I’ve always had a passion for helping women who have suffered abuse of any kind. Why did I choose this particular passion? I am a rape survivor. As a young teenager, I fell victim to an older teenager who preyed upon my kindness of wanting to help him with his “demons” by inviting him to church. He disappeared after the rape, and I chose not to report the rape to police, or my parents for many heart-wrenching reasons. I told my best friend at the time, but my nightmares only seemed to get worse.
I did, however, make sure I got into the front seat of a police car as a police cadet soon after I was raped. I felt safe, and I believed I could help other girls and women if I was a police officer.
As a police officer, I made every effort to handle the domestic violence calls, the reports of rape, sex abuse, or teenage girls who were being abused by their parent or guardian. I investigated every case with a fine tooth comb, dotted every “i,” crossed every “t,” and wanted justice for girls and women who cried out for help.
What I COULDN’T do in my 20 years in law enforcement, was advocate for the girls and women who DID NOT, or COULD NOT seek help. Police officers must remain objective, and are ethically held by the rules of law. I did what I could to encourage these women and girls to report their abusers, but that was the extent of my power.
After 20 years in law enforcement, I became a private investigator, and working criminal defense cases came with this territory. After being a defense investigator during these abuse cases, I became acutely aware of both sides of the stories. After interviewing and representing multiple “alleged” abusers, many of them told me their family history, the abuse they, themselves, suffered as children, and the demons they fought for most of their lives. Many of these men admitted their guilt and asked for help. Other abusive men admitted their guilt, but showed no remorse, and believed the woman “deserved what she got.”
Now that I’m retired from law enforcement and private investigations, I was left with confusing thoughts, beliefs, and judgments, with no clear answer of why men are so abusive to women in our world. The latest statistic from the United Nations is that 1 out of every 3 women will suffer abuse on this planet. This is a staggering pandemic. This means that YOU, or someone you know … a sister, mother, grandmother, aunt, cousin, best friend, or daughter ….. has suffered some form of abuse. Maybe you are the abuser? Maybe you were a victim of verbal, physical, or sexual abuse as a child? Or maybe you are being abused now. Where do you go for help? Who do you trust?
In the next “Part 2” blog series, I will share how Indrani Goradia, Indrani’s Light Foundation, and Brené Brown came into play for me. Meanwhile, I’m feeling vulnerable about sharing my story this way, so I’d love some feedback about how this blog is resonating with you. Do you have a similar story? Do you have mixed feelings about becoming an activist? Tell me your thoughts.
With deepest gratitude,
Director of Education & Training
Indrani’s Light Foundation