The first set of police officers were not Hollywood division. It was a cop and a rookie. The cop was more engrossed in trying to not kill the rookie. The rookie tells me I need to be more careful in how many beers I drink. The tears start up again. “Well, you definitely didn’t deserve this”, trying to recover. “You seem like a hard working girl”. So are prostitutes, I think to myself. If everyone had the work ethic of a hooker, things would be pretty different in this country. Do they deserve this? Does anyone? No one does. The second round of cops has to take my statement again. The same words pass my lips. It’s not any easier. The one cop could care less. It’s too close to the end of his shift. His partner is a sweet guy. He tries to make me laugh. He tries to alleviate some of the terribleness. I realized I hadn’t checked to see if there were any other text messages on my phone. There were. Texts, face book, photographs I took. I had done all this and not remembered a thing. I was shocked and showed it to the nice cop.
“It’s just like the movie ‘the Hangover’, it’s just a black void” he says, not shocked at all. I step outside and call my boss. I know it’s early, but I don’t think I’m making it into work today. “Do what you have to do, take a week off, and contact me when you want to. You know we are all here for you.” He swears he won’t tell anyone. I go back inside. One of the homeless women in the waiting room is there so often, she knows all the employees by name. She keeps trying to talk to the cop. He jokes with her including me. It does help to know someone cares. “Another set of cops will be coming; you should really have a female with you”. Says could-care-less cop A. The sweet guy looks on empathetically. He knows they are dumping me, but it’s probably for the best to have a female cop anyway. I have been close to calling the whole thing off. I am about ready to say I can’t take any more of the waiting room now that a crazy homeless man has decided to pull his pants up and down and claim they stole his wallet. I don’t know if he will go really nuts and start throwing chairs around. I have watched the sun come up as the windows in the waiting room glow with a false hope. It is now 7:30 am. Half an hour later I am walking back to the room promised to me earlier.
“We can’t do a rape kit here. You will be cleared for transport and taken to Santa Monica to the rape clinic there. They are really good”. Even the last guy I dated, a cop, says so. I texted him what was going on just so there wouldn’t be any surprises. We hadn’t seen each other in a long time. You’re going to have a rough day he promises me. A doctor came in the room, listened to my heart which still was beating, and cleared me for transport. He then left. I laid there on the gurney. The other cops had shown up and Sparks (the female) was talking to the doctor. The male cop, Jenks was in the room with me. He was eyeballing the row of purple medical gloves in all sizes affixed to the wall. The temptation became too great. He snagged a pair of larges. “You’re going to make me report you, aren’t you?” I asked, a faint smile finally appearing on my face. He shrugs a little sheepishly realizing I was awake and had caught him. “They don’t give us supplies, so we have to get them where we can” he explains. The nurse comes in. “Didn’t they tell you to get dressed?” I had laid there another half hour. “I have to pee and I can’t hold it anymore” I finally declared. I was allowed to pee, but not wipe. I had to take the sample with me. I was dry heaving all the way to the rape center.
For the privilege of spending five hours in the waiting room to be told they couldn’t even do a rape kit, and just to have a doctor make sure my heart was beating, $250.00. Insurance will cover $150. The pricks. We had one stop before the rape center; My apartment. They had to search it and collect as much evidence as they could. They took the underwear I had been wearing and told me to bring another pair as the two pair would be taken permanently for evidence. I would be notified before they were destroyed if I wanted them back for any reason. Not really I thought to myself. First the rape, now strange people just looking at the underwear I wore before and after the rape. The underwear I sat in for five hours in a waiting room. It had pears on them. I never wanted to see them again or acknowledge they ever existed. Sparks says they have to take my sheets, pillow cushions, and comforter. I stared crying and grabbing garbage bags. I can’t afford another comforter. What am I going to sleep on? A stripped down bed? Like I can walk into bed bath and beyond and ask if they have a rape discount so I can buy new bedding and be able to sleep tonight. It’s too much. I begged that they don’t take my comforter. Sparks looks around some more. “We don’t need the bedding” she says. She found the used condoms in my bathroom garbage. One is full. The other is empty. I think back to the bad taste in my mouth when I came to. I’m starting to breathe again knowing my trip to bed bath and beyond is postponed until I can deal with it. Sparks asks for Ziploc bags to put the condoms in. I hand some to Jenks. “Do you need gloves?” he asks Sparks. “Because if you do, he lifted some from the hospital” I rat him out. His eyes got huge, his mouth fell open at the fact I rated him out to his partner. She tries to cover for him and I laugh like I haven’t laughed in hours at the look of shock on his face. “After all we have been thru” he says. I’m still laughing, shaking for once from that and not humiliation. Thank God for his kindness and letting me laugh at him. I will never forget that moment. He cracked a big grin too.
