Sheriff’s Office Re-Victimizes Rape Survivors

6 Oct

Trigger warning for rape

When Lori O’Brannon found a card in the mail from Clark County Sheriff’s office addressed to her 18 year old daughter Josie, she didn’t give it much thought. The card, a blue, standard post-card sized piece of cardboard, said that the evidence department had something to release to Josie. Lori figured that it was probably something innocent enough, left over from Josie’s wilder days when, as Lori put it, Josie had “been in trouble” a few times. So Lori called the number on the card, made an appointment, and drove Josie to pick up the “evidence.”

Neither of them could have predicted what was actually in the brown paper bag that the Sheriff’s office handed to her: a soiled grey shorts and a pair of women’s underwear. Both Josie and Lori recognized the articles immediately – they were what Josie had been wearing just over three years earlier, when she’d been raped the day before her 15th birthday. The clothing had been collected by PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Centre (the same hospital, in fact, where Josie had been born) as part of the rape kit done shortly after her assault.

She was being given back the evidence of her rape.

Josie, who her mother describes as a “tough little fighter,” started to shake at the sight of the bag, with its huge red BIOHAZARD sticker and neatly typed label showing Josie’s name, age, date of birth. Lori, a rape survivor herself, knew that her first priority was to get her daughter out of there before she collapsed. She stuffed the evidence bag in her trunk, managed to get Josie into the passenger side, and headed for home. Lori remembers thinking during the drive home that she might throw up; Josie said she felt like she’d been hit by a truck.

A few days later, when she felt a bit calmer, Lori called the Clark County Sheriff’s office to find out why, exactly, this had happened. She was hoping that it was all some kind of accident. Maybe there had been a miscommunication. Maybe the person who sent out the little blue cards hadn’t realized exactly what the “evidence” in question was in this particular case. Surely this couldn’t have been done on purpose? Surely someone would apologize and promise that it would never happen again. But no, Lori was told, this was standard procedure. The clothing was Josie’s property, and the sheriff’s office was simply returning it. There was nothing more to it than that.

Like most rape survivors, Josie knows exactly who her rapist was. And like most rapists, he was never convicted. The evidence bag from the sheriff’s office was a harsh reminder of these facts; ever since receiving it, Josie has been struggling to function. She has daily, debilitating headaches, sometimes so bad that she throws up. When she sleeps, there are always nightmares. When she’s awake, even the most innocuous things can trigger vivid flashbacks. Lori is struggling to get Josie some kind of help, but she hasn’t had much luck. The local YWCA mentioned getting both Josie and her mother into a rape survivor support group, but Lori doesn’t know what to do until then.

Josie

Josie

What she does know is that she never wants another rape survivor to have to go through what Josie has gone through.

“We are not ashamed,” says Lori. “We are angry.”

Both Lori and Josie want this story to be told. They hope that by sharing what has happened to Josie they might prevent the same thing from happening to anyone else. No one should have to be re-victimized in this way. No rape survivor should ever have to experience the trauma of being given back the clothing they were wearing when they were raped. This specific type of suffering one hundred percent preventable, and the onus is on law enforcement to make sure that rape survivors do not have to experience this.

I often hear people complain that they don’t think that rape culture exists, or else that it’s just a clever term with no real meaning. Well, if you need evidence of rape culture, here it is, contained perfectly in a single picture:

evidence bag

Rape culture is the fact that no one thought twice about having a teenager come pick up the outfit she was raped in. Rape culture is the fact this teenager was summoned to come pick up her “evidence” with a little blue postcard that gave absolutely no indication of what was waiting for her at the sheriff’s office. Rape culture is the fact that the manager of the Clark County Sheriff’s Office had no response for Lori other than “it’s procedure” when Lori called to ask why this had happened. Rape culture is the fact that the manager sounded bored when Lori told her that their standard procedure was “horrible and wrong.” Rape culture is the fact that Josie’s rapist is still out there somewhere, free and easy, while Josie can barely get out of bed.

That’s rape culture.

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81 Responses to “Sheriff’s Office Re-Victimizes Rape Survivors”

  1. Robb October 6, 2014 at 10:24 pm #

    Personally, I don’t see this as a sign of rape culture, rather, standard practice. Most victims do want their property back (granted, we are normally talking stolen goods), so it makes sense for the police force to follow that as standard.
    That said, there are plenty of situations, both with rape and without, where the victim has no desire to retrieve their property or even be notified they can do so – as such, I think it would be wise for police forces to include a checkbox asking that question whenever they collect evidence. That way, when the victim truly doesn’t want it back (who knows, some May, but in a controlled transfer to allow a civil case evidence gathering), it is never brought to them again.

    • AGDoren October 6, 2014 at 11:33 pm #

      it is evidence of rape culture because people don’t understand why they should do anything different and how sexual assault actually affects people. It hasn’t occured to anyone that getting surprised like this might throw Josie into a depressive episode that wrecks her life for the next 1-5 years. And the fact that people are going to scoff at this statement is yet another aspect of rape culture.

