How I learned that the courts can’t be trusted to protect raped women

A few years ago, I briefly dated someone who became extremely abusive within months. From his behavior towards me, stories I heard from others and stories he told me, I quickly realized he was definitely a narcissist and probably a sociopath as well. He was reckless, cruel, lacked empathy, was manipulative and lied a lot. He started out flattering me and being extremely pushy. He came up to me in a crowded room at a convention and told me I was beautiful, then aggressively pursued me through other events and online. I hesitated to date him because I thought he was ugly and too alpha male for me, but he was really pushy. Finally a friend talked me into dating him because she said he seemed so smitten with me. I did kind of like that he was so aggressive about what he wanted. My friend rationalized that an ugly man who was crazy about me was better than a hot guy who wasn’t. So, I tried to be open-minded and gave him a chance. He ended up being a real jerk.

During our brief relationship, I became pregnant after a condom broke. So, even though I ended the relationship and told him there would be no sex, I felt obligated to stay in touch. Plus, I felt like he should help with expenses. I let him visit me one day to make plans about the baby and he pushed himself on me and had sex with me as I kept saying no. He finally got off of me without finishing, so there was no evidence. Just me feeling disgusted. I got him to leave my house and decided that, pregnant or not, I wasn’t going to have anything to do with him and his abusive behavior.

I spent a few days feeling sick about it and finally told a friend what had happened. She said I’d been raped. I told her no, it was more like non-consensual sex. Umm…she said, that IS rape. She encouraged me to file a police report. I decided to get a restraining order too, since he’d been abusive in other ways and I wanted to be clear that I didn’t want him to bother me anymore.

I learned that filing a report and detailing what happened for the court is really embarrassing. I’m a shy, non-assertive person, so I just said the bare minimum and tried to avoid details. My face was burning. I just wanted to keep him away from me.

When we went to the court date, he showed up. The magistrate told me to briefly describe what happened. I did, again feeling my face turn red. I said the bare minimum and mumbled and went back to my seat when I was done. The guy took his turn. He rambled and created an entire back story filled with lies and things that had never happened. He told the magistrate I’d pushed him to date me and have a relationship, that I’d been in love with him, and worse. He made it sound like I’d pursued him which was the complete opposite of the truth! I sat there in shock because the magistrate had told me to be brief, yet here he was spinning a fairy tale. I’d reluctantly dated him after some peer pressure and I’d tried to get rid of him, then later took steps to get him totally out of my life, and there he was acting like I’d been pushing him for marriage. It was the first time I saw how convincingly a narcissist can lie. And I realized my honesty was no match.

The magistrate denied my protective order and came up with a decision that painted me as the lovesick woman in the rapist’s imaginary story. I felt violated, sick and degraded. I learned that a predator can lie and a court will buy it. It was like the magistrate never heard my words but fell hypnotized by outright lies. I realized that I couldn’t tell the truth as convincingly as a narcissist can lie and I realized the court was not going to protect me.

I tell others that the courts will NOT protect you. Judges and magistrates are not educated about personality-disordered liars and they often make ignorant decisions based on their black and white perceptions of what they see. Many rape victims are further degraded and violated by the legal process. Sometimes I think it’s better to just let the rapist go so you can keep some sense of dignity and escape.

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