It takes more than 100 women to put away just 1 man.

It took me awhile to watch the end of the ESPY Awards, where around 140 women stood side by side on stage to receive the Arthur Ashe Courage Award.

One man got away with sexually abusing, and forever changing, 265 girls and women over a span of nearly 25 years.

A quarter of a century. One man. 265 women.

So why did it take 25 years for somebody to listen? For somebody to believe survivors?

*Image Taken from Vanity Fair

When I was 20 years old, I finally found the courage to escape a relationship which was abusive both sexually and emotionally. About a month after the break up, when it became clear that my alcoholic ex was showing up in places he knew I would be, I came home from a concert to my date’s house having been broken into, each of our cars beaten with something like a metal baseball bat, peed in, and beer poured all over. My date and his roommate called the police. I was frozen. Shock. Disbelief. Yet... knowing. Who else could it have been?

The police assured us there was nothing that could be done at the time, in the middle of the night, New England in February. The cop on scene gave us his card, and went on his way.

We all woke up freezing. As if the cars were not enough, the house’s oil line had also been cut.

“Any idea who might want to hurt you or target you?”

“Could it be your ex? You said he was...”

“Try not to date such a lunatic next time.”

The bar across the street from the house had security cameras. We could use this footage to see who left the bar and walked across the street to the house. But, they required police presence to view the footage.

The police never came to watch the footage with us.

When you try to get a protective order (otherwise known as a restraining order) against someone who has hurt you, it’s actually pretty difficult:

  1. You need to fill out a complaint.

  • You need to write down all of the details of your abuse. This can be extremely painful.

  • This form asks for your full name, address, and work address.

  • If you feel afraid of your abuser having your home and work addresses, you need to fill out a separate confidentiality form, as if this is not something that just would make sense to begin with.

  1. You need to have a hearing with a judge. That day. And you need to either show proof, or convince a judge that you have been abused or are in fear of being abused.

  • If you’ve been in an abusive relationship before, you already know that you’d do anything to hide the evidence that the love of your life would do anything to hurt you.

  • Your abuser may have manipulated you into believing that it was your fault. Or that you made it up in your head. Or that you’re being overly sensitive and reading the situation wrong. Etc.

  1. In ten days, you need to have a dual hearing, with your abuser.

  • As if going through the abuse wasn’t enough, and attempting to seek protection from being anywhere near your abuser, now you need to be in the same room as your abuser, listening to him/her tell their side of the story, attempting to manipulate everyone else the way they used to manipulate you.

BONUS! If you are granted the order, it only lasts for one year.

In other words, you need to continue to go through this entire painful and grueling process over and over again. In the eyes of the law, your abuser gets a second chance after they’ve been in time-out for a year.

“Try not to date such a lunatic next time.”

Why is the system set up in a way that fails survivors, yet protects predators?

Why does it take more than 100 women to put away just one man?

I don’t know where life is taking me next. But what I do know is that something needs to change. Now is the time.

“To all the survivors out there,

don’t let anyone rewrite your story,

we may suffer alone, but we survive together.”

-- Aly Raisman

#ESPY #ESPY2018 #USAGymnastics #SexualViolence #DomesticViolence #DomesticAbuse #RestrainingOrder #ProtectiveOrder #EmotionalAbuse #Survivor #SisterSurvivors #AlyRaisman

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