      • Robb October 7, 2014 at 1:39 am #

        I won’t scoff at that factor, each victim handles their harms differently, so it is wrong to judge her in any way on that.
        however, it is not rape culture to treat sexual assault like any other traumatizing crime – she couldn’t get her perp convicted, but she might be able to win a civil suit if she chose, so she should have the option of having the evidence needed for that.
        any and all criminal evidence is the property of the victim, but as I said before a simple policy move could be done to make it so ANY victim of ANY crime who didn’t want their property back could reject it at the onset

      • athenarcarson9 October 7, 2014 at 2:52 am #

        I think Robb’s idea is a good one. Not to minimize the trauma from rape, but there are other crimes that are traumatizing where one wouldn’t necessarily want their property back. Or they might – a simple yes or no question might help prevent this from happening to other people in the future.

    • LawTalkingGavin (@LawTalkingGavin) October 7, 2014 at 12:54 pm #

      “Personally, I don’t see this as a sign of rape culture…”

      Of course you don’t, because you don’t think it exists. So every time someone mentions it, you find some excuse or reason why THIS EXAMPLE is not it. So you can go on with your head in the sand.

      Also given the frequency with which police confiscate things of value and never return them, I don’t even believe the basic proposition that this is “standard practice”. Maybe standard practice for dirty underwear, certainly not for money and vehicles.

      • Robb October 7, 2014 at 2:15 pm #

        where did I once contend it doesn’t exist? I most certainly do believe it exists, maybe not to the same extent as others, maybe to a further extent than others, but I took no position on the concept, just that this wasn’t an example – please don’t assume things about me, ill say what I mean on my own.

        money is rarely returned, but victims property is generally indeed returned (or available to be returned if requested, depending on department policy), that’s a specific right in both the US and Canada, plus it’s a general right in the UK and most Of the queens domain. You are right in that the perps property as seized (AND USED TO CONVICT) is indeed kept and sold to pay for the justice, but that’s irrelevant to the victims property.

  2. Rosie October 6, 2014 at 10:28 pm #

    Reblogged this on FEMBORG.

  3. bellejarblog October 6, 2014 at 10:37 pm #

    You clearly subscribe to my blog via email, because you comment almost immediately on every single one of my posts. That, or you obsessively refresh my page several times a day. Either way, I have to ask you – what exactly do you get out of this?

    Is it the harassing women part that you enjoy? Or is it getting in a jab at a rape survivor’s expense that’s your jam? Are you finally happy now that I’m wasting my (already limited time) replying to you? Is that what you’re looking for?

    Seriously, dude. It must be nice to have so much time on your hands that you can log on here and shoot off ridiculous comments whenever the spirit moves you (or whenever your email alerts you that I’ve put up a new post – thanks for boosting my numbers, by the way!) How many other bloggers do you flatter in this way? Or am I somehow special?

    Anyway, have a great night being a douchebag woman-hating lonely internet dude. Tootles!

    • bellejarblog October 6, 2014 at 11:02 pm #

      yes, your original comment really did deserve a substantive reply i’m so sorry what on earth could i have been thinking

      how rude of me not to respond to “troll troll troll your boat” with anything other than a polite, well-considered list of facts about rape (with links to sources, naturally, because i understand that you can’t find those on your own)

      that was clearly what you were looking for

    • josie October 6, 2014 at 11:25 pm #

      So you’re saying because this man wasn’t convicted( because we never took it to court) he isn’t a rapist? I wasn’t raped? He isn’t in the wrong for robbing me of a clear mind? He shouldn’t be in trouble or viewed as a criminal because I was to traumatized to ever look at him again? I was to terrified to face him in court, I couldn’t even leave my bed because of this man, yet he isn’t a criminal? He’s just like any other man out there, can live his life however he may please, completely forget he raped me and robbed me of ever having a healthy relationship? No. He’s a piece of shit, poor excuse of a man. He is in fact a fucking criminal. Sorry for my language and thank you so much helping my mom and I get this out there and stop things like this happening.

      • bellejarblog October 7, 2014 at 1:42 am #

        I just want to say that you are handling this with so much grace and bravery and I am seriously in awe of you.

        I’m sorry you had to see that gross dude’s comment. Please let me know if you want me to delete what he’s said, and I’ll be happy to do so. Whatever makes you feel safest and most comfortable here ❤

      • bellejarblog October 7, 2014 at 1:43 am #

        Actually you know what? I’m just going to go ahead and delete him.

        Bye, gross dude!

      • Wilson October 7, 2014 at 2:25 am #

        You should definitely delete my comments. And throw in a couple ad homs like gross and loser, because I disagree with you so I’m obviously an internet basement dweller. It can’t possibly be that you have no understanding of the american criminal justice system or worse you do and you want to alter it to fit an agenda. No it must just be that I’m gross. Ugh

      • bellejarblog October 7, 2014 at 2:38 am #

        I’m deleting your comments because your words are hurtful and gross. And you are directing them towards an 18 year old kid who is a rape survivor. Normally if it’s just me IGAF because I literally don’t care what shitty shit you want to post here – it serves as a reminder to me (and my readers) that misogyny is alive and well. But when you’re targeting a kid? Who’s here reading these comments? Nope.

