This is horrifying

This isn’t a missing persons story. But it’s certainly relevant to this blog — sexual assault is a huge factor in missing persons and in my life. And it’s a story EVERYONE should know. I know it’s a very long article, but I’m begging you: if you read nothing else I link to today, please read this story.

I’d love me some discussion about it today in the comments of this entry, if you have anything to say.


10 thoughts on “This is horrifying

  1. LisaGreen September 2, 2016 / 6:08 pm

    This story is as awful as it is illuminating. Thanks for sharing. Meaghan. The stigma of rape, the under-reporting of rapes and the way rape cases and victims are handled is such a problem.

    Since I first heard about the backlog of untested rape kits in storage in the United States, and after hearing subsequent stories of the destruction of untested rape kits in several states, I’ve been bothered by the idea of how many repeat offenders are out there and allowed to continue. How many could have been caught if only police departments, cities and states made rape kit testing a priority. Likewise, how many abductions, murders and rapes could have been prevented by such work. It’s a sad rabbit hole to go down. Thanks again for the link and for all your hard work on Charley.

  2. Lauren Q September 3, 2016 / 12:32 pm

    They had a This American Life episode about this story as well. When you are a childhood abuse victim you have likely experienced a lifetime of gaslighting and it’s easy for other people to gaslight you as well, or for you to even gaslight yourself.

    Her foster moms are horrible, abusive people for not believing her because of the “matter-of-fact” way she stated she was raped. Of course she stated it matter-of-factly; she had been sexually abused before! It was a fact of life for her. They were so judgmental of her, accusing her of being a liar who was making it up for drama just because she had been seeking attention from guys at a picnic.

    I feel so sorry for her that she forgave them. She probably only forgave them because she had no other family in her life. Those bitches destroyed what was left of her youth and they deserve to rot in hell. If they have any conscience or shame I hope it haunts them every moment for the rest of their lives. They never should have applied to be foster parents if they didn’t understand the psychology of being a lifetime abuse victim.

    At least it seems like she managed to find some success and happiness in life despite being surrounded by terrible people. I hope for her sake that she has cut off contact with those bitches. But since she has been kicked around her whole life and trained to accept abuse as normal, she probably hasn’t.

    • Meaghan September 3, 2016 / 1:02 pm

      I asked my friend Wendy, who adopted an emotionally troubled child out of foster care, why the foster parents would do this. And she was like, “Because, well, kids with these sorts of backgrounds DO lie a lot.” She told me about how her daughter (now grown and living in a group home for disabled adults) went around telling everyone her new boyfriend was abusing her. He was not. It turns out Wendy’s daughter had never had a boyfriend before, and was kind of awed and frightened the very notion of having a boyfriend, and because she’s not emotionally healthy or mature, rather than express her fears in a logical way (“I’ve never had a boyfriend, it’s kind of freaking me out, cause I’ve never had this experience before”), she made up a story about abuse. This is, like, her default reaction to things.

      This experience is borne out by my observations of other parents I know in the same situation. One guy I know, his son is like Wendy’s daughter and the son at one point claimed his dad had grabbed him by the hair and slammed his head into a sidewalk repeatedly. He had no head injuries at all, not even a scrape or anything — but CPS had to investigate anyway. Complaint ruled unfounded. The father’s reaction to this was to take his son to the barber and have his head shaved and keep it that way so the boy could never pull that “grabbed me by my hair” story ever again.

      It’s got to be a bit of a nightmare for child abuse investigators, situations like this: the kid’s word cannot be trusted, they’ve made false allegations before, but foster children and children in institutions and such ACTUALLY GET ABUSED ALL THE TIME so you have to thoroughly investigate each claim no matter how outlandish and unlikely it seems.

      Wendy says the real villains in this story are the cops, not the foster parents.

      • Lauren Q September 3, 2016 / 6:08 pm

        Except it says right in the article that “Marie” had no known history of lying. If she had a history of lying that would be one thing. But she didn’t. Their doubts were literally just based off:

        a) She didn’t react in the “correct” way to the rape, according to them. As if there is any “correct” way to react to a rape, especially if you have been sexually abused in the past. There have been so many cases where people have been falsely accused of crimes because they didn’t grieve in the “right” way. It’s such a bullshit way to determine someone’s truthfulness.

        b) She acted like she wanted peoples’ attention. Oh wow, a 16 year old girl wanting to get the attention of guys, how awful! Oh wow, a 16 year old girl acting outgoing and theatrical, and having occasional teenage dramatics, what a monster!

        Basically she didn’t act enough like a victim to their liking and because of that, her life was destroyed. Her foster “mom”/abuser planted the seed of doubt and that led to the police railroading her into a false confession, most likely due to the gaslighting she had experienced from other abusers in her life causing her to doubt her own reality. Sure the cops were also incompetent af. But they likely would not have gotten to the point of a false confession without the foster bitches planting the seed of doubt.

        And then these bitches have the nerve to ask for her FORGIVENESS afterwards! As if they remotely even deserved such a thing. They were the only family she had ever known and they stabbed her in the back. That’s not what family does. Even if they had doubts, those doubts were based on very vague perceptions and stereotypes and they should have just kept them to themselves in the absence of concrete evidence.

        They can rot in hell for being so judgmental, prescriptive, and heartless. In a just world they would be banned from adopting any more foster children. But unfortunately they got away with ripping apart someone’s world with zero consequences.

  3. becky September 3, 2016 / 6:02 pm

    I feel so bad for foster kids. Growing up, my sister and I had to spend many hours at various babysitters’ homes and they treated us pretty bad. The experience messed up my self-esteem. I remember thinking “I should just expect to be treated poorly, then I won’t get my hopes up and feel bad about it when it happens.” So I can see how Maria would have experienced so much mental stress during her Foster hell, it is no wonder her brain just said: If I just deny it happened this torture will stop.” I blame the police for sure. You would think they would have been able to take her story and investigate it THEN find out if it was true or not and go from there. That’s what we pay them for. It’s tempting to blame the foster mom too, however, the police are going to get lots of false leads and info from various sides. They have to take all the info and investigate it PROPERLY.

  4. Dawn September 3, 2016 / 10:55 pm

    What a truly enlighting story and something that needs to be talked about. I know how truly devastating it is to have your word, motivation and actions questioned. It crushes a person’s soul even beyond the violence that has occurred.

    • Meaghan September 3, 2016 / 11:02 pm

      TOTALLY. After I was raped, when people started calling me a liar and what have you, in many ways that was more upsetting than the rape itself. My rapist was a stranger to me and the rape was “nothing personal” — the guy was just a misogynistic monster and would have raped any woman he could get his hands on. But these people, I had thought, were my friends, and so their accusations hurt deeply.

  5. LB September 6, 2016 / 6:51 pm

    You can take the measure of a person by how they respond to and empathize with a survivor of assault. My girlfriend was the victim of an attempted rape when she was 20, fought him off and walked several miles back to her dorm because she had no money for a cab or bus (this was before cell phones). One former friend responded with, “Bizarre,” when my gf came to her, bruised and with torn clothing, and told her how she had just left her attacker’s house. Didn’t bother to ask if she wanted to go to the E.R. or call the police. Another idiot told her that’s what she should expect for being so tall and attractive. Thankfully she did have other supportive friends.

  6. Kay Ryan September 7, 2016 / 6:26 am

    Thank you for posting. Does anyone have the link to the This American Life episode?

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