Friday, February 7, 2014

A letter to the NYPD

The other night I had a really horrible night of triggers that resulted in a big meltdown. In the midst of it, I decided to send the letter below to a family friend who's a detective on the NYPD, who used to be on Special Victims but is now on anti-terrorism. I had written it in September, in the middle of all the drama with the NYPD but had never sent it because he told me that he was a mandated reporter of crime within the NYPD. Subconsciously, I may have wanted to say something but couldn't. But that night I sent it, and he called me yesterday saying that he had received my email and said that he had to report it to Internal Affairs.

His comments:

"It was beautifully written and very, very sad."

So now there will be an Internal Affairs investigation into my detective.

Below is the letter.


The week of July 5th I went through the  forensic interview process for my sexual assault that happened out of state. The detective and his lieutenant had flown into my state to take my statement. The detective (who was actually only an officer earning his detective badge, and I was surprised at how young he was – he didn’t look much older than me) was exactly everything I had been wanting – kind, compassionate, and he believed me and took me seriously. Had been nothing but supportive. The interview was scary because the lieutenant was in the room too and he was intimidating. It went well but I dissociated at the end of it because the lieutenant said it was a weak case. But everything up until that point had gone really smoothly, especially with my detective who was the most supportive I could ever have hoped for when going through this process.

The next day I had some questions about the whole process because I had disscoated the day before so I asked if I could meet with the two of them again to ask questions. The det and his lieutenant came to my work (this time not in business suits). The lieu said his girlfriend was also there, and she is a forensic nurse, he said if I wanted to talk to her I could. That was nice. So after work the lieutenant said that he and his gf were gonna go down to the pier while the detective and I went to lunch.

He was great. He was kindhearted, answered all my questions, and supportive. I cried. He talked me through it, I asked general questions about his job, and he paid for lunch. It was a good ending.

After lunch, I said I’d walk him down to where his lieutenant was because I knew he was gonna get lost. When we got there, the lieu walked out of the restaurant they were in. I was about to leave because I figured I wasn’t allowed to stay since my det said they were gonna go out drinking, but he said, “You’re leaving?!” I asked if I was allowed to stay, because they were drinking. He said I could. So I did.

It was an insanely hot day, and it was only about 3 pm, so I didn’t want to drink. The lieutenant asked why I wasn’t drinking and I said I didn’t want to. He asked me if it was because of what happened to me and said, “I promise you’re really safe with us!” I laughed and said no I just don’t want to. But he insisted so I gave in to “peer” pressure. At the time, it was the weirdest/most fun/strangest thing, because here I was socializing with these detectives, being encouraged to drink with them and have a good time, even though I’m a victim in one of their cases. But I figured if they were telling me it was ok, then it was since they were supposed to be looking out for my best interests. It was awkward, but they wanted me to have fun, so I did. It was just weird because we would all be socializing, then someone would go to the bathroom or something ad I’d be left with the other two, and then we’d start talking about my case. But they treated me like an equal, so I was having a great time and it lightened the mood.

I thought it was just gonna be happy hour, so I had one or two drinks at the first restaurant. Nope. We met at 3 pm, and were out until 12:30 am. After the first place, me and my detective were buzzed. We walked along the pier and sobered up a little bit. I wanted to show them the whole pier because it’s a very beautiful area so we kept walking. We walked down to my favorite spot on the beach and the lieutenant and his gf took romantic photos and the 3 of them goofed off. My detective and I got a photo together as well. Then the gf wanted to drink more so we went to another bar on the waterfront. IT was dinner time at this point and I didn’t want to have any more alcohol. But the lieu ordered 4 irish ice teas (god knows what that was), and then 4 rounds of whiskey shots. I was having fun, and I figured that at that point it wasn’t gonna do me any good to protest the lieutenant. We stayed there for a while, then my det, who doesn’t drink that much and has a lower tolerane than the other two, went inside to go ask the bartender for something. He came back out really flustered and said that the manager cut him  and the rest of our table off and refused to serve us any more alcohol (probably because they had been arguing about sex crimes really loudly and there were families around). They got really pissed off and didn’t tip the waiter when we left.

We started to walk back the car, took a group picture on the phone and were laughing and joking. My detective was reallllly drunk at this point. I think I was laughing with them or something when he turned to me and said randomly, “You’re my favorite victim.” We all laughed really hard. It was fun.

