Image Credits: Instagram | @LASKI_Podcast
It’s Sexual Assault Awareness Month. This month, “Life As She Knows It” podcast hosted by Kimberly Corban and Kirsta Rinehart is dishing out some hard truths in terms of sexual assault. This episode specifically touches on what happens after someone is victimized. I finished this week’s episode, sat, and contemplated everything I had just learned. Instantly, I felt my mind churning. I had never thought about certain things the way I just heard them presented to me. I took away so much from this particular episode that I wanted to highlight some interesting points. To hear what they have to say in detail, I suggest listening to the episode “13 steps.” You can find the podcast and all it’s episodes here.
Here is what I learned that everyone should know:
Kimberly starts by sharing the story behind how she came to share her minute by minute tweets on her 10 year anniversary of her assault. If you haven’t read them, you can do that here. She was writing many of them in real time. When Kimberly finished at about 7:30 PM, she couldn’t believe she had just shared her story exactly as it had happened 10 years before. She said it felt cathartic and says that even though her story ended at that time, the reality of what was happening ten years prior was much different. She wanted to share how long the process takes through initially reporting.
What Were You Wearing
Kirsta talks about an art exhibit that is called “What Were You Wearing” which is obviously a question that is often asked when reporting your sexual assault. Some of the clothes you hear about, including children’s pajamas, is bone chilling and heart breaking.The exhibit’s purpose is to desexualize sexual assault. No, what you are wearing does not mean you are “asking” to be raped. No one asks for that.
The reason for details
This brings us to why these questions are asked. Both of the women say that one of the reasons a victim asks what they are wearing is because officers need to collect evidence that could be on the clothes. Co-host Kirsta also mentions that an officer has said that another reason they ask for details of what you were wearing is because if you were out in public, possible witnesses may remember you. They might even be able to catch you on cameras to track who you were with including your attacker. Kimberly mentions that officers may also ask what your attacker was wearing. This can assist in identifying him or her. Kimberly mentions that the questions regarding what the victim themselves were wearing often makes the victim feel as though they had done something wrong. Victims sometimes believe it is something the victim could’ve controlled – even though that is not at all the problem here, the problem is the person who attacked the victim. Both women mention that while questioning techniques are changing, some questions might feel offensive in nature even though the officer is simply trying to collect evidence.
These exams, which, for those who don’t know, are the exams that take place to collect evidence from a sexual assault victims body. SANE stands for Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner. It is a nurse that is certified in performing these exams and testifying in court. SANE Exams can be done without filing a police report. In fact, it is 100% free. It’s illegal to charge someone for their SANE Exam. Both women stress getting examinations even if you don’t want to report. Their reasoning for this recommendation is for the victim’s own health and for any future evidence if one would like to press charges if they ever choose to do so.
Kimberly shares her interaction the nurse who did her exam. This is a story she shares when she gives her speeches. It still makes my heart smile. Kimberly even says that her nurse, Jennifer, was one of the most influential people in her healing process. She emphasized that her nurse was the first person to give her power back. Her nurse explained what needed to be done, why it was being done, and finally asked Kimberly if it was okay if she collected what she needed.
Rape kits being re-tested & statue of limitations
There is a mention of a case in Weld County, CO where a woman was walking home from work. Two men forced her into an alley. They repeatedly sexually assaulted her before they left her there alone. The case went cold for three decades before a law was passed that required all the unsolved rape kits be re-tested. The DNA came back to two men. They were eventually charged with the assault. Both men decided to go to trial. The judge saying
“Unfortunately, there are men in our culture who don’t understand that women are not here to be their toys. You’re going to deserve to serve every day of that sentence because when you’re done the victim’s sentence is not over yet” (via KDVR).