      • Wilson October 7, 2014 at 2:48 am #

        Ok but lets be clear here. I never attacked the girl in the article but rather your assertions. A simple reading of my posts would reveal that. But honestly go ahead and delete all you want you’ve already been exposed by basement shaming me.

      • bellejarblog October 7, 2014 at 3:05 am #

        Ok but let’s be clear here. You delight in being banned from spaces. I’ve seen posts about it on your blog. You come in here, call me a troll (which by the way it’s p lol how you keep misusing that word), and then expect me to politely hand you stats on rape convictions.

        Oh and I was apparently supposed to divine out of “troll troll troll your boat” that what you REALLY wanted were stats proving that very few rapes are actually prosecuted. Anyway, here they are. It was super hard for me to get them. I had to google “statistics rape low conviction percentage.”

        http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/100000-assaults-1000-rapists-sentenced-shockingly-low-conviction-rates-revealed-8446058.html

        https://rainn.org/news-room/97-of-every-100-rapists-receive-no-punishment

        http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/9793210/Fewer-than-one-in-30-rapes-lead-to-a-conviction-figures-show.html

        Anyway congrats you further traumatized a teenage girl and you got me to go find what you purportedly wanted (nb: you did not actually want these, you wanted a tiny amount of control over the situation). You’re welcome.

      • Wilson October 7, 2014 at 3:11 am #

        I don’t expect you to do anything other than what you’ve done which is name call and divert and delete.

      • bellejarblog October 7, 2014 at 3:46 am #

        Weird how when I actually respond with the information you purportedly actually want, suddenly I’m name-calling (from the dude who started out this thread calling me a troll). I’m diverting (from the dude who is diverting attention away from the fact that I’ve actually answered his question) and deleting (comments that were hurtful to the rape survivor).

        Oh boo hoo the internet is sad, women are mean to me, and I have no ability to take responsibility for my words and actions.

      • Wilson October 7, 2014 at 3:57 am #

        Well see you get sooo close to discourse then you troll back to “oh boo boo women are mean to me”.

      • Wilson October 7, 2014 at 3:26 am #

        Thats pretty weak dude honestly, even for you exploiting a teenager?

      • mgpcoe October 7, 2014 at 4:32 am #

        Dude what the fuck is your problem? You aren’t coming in here to have a reasoned, intelligent discussion about things police departments could do be more considerate of the people they’re sworn to protect. You’re here to start shit and to piss people off.

        You *are* a troll. That is the very definition of trolling, as in trawling for people to hook onto your line of bullshit. Fuck off on out of it and quit riding the coattails of someone who’s striving to–and succeeding, I might add, considering 15K readers here, 4K Twitter followers, 8K Facebook fans, multiple publications in print, and a live news interview, to mention only a few–improve the world and further the evolution of the human race.

        You come here looking to rile people up, to get people upset, to stir up pain. You come here, saying “troll troll troll your boat” to.. what end? And then suggest that Belle is the one who isn’t behaving civilly? Go back under the rock you crawled out from, and we’ll see you in few hundred millennia, after you’ve developed some capacity for basic human empathy.

        If *you* care to go back and read other comment threads, you’ll see that detractors and dissent are generally allowed to speak their piece, so that, if nothing else, we can all see the ignorant, hateful shit that spews forth from their minds. This is not an echo chamber. Your comments aren’t being deleted because you disagree. Your comments are being deleted because you, in particular, are an asshole, and you’re being shown the door. This isn’t high school Debate Club, where you score points for technique and lose points for committing logical fallacies; this is a conversation among human beings where there are other rules that govern the general decorum. There are real people behind the names you read on the screen and we aren’t here for your amusement.

        We are trying to make a better world for ourselves, for each other, and for our children. You rail into the dark, into the void, screaming, begging to be heard, but you have nothing to say, nothing to contribute. You want only to be heard, only to be acknowledged, and you’ve learned that trying to hurt and harass people gets a response more reliably than trying to solve problems. I feel sorry for the child you were when you learned this, because all he wanted was someone’s attention. And all he ever learned how to do was to try to hurt people.

        Go away.

      • Wilson October 7, 2014 at 4:37 am #

        Whoa dude chill. No need to go all buffalo bill with the lotion in the basket.

      • Wilson October 7, 2014 at 5:04 am #

        How many points do I get for kicking your a…I mean copy of whatever it is you kids read now that keeps you this way.

      • LawTalkingGavin (@LawTalkingGavin) October 7, 2014 at 12:59 pm #

        Wilson: “How many points do I get for kicking your a…”

        Well let’s negotiate that. You give me your full name and place of work, I’ll come down and discuss with you how many points you will get for kicking my a… book. I’ll bring my book.

        Really – it’s a real offer. I find that usually the first macho prick to start talking about ass-kicking is a weak kneed coward who is only brave enough to say those things anonymously on the internet. That’s you. And then sometimes there’s me. So go ahead, post up your real name and address or phone number here, and we can have a good, PERSONAL conversation about who is kicking whose ass for how much.

