So a couple days ago I got the opportunity to partake in a research study which gives voice to survivors and their experience with reporting to law enforcement. When I received the call I was definitely excited but had NO idea how huge this project was. They are partnering with RAIIN (The nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization) to make training programs for first responders!! This is HUGE on so many levels. My story will be used for the qualitative study to create training programs to help eradicate victim blaming- to help make it safe for others to report!
As you know my reporting experience was extremely painful and disheartening to say the least.
NO ONE. NOT EVER. SHOULD HAVE TO GO THROUGH THAT!
Key points that I added for training purposes:
1. Trauma is rarely stored or recalled in a linear fashion. So it doesn’t make sense to keep the linear model of questioning. We will probably remember more details later and that does not indicate that we were / are lying.
2. Closed ended questions make it seem like an interrogation and if you asked closed ended questions you will get closed ended responses.
3. Check your judgments and opinions at the door.
4. Safety is the key. Give us a safe place to process what happened. We are NOT the criminal.
5. I don’t care if we are laughing or crying. Everyone has different reactions- see point three.
6. Rape is a horrific crime and should be treated as such. No, it wasn’t a hook up gone wrong and did you just ask me what I was wearing? And you expect me not to react to that… yeah, right! And about my sexual history- that happens to be none of your business. I’m sorry I should repeat that NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS. There I feel better.
It was particularly strange because I’m the one usually leading a research project or co-facilitating one. It was kind of amazing to be on the other side. They asked me to come and speak at their University. They would even purchase my ticket. I don’t know about all of that but it was flattering. I can tell you one thing, my voice was heard; my feelings were validated; my story will impact future generations. Even in my small way, I’m making a difference and that makes it all worth it!