The back seat of a cop car is hard molded plastic shaped like the favorite couch of an obese aunt. It’s designed like a roller coaster seat for those lucky enough to ride and pee or puke everywhere. It’s easier to clean than upholstery, I imagine. Just open the back doors and hose it down. It’s also the most uncomfortable ride for a rape victim. There is no padding. It’s a 45 minute drive to the rape center and the sun is in full blast. The seat is black and my head is spinning, my stomach churning with dry heaving. I wish someone would shoot me and end all this misery. Tears keep flowing down my face. People in other cars stare a hole in my head. Sparks talks about a red headed tyranny in the area keeping cops on their toes. I told them about the photos I don’t remember taking. “Is there a picture of the rapist” they ask. There is. ... A bunch with him and Ed. They genuinely want to see them, to study his face and learn his features. It’s the only time anyone in the LAPD will make me feel like there is any concern. We actually drove a little past the street with the entrance to the rape center. Jenks just puts the squad car in reverse and drives down the middle of the road. “Of course”, I said, “first theft, now driving like a madman”.
I imagine he’s actually the funny guy at the bar. We get out of the car and my dry heaving goes into overdrive. I know they are concerned that if I puke, it could wash away evidence. “I don’t know why I keep doing that” is all I can say between takes. The inside of the clinic is warm, and kinda dim. The second we walk in there, I’m bathed in heated blanket and kindness. They swab my mouth so I can drink water and take something to stop the dry heaving. Oh thank God. It’s from the drugs used to dose me, they inform me. Sparks takes my report and I go into much more detail than the hospital. She says if I remember anything later on to let her know so she can add it to the report. You won’t, says the counselor at the clinic. The drugs didn’t allow the memories to form at all, so they will never resurface later. I will never have a memory of my rape. Good or bad for what it is. I’m not sure which. I have to go thru the physical examination. I have to strip naked as they look at my body all over. They find the bruises and deep scratches in my back. I didn’t know about all of them. I see them in a mirror and start crying again. I’m trying so hard to be strong and yet disconnect from all of this. It’s impossible to do either. They have to photograph the bruising and swelling of my vagina from the penetration. Up close photographs are taken of all my injuries. They are so nice to me thru the whole terrifying ordeal. Even the cut on the inside of my mouth, I still have a scar there. , and one on my back too. They will always be there. They photograph a weird mark on my inside wrist drawn in with ink. I didn’t recognize it then, it was so misshapen and I was still drugged. I drew it there. I hadn’t in a long time. It’s a symbol for protection. I only draw it when I feel I’m really in danger. It didn’t click then.
After the painful examination, I’m allowed to shower and eat as they black light my clothes and take my two pair of underwear. ... Then the counseling session. I like my counselor. She knows what she is talking about. “I don’t understand, why waste the drugs if I have had sex with him before”. It’s not about the drugs or the sex, she says. It’s about the control. He knows ten hours of your life you will never get back. I get a sinking feeling in my stomach. She’s right. She also tells me the best advice I will hear to help me deal with this and everything else that will happen in the near future. “What if he took pictures or video of me?” I cried again. “Just hang on to the truths, don’t fill in the blanks with what you don’t know. Only deal with what you know to be true”. She would help save my sanity with that one. I’m slowly eating the minestrone soup and toast. There is a basket of cookies and snacks. They want me to eat, a lot. I don’t really want to eat anything. She tells me of the process and the victims fund that I can apply for. The only thing I want is sleep. I’m given two handfuls of pills to take in three days. Jenks and Sparks take me back to the hospital where my car is parked from driving myself in so many hours earlier. I don’t know what time it is. It doesn’t really matter anymore anyway. I had snagged some chips and cookies for them from the basket. It thought Jenks would appreciate the thieving gesture. I could tell the basket had been gone over anyway. He was probably already there. Outside of the cookies and chips for them, and explaining the dry heaving was from the drugs, the rest of the ride is in silence. I get home and strip the sheets off my bed and put down new ones. I think about those sheets as I dose off to sleep. My sheets... He raped me in my bed on my sheets. My clean sheets; I wouldn’t let him have them. They are mine. I will clean them until they are mine again. I don’t have to go back to work for a week. All of my coworkers will think I’m out sick with the flu. February 22 is a day I will never forget.