        It’ll be fun for at least one of us I promise.

      • Wilson October 9, 2014 at 5:54 am #

        This honestly made me laugh. You must be a big fan of gladiator movies. Why don’t you post your coordinates since youre serious and a tough guy.

      • guessingatnormal October 11, 2014 at 6:26 am #

        I’ve read your posts here except for whatever Bell deleted, and if that was worse than what I’ve read, I don’t blame her for deleting it. You are a bastard-coated bastard with bastard filling and a GIGANTIC asshole troll douchebag piece of shit. You need to go crawl back in whatever hole you slithered out of, because YOU ARE DISGUSTING.

      • Wilson October 11, 2014 at 6:37 am #

        Does this mean a date is out of the question?

      • Lori October 11, 2014 at 6:50 am #

        This article is about my child, her being raped & then the disrespect shown to her via the sheriffs dept. Could you please stop? I realize this whole thing is a joke to you, but I have a daughter who is still having nightmares & flashbacks. This is very real. Whether the piece of garbage was convicted or not, he violated my child, my little girl…in the worst way. And as she is growing into a strong young woman, trying to find a voice in all this…what you see as games & something to fill your time with is actually undermining the entire purpose of my daughters name & photo being used in the first place. So please, I am asking you nicely to move along & give this article & us a little bit of respect.

      • Wilson October 11, 2014 at 7:04 am #

        Its far from a joke to me, and I have stated my disgust for the asshole that did that to your daughter, however i won’t apologize for reiterating and restating that we live in a country of law that is based upon a presumption of innocence and I would argue as vehemently on your or your daughters behalf if you were accused of a crime.

      • Lori October 11, 2014 at 7:21 am #

        And I thank you for that. I understand where you are coming from, that so many cry rape when it didn’t happen. And that makes it so much harder for those of us who were in fact raped bc then we are on trial instead of the accused. Women are less likely to report it. The hard truth is my daughter was raped. There is no question, no denying it. Your last, very sarcastic, comment about the date is what pissed me off. I am assuming you are a grown man and as such it just would’ve been nice, considering the nature of this article & the fact that Josie is reading the comments etc… If you’d handled yourself a bit better. My daughter is sarcastic, funny, smart, loves llamas, likes to dye her hair bright pink & take over the radio in the car…and deserves more respect than she has been shown. That’s all I’m asking. No apologies.

      • Wilson October 11, 2014 at 7:38 am #

        I support rape shield laws as well as prosecuting attorneys having victims advocates to aid rape victims in navigating the traumatizing steps that have to be taken in prosecuting rape as a crime.

      • georgefinnegan October 11, 2014 at 3:25 pm #

        The problem with the idea that ‘we live in a country of presumption of innocence’ is that it is a system contrived by men that, at best, just approximates the truth, but is most suited to be used to address things like theft and murder. It usually fails when it comes to justice for rape victims – especially for children who have been molested. It is the government’s means of deciding what to do with criminals. Under our laws the government can’t deprive a citizen of his or her freedom without due process. That’s fine. However, we are not the government. Assuming that all of society has to be confined to the decision a handfull of people in a court decide about a crime just isn’t completely valid. I can’t execute a person because I think he was a rapist, but I can choose to not hire him or her, or I can fire them. And I can screw with them on social media. Because I personally know that most rapists walk free and that is the way it is. If someone commits a crime, they’re the same asshole whether they’re convicted or not – and, yes, they are still a criminal and I can call them a criminal if I choose to do so, even if it isn’t found in court. There’s the relative justice found in court and there’s the absolute justice that happens in the rest of life. I’ll bet that you spend a lot of time complaining about what the government does. This ‘due process’ system, when it comes to rape, is one of those ‘government things’ that I complain about.

        Moreover, I can tell you’ve never been raped. Men who’ve never been raped think that the system of presenting evidence to juries is so important so that we can keep who ‘may be innocent’, but who is most likely a rapist, out of jail. Men who have never been raped don’t have a clue about the trauma it causes. You can fantasize about it, and make noises as if you’re sympathetic, but your response here really shows you don’t even have an idea worth entertaining. You should keep your mouth shut and listen for awhile. Maybe people who have been raped tend to be very passionate about protecting others from abuse; they look to others who have had similar experiences for support; they’ve seen justice not properly served over and over; they’ve been assaulted to the point of being paralyzed by fear, and that paralysis is used against them in courts. There are many, many more people who have been condemned to a life fighting the effects of trauma from rape than those who go to prison because of false accusations of it – that is injustice in the absolute. What do you expect of us? If you can’t say something well, you shouldn’t say anything at all. If you really believe what you say, you should find a more constructive way of expressing it because, otherwise, no one will want to listen to you.

      • Wilson October 11, 2014 at 4:30 pm #

        I respect your right to have an opinion, no matter how bizarre and idiotic it is.

      • georgefinnegan October 11, 2014 at 5:45 pm #

        You obviously know when you’ve been bested! Thanks for your comment!

