A little more than a year ago, a sixty-five-year-old man that I know invited me to have coffee with him, and I thought that it was a friendly gesture…. But as we were walking to the coffee shop, he forced me into his car…. He took me to his house, where he drugged me and raped me….
In view of this situation, I filed rape charges against him…. But I have received insulting phone calls saying that I am to blame for all of it. I don’t know what to do: whether to withdraw the charges and forgive this man, or to press on with the charges and hope that justice is done.
We are so very sorry for what happened to you! Your story is very frightening for all women. We are very thankful that your rapist didn’t take your life as well.
He didn’t kill you because he expected that you would not tell anyone what happened. That is probably because many women are so ashamed of what happened that they don’t report it. However, you have nothing to be ashamed of! You didn’t do anything wrong. This was a violent crime perpetrated against you, and it is not your fault!
We understand that the phone calls are disturbing. And we can see why you are frightened and are considering withdrawing the charges. But we urge you not to do it! Do not let this man get away with what he did to you! You are probably not the only one that he has violated, but you may be the only one who is strong enough to stand against him in court.
The judicial systems of many countries make it very difficult for rape victims to get justice. Many authorities treat them so badly that the victims don’t think it’s worth it to pursue charges against their rapist. If they do, they have to openly tell what happened to them, sometimes having to repeat it over and over to different officials. Then, in court, the rapist’s attorney claims that they were willing participants, forcing them to be on the defensive. And as if that were not humiliating enough, friends of the rapist do their best to shame the victims both publicly and privately.
There is a rape recorded in the Bible that we can all learn from. The rape victim was King David’s daughter, Tamar. Instead of hiding what happened to her, she put ashes on her head and ripped her clothes, wailing all the way back home. That was her way of showing that a terrible crime had been committed against her. It was so obvious to her brother that, when he asked her to confirm that the perpetrator was the man he suspected, there was no reason for her to keep it a secret. She knew that it was not her fault.
We believe that telling your story and naming the perpetrator is the best thing you can do. Certainly, the first step that you took, to tell the authorities and file rape charges against the perpetrator, was the right thing to do. But now, just as if you had been the victim of any other type of crime, don’t keep it a secret. The more people who know your story, the safer you and other innocent women will be.
We wish you well,