The Hard Facts Nobody Warns You About When Reporting Rape
Are the police really there to stop rapists and help victims? The data overwhelmingly concludes that NO, they are not. Who else can cause more harm than good as you struggle through this difficult time? The organizations that claim they are there to support you, by not informing you of what happens and not advocating for reform.
Rape Crisis groups will encourage victims to report, but they fail to warn them about what happens when we do. Do I have to put a “trigger warning” on this” or is the title enough? Am I discouraging people from reporting? No, from the hell I went through, and am still going through I discourage anyone from reporting without being informed. I know I am not alone on this.
I wish everyday and every time I learn of another survivor’s “Second Rape” when reporting or the re-trauma and re-victimization they face in court and the media, that someone had warned me and that I was able to make an informed decision when I was at my most vulnerable. That was what really broke me. I had an advocate, crisis lines were called, friends told immediately after. I followed those steps. I did not stay quiet even though I was trying to deny it. This is a major symptom of PTSD, which you likely will have from being raped. My support system, unintentionally, fed me to the wolves.
Who are you reporting to? Most likely, an abuser. Over 40% of active police officers are abusing their partners at home, and this is believed to be one of the most under reported abuses due to the “Unique Vulnerability” of police victims: The abuser has a gun, knows the location of battered women’s shelters, and knows how to manipulate the system to avoid penalty and/or shift blame to the victim. Also there is a high likelihood they are rapists themselves. I requested a female officer to report to, I was lied to by Orange County Sheriff’s Department and told none were on duty. My nightmare story of reporting is very long and very complex, and I will share that eventually. You are reporting to a group that already does not have a good track record with women, for a crime that is never made a priority, with rape kits that never get tested. You will be throwing yourself into shark infested waters as you bleed.
What will they ask you? I knew I would be asked uncomfortable questions, I knew I would have to give humiliating details. I did not know the police treat reporting rape as clearing rapists, every woman reporting rape is assumed to be lying. It doesn’t happen when you report a mugging, or any other crime. Survivors report overwhelmingly that they felt they were put on the defensive, that the police were attacking and blaming them. In my case I later learned the questions I was asked were not procedural. I was asked if I “got wet” by Deputy Francis Tangonan #8304 also told how “Good I looked” by Deputy David Gomez #8999 and the complaint I filed with an IA report? Even though it was recorded, went nowhere. This was nothing compared to what else was done to me. John McCulloch is the Chief of Police for Rancho Santa Margarita, a friend to the Mother of my rapist and the monster responsible for covering up my rape, including a confession and was instrumental in violating a multitude of procedures to violate my rights. When I reported they immediately notified Sherri Lex, Mother of rapist David Lex, that I had and I had a thug hired to attack and threaten me. I called the police again for help as I was terrified and the neighbor even sent security footage showing the attack and they did nothing. Lt John McCulloch also is the one who cleared his subordinates of any wrong doing when IA sent it to his department.. My rape being covered up wasn’t just to help a friend of the department, it was to cover up the mistreatment, incompetence, and sexual harassment by his officers. They did not stop there, the more I defended myself the more abuse I endured.
Are you safe to report alone? NO. Is an “advocate” enough? NO, at least not in Orange County. The group the RAINN hotline will send you to if you live in Orange County is called the WayMakers. Webster’s defines an advocate as a person who pleads another’s cause, or who speaks or writes in support of something. When I asked my advocate to help with an IA report after she said that I was not treated right all of the sudden she was not an advocate but a “silent witness” she could not help me. Heart. Torn. From. Chest. Did the person who encouraged me to report, claimed to be an advocate when I was at my most vulnerable, the same fellow female who immediately after told me how wrongly I was treated just tell me I was on my own? YES. If you report, bring someone who will actually advocate for you, because you are in a state of trauma and can’t do it alone, I would go as far to recommend bringing an attorney. Which unfortunately will probably cost you money. Why these things are not recommended or a real advocate from a third party is not automatically present as soon as a victim wants to report standard procedure, is beyond me. You would think a crime with a 1% conviction rate (a number that has decreased in the last decade) that authorities would be concerned as to why?!? Especially when rape kits are coming back conclusive over 58% of the time they are taken within 72 hours. Helping rape survivors heal is costly, don’t the tax payers care that they are paying millions in medical cost and the conviction rate is a pathetic 1%?
