It's Called Rape
My friend drops me off at the police-station. "I'll see you in a bit," Greg says.
He gives me a hug. I get my Ipad from my bag, and walk inside. It doesn't take long before the police-woman behind the desk has scheduled an appointment for me. When a friendly police-man calls my name, I know it's time for me to find my voice. We walk into a small room. The computer in it is old, and the walls look as sad as the stories it must've heard throughout the years.
The man tells me I don't have to tell everything, and that I can speak to someone who's experienced in handling sex related crime cases.
"It's okay. I can talk," I answer.
He asks me questions, and I answer them. He starts writing, I get distracted from noise outside the room. I feel nauseous, and he, very patiently, tries to make a computer program work. We're in the Netherlands. Why does the police work with such old equipment?
I tell the story as detailed as possible. What happened, and where. I describe the location and body-parts involved. I talk about the whole aftermath, and show him video material.
"I'm sorry this happened to you," the man says.
I'm not sure if I should say thank you or not, so I stay silent and nod.
"Unfortunately, because it happened in Bulgaria, you can't press charges here. If you take this video to the police over there though, you might have something."
In my head, I can hear my ex-boyfriend scream: "You didn't go to the police!"
"I went there," I reply. "Police-station 4 in Sofia. I spoke with different people. They didn't speak English, I didn't speak Bulgarian. We were communicating with hand and feet. Someone tried to translate, without success. The police became quite rude, and eventually gave me a phone and said someone on the other side would translate. It turned out they had called the Women's Emergency line. The phone-operator on the other side was quite annoyed and told me the phone-number should only be used in case of emergency. I panicked, and then my ex called because he wanted to talk. I didn't know what to do, so I left the station."
"I can imagine it must've been difficult. I can write a police-rapport if that helps, but that's all I can do."
An hour and a half later, the man asks me to read everything he wrote down.
I go through the police rapport, and notice a word I didn't expect.
"It says rape right here," I can hear myself mutter. "I thought in situations like this it would be called sexual assault."
"No. It's called rape according to the law."
I feel dizzy and suddenly crave fresh air. I don't want to be here anymore.
"Can I have a copy of the police-rapport?" I ask.
"Only a lawyer can," the man replies.
"If I don't have proof I went to the police to try to press charges, my ex won't believe me and will call me a liar."
"I can write a letter that you have been here and sign it."
The police-man opens a new document and starts typing.
"Could you change his real name to his youtube name?" I ask. "He's anonymous online and I don't want to expose his name in case I have to show evidence I filed a police-rapport."
"Alright. What's his youtube name?"
Ten minutes later, I find myself outside, crying. I feel even more sick than before and just want to fade away. I think about the documentary my ex-boyfriend and I talked about. The documentary about him we agreed I would film. I pull up my phone. Even though I've been hospitalised for almost 8 weeks now, I never stopped filming. I look at the video diaries I haven't made a back-up of yet. The films I took to make sense of the days and what was happening. A Pale woman I don't recognise looks at the camera. I see that my phone-storage is full and that I can't film right now. I don't want to forget this moment, because I want a reminder of where I never want to be again. Real moments. How do you capture them?
I go to my Facebook app, and click go live.
My mouth moves, but it feels like I've lost my voice. I just talk. Mumble. Cry. It will probably not make a whole lot of sense, but I couldn't care any less.
Suddenly I recognise a face in the distance. I didn't call him, but he's just there, walking towards me. I look at the phone still in my hand, say goodbye to it, and close the app.
Greg puts his arms around me.
"They said it was rape," I whisper, as I bury myself in his arms, and let myself go.
Written with permission of Greg (not his real name).
Inside the System: A blog series about mental health, being hospitalised, and pretty much everything I've experienced these last 6 months. From naked patients crawling through the hallway, to having your medication dose raised 4 times in 6 weeks due to your ex boyfriend threatening you. From being publicly shamed online for speaking out and being called a liar, to what actually happened, and how and when I will press charges against my ex. So, a lot of mental vomit will be thrown on my blog upcoming weeks.
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