|Lock 'em up|
Image by gwaddell via morgueFile
The latest violation of human rights that caught my eye happened up in Minnesota. An 89-year-old woman in a nursing home was raped by one of the male “caregivers.” That, in and of itself, is pretty fucking evil. The guy was 30, and he overpowered and raped a woman old enough to be his grandmother. Unfortunately, that isn’t even the worst part of this story.
The woman told her daughter the next morning; her daughter told the police.
That’s when it got even worse.
The victim (referred to as the survivor in the news article) was taken to a locked psych ward and held there for three days. The nurse examiner declared that the room “was dark and cold … and they locked her in at night and all she had was a blanket.”
This happened, by the way, to determine whether or not she’d been raped. Not that they ran a rape kit or did a physical exam. And not that the rapist hadn’t already admitted (the day her daughter called the police) to the police that he had, in fact, had sex with her.
It took three days of confinement before they finally examined her, and then, the nurse examiner said, “the laceration that resulted from the rape was the “biggest tear” she had ever seen in her six years of work in the field.”
So why did they lock her up in a psych ward? Why did they ignore her claim? Oh, the administration of the nursing home claimed that they thought the sex was consensual. Because, you know, the administration is all knowing, far more than the woman herself who was raped.
And the sad thing is that this was not the first or only time that a victim was locked up.
Literally three days later (Feb 21 – Feb 24), a Washington (state, not D.C.) woman who had been kidnapped and raped was kidnapped by the legal system. Okay, maybe they didn’t phrase it quite that way, but they arrested her. The victim. Because she wasn’t showing up to all her pre-trial meetings with prosecutors.
Yes, the victim was re-victimized, this time by the state, because she wasn’t overly eager to be part of the case. Well, let’s be honest here – most victims of kidnappings and rapes aren’t exactly eager to face their accusers in court. What’s awesome is that she has not been charged with any crime, but they’re holding her to force her to testify.
Wait, let’s go over that one again.
They are kidnapping a woman to force her to talk about a kidnapping. They are forcing her to talk about what happened to her.
I won’t argue that the case needs to be tried. I won’t argue that they need testimony to get the case through. But I will argue that perhaps, just perhaps, there might be a better way to handle the situation. Like maybe one that includes support instead of a prison cell.
I think we need to start treating our women – and our victims – like they are victims. We need to stop making abuse worse. We need to start helping people heal instead of causing more damage. And we need to do it now. Not tomorrow. Not next week. Not in the next election.