I told them that if they wanted to go out drinking they had to visit a certain area of town that wasn’t too far from where we were. I told them that I had to go back home though because I had to work at 8 the next morning. They told me to call in sick for work and that they’d back me up.

We parked in that section of town and went to a bar. There was a line but the lieu flashed his NYPD badge and we cut the whole line. The college kids were really pissed.  We sat down at a table and the lieu told me and my det to go order the next round of drinks. I ordered what I would typically drink.  He and I were more socializing by ourselves at this point because the lieu and gf were starting to get into an argument. We stayed there for a while, and then were gonna go to this dance club but the flashing-the-badge-thing didn’t work this time. So we went to another bar. The bartender here was from Brooklyn so he gave us a pitcher of beer and a round of whiskey shots. I was shit faced at this point, and my det was too. We stayed there for a while. We finally went to one last bar. The lieu ordered another round of shots, but my det and I refused because there was no way I was gonna make it home without puking at that point. They also kept saying that they’d back me up if I called in sick. So I told my boss that I had some detectives out here from out of state interviewing me for a case. I said that I’d be in late because they needed me in the AM, so she said to let her know. Then, at that point, I was trying to figure out how to get home beaucse my car was parked in my university garage. The lieu said that I’d come back and crash with them at their hotel in the next town over. I said I couldn’t because all my stuff was at home and not to mention my parents didn’t know what was going on. But he wouldn’t let me argue, so I had to go back with them. Then he and his gf got into a big fight and knocked over a plate. She stormed out and got in a cab. The lieu ran after her. Me and my det looked at each other and weren’t sure what to do so we went back to the car. It was drama I didn’t want to get involved in. but we got back to the car and the lieu was waiting there for us and we all piled in.

On the way back I was so sick I almost threw up in the car. When we got there, the lieu told my det to take care of me because I was sick. So he stayed behind while the lieu went up to his room to find his gf. I had to sit outside in the parking lot for a while to make sure I didn’t throw up. Then he took me inside and we went up to his hotel room.

He took care of me, gave me clothes, always made sure I was ok, He said to me, “Rachel, you’re really cool. No, you’re awesome.” He gave me a big hug and kissed me on the top of my head, asd I thanked him for everything and for believing me etc. I felt really safe, like he was my big brother. He slept in the living room which was separated from the bedroom by a door, and he gave me the bed. When I was getting ready for bed, every time I would move or make a sound he’d ask, “are you ok?” It was nice. He got me settled then we both went to sleep.

The Next morning I woke up and felt awful (hung over). This was the day (July 7th) that the plane in San Francisco crashed on the runway so I turned on the news and was watching that because it was crazy.

Somehow he ended up in the room, and we were watching TV.  It was also my sister’s bday so I called her to wish her happy bday. While we were Watching the news. I was goofing off with him ( because he reminded me of my cousin), throwing pillows at him, etc but I still felt sick so I turned around and laid back down to try to go to sleep.

Then he moved closer to me and asked if he could put his arm around me. I thought he was just being comforting as a big brother so I said yes.

But then he asked me if he could kiss me. And I totally froze. I thought he was cute, but I thought wtf is he doing, not only is he married with two kids but he’s also working my case. in a position of power over me. And that’s always my freezing point for me.

I told him he shouldn't. I always thought he was cute (and I feel guilty for that) but I NEVER made that known to him or anyone else. And then he made the move on me. I told him he can't kiss me because he's married. He said "I know." I was terrified because deep down I knew this was horrible. He's the detective on my case.

I told him I needed to leave my clothes on – he kinda chuckled at that because that’s exactly what I had said to the guy who had assaulted me. I also said he couldn’t kiss me. He ended up getting very physical with me. I participated too, it wasn’t all him and I own that. But He  did end up kissing me.  It didn’t escalate, thank God. But he did kiss me and it got heated. He tried to take my clothes off but I pushed his hands away and said no. He said I was driving him crazy and he really wanted me. I said no. Eventually it all stopped because it was getting too hard for him to resist and I went to shower. I felt horrible about myself afterwards – it was extremely triggering and just plain wrong, I knew. Not only because he’s married but because he’s supposed to be a professional in my legal case and it was just so wrong. I was really upset, crying etc. I told him that, and he apologized profusely and said he was really sorry. He said he didn't regret it, though. He said he had never cheated on his wife before. He said that it couldn't leave the room, especially because his lieutenant had called him when I was in the shower and asked if he'd slept with me. He said no, and he hadn't, but he lied and said nothing happened (which was BS). I was really upset because I felt like I did when my perp raped me -- only a sex object good for one use only and to be discarded afterwards. But I pushed all of that down and just moved on. I forgave him, even though he forbid me to talk about what happened with anyone. I moved on and we never talked about it again.

