How I Feel When the Person Who Sexually Assaulted Me Has Never Faced Justice
If you’ve experienced sexual abuse or assault, the following post could be potentially triggering. You can contact The National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 1-800-656-4673.
There are many reasons why justice is never served in sexual assault and abuse cases. Statutes of limitations, dynamics of the abuse, lack of evidence or for reasons we just do not understand. Whatever the reason, it is a terrible feeling to learn that the perpetrator can get away with what they did and go about their lives, while you suffer the devastating impact of the assault.
Every day, I know that the perpetrator in my situation gets up, goes to work and goes home to his family. I know he goes on vacations and gets to enjoy his life. He has never shown any remorse for what he has done and from what I have seen and heard, he has not changed at all.
Every day, I also get up, go to work and come home to my family. But throughout, I experience extreme anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). I experience flashbacks over a small reminder of my childhood. I have to pour so much energy into being “normal and functioning” that, by the end of the day, I have little left for anything else. Once I lie down at night, the fear, shame, feelings of disgust and self-hatred creep into my head. All of these things shouldn’t be mine — they should be his.
When justice cannot be served, it feels as if society is saying what he did is OK — that we will sit back and allow him to get away with it. This isn’t necessarily true — after all, we all learn about the constitutional rights afforded to all citizens in an attempt to protect us all. We watched “Schoolhouse Rock” in elementary school, teaching us to be thankful for these measures. However, as a survivor of sexual assault, this feels like a double-edged sword. For me, it is a system that allows him to walk the streets every day.
So, instead of knowing he is paying for his crime, I wait. I hear of other crimes he has committed and hope justice is served for those. I wait to hear he has finally been caught for something — that he finally will have to face what he has done. Most of all, I hope. I hope no one else has to go through what I did in order for that to happen. I hope I was the only one. I wait, I hope, I fear and just try to get through each day, despite knowing just how well his life is going.
Photo by Joshua Rawson-Harris on Unsplash