'She Says': One Sexual Assault Survivor's Search For Justice
A North Carolina woman was sexually assaulted almost three years ago. After navigating through the courts, dealing with the hospital and the police department, she has yet to find justice. And now a new podcast from public radio station WFAE investigates her case. For the purpose of the story, she goes by the name Linda. WFDD’s Bethany Chafin spoke with Sarah Delia, reporter and host of “She Says.”
On the subject of the series:
Linda is someone that I've been speaking with for over a year at this point. She was sexually assaulted in Charlotte in 2015, so coming up on three years. And she's someone that didn't have a lot of answers to her case, and she was wondering how she should even go about getting those answers, because if you've never really dealt with the court system or the criminal justice system or the police up until a certain point, you don't really know how those agencies work and how they work together. And so I think she just had a lot of questions about her case. I hope the podcast for people is like riding shotgun alongside of her, making some observations, learning things that she's had to learn on her own.
On the trust involved in sharing a personal story:
I think...it came with building a relationship with her [Linda]. The first day that I went out to her house last year I didn't bring my recorder with me. I just wanted to have a conversation with her and get to know her story and also explain, you know, what it would mean to do this story with us and different types of questions she'd have to answer...it was something that we had to talk about. And even when I left I told her I didn't want an answer right then and there. I wanted her to talk it over with her family and really think about it and take a few days and then call me back and let me know what she decided because it really had to be her choice the entire time with telling this story.
On "She Says" and the #MeToo movement:
It [the #MeToo movement] doesn't affect how I'm looking at the story, that's for sure. Whether the #MeToo movement was here or not, this is a story that I think we would be telling. You know, there's a lot of national conversations going on around #MeToo and a lot of people have drawn parallels, and we do too to a certain extent, of the #MeToo movement and the story we're telling. But I think what's interesting about Linda's story is, you know, she contacted a media outlet long before the #MeToo movement and started the process of trying to tell her story.
On listeners sharing their own stories around sexual assault with "She Says":
Each week we ask our listeners a question, and it has something to do with what we tackled in that particular episode. So in episode 2 when we go really deep into SANE nurses, sexual assault nurse examiners, we ask people, "If you're comfortable sharing your story, here's the number to call. This week's question is: did you ever have a sexual assault exam done? Why or why not?" The answers just range so much, and it's so interesting to hear people's stories and their experiences. I just love that we're doing that because I think it hopefully lets people know that we acknowledge that Linda's story isn't everyone's story but...there are all these different voices, and maybe you won't get to know them as much as Linda, but it doesn't mean that their stories don't matter as much. I think it's a really powerful thing to do.