Monday, September 12, 2016

9-12-2016 Entry: Legal Dilemmas and Consequences


Hello darlings. I hope you are well. I have been a hot mess lately. I know the past two entries have been pretty bummertastic. I wish I could say all was well, that I’d miraculously found myself in a wonderful place in life, but the gods have determined I am not yet out of my Saturn return. I’ll post about that in more detail another time, I think, but for now I need to vent.

After my assault I filed police charges against the girl who assaulted me. It has been weeks, so many that I’ve lost count, since I filed them. I have heard nothing. Nothing at all. I called the detective assigned to my case and he did not answer. He also hasn’t called me back after I left him a message two weeks ago. This silence has prompted me to consider my options. If I didn’t know better I’d start to think the police weren’t pursuing it, but I know that is unlikely because they rarely move cases up to the level of the sex-crimes detectives if it’s a dud. Given that the girl has all but confessed in discoverable text conversations I know that my case is not a dud. Were a prosecutor to review the evidence and a jury to consider it, it would be a fairly simple case to win, which is where my frustration begins.

If there was no way to prove that this girl actually committed a sexual assault, I’d understand them not pursuing it, even if it hurt to accept that; but it can very easily be proved, which makes me wonder why there has been such a delay in the case. I know that sexual crimes are one of the categories of crimes that often go unproven or unprosecuted, so my odds are already bad as it is, but I also believe that me being transgender has the male detectives assigned to the case possibly fleeing in terror. Sexual assault by a woman plus the victim is transgender? They probably don’t even know where to begin, not that it is really all that complicated.

Two consenting adults engaged in sexual intercourse until one of them revoked their consent and the other proceeded to ignore that revocation and continued sexual contact and penetration for no less than two minutes after consent was revoked. Two minutes might not sound very long but stick your hand in boiling hot water for two minutes and you’ll understand how every second can feel like an eternity when you are in pain or discomfort. THEN after this occurred, the victim filed a report within 48 hours and had written admission by the perpetrator that they were sorry they went too far and that they didn’t stop immediately. It’s pretty open and shut. No physical evidence need be collected because the perpetrator acknowledged the sex and their decision to not stop when consent was revoked.

Despite the simplicity of this case, I have had to wait nearly two months since the incident to hear anything back from them. The gears of justice turn slowly, this I know from personal experience and having worked in the legal field, but this has gotten out of hand. With each day that passes I’m more and more tempted to just drop the charges, and that is the real crime here, because I’m not alone.

There are countless people out there right now waiting for the slow wheels of justice to address their sexual assault or rape case, and all of them are considering whether or not it’s even worth continuing the pursuit of justice because of how long it is taking and how undervalued they feel. My case is not unique, even if the lesbian transgender part is probably pretty rare.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not bashing cops. I’m not saying that Detective so-and-so is incompetent or doesn’t care. What I am saying is that sexual crime is most often a crime committed against women and it is also one of the areas of crime given the least amount of resources by annual police budgets. I don’t think those two things are unrelated because you know who almost always sets those budgets? Men. Men who likely have no idea what it is like to be sexually victimized and are uncomfortable at the very thought of it. Murder, while terrible and wrong, they can understand. Robbery, while terrible and wrong, they can understand. Being held down while you plead for the person to stop touching you sexually… they have a hard time understanding. Because of that they give smaller budgets, smaller budgets mean fewer detectives, fewer detectives mean larger caseloads (because the crime doesn’t diminish, even if the budget does), larger caseloads mean victims of sexual crimes must wait and wait and wait some more; usually for so long that they just give up and accept that their case will never be tried.

That’s where I am now. Do I give up? Do I throw in the towel and say, oh well, I guess being sexually assaulted doesn’t matter to anyone besides me? It certainly doesn’t mean anything to the person who did it, because they don’t think they did anything wrong, despite having admitted their wrong the day afterwards. And what about the next person she sleeps with, or the one after that? If she doesn’t think she did anything wrong then the chances that she will do the same thing to another person are pretty high. Do I keep the case open for their sakes? What happens if I drop the case and she rapes/assaults the next person she is with, is that rape/assault on my hands too? I could have stopped her, I could have made sure she understood the consequences of her actions and prevented that assault from happening, so am I guilty too? Am I the good person who does nothing to stop something bad from happening? They say the greatest evil is when good people who could stop things choose not to.