When they flew back to their state, he kept me in the loop with what was going on in the investigation. He’d call me and update me, but we were never able to connect and talk about the details of the case. So he’d always say, “I’ll call you tomorrow.” So he would, and I’d ask him questions about the case. When I didn’t have anything left to talk about regarding the case, I figured I’d stop talking to him until I flew out for the next part of the investigation. So I was baffled when he said, “I’ll give you a call tomorrow.”

Tomorrow turned into the net day, and the next, and the next. Pretty soon he was calling me on his way to and from work, every day for about an hour each way. He said he looked forward to talking to me. We laughed a lot. He said he talked to me more than his wife. IT was so nice feeling like I was cared about, feeling like I could talk to someone and just laugh with them, because I’m so lacking that here where i live (I don’t have many friends here). He said I could never text him when he was at home, though, because if his wife found out he’d be in huge trouble. Deep down, I knew that he must be doing something wrong with his interactions with me, and I knew I should stop it, but I thought since he was a detective then he was doing the right thing. We had a great relationship ... and i almost forgot he was working my case. We actually hardly ever talked about my case, so it was just all fun. He’d text me at the office, while he was looking at his cases or waiting for victims. He’d tell me about some cases he was working. It was interesting. The only times we ever talked about my case was when I one time accidentally texted him when I was in hysterics crying and he got so concerned he texted me for 45 min trying to pick me up. it was really sweet and made me feel really safe.

It was never romantic on my end. I told him he was kind of like my big brother – that’s how I felt. It made me happy. He had silly nicknames for me, and I for him.

But then all of that stopped so suddenly one day because his phone broke one time on his way to work and he couldn’t call me. I panicked thinking he was never gonna talk to me again or that his wife found out or something. I was left feeling so incredibly alone. Long story short he just stopped calling because of work demands after he told me about his phone (he was doing night watch and said he was miserable from lack of sleep). One night when I tried to talk to him about it he yelled at me on the phone, and blamed our interactions on me. Said that it messed up his personal life, that I needed a psychiatrist to talk to (note: I never once sought him out to talk about my personal stuff, it was always fun talk), that at the end of the day I was just his job and he’s getting paid (that hurt the most). He just said some really mean things, and pretty much blamed the interaction on me. I was thrown into a deep, deep depression and my anxiety was sky high, questioning everything up until that point and feeling really really alone since he had been there so constantly for me and then POOF was gone. I felt incredibly lost, scared, alone, and hurt. My PTSD was through the roof. I stopped sleeping. I didn't realize I had been relying so heavily on him for support (even tho I never sought it out) and then POOF. He was just gone one day and I didn't know how to cope. But it was my breaking point. I had the stress of the invesigation and then added all this drama with him ... it was too much.

I eventually had another conversation with him when he wasn’t so mean. He still blamed me for crossing the boundaries – I tried to communicate that he was the professional, it was his job to maintain the boundaries to begin with. I know I was at fault, too – I should’ve put a stop to it. But the whole thing made my body caved. I stopped sleeping, my chronic pain got so bad, I was having panic attacks every night, and then I had horrible herpes outbreak on top of it. I didn’t know what to do, if I wanted to report him. Whether I should be the one responsible for him to lose his job when he's married with two young kids. Whether I need another detective, to establish another (professional) relationship with someone, re-share my story. It’s so much stress added on top of an already stressful situation. On top of that, in one of our conversations when I attempted to talk to him about how he had made me feel he admitted that he had developed romantic feelings for me – which, if I had known, I would’ve cut contact. But he never said anything and I had NO idea he had romantic feelings for me. None.

