Ever since I began pursuing a criminal investigation into my abuser and experienced the trauma of trying to find the appropriate people to tell (and therefore telling and retelling my story to quite literally a dozen different people who just handed my phone call off to the next person) I have known the system for victims is broken and wanted to do something about it.
I didn't know what that something might look like until last night.
The thing about me is if I get a new idea I can be somewhat manic. Once the wheels in my mind are turning there is no shutting them off and I lose sleep.
This experience was somewhat opposite. I haven't slept well this week for a variety of reasons and last night while I laid awake in bed after a nightmare my wheels took off.
I have grandiose dreams of developing a free online widget that guides victims through the reporting process for every single state regardless of their circumstances. I picture a landing page that starts out with the simple question, "do you know who your attacker/abuser was?" The answer to that question will then fan out the process for every single person. It will include scenarios such as abuse suffered as a child where the victim is now an adult; scenarios for victims who may have missed the statute of limitations in their state (which is an entirely different issue I'd like to address; this article sums up many of the problems with statutes of limitation for child victims especially); victim advocacy phone numbers for each state so that victims can reach out and talk immediately to a single real person who should know exactly what to tell them to do next if they have any questions. It would evolve if victims' scenarios didn't fit in so that we could create a solution that makes reporting sexual crimes less traumatizing to an already traumatized population.
I emailed RAINN to see if they would be open to developing something like this with me and if not, perhaps they could point me to someone who would. If it comes down to it, I may try to start on this project solo by enlisting the help of some sympathetic developer friends. I just know my reach and capabilities would be limited if I did this by myself. I can't change what happened to me. I can't change whether the district attorney decides to press charges in my case. But I can help change the reporting environment so others can find justice more easily than I could and that's exactly what I plan on doing.