I remember you.
A rape survivor’s letter to the police officer
When you came to my apartment, I felt relieved. I was thinking, finally, I was safe. That feeling of safety was shuttered when I noticed you were constantly avoiding using the word “rape” to refer to what had happened to me an hour prior. When I said, “the guy who sexually assaulted me,” which I regret saying but did say nonetheless perhaps because I was a people-pleaser, you nodded and said, “yes, sexually assaulted,” like an ESL teacher would do to affirm their student’s correct grammar use. Yes, I remember that. I remember you.
When you took me to the street by the police car, where the "sexual assault" had occurred, you asked me, "is that him?" It was after midnight, and I was panicking. I couldn't tell. The guy was being dragged around by the other officers, then pushed down onto the bonnet of one of your cars. He was Black, and you were all White. You told me I had to say it was him; otherwise, they couldn't arrest him. I didn't know what to say. You continued, "do you want to press charges or not? If you do, his life is over." I knew that rape wasn't something I could choose to or not to bring to court e.g. a civil lawsuit over, say, trespassing, but a criminal offense. But I was put on the spot. If there was a possibility——any possibility——that it wasn't him, I didn't want to say it was him. Plus, he was a Black man. I knew that statistically Black men were disproportionately persecuted more frequently and punished more harshly than any other social groups were. Officer, I thought you were on my side, but no——I realized——you were not on any side. I was an Asian queer, and he was a Black man. You were his and my enemy. Yes, I remember that. I remember you.
When I said there must be my coat sitting in the passenger's seat in his car, you ignored it and didn't confiscate it, or even go to see it. I asked you——do you remember?——if I had to pay for it myself when I flew back to attend the trial(s), since I was leaving the country in two weeks, you said, "yes." That later turned out to be a lie, but it made my decision nonetheless. I refused to press charges, and asked you to take me to the hospital. I had no idea what good hospitals could do at this point, but I was sure there must be some protocol where medical staff would, I don't know, check my bodies to see if there was any bruise, scars, remaining fluid, or any sign of STD-related risks. That's why I had not washed my mouth or any other body part while waiting for you at my apartment. Or, perhaps, I just wanted to finally talk to someone nice to me, hoping that the medical staff would, unlike you, take me seriously and comfort me. I don't know what you had told them over the phone, but the only words I heard them say was "come back in 4 weeks." Yes, I remember that. I remember you.
When you took me back to my apartment and dropped me off, you said, "here's your jacket," and handed me my coat that you obviously had taken from inside the rapist's car. Can you imagine how furious I was when I grabbed it from you? Not furious at the rapist, but furious at you. Can you imagine how numb I had to feel to throw into the trash can my favorite jacket that my mother had bought me a year before? The rapist's fluid must have been all over the fabric, and you didn't care. Yes, I remember that. I remember you.
You didn't care because——I now know——you thought I was dating my roommate, A, who you thought had gotten mad at me hooking up with some random guy on the street, to which you thought I had responded by saying I had been raped. None of that is true, but that was the story you brought in when you drove up to my apartment after A's phone call. You asked me how long A and I had been a couple, and I had no idea why I was asked that question. I said, "no, we're not a couple," and even chuckled. I had no idea why you asked me such an irrelevant question, until I came back to my apartment from the hospital and A told me what kind of thinking he thought was behind that question. Yes, I remember that. I remember you.
Officer, even if you don't remember me, I remember you.