“I grew up learning there are two kinds of cops: the ones who rape you, and the ones who protect the rapists.”
I had a cop that was a client. He would show up in his uniform to rape me while on his shift. I remember watching him put his duty belt on the chair by the door and staring at his gun while he did what he came to do.
I had a cop come with a social worker that was interviewing me about being sexually abused. After I had rattled off the script I had been taught, he told my mom that he knew this was all bullshit and he knew my parents were good people.
As a young woman, I had a client stalk and assault me several times over the course of about 9 months. The police decided that they did not believe me because “my story didn’t change.” They suggested I get a therapist and closed my case. Based on the information that I have, I believe that my assailant was a corrections officer for the county and they were protecting him.
After another assault, a police officer stood outside my door and told the detective who would be taking my statement that I was “full of shit” before she had even had the opportunity to talk to me and hear my story. That officer’s partner interviewed me alone in my hospital room, asking me the same question several different ways and assuring me he “wasn’t trying to be an ass” when, in fact, he was being an ass.
I have learned that some cops are bad. And the ones who aren’t bad are still bad because they protect the ones who are worse. But, as much as my experience has spoken to that, that isn’t completely true.
I reported my trafficking to a law enforcement agency as an adult. The agent who interviewed me was patient and kind. I genuinely felt like he believed me and cared about my story. When I called him, frightened, he was calm and reassuring. When the case rose to a higher level of urgency, he rose to the challenge.
I worked with a county detective who treated me like a person. He never made me feel small or stupid. He never did anything to make me feel afraid of him. In fact, even when he was in uniform, I was not afraid. As I watched him work investigations, I saw a member of law enforcement who cared about victims, their safety, and getting justice for them.
I befriended a member of the Highway Patrol and was able to watch him outside of his work duties. I saw a kind man, who loved his wife and daughter. I saw a man who loved farming and knew a lot about animals. I saw a man who never even thought to use his badge as power over me.
I even dated a county deputy, who heard my story and encouraged me to report to police, but never bullied me about it or asked any of the gory details. He still treated me like any other girl and he got to know me aside from what I had been through.
As I have grown and healed, I have had police come into my life that have been the polar opposite of those who traumatized me. I have seen good men and women wearing their badge with honor and dignity, truly seeking to protect and serve. I had to learn to honor the tightness in my chest in their presence, but also to reassure myself that there is a third kind of cop out there: the kind whose badge is more than a prop to them, it’s a calling.
I had to relearn how I view police because they aren’t all bad. In fact, the truly good ones seek to hold the bad ones accountable and are just as disgusted and angry at their behavior as I am.