This is mostly just a reblog of a blog post by Sexologist on Tumblr. The blog itself was posted to my personal Facebook wall by a friend who knows I work at a Rape Crisis Center and it languished a few days without my seeing it, because… you know… Facebook. (The way Facebook decides whether or not to notify about new posts is a subject for another blog and not one related to the subject matter of this one.) Anyway, when I did read it, I found to my dismay that my brains had exploded all over the walls of my office. It was quite a mess. I am still cleaning up.
Because… HOLY MOLY did darned near EVERYBODY do EVERYTHING wrong. Thankfully, toward the end, some Good Stuff ™ happened, mostly due to the Rape Crisis Advocate who eventually came out to the scene… but nearly every other component to this endurance-race of a report was horrible. This is a great reminder of why we, who work at Rape Crisis Centers, need to be on top of our game not just most of the time, but ALL the time.
As a sanity check for myself and my agency, I’d like to say up front that our agency does quarterly police briefings with all three local police departments in order to increase police awareness of what we do and the role of sexual assault advocates. We also have a system where at any time, day or night, not only do we have a volunteer (highly trained in our 65-hour training) advocate on call, but we have a staff back-up to step in if the advocate for some reason can’t respond to a call, and above that person is the head of our Rape Crisis Center, who could also go out on a call in a pinch. (Although in all the 12 years I have been here, I don’t know of a time we’ve had to fall back to that response.)
So I would fervently LIKE to think that NOBODY who reported to our local PDs or to our agency would EVER have an experience like this. But the truth is… systems can break down. People can become tired, or cynical, or have an off-day. But the fact of the matter is, we can’t afford that. Not ever. Because one off-day for us in this support web can equal a complete emotional disaster for someone who is already struggling with one of the hardest challenges of their lives.
Without further ado… here is the original blog.