If I was to provide a recent demographic breakdown of who has read my blog, I’d definitely have to find an interesting way to incorporate the number of Toronto District School Board and Toronto Police Service employees into the pie chart. To provide a bit of context, they’ve been reading this entry as of late.
To think that it would provide some release held its right, but also delivered a set of consequences and ramifications that I perhaps wasn’t ready to consider. After the TDSB got wind of it (especially since I had tweeted it to them), I was directed to the proper channels; it turns out that crossing guards are not a part of the school board and are hired by the TPS. It was then that it just sort of hit me – I’d be opening a proverbial can of worms in talking to the police. I mulled it over for a couple of days, if not a week, before deciding to reach out.
At first, there was no response. I waited minutes upon hours upon days upon a week. I reasoned to myself that I was of low priority and that what I had to say had simply been washed over by a flood of other emails. Then there was the consideration to follow up, which would make the most sense. But already doing this outreach had exhausted me – it drained me emotionally to move this next step forward. The thought of having to put the other foot forward weighed down on me.
But I did it anyway.
And finally, the response did arrive. It was simple and curt, with an apology tucked in between the words. Perhaps it was making the phone call that was the most difficult; after all, I didn’t know what it was in particular that I wanted of all this. I suppose, and as I explicated in the call, that I wanted things to change, for there to be some better set of checks in hiring and notice about who this man was. And when I had told my story and had my fill of questions answered, I thought it was over, especially given that I wasn’t filing an official report.
Then came another email the following week, which outlined that I would be asked more about my case. My voice was calm when I received the call; there were no signs of distress or the knotting stomach that I now feel in writing this entry. I was straight forward with my answers, being sure not to meander or to go on tangents. The process seemed clear and streamlined, until I asked “what happens now?”
This wasn’t a report, but rather a note – simply a note that would be on file. Should I want to go ahead with filing a report, I would be more thoroughly questioned and be expected in court. It was then that I asked what would I be in court for, alleging what exactly.
“It’s clearly sexual assault.”
When I heard those words, I couldn’t wrap my head around them; I had always thought sexual assault to be more serious than what I had experienced. In all this time, I had simply dubbed it as “the incident” or “this is why I fear crossing guards,” never anything along the lines of assault. There was always this roundabout explanation that followed, each extra step seemingly self-invalidating the seriousness of it all. But this objective discussion made me see what this incident for what it was for the first time in the 4.5 years since it happened; it was an unwanted advance and had affected my life so much so that I rerouted parts of my day and lived in fear whenever I came home, even after high school.
So here it is in the most concise of terms: I was sexually assaulted when I was a week shy of my eighteenth birthday.
Image via Flickr (user: pragmatic)