He said he cut contact because it could jeapordize the case, that tried to “put the case back on track” because it never should’ve gotten to that point … but he was the one who initiated it. So I felt broken. Like I couldn’t trust him or anyone at all.

My spirit was so deeply broken I didn’t think I was going to make it til October 6th, which was when I was flying out to finish the investigation. But, the first step in a positive direction came in mid September. I was stressed about flying out because of the situation and was debating on whether I needed to have another detective so I called their  hotline to get the lieutenant on the phone because i didn't feel like i was getting good advice. What I got was an enormously helpful detective who has been on the unit for 10 years. He helped me, and pretty much said my guy wasn’t doing a very good job with my case so he was gonna help me out, prep me for the controlled call I had to do, and be there with me. I felt so much better after that.

I decided to see how my interactions were with him when I got there and whether or not I needed another detective or if I wanted the case re-assigned. At that point, enough time had passed I realized I could work with him. He ended up doing a good job for what I had to do. And at the end of it he told me, “There was nothing you could’ve done differently. You did absolutely everything you needed to and I am so proud of you.”

The next day,  the other detective  called me on his cell to make sure I was ok which was really nice. He explained to me why these cases were so difficult and said if I ever needed anything I could call his cell.

The last day I was there I met my original detective for coffee. I was going to bring up all this other shit with him and finally have a face to face conversation with him but I was actually really sick so I decided against it. I just let it rest. We were on ok at that point.

I didn’t really think anything of the situation with him until his partner bitched me out on the phone a few weeks later. It brought all the other crap up again and I realized how heartbroken and angry I was that their unit could’ve made so many damn mistakes with me, and put me in such a horrible position. I couldn’t ignore it anymore.

Part of me forgives my detective, because apart from the position he put me in, he truly is a kind, compassionate, and caring person who treats victims like they should be treated (in the precinct at least). Everyone else in that precinct had questioned me and my story about why I was pursuing charges and if I was doing it just for revenge. Everyone. My detecive and the other older one were the only two that didn’t.  I don’t feel he is a bad person. But I went through hell in the summer dealing with this on my own. I couldn’t tell anybody except my therapist. I didn’t know what to do because I didn’t want to bear the burden of reporting him and then regretting it later. But the part that concerns me the most isn’t what he actually did – it’s the fact that he has NO CLUE how much it fucked me up, and that he doesn’t own ANY of it. He put equal blame on me, which under normal circumstances I would accept. Especially if I was the one who had hit on him. but I wasn’t. It was him hitting on me, him calling me every day. Not the other way around.

So, that’s what happened. At this point I don’t think I have it in me to report him. But I’ve been bearing this burden since the beginning of August, and I just wanted someone else in law enforcement to know, even just to hear me out and validate me.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

If You Were My Sister

If you were my sister, I’d call you into my arms, and hold you tight.
If you were my sister, I’d let you cry and wipe the tears away from your eyes.
If you were my sister, I’d let you pound with rage on my shoulder at the horrible crime committed against you.
If you were my sister, I’d help you tear up every piece of memory of him and burn it with you, releasing the energy into the night.
If you were my sister, I’d hold you tight when you wake up in the middle of the night, drenched in sweat, screaming from the nightmares.
If you were my sister, I’d help you get out of bed every morning, and find joy in something, even if it was only a piece of chocolate.
If you were my sister, I’d sit by your side if you went to the police and hold your hand through the whole process.
If you were my sister, I’d be the first in line to stand up for you if the police did anything wrong.
If you were my sister, I’d let you come into my room at night and cry in pain, knowing that your case had fallen through and that no justice would be given.
If you were my sister, I’d promise you I would always be there for you, even when all of your friends deserted you and left you in your pain.
If you were my sister, I’d smile in your eyes and promise you that it does get better.
If you were my brother, I’d tell you that you do not have to hide in silence.
If you were my brother, I’d take you in my arms and promise you the shame is not yours to carry.
If you were my brother, I’d tell you how much I loved you every day, and promise you that you are worthy of only the most beautiful love, and that what happened to you will not deter any woman from seeing how beautiful you are.
If you were my sister, brother, niece, cousin, friend – I’d take your face in my hands, look you straight into the eyes and say, “What happened to you was not your fault. You are beautiful. And you are SO strong. And I love you.”