Botched Police Work Makes Me Remember How The Police Failed Me

Botched Police Work Makes Me Remember How The Police Failed Me

My reaction to the CNN story covering the destruction of unprocessed Rape Kits in 14 states.

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On the second of December, CNN ran a story talking about the destruction of unprocessed rape kits in 14 states. This conduct was discovered because a victim in one of the states where this was occurring went to be updated on progress and found out her case was thrown out.

The first thought I had was to check and see if my state of Ohio participated in those activities. Even though it's been almost 30 years for my assaults, and I was never taken to the police when they happened to me, I was glad that Ohio detectives didn't destroy untested evidence. I feel like they were negligent and unaware, but at least they weren't criminals themselves.

Whenever I have to go to update my child abuse and prevention in-service hours for my job, it is a heart-wrenching and triggering experience.

Watching video reenactments of abuse plus reading about cases of true stories of abuse makes me just want to jump out my own skin. Or become a social worker so I can find these kids and save them. I never leave one of those trainings without crying my eyes out at least twice from sorrow and jealousy.

On one hand, it's wonderful to see the progress that's been made towards supporting children who have been through sexual, physical, psychological, and/or neglect abuse. On the other hand, I can't help but wonder where all this was when I was growing up.

Why were police okay with just picking me up all hours of the evening after school on the streets just to take me to my babysitter's house or back home? Yes, I was a latchkey kid, but obviously something else was going on at home. My elementary school even arranged the school bus to drop me off on my babysitter's street to make sure I went there after school.

Why did nobody think they should investigate my home life more? I think for the longest time people just wrote me off as scatterbrained and stupid and just chalked up my behaviors to symptoms of that. I didn't feel cared for by authorities, my school, or the police.

I remember vividly telling teachers and friends about my sexual assaults but no one did anything or said anything about it. It got so bad that I became aware when people would outright shame me for putting myself in those situations and that I was probably remembering things wrong since I was so young when they happened. So eventually I just kept my mouth shut.

In fact, until writing for Odyssey, I've never talked about my assaults again. Not even to the dozens of child psychologists I had been going to since I became of age.

Now, hotlines and police stations and even hospitals have direct access to Children and Family Services. Daycare centers take children to 12 years of age, libraries offer homework centers, Afterschool programs are open to six at night, recreational centers are open till late in the evenings — all to prevent delinquency and latchkey kids. It feels like the world changed almost overnight from uncaring to overbearing. Films like “Antwone Fisher" and “Precious" accurately depicted a lot of my life growing up.

After researching the statute of limitations for rape cases here in Ohio, I wondered how my life would have changed if I had done a rape kit for my two assaults. Would the police have looked into the rest of my home life after the examination? Would I have been happy that the perpetrators had been put away — taken from their parents and loved ones? Could I have felt good about myself being the cause of a father being taken away from his two kids and a girlfriend that needed him?

I at least wish I could've done something to stop the upstairs man from hurting others. Who knows how many other victims of his are out there now because I didn't know how to get justice for myself. Was I his first victim? I'll never know.

It's sad that those whose rape kits were destroyed by the police departments in those states will never get justice. At least they went and got the rape kits done. They tried to bring their perpetrators down.

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This Is How Your Same-Sex Marriage Affects Me As A Catholic Woman

I hear you over there, Bible Bob.
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It won't.

Wait, what?

I promise you did read that right. Not what you were expecting me to say, right? Who another person decides to marry will never in any way affect my own marriage whatsoever. Unless they try to marry the person that I want to, then we might have a few problems.

As a kid, I was raised, baptized, and confirmed into an old school Irish Catholic church in the middle of a small, midwestern town.

Not exactly a place that most people would consider to be very liberal or open-minded. Despite this I was taught to love and accept others as a child, to not cast judgment because the only person fit to judge was God. I learned this from my Grandpa, a man whose love of others was only rivaled by his love of sweets and spoiling his grandkids.

While I learned this at an early age, not everyone else in my hometown — or even within my own church — seemed to get the memo. When same-sex marriage was finally legalized country-wide, I cried tears of joy for some of my closest friends who happen to be members of the LGBTQ community.

I was happy while others I knew were disgusted and even enraged.

"That's not what it says in the bible! Marriage is between a man and a woman!"

