I met with a client this week. She is a black woman. I am a white woman. This is important later.
Her home situation was becoming untenable, and I told her she needed to get all of her things from her home – where two relatives were staying – and move them to her apartment as soon as possible. I told her to get some sage and stones and some other stuff to help her prepare to walk into that house and get her shit and leave. She did. She got emotionally and spiritually ready, walked in to get her stuff, and was attacked physically for doing so by her relative.
She went to the police department, who said it didn’t sound like that big of a deal, because she wasn’t badly hurt. He actually said, “I don’t see any bruises. What’s the problem?” She went to get an order of protection, and found that the police officer (no big deal guy) told her bad information about how to do so. She went back to the police station and asked that same officer to serve it, and he said it wasn’t his job. Even though he had spoken to the attacker on the phone, he said it wasn’t his job. He even acknowledged that the family member had outstanding warrants, but couldn’t find time to serve him. So my friend has to hope it gets handled today.
I was on the phone with her when this same officer told her the order of protection was fraudulent (since she had two properties) and that she couldn’t enter her own home. He was being belligerent and condescending, and it wasn’t until another officer entered the conversation that my friend was even listened to. It was RIDICULOUS, Richmond Heights PD. You are ridiculous.
I stayed on the phone the entire time, so that she would have support. If someone accuses her of being abusive or swearing, I’ll be able to help her. I was so angry, listening to this smart, compassionate VICTIM OF ASSAULT having to restate her position over and over again, to an uncaring and rude police officer. This is protecting and serving?
Here is why I’m so goddamned mad right now. There are a few reasons.
1. If I (white woman) had been attacked by a 23 year old black man in my driveway, it would have made the news.
2. If she (black woman) gets attacked by a 23 year old black man in her own driveway, she is treated like she’s bothering the very officers who are supposed to protect her.
That’s it really. Those are the reasons. This is bullshit, guys, and it happens every day. I asked her if I could write about this because one of my most valuable tools is my voice, and I intend to use it. I told her if she needs me to come with her to advocate, I will. I hope I don’t have to. I hope that she will be heard without standing next to a white person, but who fucking knows at this point?
Racism is alive and well, you guys. What are YOU going to do about it? How are you going to help? If you are white like me, how are you going to check your privilege and lend a hand to people of color in your community? What can you do? I encourage you to figure. It. Out.
As a tarot reader, I read for clients in crisis. As the daughter of a GOOD police officer, it’s very jarring for me to realize that sending a client to the police might not be a good idea.
Unless they have bruises that show, that is.