0129: Justice isn't about Healing
Content warning: The following story contains detailed references to someone being sexually assaulted and raped, which may be triggering for some readers.
"Justice isn’t about Healing," Elisabeth Rivera
"She will be okay!" Anthony promised to my mom on the phone prior to the party, after she confided in him to be trustworthy of my safety—little did she know later that night I would be raped.
I didn't drink much; I didn't do drugs—they’re not my thing. I didn't really know anyone there accept 2 other people beside "Anthony,” So I stuck with Daryll Lady friend MOST of the night. I didn't want to suffocate my brother Jonathan and Daryll was doing his own thing. At about Midnight or so, I decided to call it a night, I felt ill not drunk ill, just really ill. I go to Anthony room because he gave up his room for me and my brother Daryll and Daryll Lady friend.
In process of changing into my pj's, I collapsed to the floor, I started foaming out my mouth I became so disoriented and became unconscious. If you ask me, I thought I died. But what haunts me is how nobody cared to check me and get help, or cover my body I mean I fell unconscious half dressed, someone had to had noticed me. How did Daryll not care to cover me or get help or alert my brother? He came to the room later that night. Nobody cared. But another question, why did Anthony betray his words like promising my mom I'll be okay and decided to come in the room when he gave it up for us to sleep in?
(I’ve been struggling with flash backs prior to waking up to be raped, one flash back of him saying "no!" "stop!" as I was pulling away before going unconscious. Another flash back was of me noticing me being raped "orally" & "vaginally") makes me wonder what else he did or if he was hurting me I haven't had those flashbacks yet or just wasn't conscious & will never know)
Morning of October 20, 2013, I woke up to being raped, I was in so much pain. I noticed I was stripped of my clothes. I grabbed a blanket to cover me while I dressed myself, I'm crying and hysterical screaming "you raped me" he just left the room. I wake Daryll up he seemed shocked but nothing less or me, like nobody really cared. Daryll went MIA the rest of the morning. I go to the bathroom where I realized I was bleeding down there, my arms had bruises from finger mark bruises to a bruise so big covered my left forearm half of it. And nail embedded nicks on my skin.
At this point I wanted to run away, my brother wasn't at the house Daryll lady friend wasn't there, I couldn't believe what happened to me running away felt like the best plan to me so I packed my stuff headed to the porch to figure out where I would go and then Mark a roommate one of the guy's I knew and knew my brother told me to go to his room to get away from Anthony.
I went into his bathroom and laid on the floor and cried and screamed, “Help me!" I'm not okay!" Nobody cared, they were just worried about drinking and going to the beach. I was in so much pain and didn't feel good, I was SCARED for my safety and ALONE in a house of people I didn't know and I was HELPLESS. I had to save me, only way I knew how was by calling 911, so I did.
More questions haunt me—
Why did nobody care to call 911?
Why didn't anyone comfort me?
Or come when I was crying for help?
Why did they continue to drink acting like a girl wasn't just raped?
Why didn't I matter...?
Police came with the EMS team and interview me just asked what happened which was extremely difficult because my officer was a male and I literally was just raped. They escorted me out the house into the ambulance, as I walked out I seen all the people from the party just staring, these were the same people left me on a bathroom floor crying for help the same people who left me on a floor unconscious and half-dressed prior to my rape, not one word from them just stares, I guess I was expecting "I'm sorry" "keep your head up" not nothing but stares.
Is it possible to die without dying? I mean how I felt in that ambulance. Everything was slowed down, voices the siren sound. I found myself just lying there as the EMS team was hooking me up to the BP, and found myself with tears flowing down my face and my eyes in the longest stare out the window. I literally don't recall blinking. The flashbacks began as if I was ready to die. One flashback was of me at a beach park, swinging on the swings high smiling at my dad I looked so happy I felt so happy my dad looked so happy like he never found out his daughter was just raped. The other flashbacks were of me and my sibling's in happy moments. And flashbacks of all the happy moments in my life. Then we arrived at the hospital everything returned to fast pace and loud. A forensic photographer cane to take pictures of my arms and then I was transported to the crisis center for my "rape kit."
