Hello friends, family, former co-workers, police.
In November of 2012, I landed the job of my dreams.
In May of 2013, I began to be bullied at work, which sounds so silly, and feels even stranger to write, but this is the truth, and it needs to be told. I'm tired of hiding something that has so profoundly impacted my life.
A co-worker asked me to have their child because they/the person they are in a relationship with was well past childbearing years.
Then, a dirty joke was told to me and after the employee was corrected, it all went downhill from there.
For six months straight, I endured ridicule, gossip, co-workers refusing to look at or talk to me, co-workers sifting through items on my desk, perusing through my work computer, mocking me, false accusations, and ultimately being cornered in a room, being told that I was "going down."
I turned to my boss, asked for help. None came. I turned to HR, pleaded for help. My concerns were dismissed.
And so, I moved on, heartbroken. I was insecure, messed-up as they come, certain that my new job would be just as vicious and malicious as the environment that I had just come from. But in time, I slowly healed, and I began to trust in people again.
Life began to change for the better, and I thought, "Out of the rubble comes good."
A nasty rumor about me began in February of this year. It quickly died.
And then, May 2, 2014, my life changed.
I was at work when a police officer entered, asking to speak with me and to bring my phone along.
I was questioned about what my involvement was in a crime that had been committed regarding a former co-worker.
I was clueless. The officer informed me that he had a warrant to confiscate my phone. Dumbfounded, I handed it over, trying to cooperate. I was innocent; I had nothing to hide. The officer placed my phone in his pocket, not a sealed evidence bag as is protocol when seizing evidence. I found this to be strange at the time, and more alarming as the weeks have gone by. What did he do with my phone?
As the shock wore off, I grieved. How could I be accused of a crime? Certainly the police would quickly realize their error, apologize, give me my phone back and clear my name.
Saturday, May 3, the very person who was accusing me of this crime followed me in public. My sister placed a call to 911. Officers arrived and dismissed the incident.
Monday, May 5, I went to the police department to obtain a copy of the warrant.
Instead, I was read my miranda rights. I was interrogated for over an hour, told time and time again that I was guilty, there was overwhelming evidence against me, that I was having the wrong reaction, and that I would be arrested.
And then, I was released. Told to live my life as normally as possible until subpoenaed information came back.
A week passed. I still didn't have my phone back. I waited, I called, I was treated poorly, and then, after my phone was lost by the police department, it miraculously resurfaced and was returned to me, albeit in damaged condition.
The following six weeks were torturous. The officer involved told me that the case was still open, no comments could be made, and the report, along with charging documents were sent to the district attorney's office.
Two weeks later, members of my family were arrested, for (surprise, surprise!) false accusations linked directly to the night my accuser followed me. My family, now part of this madness, all because of a cop and a former co-worker hell-bent on getting charges pressed against somebody, anybody.
At long last (nearly eleven weeks total) I received a copy of the police report. The untruths were innumerable.
I have learned one thing through this ordeal: If you have enough power, and the right connections in this little town of mine, you can make a false claim to the police department with absolutely no evidence, yet state that you "know" who committed the crime, and the police will believe you 100%.
You take a girl who has a totally clean record, not even a speeding ticket, and accuse her of suddenly losing her mind and doing something completely stupid and uncharacteristic. I worked in a temporary job for this same police department two years ago, and was told in my interrogation that I am still "adored" by them, even though they believe I am guilty.
You take a girl who endured months of emotional abuse and bullying and believe her accuser, because you are, after all, friends with them. Because my accuser declared that I was guilty, with no proof except for their word, you, a sworn officer of the law, buy it hook, line, and sinker. You take a lie, and present it as fact to the judicial system.
At times, the grief is overwhelming. Those that I trusted best, those that I had once worked with, that I considered my friends, my allies, turned their backs on me, and attempted to convict me of a crime that I did not commit, nor had any idea that it had even occurred. I don't know how to move on, how to be okay. I am fearful each time I see a squad car driving by me, certain that new, false allegations are being made against me. The betrayal by those I once loved is almost too much to bear.
I am fearful for my safety, and my family's safety. Constantly looking behind my back. Indeed, if such allegations can be made and believed, and if I can be followed by my accuser without repercussion, who is to say that my safety is not in danger? I am scared.
I will not be silenced.