I read this on Quora.com, a Q&A site on many diverse topics. It is a searing, powerful personal testimony by a writer named Lara B. Sharp, in answer to the question…
“Why do you agree or disagree with Melania Trump’s statement that victims who make accusations of sexual misconduct need to have really hard evidence?
, woman, for 48 years
I was 18 years old.
I called the police, right away.
He was about 52 years old.
I weighed about 94 pounds.
He weighed about 250 pounds.
The police repeatedly asked me if it was ‘just a lover’s quarrel’, as the attacker had seemingly stated.
He was not my lover. I told them, repeatedly, that he was not my lover.
I told them, repeatedly, that he attacked me, in my own apartment.
He was the maintenance guy of my building.
He had keys to my apartment.
He told the police that I let him in.
I told the police that he used a key.
I had his black and green handprint surrounding my entire neck, with his fingerprints in the back. I lost some vision in my eye. I had bald patches on my head, and eventually I had scabs, where he had ripped chunks of my hair out. My arms were covered in bite marks.
‘Are you sure they are not Love Bites?’
‘Officer, I am sure that they are not love bites. Officer, look at these bites. Officer, they are bleeding.’
I had to move, because my landlord didn’t care at all about what had happened, or he didn’t believe me.
I had broken bones.
I couldn’t work, for months. I lost my waitressing job.
I was threatened with a lawsuit for abandoning my lease, and I had to pay three months rent, to get out of my lease, and I lost my two months security deposit.
Suddenly, I had no job, no apartment, and no savings – and no place to go.
I didn’t have health insurance. It took me almost five years to pay off my medical bills from the attack.
Every month, I’d sit down to pay my bills, and I’d write the checks… My rent, my electric bill, my phone bill… and, FOR FIVE YEARS, I’d have to write the THREE checks FOR My Sexual Assault Bills.
My hands shook, every time I wrote those checks, for nearly five years.
My attacker was NOT prosecuted, because it was decided that there was Not Enough Evidence.
This is what ‘Not Enough Evidence’ LOOKS Like:
Apparently, it’s also what a ‘Lover’s Quarrel’ looks like?!
He wasn’t charged with anything… Not even with sexual misconduct… not even with assault…
Because… There was NOT ENOUGH EVIDENCE.
About two months before this attack, my bike was stolen.
I saw the bike thief, from my fire escape.
I filed a police report.
I gave a description.
The police picked the guy up, without even seeing the bike, based on my description, and they asked me to identify him.
I said, ‘Yes, that’s him.’
He was prosecuted, for stealing the bike, based only on my eyewitness testimony.
It was the exact same police station, where two months later, I was told that my battered, broken, body and my willingness to testify to a sexual assault… Was ‘Not Enough Evidence.’
I’d like to know what the EXACT definition of ‘Hard Evidence’ is…
I know it’s not a recording of a man bragging that he ‘moves on women like a bitch, without even asking’, and that he ‘grabs them by the pussy’.
Admission of sexual assault is not considered ‘Hard Evidence’.
What IS ‘Hard Evidence’ of a sexual assault?
Passing an FBI ‘Lie Detector Test’, or a polygraph, isn’t considered ‘Hard Evidence.’
Often, when attackers claim the survivor consented, DNA isn’t considered ‘Hard Evidence’.
Therefore, even the results of a Rape Kit isn’t considered ‘Hard Evidence’.
But, that’s often irrelevant. The rape kits don’t get processed. They’re massively backlogged. They’re not prioritized.
The only Hard Evidence that I see is that I am living in a culture that seems to believe that women are qualified and trusted to do things as basic as identifying a bike thief, but women are NOT qualified and trusted to do something as basic as testifying against a sexual predator who has attacked her.
There’s plenty of HARD EVIDENCE to back THAT statement up.
Melania Trump apparently isn’t aware of the fact that even WITH ‘Hard Evidence’, more often than not, nothing happens to the large majority of sexual predators in America.
Or, Melania Trump knows, and she just Doesn’t Give a FUCK.
So, this image, of ME at age 18, is especially FOR Ms. FLOTUS:
I really hope that she fucking sees it.
And, for all of the men, women and children who were sexually assaulted today, and for everyone who will be sexually assaulted in the future, I’d like a very specific explanation, directly from Ms. Trump, of exactly what IS going to finally be considered ‘Enough Evidence’.
EDIT: Think Before You Type. I’m deleting comments. I’m reporting comments. You are writing under a response about sexual assault. You are making comments TO a sexual assault survivor.
I don’t want to hear a story about the one woman you heard of who filed a false report. I don’t want to hear about how false reports can ruin men’s lives – which is ludicrous considering who just became a Supreme Court Judge, and who the President of the US is – and, especially because if you actually care about men and boys, you’d be concerned with this reality: Men and boys are much more likely to BE victims OF a sexual assault, than they are to be falsely accused of sexual assault!
‘Real Sexual Assaults’ Ruin Real People’s Lives, MANY Times a Day, Every Day, and *REAL sexual assault IS Common*, and false accusations are NOT Common at all. That is a FACT. Why aren’t you worried about actual reality?
I don’t want to hear about ‘innocent until proven guilty’ when sexual assault survivors are deemed guilty of lying unless they can prove that they are innocent of that assumption.
And, I do not need to hear ‘not all men’ – Because, like, no shit, Sherlock. I don’t want to hear any of it. Write your own response to the question. Don’t post this shit in the comments under my response.
Do I have to turn off the comments because men are being insensitive to a sexual assault survivor? Yes, I said MEN. So far, it has only been done by men.
DudeBros, STOP. Just don’t. Think for a minute!
Anyway, I will just delete it. It’s not always all about YOU…
I am a real person, who survived a terrifying sexual assault, at age 18.
Thank you, in advance, for not being horrid to me.
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I hope Melania Trump sees this searing piece by Lara B. Sharp.