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Raped When I Was 12

When I was 12 I was violently gang raped by two strangers in Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA in 1972.

I reported it to the police, and was examined by a doctor. My vagina was torn. My clothes were torn and bloody. Later, a policewoman called me a slut. She said, “I know you seduced those boys, You don’t fool me. You’re just a little slut.” She said I should be ashamed of myself. At that moment I became catatonic, trapped in an unbelievable nightmare, I couldn’t speak. “Now we have to waste valuable police time searching for the two innocent men because you’re under age,” she said.

I’m now 56 years old. This messed me up for many, many years. I’m still sometimes haunted by what happened, when I think about it.

Recently I asked the Tulsa police for the police report, a therapist said it might help me to see the report. Maybe it wouldn’t be as bad as I remembered. I called and they said I could have a copy if I sent them $25. So I did. Then they sent the money back and said I had to come in person to see it, but I don’t live in the USA anymore. So I let it go.

A year ago I wrote a letter to an attorney with Human Rights Watch just to thank her for the work she has done to help rape victims in DC. She wrote back and offered to help me get my file from the police. She began petitioning them for a copy of the police report on my behalf, and at first they said I could see it, but it would be redacted. Then suddenly they said I would have to get a court order to see the police report. They keep changing the reason for not letting me see it. I don’t understand why. What are they hiding?

Being raped was horrible, but the treatment I received by the police after did more lasting damage. It is the shaming accusations they made that messed me up for many years, more than the actual rape.

— Phyllis


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