In what definitely was stiff competition for the title of “worst part of this entire experience” was the wait to hear/read Marco’s account of things. In my estimation, he’d either lie or tell the truth. And was he really going to admit that he tried and failed, that he then had his butt kicked by his intended victim, and that she preferred jumping off a building than suffering his touch? Yeah, I didn’t think so. Months had passed and he hadn’t confessed to anything. So the gnawing question for me was “What could he possibly say?” We’ve all seen how the news and tv shows depict these things: her word against his. And given the statistic that only 6% of those who commit sexual assault in the US ever spend a day in jail, I think we can see how that scenario works out for the woman.
To me, it was like a math equation of if A, then B or C. If he wasn’t going to tell the truth about what he did, then how could he possibly justify my choice of exit route from his apartment? A woman not in danger would likely select the door as a means to exit, not the balcony. I was pretty certain that would be hard to explain for him. Yes, I knew he could have claimed “She was drunk!” But…that claim was easily dismantled by the evidence.
Still, the wait was a certain kind of paralyzing fear that would crop up and consume me at the weirdest times: on the PATH ride home from work, while out with my friends, and especially any time a pivotal date came and passed with the courts. I would always have visions of me on the stand during my trial enduring complete and utter lies by Marco’s attorney. I thought that was a sickening but real possibility. And from that alone, I came to understand why it’s so hard to prosecute this kind of crime. As a victim, it’s terrifying the thought of having to defend your life’s reputation against an onslaught of lies and accusations. It seemed to me so unfair.
In my mind, all that was lacking in the evidence against Marco was an actual videotape of the crime. I had the best case scenario, probably better than most victims ever have, and yet I still had fear.
In November 2009, when the official investigation closed, my attorney called me to read me Marco’s statement. Talk about gall.
Apparently, soon after I exited his balcony, he ran inside and tried to chase after me. But he lost sight of me and then called the police. Drunk as he was, he told the police something to the effect of “I was f__ing some American woman and she freaked out and jumped off my patio.” The officers dismissed him and did not visit. A little while later, Marco called them again and the police showed up. He told them he had brought an American woman back to his apartment but that she had tried to STEAL from him and he had to wrestle her for the items and that she flipped out and jumped off his patio – like some kind of crazy CAT BURGLAR. The officers observed how drunk and sloppy he was, and left without further questioning or investigation.
Now, I’m not certain what he said when the police hauled him into the station about 9 hours later after I had arrived at the police station and told them who had assaulted me, but I do have the copy of his “official statement” he gave in the presence of his attorney many weeks later. His third attempt at explaining himself is the “official” one but the other two claims he made were on the record and part of the evidence against him. All I can say is that his statement seems to mirror my police report and I feel in my gut that he had somehow obtained a copy of the report I gave and then worked very hard to craft a mirror opposite of it.
In Marco’s version, I’m the aggressive woman forcing him to show me his art studio, take me out, buy me roses, buy me wine, show me around town, and show me his patio. Poor, helpless Marco is just a gentleman who couldn’t deny my requests. Furthermore, according to his report, simpering, sweet Marco had a girlfriend and when he told me that, I said, “I don’t care if you have a girlfriend.”
I am going to pause here while you laugh about that last sentence.
Continuing on…In his version, when he decided it was time for me to go home, he gallantly walked to his apartment door, opened it and motioned for me to go. But according to him, I “suddenly became very uncomfortable and I could see she was fearful so I tried to put my hand on her shoulder to reassure her and she freaked out. I never touched her in any way.” He then goes on to say he tried to rescue me and hurt his elbow in the process.
By saying all of that, he then had no answer for my blood being on his clothes or patio, why my earring and broken bracelet were recovered from the scene, or why there were obvious signs of a struggle with broken potted plants and glassware. Also, and most damning, were the scratches on my finger tips, nail marks on my face, bitten lips, and my bloody nose.
Again, I realize how lucky I was to get such a sanitized version from my attacker. I am fairly certain the usual claim attackers use – especially ones who do rape – are “She was drunk and asking for it.” It now makes sense to me why that works so often. Every defendant’s attorney works to place doubt in the mind of the judge/jury. And if I had not had my witnesses, my sobriety, or evidence in my corner, Marco’s version would have been a successful shot at my credibility. It’s really sick and pathetic, but then again, so are the people who sexually assault others.
QUOTE: “Let me listen to me, and not to them.” – writer Gertrude Stein (Women’s Wit and Wisdom; Runner’s Press)