By Heidi Ganahl, Guest Blogger and Founder of Moms Fight Back
As I ask other moms to share their stories through the Moms Fight Back website I realize it’s equally important that I share my own story. We’re all in this together and I hope that sharing my own experience will make a positive impact in someone else’s life. I’m fighting back…
What led me to create Moms Fight Back was when my amazing daughter dealt with a couple brutal blows during her senior year of high school that rocked me to the core.
The first ordeal came when she was sexually assaulted by a boy she’d known since 8th grade – a popular, well-liked football player.
The surprising follow-up blow was delivered by the justice system and local DA – the very people who were supposed to protect her and right the “wrongs.” My daughter is a sweet, beautiful girl – a model student, homecoming queen, lead in the spring musical, who trusted the local law enforcement would make things “right,” hold the boy who assaulted her accountable, and keep him from doing it again. Because that’s what we teach our kids the justice system will do.
It was the treatment she received at the hands of the local Sheriff and DA that has left the deepest scars, the greatest trauma, and the most confusion. The very people she and our family turned to for help after the assault have left all of us questioning just how safe she or anyone else is.
The case never went to trial even though the boy admitted what he had done in a text message. My daughter also had the physical bruises and scars to prove her story. The DA pursuing the charges, the sheriff investigating, and the people up the chain of command let us down. Even the school didn’t do what it was supposed to do in response to a sexual assault case. The whole system, top to bottom, let us down.
But nothing prepared me for the heartache of watching our government, our justice system, our local cops and D.A. fail my daughter over and over again. I was so naive before this happened. I trusted that our government and local law enforcement would look out for my child until the D.A. told us they only take cases when they know they know they can win – and anytime teenagers and alcohol are involved they typically won’t touch the case. One minor detail I’d like to point out – 70% of sexual assaults involving teenagers involve alcohol.
Guess what Moms? No one is protecting our teenage girls from sexual assault. The DAs won’t touch your daughter’s case unless they are sure they’ll put a ‘win’ on their political scorecard.
As you might imagine, this experience has enraged me. It’s caused me to lose all faith in those who are supposed to be there to protect us. It’s made me closely examine our government’s role in our lives – and my role as a parent.
My daughter’s sexual assault and the dealing with the crushing disappointment our local justice system dealt my daughter finally put me over the edge. I suddenly got very interested in the role of our government and the relative promises I had always taken for granted as true, always relied on as solid.
Who really is looking out for our kids?
It’s just us, mamas.
We’re in this on our own but we’re in it together.