      • Wilson October 11, 2014 at 5:58 pm #

        Obviously! Have a great day and don’t forget your helmet.

      • georgefinnegan October 11, 2014 at 6:25 pm #

        You have a nice day, too! And don’t forget your veil!

      • Athena October 7, 2014 at 5:23 pm #

        “…further the evolution of the human race.”

        It’s revealing that while making arguments that certain types of people deserve special treatment, you adopt the language of fascism.

      • athenarcarson9 October 7, 2014 at 2:56 am #

        No, you’re obviously an internet basement dweller because rather than civilly disagree, you open with “troll, troll, troll your boat.”

      • Wilson October 7, 2014 at 3:08 am #

        U mad?

      • Wilson October 7, 2014 at 3:01 am #

        Josie if youre the subject of the article I apologize for being insensitive. Yes he is a piece of shit and a disgrace of a man for raping you. The problem with letting obvious trolls like bellejar tell your story is that its couched in an agenda.

      • Lori October 7, 2014 at 3:58 am #

        I am Josie’s mother…I approached & asked for this article. The only “agenda” was to get the word out that the agency that was supposed to protect my daughter dropped the ball & re-traumatized her. Granted it may be standard procedure & it’s nothing personal on their part, it is very personal to a rape survivor. It needs to be known that this happened & it needs to be changed. How many other rape victims have been re-traumatized bc they unknowingly received back their clothing? It’s disgusting, violating & shameful on their part. Josie & I ok’d the article before it was published & if you have a problem with it, take it up with me. I fucking dare you.

      • Robb October 7, 2014 at 2:09 pm #

        Lori,
        I want to start by apologizing for what you had to go through, it is abhorrent that we don’t have policies protecting all victims to this extent.
        might I ask, what methods would you propose to rectify this and to change the policy to the better, and how do you suggest we as a whole proceed in reaching that goal? I suggested one method above (and would love your take), but I’m sure there are many other valid methods.

      • Lori October 7, 2014 at 11:26 pm #

        Robb…I think in the case of sexual assault, when evidence is collected, they need to ask if it is wanted back. There should be some sort of indication on the bag what kind of case the evidence is relevant to. Any type of evidence left from sexual assaults should be handled differently & seperatly than say someone who had their sneakers confiscated as evidence in a robbery. This has caused an upheaval in our family & I cannot get anyone to call me back. As far as this being part of rape culture…I don’t know. But I do know ppl don’t want to talk about it. Want to ignore it. Don’t want it taking up space on their shelf bc it’s an icky reminder that they failed to protect & serve a young girl. And now that they’ve dropped the ball & fucked this kid over again, they want it to go away in a neatly folded paperbag. What do I want to happen, you ask? For this to not happen again. Plain & simple.

      • LawTalkingGavin (@LawTalkingGavin) October 7, 2014 at 12:57 pm #

        Wilson: ” The problem with letting obvious trolls like bellejar tell your story…”

        I’m sorry, the problem here is your total lack of self-awareness. A TROLL is someone who makes inflammatory comments on a post in order to generate a negative emotional reaction. By definition, an original poster and author cannot be a troll.

        On the other hand, YOU are a troll, because YOU are jumping on here (responding, not starting a conversation) to make inflammatory personal comments in order to derail the conversation with negative emotional responses.

        You, Wilson, are trolling, right here and right now.

        If you’re going to shit on someone at least use the right words, hypocrite.

      • josie October 7, 2014 at 8:12 pm #

        I am the subject of this and you are an insensitive douchebag. You apologize for being insensitive yet continue with the rude remarks. You should look up what sorry means. Smh. I have no idea who the woman who wrote this is and she does not know me yet she took the time out her, I’m assuming busy, day and wrote this. To help me, to help my mother, and every other rape survivor out there. She is not a troll, nor is her blog. She is an amazing woman who does what she can to help others. She didn’t have to write this, she didn’t have to help me out or my mom or any other survivor out there, but she did. So Wilson, or whatever your name is, fuck off. If you don’t like what she has to stay then leave it alone rather than being childish and keep commenting some irrelevant shit on here.

  4. mgpcoe October 6, 2014 at 11:31 pm #

    Are you still here?

  5. poorsickandshunned October 6, 2014 at 11:47 pm #

    Things like this should never happen. Following procedure has trumped all decency and common sense. It’s absolutely inexcusable.

  6. Viki October 7, 2014 at 12:17 am #

    Oh hi, member of the Army of Sycophantic Waterheads (ASW), here.

    Thank you for sharing this. ❤

  7. Frances Locke October 7, 2014 at 1:08 am #

    This is a fantastic piece and Josie, don’t listen to the troll/trolls who might comment here. They have serious issues and don’t speak for the majority. Also, can I be the first to make an “Army of Sycophantic Waterheads” t-shirt for the Bell Jar fan club? I am a feminist zombie looking for DUDEBRO BRAAAAINS!!!

