The Witness Cries (TW)

“Why did you not scream?” he said.

“You allowed him to continue,” he said.
“You accepted the risk of being raped.” These are the first three reasons survivors don’t report prosecutable rapes. It doesn’t matter that she was a child at the time of the assault. It doesn’t matter that she is one of over 30 survivors representing the state’s case today. It doesn’t matter that the tears she wiped away an hour ago are beginning to cut scars down her cheeks.

We do not care.
We do not care.
We do not care.

“You carried on as if nothing happened,” he said—the fourth reason survivors don’t report their rapes. It’s the responsibility of the victim to behave in a manner that’s consistent with her trauma. It doesn’t matter if the only way she thought she could survive was to feel nothing, say nothing, do nothing. She. Must. Fall. Apart or it wasn’t rape.

Untistled

“By how many centimetres did he penetrate you?” he said. This is the fifth reason survivors don’t report their rapes. The victim must pack away her fear and memorise the details or it was not rape. If she doesn’t know how much of his penis entered her, it was not rape. If she doesn’t know the date or the time, or the scent, the sight, the measurements, it. Was. Not. Rape.

“You had your phone with you,” he said. “You mean to tell me you couldn’t phone anyone for help.”

The sixth reason.

“I don’t understand why you didn’t ask him nicely to stop.”

The seventh reason.

“You basically consented.”

The eighth reason.

The absence of a scream is consent. The absence of memory is consent. The failure to politely communicate your displeasure is consent.

I left the room. I was too disgusted to listen to one more reason rape survivors don’t report their assaults, but this first survivor did not leave the room for three days of questioning. She will not leave the room for all the other days she must listen to the defence’s accusations. For the sake of future survivors, she will stand no matter how many times he pushes her down.

And so she stands.

She cries,

but stands nonetheless.

 

 

 

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