Eye Contact Part 1

After I was raped and my rapist left, I lay on my bed crying for about 15 minutes.  I knew I needed help.  I had been sleeping in nothing but a T-shirt.  I threw on my robe and went upstairs where my roommate was.  I woke her crying and spilled out what had happened.  I had already called the police.  They arrived in just a few minutes.  Ironically I had called the police the night before, because I thought I had heard someone outside.  The same police officers who had shown up the previous night were the ones who responded to my call this time.

The officers were very nice.  They took my statement and checked my apartment and around my apartment and then they transported me to the hospital.  The officers even tried finding the rapist right away, grabbing some guys before we even got in the patrol car to see if I could ID anyone.  I couldn’t.  It was generally agreed on, that whoever it was, probably had cased my place the previous night and was the reason I had heard something outside.  A call was made to the Director of the little Black Box theater I was Stage Managing for because she was also a rape victims advocate.

When I arrived at the hospital by robe and T-shirt were collected for evidence as they had semen on them.  I was given a hospital gown.  Otherwise I was naked.  The officers asked questions, the hospital staff asked questions.  But what stood out most was the eye contact, or lack there of.

You see I wasn’t visibly hurt.  There were no bruises.  I was not beaten.  I was not restrained with anything but his hands and body.  I had one small, tiny nick in my neck where he had held the point of his knife.  You had to look to see it. I didn’t apparently look like a victim of rape.  So hospital staff looked at me sideways, or not at all.  A black nurse asked awkwardly about the race of my assailant.  He was black or mixed. She reacted as if she was physically hit.  She was not looking at me at all when she asked and received the answer to her question. Was she ashamed?

I rape kit was used to examine me internally and to collect evidence. Then I sat and waited or alternately answered the repeated questions of what happened by different people.  After what seemed like a very long time, I asked if the examinations were over and if I could wash myself as his smell and semen were still on and in me.  No one thought to offer me the chance to clean myself.    Hardly anyone made eye contact. I was told I could shower when I got home. No one thought that the idea of him on and in me was freaking me out. I was directed to a bathroom with a sink, where I did a basic washing.

Finally someone said I was free to go home.  I was naked, except for a hospital gown.  I had arrived by police car with no purse, money or transportation back.  I looked at the hospital staff and asked them how I was supposed to go home and wearing what?  They had no answer.  No one had thought of that.  My friend finally showed up and she brought me some clothes and slippers and took me home, but all I could think of was how the hospital treated me like I had done something wrong and how the staff could not look at me in the eye.


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