What if continuing to pursue charges means I must continue to live this hell I’m in for months and months with no reprieve, understanding the absolute possibility that nothing could come of it? When do I get relief from this awful experience? Am I selfish for wanting to drop the charges so I can move on with my life, even if it potentially puts another person in danger? I honestly don’t know what to do. I thought for a moment that this girl had learned her lesson, that she had finally realized the error of her ways, but a recent conversation with her has proven that she is nowhere near that place. In fact, she believes that we can still be friends and that I’ll still go out of my way to help her with things… all because she finally figured out she’s transgender. I’m using she because I don’t know if she has changed her pronouns yet or not (and as of now I don’t really care to know).

That’s right, my fairly androgynous ex-g/f who is also the person that sexually assaulted me has finally figured out she’s transgender and thinks that is suddenly going to fix everything. Believe me when I say my heart goes out to each and every transgender person out there, I love you all, but if any of you sexually assault or rape someone, you are an asshole; plain and simple. Being an asshole is outside the scope of gender or sexuality, even if your anger or confusion about your gender/sexuality causes you to act impulsively. There is no, “I was struggling with being transgender,” get out of jail free card. I know that firsthand.

I was an asshole (not in a sexual assault way because I’d never do that) to my high school/college girlfriend. I know I treated her the way I did because deep down I was struggling with my gender issues. They were 100% tied into my fickle, bipolar actions that caused her pain and made me an asshole, but it doesn’t forgive my actions. I cannot go to this girl and say, “Hey, I’m sorry I hurt you, it’s because I was struggling inside with my transgender identity… so we are all good now, right?” and expect it to go well. She hates me, and for good goddamn reason. She doesn’t care that it was because I was transgender, nor should she. That wasn’t her problem. That wasn’t her fault, and she had no way of knowing it was the cause of my actions. All she knew or understood was that I was being an asshole to her and breaking her heart. Me apologizing and trying to make amends is all that she really needs to be concerned with, the underlying motivations or reasons for my shitty behavior is all on me. I have to be the one to examine that, understand it, and learn from it.

Consequently, being on the receiving end of someone trying to excuse their behavior with their newfound trans-ness, has caused me to learn that lesson very, very well. There was always a part of me that wanted to use my gender identity struggles as an excuse to pardon my behavior against this girlfriend, but being on the other side of someone using that excuse shows me I can never do that; nor should I. If you treat someone poorly and you hurt them, that’s on you to learn from and grow. There are no excuses, even if there are valid reasons why you acted that way. You have to own up to your life, your actions, and their consequences.

I dated a girl I knew was a hot mess and knew it was probably a bad idea. I tried to love her enough that she would remember that she was worthy of love. I wanted her to see the beauty I saw in her and understand the goodness she had inside her. I tried so hard to bring out that inner light, but like a star trying to brighten a black hole, my efforts were in vain and I got pulled into its crushing darkness. She had far too much darkness in her past to feel my warmth for more than a moment or two. My seeing inside her and beholding the beautiful light that was within was not enough to pull her from the grips of her own trauma and pain. I must live with knowing that I failed in my mission to “fix” her. I fully understand now that it was doomed from the start. You can’t fix people. You can’t love them enough that they will love themselves. As a consequence of doing something I knew was a bad idea, I was hurt in a very bad way. I’m not saying I deserved what happened, because no one does, but I am saying that my actions and choices led me to this place.

I am here, at this crossroads, because of my own actions and decisions. I walked the road that brought me here and now I must own that by figuring out where to go from here. Maybe I made a wrong turn somewhere, but that’s because I wasn’t paying attention to the road signs. It doesn’t change the fact that I am now stuck at a crossroads, however. There is no running from it, no hiding from it, no pretending it isn’t there. I pressed sexual assault charges against a person I cared about because what she did was wrong and she needs to recognize the error of her ways so she doesn’t do it to anyone else. It’s not okay to do that to people, but if I pursue this course of action this person will go to jail, be prosecuted, and potentially put into prison. When they get out of prison, assuming they survive it, they will have to register as a sex offender, possibly for the rest of their life. They will have an awful time finding a place to live and an even harder time finding a job. Their life will become even worse than it already has been, all because of two minutes where they didn’t listen to the word no.

Additionally I will probably have to be interviewed at least once by the detectives who may not want to help me at all, either because I’m transgender or because they feel the case is too difficult to prove (it’s really not). I may have to testify in court and be cross-examined by a defense attorney out to destroy me credibility. They will question every sexual decision that I have made in my life. They will try to spin it so that I am the perpetrator and not the victim. Their client will get up and potentially tell lies or try very hard to confuse the facts so that a jury feels sympathetic towards her. She’ll play the dumb girl who doesn’t know any better like she always does, and it’s possible they will buy her bullshit. I could be branded the sexually aggressive tranny that took advantage of the poor, ignorant girl who grew up in the foster system after her biological parents sexually abused her. She’ll bat her eyes and shrug like she had no idea at all that she was doing anything wrong, and I’ll have to sit there and watch the entire thing without getting to say anything.