  8. Amanda Rose Adams October 7, 2014 at 1:14 am #

    Josie, you are strong to tell your story and share your truth. Sexual predators succeed in victimizing others because they think they are entitled to take whatever they want without consequences. It doesn’t matter if it’s little boys, little girls, grown women, or grown men, there are predators in this world who dehumanize and degrade others to make themselves feel powerful. I’m proud of you for taking some of your power back. I could tell you to ignore the hateful and the ignorant, but it is the hateful and ignorant that create cover for predators by trying to justify debasement and violence. Your violation does not define you, and you do not deserve additional abuse. You are worthy of so much better.

  9. Asha October 7, 2014 at 2:12 am #

    Josie, you are an extraordinary young woman. You are stronger, braver and more articulate than I could ever have been at your age, than I am now. I’m so sorry you were treated with such contempt by the Clerk County Sheriff’s office. There may be reasons to follow standard procedure, but there is never an excuse to treat someone cruelly or inhumanely.

    You never have to explain yourself to anyone, and you most certainly don’t have to do so to misogynistic internet trolls.

  10. Martina Clark October 7, 2014 at 3:01 am #

    Thank you so much for this post – it is sad but we must continue to remind people how long the effects continue after sexual assault. You – and the women in this story – inspire me!

  11. Jenny F. October 7, 2014 at 3:13 am #

    Thank you for writing difficult truths in the face of such maliciousness.

  12. Noni October 7, 2014 at 3:45 am #

    Reblogged this on The Big Picture, The Fine Print and commented:
    If you think there’s no such thing as rape culture, you need to read this.

  13. Jessica October 7, 2014 at 4:21 am #

    Wilson , how in the world do you define an internet troll, lol!? And every example of a personal attack is not an ad hominem. You need to understand logical fallacies and their application before you throw stuff like that out there.

    The presumption of innocence IS one reason why most rapists are not not convicted, obviously, but it doesn’t presume that the rape never happened at all – just that we can’t prove who did it. The statement by Bell that most rapists aren’t convicted is hard truth both by logic and by numbers.

  14. Val October 7, 2014 at 8:10 pm #

    What the Sheriff’s department did was bone-headed and insensitive, whether it was from oversight or if it were an actual policy someone thought out. To call it “rape culture” is to trivialize attitudes that are truly dismissive of rape victims or supportive of rapists. When I was a teenager in the ’80’s, there was still some popular sentiment (though it was fading fast by that time) that a woman who was raped was “where she shouldn’t be” or wearing clothes that were “too revealing”,or some other such nonsense. A woman who had been raped was still seen by some as damaged goods. Culturally we have come a long way in our attitudes about rape.

    The fact that this girl was subjected to an inconsiderate practice in returning property to a victim is not evidence that the people at the sheriff’s department aren’t sensitive to rape. Since they do this for ALL types of crimes (according to the story), they apparently have become so insensitive to the impact that this will have on victims of violent crimes that they don’t think to tell ANYONE what the surprise package contains. I think that drawing attention to this story can be a great help in implementing policies to better handle return of evidence to victims of traumatic assaults, but I think calling it a product of “rape culture” overlooks the fact that it was not singling out any one type of victim for this treatment and that when buzzwords like this are over-used, many people tune them out to the point that the true “rape culture” thinking is ignored as just more hype.

  15. operationnoshame October 7, 2014 at 10:43 pm #

    Stay strong Josie! Rape culture is a thing and it’s evident in Josie’s story. Thanks for sharing
    http://www.operationnoshame.tumblr.com

  16. Maggie October 7, 2014 at 11:53 pm #

    I went to school with you and though we never hung out much you were and still are beautiful. This is vile and you shouldn’t have to go through this, it takes a lot to get yourself to atleast be able to sleep at night after a nightmere like this, but for it to reappear makes all of what you tried so hard to get through come back. You’ve done it once before so you already know how strong you are, your beautiful, and you and your family can get through it together. Just keep in mind some days will be worse then others but you have lots of support! Stay strong! Don’t ever give up, so many other people only wish they were as strong as you..

  17. Wilson October 9, 2014 at 5:27 am #

    Ugh its truly sad that I have to make this distinction as it should be obvious to everyone. I do not condone rape, in fact I find it heinous, but rape is a crime and like anyone charged with a crime they have constitutional rights including the right to confront their accusers. I support rape shield statutes that prevent certain evidence about the victim from being presented. If a rape victim chooses not to go and report it and have it prosecuted that is their choice, it can’t be an easy decision to make, however we can’t forget even in our country’s short history how rape allegations have cost many african american males their lives (I’m white as a snowflake btw). Again its sad that I have to make this distinction, but that’s seems to be where we are on this issue.

    • katherinejlegry November 26, 2014 at 5:06 am #

      Wow, Wilson you’re really odd how you go after women on every issue except rape (supposedly)… although I know you like torture-porn according to that film blog discussing horror genres… I guess I’m going to keep encountering your harassment of women being that we are ending up in similar blog spaces.

      I wish you were okay. If you were okay, you wouldn’t need to call anyone idiots. You wouldn’t tell them to lighten up after purposefully trying to break them down. And you wouldn’t make everything your own personal joke. I really wish you were okay.

