In the last month a couple people have asked me, respectfully yet specifically and significantly: “what stopped you from reporting the assaults against you?”
A desire to put everything behind me.
A distrust of the care I would be given in our justice system.
Youth and lack of an education on how to do that.
Denial of what happened.
Today this was published in the Globe And Mail: (please practice self care – the full article contains triggers)
“National policing data, compiled and reviewed by The Globe as part of its 20-month investigation, reveal that one of every five sexual-assault allegations in Canada is dismissed as baseless and thus unfounded. The result is a national unfounded rate of 19.39 per cent – nearly twice as high as it is for physical assault (10.84 per cent), and dramatically higher than that of other types of crime.”
Dismissed as baseless. Unfounded. Baseline. The gold standard of female treatment. The acceptable amount of violence. The baseline of tolerated crime against women. The common denominator. Rape.
My blood boils as I read that word. When I do a baseline concussion test I’m looking for as much measurable data as possible so that when the athlete does get a head injury I have something to measure it against, to help determine their level of recovery to best support them.
Now I see: Dismissed as baseline. No head injury. No injury. No violence. You’re free to return to play.
Except you’re not free. You are not free of the fear, the embarrassment, the shame, the violence, the flashbacks or the nightmares. There may be no returning to play. The specialist, the officer, the councillor… whoever it is, they’re wrong you cannot get back on the field. What happens if you get hit again? Second impact syndrome is life altering, and deadly. Why are they putting you back out there?
We end up removing ourselves instead… we can’t get back into practice, never mind lining up on the field for a game. We take ourselves off the team completely, isolating ourselves in a world with no chance of getting hit, where we do not need to wear helmets. Whatever copeing mechanisms we take we do it ourselves, for better or for worse: drugs, deep denial, working to much, counselling, yoga, adrenaline, nature, alcohol, isolation… the list goes on and changes from person to person.
What astounds me by these statistics is that 1 in 5 REPORTED sexual assault allegations are dismissed as baseline; how do we know how many go unreported, because out of the 8 close friends of mine who opened up to me after I posted about my healing journey early this year, about the violence they have experienced only 1 of them went through the reporting process. I certainly did not.
I will not stop writing and sharing about this. I said at the beggining of the year that 2017 was about speaking my truth. Part of my truth is that I have done the majority of my healing, no I am not done but I am stronger than the extreme than I was. I am in a position now, by the mere fact that I live in a world with easy access to the internet and have supportive people around me, to say something and to not only open that hard conversation about sexual assault and abuse but to keep it open with every ounce of my determination, regardless of how painful it is.
Our justice system has to change.
When you have the time, please read the full article I linked in this post. It is long, but it is important that you know.