Nobody warns you about the “Second Rape” until after. This unfortunately happens at your most vulnerable time, the shock is dissipating you are starting to process what happened and you feel a slight burst of empowerment and hope. You think: even if they can’t charge them its worth it if they do it again to help someone else, this is just a chance to tell my story, or you think you are doing it for other survivors who don’t have the courage. What could possibly go wrong? Everything. This part honestly is too hard to focus too much on, right now. If you have Netflix watch “Unbelievable” based on the true story of a survivor bullied by police to say she lied.
How to increase your chance of getting justice. You are in a state of trauma, in shock you have just had your body violated and your trust, as more often than not you know your rapist. Get a rape kit immediately, I know this is easier said than done. Don’t tell anyone who is even an acquaintance of your rapist. If you can’t get to a Hospital tell someone you trust get real support and witnesses and only then call the police. Sadly you have to have your ducks in a row as you are not automatically assumed to be the victim, as they would with every other crime. When you report being raped you are treated like a suspect, not a victim. Its horrible!
So should you report?
If you are in immediate danger, yes and immediately. Even if you have to do so without protecting yourself from the dangers of the system. As soon as you can start working to protect yourself from it. Get a rape kit, get your story out, but not necessarily to the police. Just document it with a witness until you are safe to report to a system that works against you.
Based on my experience and those I have met along the way I cannot ethically say a survivor should report to the the Orange County Sheriff’s Department in California, as they have a well documented history of covering up and enabling rapists and will not hold their own accountable nor make any changes without following the steps to protect themselves. If you are in immediate danger there report it as an assault to get to a hospital and tell the Medical Staff, NOT OCSD.
What Helps? My savior is my rescued Husky who was trained to be a PTSD Service Dog. Truth is, without him I would be dead. I moved out of California to feel safe… Things are not going great, but I am still alive. Get a therapist or an army of them! I know EMDR therapy can benefit me I just have not had the means for treatment. Transplanting yourself in another state, with no family and paying for your medical damages for reoccurring rape injuries all in a stte of trauma is not easy. Being brave helps. Share your story, like me who #WONTSTAYQUIET share your story with others, its especially helpful to share with those who can understand. If you know someone who was raped this is great resource on how you can help them.
My rape report from Orange County Sheriff’s Department is #18–041366 It was falsified by Deputy Francis Tangonan #8304 and Edoardo Arredondo it was denied until subpoenaed to cover up the actions of the Rancho Santa Margarita Police despite it being recorded, a FOIL was denied to get the recordings as were all initial requests from records at OCSD. Internal Affairs have admitted nobody in Internal Affairs has ever listened to the police tapes. All that I state is true and when I am able to share every detail, I will. It is an absolute fact that my rapist has yet to be charged not for a lack of evidence, but to cover up for the horrific crimes committed by and being covered up by the police. Even though I am still completely traumatized I am consistent I just have difficulties articulating, but nothing that prevents prosecution of the police and David Lex along with his mother Sherri Lex. Every report, complaint and accusation I made against the rapist and police was signed under penalty of perjury.
sources are also hyperlinked in story
Family Violence Police Fact Sheet http://womenandpolicing.com/violenceFS.asp
When Police Violence is Domestic Violence https://theappeal.org/when-police-violence-is-domestic-violence/
400 US Police Officers Charged with rape CNN https://www.cnn.com/2018/10/19/us/police-sexual-assaults-maryland-scope/index.html
Domestic Violence by Police Goes Unpunished https://www.thebureauinvestigates.com/stories/2019-05-01/police-perpetrators-domestic-violence
Research suggests that family violence is two to four times higher in the law-enforcement community than in the general population. So where’s the public outrage?https://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2014/09/police-officers-who-hit-their-wives-or-girlfriends/380329/
Less than 1% of Rapes Lead to Felony Conviction https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2018/10/06/less-than-percent-rapes-lead-felony-convictions-least-percent-victims-face-emotional-physical-consequences/
Rape Culture within Orange County Sheriff’s Own Ranks https://www.ocregister.com/2018/02/22/orange-county-sheriffs-deputy-alleges-in-lawsuit-that-colleague-raped-her-and-she-was-punished-for-reporting-the-assault/