I DID Report My Assault And Everything That Happened Next Was A Nightmare
I was 17 but I’d been living on my own for about eight months in a shared house. The owner of the house was working oil rigs in Alaska so I didn’t meet him until he came home at Christmas, and then only briefly. I mostly kept to myself going to work and spending my time at the house in my room behind a locked door.
It was New Year’s Eve of 1985 when it happened. I was in bed early because I had to open at work the next day and I woke up because I couldn’t breathe. Something heavy was on my chest. At first, I thought it was my dog, which was weird since she was in a crate. Then I realized it was a person.
It was my landlord pulling up my nightgown.
As soon as I realized what was happening, I freaked out and managed to shove him back and sit up. But he grabbed my breasts, scratching and bruising them, and he pushed me back on the bed. Panic set in, and I managed to fling him out of the bed across the room.
I ran out into the shared living room and grabbed the phone to call for help. He ripped the phone out of the wall but not before I was able to tell my boyfriend that I was in trouble and he should come help. Jed — the landlord — was screaming at me, calling me a fat bitch that should feel LUCKY he wanted to fuck me.
I was not lucky. I was terrified.
We wrestled again for the phone but then my boyfriend and his roommate showed up with a baseball bat and Jed left. I packed as much as I could into a few paper bags and left.
From then on, I was treated like the guilty party.
Once I was safe, I called the police. Several hours later a beat cop shows up at my boyfriend’s door and I could tell from his face he’s super annoyed he has to be there. I tell him the story and he takes notes, scowling the whole time. I showed him the scratches and bruises on my boobs which was terribly awkward and humiliating.
Eventually, he flips his little notebook closed and says, “Well, it sounds like a case of a goodnight kiss that went too far.” I immediately was lit with fury and I said with all the cool dignity I could muster at 17, “NO. He was my LANDLORD. We WERE NOT DATING. I DID NOT KISS HIM. In fact, I’d only met him once very briefly. HE TRIED TO RAPE ME.”
The cop looked bored and left.
Initially, I wasn’t assigned a detective until I called the police department to follow up on my case two days later because I hadn’t heard from anyone. It took several calls but I was finally assigned an investigator.
He didn’t call me or interview me at first. He went straight to Jed. I left him at least eight messages before he finally bothered to call me. When he did, he described my attempted rape as domestic violence. Again, I explained that this was my LANDLORD, not a friend or a boyfriend or a lover. I told them he used his key to let himself into my room.
The detective tried to drop the case again. I finally called his boss and yelled and cried until the case was referred to the DAs office.
It took nearly six weeks for the prosecutor to call me back. I was thrilled to find out she was a woman and I hoped she’d be my advocate in court. We met very briefly for twenty minutes and she informed me she would do her best to get me justice.
Instead, she offered Jed a domestic violence plea deal. He’d plead no contest and would have no record and serve no time.
I was outraged. I reminded the prosecutor again that I was NEVER IN A RELATIONSHIP WITH HIM AND HE WAS MY LANDLORD WHO USED A KEY TO GET INTO MY LOCKED ROOM. She acted as if it was the first time she’d heard this information even though she and I discussed it in depth at our meeting.
She offered him the plea deal without my permission or consent. I called her boss, and her boss promised to rescind that plea offer and go after him for sexual battery.
I had no more meetings with the prosecutor, so I was very startled to get a call a couple months later that Jed had pled guilty and a sentencing hearing was scheduled. I went and bought my first suit to wear to court.
I was sitting in the court room when the judge introduced the deal Jed had accepted. I was stunned to find it was the original plea offer of domestic violence, not “sexual battery” as I’d been promised. The DA let the judge and the defense attorneys know I was present in the courtroom, so the judge turned to me and asked, “Are you happy with this deal?”
I was shaking so badly I could barely speak, but I stood up and emphatically shook my head no. The judge asked me why, and I told him the same thing I’d told everyone else: landlord, locked room, not dating, he tried to rape me, he hurt me.
Then a miracle happened: the judge tossed out the plea deal. Jed was sentenced to 60 days in jail for simple assault, and he had to send me an apology letter. As he left the courtroom, he stomped over to me and screamed BITCH! right in my face.
He served less than 30 days. Now imagine if that judge had been Brett Kavanaugh. Would the man who tried to rape me have served any time?
I doubt it.