      • Wilson November 26, 2014 at 5:11 am #

        Well I honestly never meant to offend you, and no I despise torture porn, nor a have I ever purposefully broken a woman down.

      • katherinejlegry November 26, 2014 at 5:18 am #

        Okay… I don’t believe you Wilson. Verbal and emotional abuse hurts. Name calling and belittling people hurts. Taking away someones voice by minimizing it, invalidating it, or talking over it, is breaking a person down. You do try to intentionally offend me and others and I wish you felt better. I wish you were happier. I’m sorry you don’t feel so good about women and that every thing they seem to do makes you feel somehow alienated.

        And I guess I thought you liked torture porn, since you wrote about how people should check out torture porn… as a recommended horror genre. Otherwise, why mention it?

        But usually when I talk to you, you will come back and say you didn’t say what you did, so I just wish you felt better. For real, man.

      • Wilson November 26, 2014 at 5:30 am #

        The movie that I recommended in that post is a french movie called martyrs and it is a horrible thing to watch in that it takes the torture porn that american cinema has rolled out in so many movies where you dont see the actual violence perpetrated on the female victims, and instead makes you witness it in full. Its an indictment of american obsession with violence against women which is why its so scary.

      • katherinejlegry November 26, 2014 at 5:41 am #

        A Scary topic and yet it sounds like visual glorification. Maybe not so much about film making or “art” or horror as a way to discuss fears but more about fetish and that’s debatable and so scary on a cultural level but maybe not as in the traditional narrative sense.

        But anyway, the larger point was not to discuss film. It’s just that when I encounter you on blogs you are usually going after women in the same intentionally hurtful way and calling it opinion. So I just wanted to tell you I hope you’re gonna be okay and I wish you felt better. I don’t like the toxic feelings I get from reading your comments. I hate feeling negative about you. I don’t want that for you or for me. But I can’t change anything about it… you keep on doing the same things. I notice a lot of people edit your meanest comments out… so I guess we are all navigating best we can.

      • Wilson November 26, 2014 at 5:47 am #

        Yeah we all keep beating against the waves of mean comments.

      • Wilson November 26, 2014 at 6:00 am #

        Yeah I really dont give a shit. You all have the block option.

      • katherinejlegry November 26, 2014 at 6:16 am #

        You do too care. You come around caring about none of your business everywhere you go and act completely uncaring because you care very deeply to be a shit.

        I can’t believe you actually read James Baldwin (as I recall from some comment or maybe the one time I checked out your site…) and yet we can’t have an honest conversation. Like why your need to not care far out weighs your caring about people’s feelings. Why communication is something you use to stop things rather than to expand on them.

        But I will leave you alone… I don’t care for you at all but I can care about you as a human in general and so respect your need to be a hater.

      • Wilson November 26, 2014 at 6:21 am #

        Honestly I didnt mean to offend you, im just an old frat boy

      • katherinejlegry November 26, 2014 at 11:47 am #

        Really, you are an “old frat boy”? Um… I guess thanks for the insight.

        You know college campuses where rape and sexual assault are at an all time high, makes the frat boy label not a good excuse but more a scary indicator species, for the hazing and tolerance of gang banging among other things.

        So on a certain social level I am agreeing to your truce you asked for but on deeper personal level, there will always be that battle between us… I simply hope it doesn’t not trigger again. I don’t want to fight you but I know I’m fighting for what’s right when I do.

      • Wilson November 27, 2014 at 12:55 am #

        Well when I was a frat boy things were different we didnt tolerate that shit. We made swift harsh examples of members who engaged in that sort of disrespectful dipshittery.

      • katherinejlegry November 29, 2014 at 12:42 pm #

        Things were not different in the “good old days” Wilson, they were just under reported or women weren’t taken seriously when they did. But I’m glad to hear your particular Frat was vigilantly opposed.

        Anyhow, the language you use to speak with and to go after women on feminist or body image, domestic violence, or female-issue blogs and the amusement and laughter you write as you do these things, or the insults you finally end up with, or the “I could give a shit” when you get bored, suggests that you encourage the degradation of women. And that doesn’t help survivors of rape or abuse or young women trying to discover who and what they are as they are evolving. And you don’t know what subtle or overt emotional and verbal bullying does, apparently because you use it so easily… and then tell people to lighten up.

        I appreciate that you are very against rape. But I wish you could understand how your language and interactions undermine you and the women you are speaking with ultimately.

        Thanks for this “civilized” dialogue. Peace.

      • Wilson December 1, 2014 at 1:04 am #

        Point taken. My argument wasn’t that things were better it just seems like we were more vigilant in self policing those situations that would lead to sexual assault/rape in college. And it wasnt “white knighting” it was full on getting your ass humiliated and maybe beat if you even attempted that against women.

      • katherinejlegry December 1, 2014 at 5:08 pm #

        Oh… Thanks for sharing your personal stuff a little more.

