For most college students, summer is something that is anticipated throughout the semesters. But for Taylor, the season is not something she can look forward to any more. This is because on June 16, 2016, Taylor became the victim of date rape by a man, who will be referred to as K, who she had met only hours before.
The night began when Taylor agreed to meet K at his apartment, and from there they were on their way downtown for dinner. He had charisma—Taylor recalls being able to open up to him easily, telling him about her “history of an absent father, past drug addictions, and current life affairs.” She even disclosed her history of struggling with bipolar disorder. K kissed Taylor, telling her that she has “a beautiful soul,” and asked her to take a risk with him. Taylor agreed, which she now regrets. He then informed her that, “I’ll never lay a hand on you, but you should know I’m a dangerous man.”
K asked Taylor to stay the night with him, to which she hesitantly obliged. But she had a plan; she told him that when they returned to K’s apartment, she’d have to return to her house to get her medicine, knowing that when she did return home she wouldn’t be going back to K’s. But her plan backfired when K offered to bring her to her house, considering it was on the way.
When they returned to K’s apartment, Taylor showered and was ready for bed. K told her how they could simply watch TV, cuddle, and talk. When they decided to cuddle, Taylor made sure her intentions were clear, telling K, “I do not want to have sex tonight.” His reply was that he was “still going to rub on it,” referring to her genitalia. Along with the fact that Taylor hardly knew this man, she was still haunted by his warning to her that he was dangerous, and it terrified her to the point where she was afraid to tell him no again.
He began kissing her, removing her shirt. When he then forced his hand into her pants, she grabbed his hand in opposition. K then looked at her and stated, “We aren’t going to fuck, we’re going to make love.” Already scared, Taylor tried again to stop him by saying, “I don’t want to have sex, because I didn’t shave.” However, it didn’t work. K then removed her pants, forced Taylor’s legs open and began to rape her.
During the rape, Taylor recalls the awful and demoralizing things her assailant said to her, such as, “Who’s your daddy? Tell me I’m you daddy. Tell me you need me. I know I’m going to marry you. Tell me you love me back.” Taylor quickly realized exactly how dangerous this man was, and knew what she had to do for her own safety—she had to go along with it.
It was only when Taylor began to cry that her attacker stopped. He wanted to talk about it, and asked Taylor if she was “having doubts” about the pair. They “talked” and came to the agreement that she needed to work on herself. She left his apartment shortly after, but her trauma was far from being over.
Taylor was on the way to the Baton Rouge Police Department (BRPD) when her mom called. With a GPS tracker in Taylor’s car, her mom was curious as to why she was driving around so late at night. Taylor told her mother everything about the rape, who told her she needed to go to the hospital.
At the hospital, Taylor was to speak with the police. Officer James Nauman’s first question was if she had told him that she did not want to have sex, which she replied yes. He then asked, “Are you sure you made it clear? What was you body language like? Did he completely and fully understand that you didn’t want to have sex?” In her eyes, the bottom line was she said no. However, still traumatized from the night’s events, she told the officer she was unsure if he understood. Nauman replied, “Well if you don’t know then we don’t have a case.” Hearing this from the police officer, Taylor said she didn’t want to press charges. It wasn’t until a nurse brought her a pamphlet titled ‘What Does Rape Mean’ that Taylor realized she wanted to press charges.
The next day Taylor, accompanied by a friend, went to BRPD to press charges. But when she got there, she was told that there was no one to talk to her. When she got into her car, Taylor called the Special Victims Unit (SVU) of the BRPD directly and told them her experience, to which they replied telling her they’d have someone in contact with her shortly; but no one ever called.
That’s when Taylor turned to STAR (Sexual Trauma Awareness and Response Center). The man who she spoke with there then called the head of BRPD’s SVU in front of Taylor, who said her case would be assigned the following Monday; the phone call taking place on a Friday. But when Monday came around, Taylor never received a phone call. When Taylor hadn’t been contacted by Friday, she became angry, she felt like she was a nuisance, a pest, and that her rape was being portrayed almost as a burden to those who she thought were going to help her. However when contacted, a representative at BRPD noted that there was no record of STAR contacting them regarding Taylor’s case.
Those feelings are still very prevalent when Taylor remembers her experience to this day, as she is still dealing with the aftermath of her assault. After she received a copy of her police report, she realized that Officer Nauman had failed to report her story correctly, and market Taylor as a compliant rather than a victim.
Taylor also recently received a bill from the hospital where she received her rape kit, which in accordance with Act 229 of the 2015, Louisiana regular legislative session, “protects sexual assault victims and ensures that hospitals do not directly bill these individuals for medical exams and tests associated with sexual assault medical exams.” The hospital bill also lists a doctor that is different from the one Taylor saw. Taylor’s family is currently working to dispute the charges, but receiving the bill and having to relive the nightmare she went through has been draining for her.
Taylor reflects, saying, “Until I was a rape victim, I didn’t understand how you get treated. You get treated as if it is your fault. [Authorities] do ask, ‘What did you wear?’ Even my family asked, ‘What did you wear last night? Were you being promiscuous again?’” Taylor recently opened up to her friends and family about her rape and the trauma she still goes through to this day. The support she has, and continues to, receive has been overwhelming. However, Taylor remains another rape victim who has been “absolutely” failed by the justice system. Because of her experience, she was never