Thursday, July 05, 2007


As you may know, I'm taking Women in Society in school right now. Suffice it to say I don't exactly see eye to eye with either the author of my textbook or my professor. But hey, that's ok. It has evoked much passion in me... well, pretty much just frustration... (I have to ask, are gender roles a BAD thing? Yes, I can admit they exist... is that WRONG? Anyway, I digress...)

Just frustration, until tonight. Tonight, for the first time, I read something I passionately agreed with. I was reading the chapter on Gender-based Violence for a paper due this weekend, when I stumbled across a term I was not familiar with: Double Victimization. Let me back up for a second... when I read in the essay assignment that we needed to cover this term, I figured it had something to do with the double standard of women being considered either too prudish or too easy, and nothing in between, creating the sexual double standard. Whatever. I don't think that's necessarily accurate, but whatever.

Until I read what the term actually means: It is when a woman is victimized in a crime, then again by the criminal justice system. (Backing up again, if you don't know my story, now would be a good time to read it here.)

I was amazed how much passion this ignited! I could feel my heart beating hurriedly as my fingers strove to type as quickly as I was thinking so I could express myself in my paper (fortunately, our professor looks for informal, self-reflective essays...) Those jerks! Those mean, creepy old men who were working for the Ottawa County Sheriff's Department!! How in the world are THEY going to tell me that I didn't "respond the way a woman in [my] situation would respond"?? How do they think that their "thirty years in the business" trumps my personal and horrific experience? What gave them the right to lecture me about how I had wasted their time and they really should be arresting me for "falsely reporting a crime"?? How... in the name of all that is right in this world... did they purposefully convince me that the man who was found by another officer- who MATCHED MY DESCRIPTION to the 911 dispatcher- was NOT the man who did this, and an hour later MAKE ME FEEL GUILTY for "ruining that innocent man's morning"??? And to top it all off, why did they think it was in any way appropriate to question my sanity??? (Try to hear this in a condescending, patronizing, sing-songy voice: "No, Sara, we don't think you're lying... we just don't think that what you said really happened...")

We found out later that, because of a nearby college campus, this particular department gets falsely reported rapes and other sexual assaults often (though, this does make me wonder if they were really falsely reported, or if these condescending and chauvinistic men made these women believe that it was actually consensual...??)

After my dad wrote an inflammatory letter to the sheriff's department, we did get an official apology and a visit by a personal representative of the sheriff (being the week of Christmas, the Sheriff- and the main detective, who is a believer, mind you- were on vacation...) But I have to wonder if those men ever were reprimanded for what they did to me?

Forget for a moment what the aggressor did. We all know what he did was wrong, and that the emotions that experience evokes are completely valid. But what about the fact that it put a serious distrust of our police force in the depths of my heart? What about the fact that now, the image that comes to my mind when someone says the words "Sheriff's Department" are not men and women protecting the peace and lawfulness of our society, but rather two men who, truth be told, make me feel worse about myself than the man who did this?

Don't get me wrong. I really appreciate our police force and all they do, and I certainly do not believe they are all corrupt- or chauvinistic. Jon's Chaplain Assistant's civilian job is a cop, and honestly, Sgt. Franklin has probably done more good in reconciling his occupation with "good" in my mind than anything. I don't hate cops.

That said, it infuriates me that those men got away with that. Hopefully, they have since retired and will not cause anyone else the pain they caused me.


Anonymous said...

Tim & I were discussing your case this week- as to how the sheriff screwed up the ID process.

Speaking of double victimization, here's an interesting fact- if a woman rapes (either statutory or otherwise) a man, and she becomes pregnant, he is still liable for child support. This is from a Michigan case in 2004 (Evelyn v. Shire).

"However, the issue presented by this case is not Evelyn's criminal culpability for criminal sexual conduct, or whether respondent was-or could have been-a “consensual” participant in that activity. Rather, we are concerned with whether respondent may be liable for child support for the child that resulted from the sexual activity."

The court went on to award child support.


Sara said...

Are you kidding? That is ridiculous!