Speak up: Prevent Sexual Assault Cycle

by Vanessa Daniela

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I know it is painful to write about our traumas, let alone seeing our deepest, more raw, and highly embarrassing feelings in print. If, we do not talk about the pain and humiliation we feel, we will never be heard. Worse yet, violence is going to keep happening over and over again to other women and girls unless we say, “Stop!” through any media possible.

I would like to tell you a story that I heard on November 3rd on the #Guyswefucked podcast. If you never listen to it, please do not judge by the name. The hostesses, Corinne Fisher and Krystyna Hutchinson, are always telling funny stories, but also discussing relevant subjects such as sexism, racism, and women’s rights.

I will summarize the letter that one of the hostesses narrated: A girl asked for help with a tough situation that she has been in for far too long. When she was a freshman in college, she became an EMT on the College Rescue Squad. What she thought was the best decision she had made, because she loved to help people and she was very willing to help anyone regardless of the situation. The Squad worked very closely with the police and dealt with women and girls who were raped or had gone thru vulnerable situations related to their gender.

After one year working at the Rescue, the Rescue captain started flirting with her. She considered him only as a coworker and did not want to give him any chance to think otherwise because she thought that was not appropriate. She felt they were on honest terms until she found out that she had been taken off from the Squad list as an EMT eligible to enter in an advanced class to gain her certification. She was so mad after this discovery that she was determined to work even harder toward her goal. She came to work, even during her time off, to help people.

The Captain was always on her shift, even when he was not working. In the beginning, she thought that was annoying, but then she thought again. Perhaps that situation would be good because he could see how much effort she was putting in. She hoped he would sign her off to take the advanced class. After a month of this pattern of behaviors, she was glad to be training with on the duty crew. However, one night when the duty crew got a call, they left by themselves – without her.

Since she thought the training was done, she started to pack up the equipment. However, the Captain told her she was not finished. He said that he wanted to expand her knowledge and see her work even harder before leaving; he told her that would start with the heart monitor. He told her to lie on the stretcher and take the role of a patient. She was hesitant, immediately a sick feeling come over her.

She asked him if they could use the dummy as the heart patient, but he said, “No. Then he explained that it was in the training closet. And, as this was going to be a quick training, he did not want to get it out.

She accepted the role of the patient with the reassurance that he said it would be a fast training exercise. He started putting the electrons on her, but as she was wearing a sports bra; it was hard for him to put them on. When he told her to take off the sports bra, she refused. Then, he told her to lie down. He got his trauma shears and started cutting her other clothes off. She tried to fall back and push him away, but she was too weak against his strength. She screamed and asked him to stop! However, he did not listen to her. At that point, she mentally blacked out. She only remembered the heart monitor beeping really fast because her heart was pounding so rapidly. When she became conscious and looked down, her clothes were all cut. He said that the training was over.

It took a week for her to get the nerve to go the campus police, but they did not help her. They just made offensive jokes. She went to different police departments; nobody would believe her. After that, she took a month off from the College Rescue Squad, but the captain always would try to talk with her in class. She tried to go back to the Rescue Squad. However, she would have a panic attack every time due to recalling her traumatic experience in that space. She lost friends and she was labeled as “a drama queen.” So, she decided to transfer schools and rescue squads. EMT teams are like a community as it is a hard job woven with trust in each other; no one would give her a recommendation because of the effects of trust being ripped away by her captain. She was finally able to transfer as an EMS to a town that was close by.

After a year of trying to recover from her traumatic experience, going to therapy, and moving to a new location, she was able to move inside the new organization. She got the job she wanted. Soon, the captain from the College Rescue Squad got a job as ED tech in the hospital where she reported. He was off College Rescue Squad since he had graduated from college; the other squad was all just college students. His new job in the hospital was basically to assist the nurses. Now, her job was to bring patients and transfer their care to him, which made her sick to her stomach. Even though, she knew they were in good hands in their relationship to his medical skills, her haunting memories of his violation of her trust on a personal level would not rest in her mind.

However, she continued to do her job. One night she got a call to rescue a seventeen-year-old female who was raped at gunpoint. She and her team got there and it appeared like any other rape call: (1) careful not to mess up a crime scene, (2) make sure that the patient was medically stable, and (3) try to get the story right from the victim. Protocol demands that EMT’s advocate for the victims they rescue even after they drop them off in the hospital. Sometimes EMT’s testify in court, if necessary. EMT’s document everything they find to have accurate written records. This procedure is so important because usually EMT’s are the first people to contact with victims after an assault.

All rape calls hit an empathetic emotional hot nerve for her. She was always ready to help those victims with a higher level of compassion than other EMT’s. She promised every girl that each of them would safe in the hospital. However, this one night, when her team arrived at the hospital and entered a room, former “Captain” shows up. He introduces himself to the victim and asks to take her vitals. She lost her ability to remain calm inside; she did not know what to do. She watched her rapist touch this new, young, recently traumatize rape victim in less than one hour from the time that her assault had happened. The pain that she felt at the moment was worse than what she had felt during the time when she was being raped. Her drive to protect this younger victim overcome her ability to remain either emotional calm or physically detached.

She told the hospital staff that the young girl victim should have a female staff member take her vital signs. Luckily, the former “Captain” was escorted from the room. She watched this scene and heard her inner voice saying, “It kills me to know that he is there treating people who went thru the same trauma I did and then they are in a vulnerable situation again in the hospital when he is present!”

She went to the police, friends, and organizations to explain the situation. She spoke the truth, but she was not heard. None of the people she reached out to listened to her. They did not listen, or take any action; they only made sure that the victim was okay. However, they did nothing to her abuser; he was still in the same hospital with that new victim. She is still trying very hard to get him fired from that position. She does not know what to do anymore to protect other women from harm except to speak out again, and again.

We hope that this girl victim finds the help she needs as well as all the newer victims of rape. Speak up, immediately, and later too; our voice will be heard here in print forever.

For the complete story please find the link to the podcast

Guys We Fucked

Episode from November 3rd, 2016

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/how-would-you-wear-brakes/id885960517?i=1000377487344&mt=2

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