        And as much as it’s upstanding to have zero tolerance for rape and sexual harassment as you have come to understand those terms, Fraternity guys sound very hard on one another which undoubtedly nurtures an attitude and outward behavior among your brethren that has you all acting harder on women verbally and emotionally too. There is an anger and aggression at one another, in your self-policing and fraternity policing that maybe should be discussed among you all. If you only operate out of violence and beatings or humiliation to curb each other, you are successfully bottling up feelings which if they only end up in powder-kegging, can only perpetuate a cycle of force, power, abuse, and punishment. There can’t be true understanding in that, just a sense of duty. That’s not “brotherhood” or “friendship” or “fellowship” even if it’s tradition and business networking. Without sensitivity and self awareness as to how you effect the women you laugh at and insult verbally as we have discussed on numerous blog occasions and on many different blogs by now, and which you continue to deny or to evade and call truce over so that you do not have to own your words as anything other than something light hearted that meant no offense, and so that you do not need to apologize to me or care about me… makes Fraternities dangerous places for boys to be taught how to be men.

        But I really appreciate your discussing this as openly and as honestly as you’ve been able to, Wilson. Thank you.

      • Wilson December 2, 2014 at 11:13 pm #

        Thats actually a very good point about encouraging violence, we never really thought it through it was just the way you acted. I will concede that younger men these days do seem to have a sense of entitlement that feminists rightfully rally against. Ill be the first to admit I can be insensitive, however if I truly offend someone in an attempt at humor im the first to stop doing it.

      • katherinejlegry December 3, 2014 at 12:49 am #

        Hello there Wilson,

        I’m not really sure what you mean by “younger men these days do seem to have a sense of entitlement…”

        Feminists necessitated as a movement and rallied back in the day due to the male sense of entitlement. So…young, old, whatever.

        But that being said, I appreciate you taking some time to consider some of my questions and feelings.

        I think a lot of people do things because of the whole “it’s just the way you acted” sentiment… and it’s a tricky thing to recognize because once you do… do you keep up a bad tradition? And if you do keep up a bad tradition what is the excuse? (what I mean by bad, is one that really isn’t working for the health of the brothers, because how could humiliation and beatings be healthy for long if at all?)

        Anyhow… thanks again for the dialogue… I hope you have a good night.

      • katherinejlegry November 26, 2014 at 6:17 am #

        well, not need to be a hater but you choice to be you…

        Okay now I leave you alone………………

      • Wilson November 26, 2014 at 6:25 am #

        Well truce?

  18. sellmaeth November 22, 2014 at 5:01 pm #

    To be honest, I wouldn’t have known what impact it would have had on a rape survivor to have to pick up the clothes she was raped in. I can totally see myself thinking it’s a good thing that she gets those clothes back, after all they are hers and she might want to burn them or something.
    However, I’m not a Sheriff. I’m just an individual who is bad with people and therefore doesn’t work in a job that involves people. People who are usually capable of compassion not having any compassion for rape victims is certainly a sign of rape culture.

  19. Lori November 26, 2014 at 6:27 am #

    I’m Josie’s mom & thought I’d give an update…I’ve spoken with the director of our local YWCA & she met with a representative from the sheriffs office to discuss this. I also was finally able to speak to someone in the sheriffs dept (call enough & they’ll call back just so you’ll stop) & eventually spoke to the right person. It has been brought before the powers that be & presented to the civil Attny who handles all procedure changes, as it has to be done legally. It’s a slow, tedious process, but I’m not letting it go & we are working towards a better solution.
    Josie is doing okay, some days are harder than others…the holidays especially so. Thank you ever so much for your words of support & kindness. They really do make a difference to my daughter.

  20. iantmacleod December 12, 2015 at 6:51 am #

    To Josie and Lori – I’m so sorry about what’s happened to you both in this idiot country, though it’s hardly limited to here. You’ve taken strength from it though, choosing to grab whatever positive you can from it and not just choosing to grow, but to help others as well. Well done!

    For what it’s worth I’d like to add there are many (not enough) males out here who do try to help. I’m a 60 y/o disabled vet now, but was and to some degree still am a martial artist (and a singer/songwriter/musician, an old medic and other things), and I spent a lot of time when I was younger and sometimes still do walking or driving girls/women home, being an escort, or just lending a sympathetic ear. I still do that when I can, and I can still provide a temporary shelter sometimes – the extra room has a lock on the inside. Sometimes it costs me a few thefts, but that’s life and I know the risk.

    It amazes me how many young women there are who are homeless these days. There are a lot of homeless, period, and too many are women. It seems that sex, if it can be called that, or at the least harassment, is too often the price for a small measure of safety. This is a sick and likely dying culture I’m afraid, and it’s about to get worse with the influx of Muslims, which is very much a rape culture. I hope you both stay safe and well; in fact I hope you’re armed! I just wanted to congratulate you on your clear victories, and to let you know there are some of us out here who care and do what we can to help.

    Continuing good fortune to you. Be well, Stay Strong, and Be Happy! Life is too short for anything less.

    Ian

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. When We Talk About Rape Culture | The Stretch For Something Beautiful - October 8, 2014

    […] culture is investigative police evidence, such as the clothes a rape survivor wore the night of her assault, being returned to traumatized rape victims. Rape culture is being told that you deserved it […]

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