Just been a few hours after being sexually violated and I have to get naked and be examined. The nurse put this florescent light over my body where it exposed bodily fluids and semen. She told me I looked hurt "down there" all I could do was cry and feel disgusted, he was a monster and treated me as the monster he was. After the examination I was able to shower. I laid on that shower floor crying, I didn't even want to look at my skin or touch my body I remember crying for my parents in my head. I was alone during all this I just wanted someone who cared to be there, as I laid there all I could think of was how I will never be normal I worried about how this was going to affect me from here on out.
That is the story now to the aftermath.
For several days I had nightmares which I still have. I couldn't be touched, I didn't eat, I struggled to shower, because I hated seeing my arms and being naked. I was a mess and engaged in self-harm, I swear it was god who saved me this one night because if not I wouldn't be here. This one night I was going too far and I wasn't spiritual like I was today back then, somehow I just found myself in prayer and I stopped, it was like something took over my hands and stopped me and I haven't self-harmed since. I do still struggle with anxiety, social anxiety, PTSD and Depression.
I have spent my 20's living the life I didn't plan. Before this happened I had a fresh new start to life, a new city, new jobs lined up and college was being worked on now I am struggling to have a future and then been struggling with my health on top I could "possibly" have an Autoimmune illness if you don't know how dangerous an Autoimmune illness can be research, if you don't know how everyday a struggle from Autoimmune illnesses research. my health isn't making anything easier. Nor is my case.
It wasn't until 3 years later I was contacted by an attorney.
Feb 2016—I had my first meet with my attorney and yeah I broke down it was so intense for me.
May 2016—Anthony was arrested but bailed the same day. You’re probably wondering how 3 years later it was so obvious he raped you from the start? Yeah I ask myself the same. But in America, rule is victim has to prove and even then does that not guarantee "justice.”
December 2016—I was forced to do a deposition with Anthony attorney. I had no interest to talk to him and I didn't want too I wasn't ready to be attacked and recorded all in the process but the fucked up part is if I didn't do this I would had been arrested and my case dropped. I did it and broke down even worse than the last time, seeing the attorney not get emotional was like " wow" how are you not bothered?
I'm bothered hearing myself. I looked at the case reporter than my attorney and wondered why I had to be tortured this much, it's so obvious what happened. I tried so hard not to get really hysterical as my family was in the waiting room, I didn't want them to see me this way. But when his attorney was asking ignorant question's like "would you say he was drunk" I was like wow really?
All I get are pre-trial letters and have been since last year. All this is about is my attorney going at his because this is the only time Anthony attorney has to save him the easy way before the judge declares trial. The state is pending my case to go to trial at the moment as of April 2017. But even if it goes to trial doesn't mean justice will be served. 97% of rapists don't do time most get off with a slap on hand.
Justice isn't about healing; we never heal just learn to live while trying to stay sane. Justice is about feeling like we matter to the system and about taking one predator off the street's. Probably wondering "no way you would lose your case it's so strong and you were raped" yeah well we live in a fucked up world where rape can be debatable and victims shamed. But I do dread this day if it comes, to have my family see these pictures and hear me breaking apart and attacked going to break me more and if I lose I will really break because I already felt like nobody cared I mean these people at the party left my body unconsciously and half-dressed on the floor and left me on the bathroom floor crying for help.
No one at that party reached out to me. I even post about being raped, post about rape related posts, or my struggles with mental illnesses and posts related posts, and a few to no one acknowledges & reaches out. I get more acknowledgement from strangers on the internet than those I know. I feel hard to love but I thank the few who don't make me feel that way you all know who you are, I feel most this world just isn't understanding or supportive, again can't expect people to understand. I see a sexual predator as president, rape jokes on social networks, victim shaming etc, pretty hard being a victim trying to "survive". bad enough I can't even walk to the mail box alone, because I don't feel safe how can I scary truth is we aren't safe.
If I could rewind time I wouldn't have gone to this party. But there has to be a reason I am still here right? why my case went this far right?
But then I realize that 2% only 2% do the time. Can you blame me for getting a little discouraged? But I leave my faith in God's hands and remind myself you came far and you're still here. I do know if I go to court I won't allow no victim shaming and I will fight for my justice even if my voice stumbles and my eyes swell of tears I will fight. and I will continue to push for that future I desired.
About the art:
After talking with Elisabeth about her hopes for an art piece, she described how waves are an important symbol to her. They can represent strength as well as things that are out of our control - but we can learn to choose which waves we want to ride, instead of fighting the tides. I hope this piece of art will remind Elisabeth of her ability to ride the waves of life, even when things feel out of control.