The year was 1991. I'll never forget the rude awakening. It was only three in the afternoon at the time. The brisk wind felt like a cold slap to my face with every determined step that I took. Time seemed to slow down, as I contemplated my actions. Should I do this? Was I actually brave enough to step away into the unknown?
Well, my answer was yes. I could do this. At the tender age of eighteen, I remember strutting across the silent streets. With intense pounding in my eardrums, I decided to be brave. Looking up, I saw the sign above the building. I finally gathered my courage and entered the police station.
Gripping the doorhandle, I yanked it open and was aware of the consequences should Mark ever find out. But, wasn't my safety worth the price of his wrath? Unsure, I followed the typical procedures. I found a seat in the corner and settled in for an essay. I remember holding the papers in my hand... a rape report. Filling out the paperwork, I wrote out the allegations and proper information.
In all honesty, my experience with trauma was extensive and writing in the cold, formal boxes didn't begin to cover the intense heartache and abuse that I'd received for the past seven years. I was eleven when it all began. But, hoping for some semblance of justice and any sort of relief, I continued filling out the dreaded paperwork.
After a solid half hour, it was finished. I included my profession, home address, and all the other necessary information. Exhaling a massive breath, my fingers ached with the intense writing. But it was done. The hard part was finished. If this went well, I wouldn't have to go back...
Walking up to the front desk, I gathered my courage and was ready to expose my humiliation. Mark wasn't the only man to abuse me, but he was to blame. The imprint of the damage done will forever haunt me. Oh, the bruises and scratches heal with time. But you can't put a bandaid on the memories of his harsh mistreatment. They will forever be my scars.
Shaking myself out of the darkness that constantly surrounded me, I waited for the line to dissipate. Finally, it was my turn. The smiling lady seemed nice enough. She looked at my scraggly, revealing clothing and lifted her brows. Used to the strange and disapproving looks, I handed her my papers.
But then... then her smile disappeared.
"Oh, I'm sorry. But it looks as if your complaints are unfounded."
Confused, I wondered at her words, thinking I had filled out something incorrectly. "What do you mean?"
"Well, I'm putting your paperwork in the NHI files. But no officers will be available to search out your grievance."
"No Human Involved." She looked down and quietly asked me to leave the building.
I was accustomed to being treated unkindly. And the lady was nice enough, it wasn't that. I was shocked that my abuses weren't considered valid. But, I guess it shouldn't have been such a surprise that day.
I was a prostitute.
It's strange. I remember entering that police station with such hope. I'd been hurt by so many people... it was foolish to think that maybe this time it would be different. I had hope that day. But hope hurts.
NHI... those words will forever haunt me.
In 1991, police in Southern California closed all rape reports made by prostitutes, placing them in a file stamped "NHI". The acronym stands for "No Human Involved". This is proof that modern-day slavery still exists. Society refuses to acknowledge certain citizens because they feel superior to those who are used and abused, usually against their will. These vulnerable individuals are not protected by laws of humanity.
How can we allow injustices to continue to people who seek help? Will we turn them away?