Thought I would share what I shared on Faceplant today with all of you...
Last night I found some old notes in my boxes of "police memorabilia". In it, were some thank you cards and notes I kept from some citizens. One case in particular, I had extensive talks with a teenager and her mother...
Many times the teen-aged victims of sexual assaults would ask to speak to me during an investigation. In certain cases, parents would reach out. Some wanted to drop everything because it was too hard. I had to find out why they wanted to stop the prosecution. Was it because they were falsifying allegations or testimony, did not want to testify and face the defense questions/jury judgement, or were they having other emotional distress?
This was the time beyond arrest of the suspect and the cases were headed to trial. These were the cases where the victims might have to testify against their attacker(s), but a case still has ongoing casework and investigating even after an arrest.
When they felt they were not strong enough, we had to evaluate what was best for the victim. I often left them with this below information in a nutshell and of course, it was always situational, but the message remained mostly the same. This was the information this particular victim thanked me for two years later when she came to the police station and delivered this to me and asked for a hug.
My words to her were...(what she felt made a difference and included it in the note) "We can't turn back time and have do-overs, although, if that was possible I would do it in an instant for you. You can never be your "old" self, but only a new version. You don't have to be emotionally crippled over this. I am not trying to take away the pain of this crime to you. I am trying to put this into perspective so you can lead a joyous life, despite this tragedy. Take the time to heal and seek professional help. When I am hurting, I find hobbies or something to keep my mind active to avoid deeper depression. Then watch yourself grow, come out on top, empowered, and do not look back. You are only a victim if you choose to be. That is something you cannot let anyone else have power and control over you. Do not give them that."
People need to know when you thank a cop, it means more to us than any award we ever get on a plaque.