Or I can drop the charges, move on with my life hoping to never see or speak to this person again. I’ll continue with therapy, I’ll continue to work through my trauma and the flashbacks and triggers. I’ll hopefully find myself returning to a normal, balanced life where I can start again without PTSD. It won’t be pretty, it won’t be easy, and it may very well be upset by other things down the road, but I will be forced to trust in karma to teach the lessons, both good and difficult to both she and I. On the surface, this path seems so much easier. It would feel so much easier to just give up were it not for the warning I have in my heart. The warning that I will regret my decision, either because it won’t actually lead me to the healing and balance I seek, or because another person will be hurt by her and I will have to carry the weight of that on my shoulders. If I give up now she will never learn her lesson, she will never seek out the help she needs, and the pain will just continue on and on.

This, my loves, is real life. This is when you realize what it means to be an adult. As a kid there is always a right and wrong way. When you are in school the multiple choice questions always have a right answer. Good always prevails and love always saves the day, but when you are an adult you realize there is no right or wrong answer. Not every question’s multiple choice answers include a “right” one. Sometimes there are only choices; choices that have consequences, some understood and some unforeseeable. Good does not always prevail because sometimes there is no “good” way to go. There is no higher road to take. There is no path of light and path of darkness. Sometimes the roads are even and one is just as dimly lit as the other. I continue to press charges and a combination of good and bad happens. I drop charges and a combination of good and bad happens. Neither case is better or worse than the other. They both weigh the same on the scale of pros/cons.

And I don’t know what to do. I don’t know how to navigate this situation. Everyone has an opinion of what I should or shouldn’t do. All of my friends think different things. I can guarantee each one of you probably has an opinion of what I should do, but in the end, the only opinion that matters is mine because it’s my choice to make. It is my dreadful, gut-wrenching, heartbreaking decision to puzzle out and there are no directions to this stuff. There is no right answer. There really is no wrong answer either. There are only choices to consider and consequences to accept.

I made the choice to transition after I was married. I made the choice to go through with it, knowing that I might lose my wife in the process. I made choices that helped lead us to our divorce. I made the decision to stay in Minnesota and to start finding friends at the bar. I made the decision to drink away my pain and regret until I hit bottom. I chose to date when I knew I should be focusing on school, work and sobriety instead. I chose to date someone that I knew was trouble and who had hurt me before we even became romantically involved. I made the choice to keep seeing her after we had struggles that warned me that things weren’t going to end well. I made the decision to go see her that night instead of driving home and going to bed. I made the decision to engage in sex despite having told her we wouldn’t be doing that that night because I was too tired. While I cannot be blamed for being sexually assaulted, the consequences are still mine to accept; just like this situation I’m in now. I made the decision to file a police report and I must deal with the consequences of that.

I wish I could close this with an answer, my darlings. I wish I could say that writing this out has cleared things up for me, but just like my decision to break silence and contact her, things are just as clouded as they were before. I thought if I talked with her and told her I filed the charges I’d find clarity from her response, or that I’d figure what I should do but that didn’t happen. Her reaction was a combination of lamentation about what she did, hurtful words about how she didn’t assault me and that I don’t know what it’s like to be assaulted, as well as asking me how I’m doing like nothing is wrong before asking for a favor. What the fuck am I supposed to do with that? What do you do with a response like that? Is that a person who is so vile that they need to be put in jail or is it someone so sick mentally that they will never understand and really just need a lot of therapy? If she is in jail, she won’t get therapy. She will just get more traumatized. If she’s free, though, then she definitely won’t seek out the therapy she needs and won’t have any consequences to prompt her to get help. If she’s so clueless as to no understand what she did wrong, then she is far too clueless to understand that she needs help, right?

Again, I don’t know what to fucking do. I really don’t. I never wanted any of this, but no matter what I do there is no getting around this decision. I must make a choice and hope for the best. I’ll let you know when I figure it out.

Well, that’s all for now. I know things have veered off of the transgender trail quite a bit over the last few months but as with all things, change is inevitable. I do want to post an 18 months on estrogen entry though, once I get my shit together a little. I need pictures of me now to show you how long my hair has gotten and how much my face has changed. Oh, and boobs… I have them… they are awesome. I fill in the cup of my bra completely now, which is very exciting.

You know what, I’m just going to do the easy thing for the moment and give you the address to my Instagram. That way you can see all my most recent pictures, including both of my new tattoos. https://www.instagram.com/r_t_edwins

Okay, I love you all. I hope only the best things for you all.

-Emmz