Moved by the #whyididntreport hashtag, an old friend reached out to me today. They asked if I would publish what you see below – but anonymously on their behalf. Typically (and if you know me this is not news to you) I am very against anonymous things, but in this case I support their decision to remain as such. Plus I do know the person well enough to trust this account. It is a difficult story, but an important one that should be widely read and shared.
If you actually believe that most girls and women would report a sexual assault, you might wish to rethink that. I know I never reported anything. Lots of people didn’t. My dear friend who is a journalist recently wrote about her own rape – it happened when she was a young reporter covering a police beat. So please do not ask why if someone does not report.
Anyway, it has been awhile since I have blogged, but today I am posting this, and hope to be back with other content soon.
From my friend… Two years ago my daughter was raped. She was 15. The boy was one of her very best friends. She had attempted suicide about six months before, and he was the one person who could walk her back from the edge when the depression and anxiety were overwhelming her. We were so grateful that he was in her life. About a year before the rape, she came out as gay to us. She told us the boy – let’s call him Jeff – was also gay. Made sense that her tightest circle would be made up of LGBTQ kids.
When we went on vacation we let each of our daughters bring a friend. Jeff was hers. We let our guard down because we thought he had no sexual interest in girls. They were buddies. What could go wrong? One day we left the two of them alone at the cabin when we went out on the lake. That’s when it happened. I had no idea.
Later in the summer I was at an event making jokes to a friend that one of the best things about my daughter being gay was that I wouldn’t have to worry about teen pregnancy. It is no lie that an hour later when I was at home, my daughter came to me and told me she was pregnant. When I asked how that was even possible, she told me about the rape. Had it not resulted in pregnancy, I doubt she would have told me – a fact that kills me as much as just about anything in this story.
I begged her to let me call the police, call the parents, call the school. Anything the adult in the room should have done. She begged me not to. When you have a child with a predilection toward suicide you favor her life over justice. You can judge me for that, if you choose. I hope you never have the same experience to be able to understand the choice. In any case, I’m not the one who would have to navigate the hallways of a very hostile school in which an extremely popular boy was put on trial based on the scant evidence of just her word.
She was in therapy for her depression/anxiety. We told her therapist about the rape hoping to begin a healing process. State law required the therapist to inform the police. When the police contacted us, we would not give them his last name, we refused to press charges. It went away.
On occasion, I see this boy’s face on mutual friends Facebook posts. I see his mom in town. Sometimes I see him. It always makes me sick. My daughter still has to go to school with him. I cannot fathom her feelings.
This is a popular talented boy. It’s possible that one day he could become quite famous. And I promise you that though I am quiet today, if he should ever be in the position of being one of the 10 most powerful people in the world, I will destroy my own life and leave it in smoldering ruins to tell this little monster’s story.
This is #whyIdidntreport