I had made the decision about noon. I pulled up my blog on my work computer and read all the comments from the post Vulnerability, especially those ones which recommended that I talk to the police, report what had happened. That idea had been bouncing around in my head since the incident happened. What kept me from doing it immediately was simple, fear (first) stole my ability to process and think beyond the moment, relief (second) flooded my senses when it was over and all I wanted to do was get home and get under a blanket. But a few days later, some wise advice later, I thought about going to speak to the police.
"But," I wondered, "is what he did to me serious enough to bother the police? Will they see me as a silly, overgrown child tattling on someone for 'not being nice to me'?"
Whatever the worries, I decided to go to the police.
I've never done this before. I once had to call them when my car was broken into, several years ago - they didn't even come to look, just took the report over the phone. I have done training for police officers on issues of disabilities, speaking once at an international conference of sexual assault investigators to over 500 police officers. That was a trip. But I've never gone to the station with a complaint.
Until yesterday, after work.
We arrived at the police station and as we were headed in, I found my heart was in my throat. I was nervous. Really really nervous. I was afraid of being looked at with pity, or with contempt (why contempt entered my head I don't know), or with a patronizing smile. But, they are there to serve and protect me, so I wanted to give them a chance.
It didn't start well. I was asked at the desk 'how I could be helped' and I blathered on about what had happened and why I was there and how I just thought they should know. I shoulda made the decision in the morning, maybe I'd have planned this out better. The police guy (I couldn't tell a rank for the life of me) told me to wait for a minute.
A while later a woman came out to greet me, she brought me into a little room and asked me to tell her exactly what happened. That I could do. That I did. She made notes as I talked. She asked me a couple of questions, could I describe him (I so wanted her to say perp but she didn't) and I told her that I could. I described his height and weight, hair colour and style, jacket, sweater, jeans, sneakers, wristwatch - I'm a writer, I'm a watcher, I notice. She smiled a couple of times as I described him and at the end she said that I'd make a very good witness.
As we talked, I relaxed and oddly, I felt control coming back. I didn't really expect anything much to happen with this, but I still felt that I had taken action. She told me that she appreciated me coming by, that it was important that they know that there was someone out there with extremely hostile attitudes towards a specific group of people. That they'd be on alert should anything happen.
She said that she was sorry that that had happened to me. That everyone should feel safe in the community, that it wasn't ok for him to have behaved like that. She told me that she took what I said seriously and that it mattered that I had come in.
I was moved.
I don't know who trained her, or if she just came that way, but she was very good at being reassuring and very good at communicating strength along with compassion.
Thankyou blog kin for spurring me on to do what I did yesterday.
It needed to be done.
With your help, I did it.