"God made Adam and Eve for a reason! Man shall not lie with another man as he would a woman!"

"Homosexuality is a sin! It's bad enough that they're all going to hell, now we're letting them marry?"

Alright, Bible Bob, we get it, you don't agree with same-sex relationships. Honestly, that's not the issue. One of our civil liberties as United States citizens is the freedom of religion. If you believe your religion doesn't support homosexuality that's OK.

What isn't OK is thinking that your religious beliefs should dictate others lives.

What isn't OK is using your religion or your beliefs to take away rights from those who chose to live their life differently than you.

Some members of my church are still convinced that their marriage now means less because people are free to marry whoever they want to. Honestly, I wish I was kidding. Tell me again, Brenda how exactly do Steve and Jason's marriage affect yours and Tom's?

It doesn't. Really, it doesn't affect you at all.

Unless Tom suddenly starts having an affair with Steve their marriage has zero effect on you. You never know Brenda, you and Jason might become best friends by the end of the divorce. (And in that case, Brenda and Tom both need to go to church considering the bible also teaches against adultery and divorce.)

I'll say it one more time for the people in the back: same-sex marriage does not affect you even if you or your religion does not support it. If you don't agree with same-sex marriage then do not marry someone of the same sex. Really, it's a simple concept.

It amazes me that I still actually have to discuss this with some people in 2017. And it amazes me that people use God as a reason to hinder the lives of others.

As a proud young Catholic woman, I wholeheartedly support the LGBTQ community with my entire being.

My God taught me to not hold hate so close to my heart. He told me not to judge and to accept others with open arms. My God taught me to love and I hope yours teaches you the same.

Disclaimer - This article in no way is meant to be an insult to the Bible or religion or the LGBTQ community.

Cover Image Credit: Sushiesque / Flickr

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The Disrespectful Nature Of My Generation Needs To Stop

Why choosing phone games over a Holocaust survivor was my breaking point.

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While many students that attended Holocaust survivor Hershel Greenblat's talk were rightfully attentive, I noticed, out of the corner of my eye, a few outlier students tapping away on their phones. They were minute movements, but inappropriate nonetheless.

Immediately I became infuriated. How, I thought, fuming, did my generation become so blithely unaware to the point where we could not proffer basic respect to a survivor of one of the most horrific events in human history?

Perhaps the students were just texting their parents, telling them that the event would run a bit long. 10 minutes later, my eyes diverted from Greenblat back to the students. They were still on their phones. This time, I could see the screens being held horizontally—indicating a game or a show was being played. I wanted to get up, smack the distractions out of their hands, and ask them why they thought what they were doing was more important than a Holocaust speaker.

I will not waste any more time writing about the disrespectful few. Because they could not give Greenblat the time of their day, I will not give them mine. Instead, I want to focus on a massive trend my generation has mistakenly indulged ourselves in.

The Greenblat incident is only an example of this phenomenon I find so confusing. From young, it was instilled in me, probably via Chinese tradition, that elders should be respected. It is a title only revoked when unacceptable behavior allows it to be, and is otherwise maintained. I understand that not everybody comes from a background where respect is automatically granted to people. And I see that side of the story.

Why does age automatically warrant respect? It is the fact that they have made it this far, and have interesting stories to tell. There are exceptions, perhaps more than there are inclusions.

But this fact can be determined by the simple act of offering an elderly person your seat on public transportation. Sure, it can be for their health, but within that simple act is a meaningful sacrifice for somebody who has experienced more than you.

Age aside, at Greenblat's talk, majority of the disrespect shown might not have been agist. Instead, it could have been the behavior students just there for the check-in check-out extra credit that multiple classes and clubs were offering. While my teachers who advertised the event stressed the importance of attendance not just for the academic boost, but for the experience, I knew that some of the more distracted students there must have been those selfish, ignorant, solely academic driven cockalorums.

I stay hopeful because majority of my classmates were attentive. We knew to put aside our Chromebooks, regardless of note-taking, and simply listen to what Greenblat had to offer.

It would be wrong to label my generation as entitled— that's a misnomer for the generation before. We are still wavering between the line of automatic respect and earned respect, but we need to set a line for people whom we know the stories of. Especially a Holocaust survivor.

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