over and over- rape kit, police, court- I am not sure I wouldn’t have lost a lot more pieces I wouldn’t be able to recover of the old me. I was too fragile then.

It’s not a weakness though, having chosen that. We can be as evolved as we wish, but from evolutionary standpoint we are still animals, and survival and preservation will always trump human rights. Being able to recover more of my past self and life was more important than seeing him behind bars. Hurting him would not fix all that was broken in me. I was preserving my sanity, even without really knowing it on the surface.

The only regret I have is wondering if I was the first one, and whether he may do that again to someone else one day. But I don’t have control over that anymore, separated by an ocean from him, without knowing his full name and even current address. I can only hope I was the only one.

And as far as I go, sure, a part of me would always wonder what if I had reported it. But having preserved my chance to recover enough without losing myself or the important parts of my life- preserving what was left of me to get to a point where I can have a full happy life without trauma- that is still priceless compared to briefly punishing someone for a crime which aftermath I can’t erase. I think recovering enough to have a happy life without shadows is a justice enough for me.

If it had happened in my country, if I still lived, or worked somewhere close to him, may be I would have done it differently. Or may be I would have reconsidered in few days, or few weeks, or more. But things having been as they are, I think I chose right.

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5 thoughts on “Why I didn’t report?

  1. Jessie says:

    “I didn’t report it to survive.”
    I totally agree with this, as it is exactly what happened to me. It took over twenty years for me to report. It was more because of my concern about other people, than concern for myself, or for ‘justice.’

    • Yeah, I can understand that. I don’t have the option though, and I can’t even imagine whether I would do it if I had the option. Does it help when you report it in 20 years? I mean do they take it seriously? I’ve always been so certain that I would report if anything such ever happened to me, but…but that was before it happened and I knew how it felt, and before I stopped being sure how to even live through it happening.

      • Jessie says:

        ” Does it help when you report it in 20 years? I mean do they take it seriously? ”

        It is the law. They have procedures that they must carry out. Depends on which police person you get on how they personally feel about it. They are still bound by duty to carry out the law. Whether it makes it to a court room is another story. For me I knew it was enough for me just to make the report to the police and leave it at that. That part of it truly did help. It was another step forward for me. It helped me to start letting go of it. It was good to have support of others to go through that process. I wrote to the police, had an interview, and there was a video recording taken where I described what happened. It was all very very hard. And scary.

        Jessie.

      • I bet. I’ve read the procedure(i don’t think i actually intended to do something, but I don’t think I intended to do anything) and just the idea to have gone to the police or hospital gives me chills. And the idea of having to describe it to people who aren’t close friends. I’m glad you have managed to do it though, takes a lot of courage and it’s good for you. I asked if they take it seriously, because of the different laws in countries. In mine there was a case with girl that reported a year later, even had a witness that is in no way related or close to her to confirm her story, and yet the most that happened was the guy got some measly sum to pay to her(very small one for what he did). And there were a lot of people looking at it as if if that happened, she probably didn’t fight hard enough, but actually enjoyed it or whatever. The idea makes me sick. I don’t think I could go through all that along with all the other sides of recovery.

      • Jessie says:

        I didn’t report for any personal gain or to inflict anything upon the people involved. It was for me a matter of conscience. If I stayed quiet I felt that I would be condoning their actions, and therefore becoming part of it. The reporting to the authorities in itself was helpful to me. It leaves it in the hands of the authorities. If they do bad, then bad on them. I did what I felt was necessary. It is definitely not on my conscience any longer.

        “And there were a lot of people looking at it as if if that happened, she probably didn’t fight hard enough, but actually enjoyed it or whatever. ”

        The world is full of people who don’t understand. I didn’t let them get in the way of what I needed to do for me. I developed an attitude of ‘I don’t care what people think.’ And I didn’t care if anyone believed me either. I just needed to say what had happened and who it was. It took me twenty years before I found out who it was.

        All the best with your healing and recovery. That was also what took a good twenty years, before I got to a point where I could deal with it. And even then it was incredibly hard and very very scary. I have always believed that people experience consequences for their actions, and that is part of what helped me to feel compassion for those who hurt me.

        Jessie.

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