Leora’s blog

I don’t remember how I came in contact with Solace. I remember knowing that I had had a strange encounter with a man. I remember relaying the encounter to different friends who each shed light that that behavior wasn’t just strange but was sexual assault. I remember the medical ramifications. The emotional ramifications. I remember the police officers entering my bedroom as they recorded my statement for an hour. I remember in a stupor reaching out to a few organizations that appeared on Google searches. I remember knowing that I needed support. And in those memories is a faint recollection of a trail of emails, phone calls, and more emails as each organization referred me to another one that would be better suited to help me.

And true to its name, Solace provided my relief and answered my call for help.

Until Solace came into the picture, I handled everything alone – the doctor appointments, the police interviews, the search for a mental health expert. The police officer in charge of my case did not communicate any updates with me unless I reached out to him first. And anytime his name flashed on my phone, my heart would drop. It was always unannounced and usually was just to inform me that there were no new updates.

I met my ISVA in a temporary office space in Angel. She informed me that this space was temporary due to Covid, but that usually the Solace office is a space where no men are allowed, not even to deliver packages. I felt safe. She then explained her role to me and sat and listened. Four months after I was assaulted, it was the first time that a trauma-informed trained professional listened to me. From the way she listened and responded, I immediately trusted her and felt a weight lift.

Together we established two areas that I specifically needed her help:

1. I needed a liaison between me and the police officer in charge of my case

2. I needed help with communicating resources to my family so that they could support me through this

My ISVA went above and beyond advocating for me with the police, helping me understand my victim rights and reinforcing facts during conversations with the police to ensure my story was not misconstrued or misunderstood. She also provided my family with resources for helping a loved one through the experience of sexual violence. I don’t remember how I found Solace, but my ISVA helped me feel less alone throughout this process and empowered me at every step of the way.

My case was ultimately No-Further-Action-ed, prompting a final meeting with the deciding officer. Although my ISVA was meant to be in that meeting, she was ill on the day of, and I ended up going to the meeting by myself. I might have been the only one in the meeting, but I knew that I was not alone. I had my ISVA in spirit, lifted up by her words of encouragement and her advocacy. For the entire 75 minutes, I spoke truth to power. I spoke up for myself and women, past, present, and future. The justice system failed me, but with Solace behind me, I left that meeting feeling wildly strong knowing that I had not failed myself.