Sunday, October 05, 2014

A WOMAN'S STORY: "I am telling this story not because it’s unique but precisely because it isn’t."

A Boystown woman was walking to work one morning last month, when a 20-year-old man allegedly came up behind her, fondled her, then forcibly kissed her directly across the street from our 19th district police station.

That day, the victim sat down and wrote a Facebook post about what happened. It has collected 84 "likes." Her reflections, shared here with her permission, leave us more impressed with every reading.
*Trigger warning*
Today I was sexually assaulted. A man walked up behind me, reached between my legs, grabbed my crotch, then kissed me on the lips. I stood frozen while he sauntered across the street to join his friends sitting on a porch.
“What the fuck?” I shouted after him, as two men who were walking in front of me and missed the whole thing looked back, probably wondering what this crazy chick was shouting about. He didn’t even turn around to look at me.
I walked to the police station. I was covered in a cold sweat, shaking, and struggling to keep my voice even.
“I’d like to report an assault.”
The officers took it all in stride. They knew him; apparently he’s made quite a little reputation for himself as an all-around low-life. They asked me if I wanted them to go arrest him.
I don’t know. I don’t know what’s going on. I feel gross. I feel so, so gross.
The officers encouraged me, telling me that he probably did this to women all the time, and that my help could keep more women from being victimized. As my brain thawed and began to function again, I realized yeah, the last thing I wanted to do was let him walk away thinking that this is okay and let him make other women feel like this.
I told them to go. As the officer approached the stoop, I saw him take off running. A cop sat down with me to help me fill out the paperwork. She said the cop who chased him down injured his elbow in the process of tackling him, so in addition to battery, there’s also going to be a charge for resisting arrest. She told me that the only thing the guy had to say about the incident was that his dog likes it when he touches her like that.
To give you some context for this specific event:
• It was 8:45 in the morning
• I was on my way to work
• I was in a “good” neighborhood
• It happened right next to a police station
• There were other people around
• I was wearing jeans, flats, and a tank top, holding a bag with my lunch
What I would like to make clear here is that all of these things are irrelevant. There was literally nothing that I could have done to prevent this, nothing that I did was the reason I was violated. I am telling this story not because it’s unique but precisely because it isn’t. Because I’m just one of 237,868 victims of rape and sexual assault each year. Because two minutes before me, it happened somewhere else to someone else. And in the two minutes it took for me to pull myself together and get to the police station, it happened again to someone else (1). And you will likely question whether she was drunk or why he was flaunting his sexuality or how short her skirt was. And I will remind you that things like this happen in the most ordinary of circumstances, like walking to work; that you can live your life in fear, striving to minimize every possible risk, but you could still be wearing all the “right” clothes at a “safe” time of day in a “good” kind of place and it could still happen to you; that men will still feel entitled to treat you however they wish; that they will still compare you to their dog.
I didn’t want to press charges. I don’t want to go to court. I just wanted to tell the police and have them do something about it that didn’t involve me. But if this is one thing that I can do to chip away at a system of female (and trans* and queer and gender non-conforming people) oppression by reminding one man that one woman will not tolerate his trespasses, I will gladly do my part.
If you’re tempted to give me any advice about what you think I can do to prevent things like this from happening in the future, I’d encourage you to instead focus your attention on something that can actually help prevent sexual violence by donating to some of the organizations that are working to dismantle the systems of rape culture, misogyny, and patriarchy that are at the root of these transgressions. RAINN, Men Can Stop Rape, Hollaback!, Everyday Feminism, Planned Parenthood, and Take Back the Night are just a few.
Now-21-year-old Malaki Mercado is charged with simple battery and resisting police in connection with this incident. He failed to show up for a court appearance last week and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

Thank you for allowing us to share your story, C.
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27 comments:

  1. "I stood frozen while he sauntered across the street to join his friends sitting on a porch."

    Whose porch? Does he live in the neighborhood, did the porch belong to him or one of his friends?

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  2. While I do truly sympathize with the victim, using her own well written words we can see why there is a crime problem in this city: "I didn't want to press charges. I didn't want to go to court. I just wanted to tell the police and have them do something about it that didn't involve me."

    Folks, the police CAN NOT do ANYTHING without the cooperation of the victim. If you are the victim of a crime, PLEASE become an active victim. Do a report, sign complaints, go to court, put pressure on the courts to see the offender off to jail.

    This poor woman didn't want to be a victim, but she was. She didn't want to sign a complaint, but she did. Bravo to her for standing up to a cowardly criminal. Every citizen should do the same, and when the word gets out to criminals that people are actually willing to stand up for themselves and work with police maybe they will think just a little harder about committing that next crime.

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  3. Wishing her well as she goes through the court process and recovers.

    How did he not get charged with sexual abuse like this guy???

    http://breakingnews.suntimes.com/crime/police-man-fondled-female-slapped-her-buttocks-on-northwest-side-street/

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  4. there are so many striking statements in this account. i feel awful for this woman, but i am so impressed with her powerful and meaningful message. and to the first poster - she WAS an "active victim". she was just walking us through the thought process that follows from an encounter like this. but you're right, it's also a message to all those victims who don't file reports. anyways, props to this author for being a strong, thoughtful woman.

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  5. CWB, please publish the low life's mugshot.

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    Replies
    1. He "bonded out" without going into the Sheriff's Office system, our usual source for mugshots.

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    2. So, just so I understand. This guy bond's out-so no mug shot? How about fingerprints? How about anything other than "catch and release"? I'm thinking CPD must be pretty fed up with this judicial arm of justice. Prosecutors don't prosecute and judges don't sentence. If so, why keep trying?

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    3. CPD takes mugshots for their records and the Sheriff's Office takes their own mugshots during prisoner in-take. If a person bonds out without entering sheriff's custody, there is no sheriff's department mugshot.

      We do not receive CPD mugshots because we will not register with their "news affairs" program.

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  6. Isn't the crib across the street from the police station? is this guy one of their misunderstood "youths"? (they sure seem to cater to old youths at COH and the crib). Just curious if there's any connection. I live near the COH, and we've certainly seen our share of crap behavior over there.

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  7. Interesting that he didn't show up to court; he's had time to update his Facebook account, though: https://www.facebook.com/malaki.mercado?fref=ts

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  8. He outside the center now in a leather jacket

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    Replies
    1. Call 911 he does have a warrant.

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  9. The neighborhood she was in isn't a "good" neighborhood anymore.

    Sad but true.

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  10. We need mug shots so that we can call 911 when we see these guys in our neighborhood.

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  11. What about Facebook pictures? I notice there is a 21 year old Malaki Mercado from Utah...didn't a previous article say he was a Utah transplant...?

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  12. To the strong young woman

    Initially, you will be disappointed. In the end, the savage will get nothing close to justice. This IS still Cook County, after all. Take solace that once this matter is resolved you can take pride that you made a stand and did the right thing. You looked a predator in the eye and you didn't back down. Words cannot describe the sorrow I feel for you and the countless victims that will not receive satisfaction from a system that was compromised by politics long ago.

    Brace yourself. I have spoken to victims that have told horror stories of being victimized on the street and later in the courtroom. It is very likely that this offender will walk out of court with a plea to a misdemeanor and "time served." When this happens, please do not despair. You are much stronger than the animal that attacked you on the street.

    You are a different person now and that isn't all bad. This experience didn't kill you, and I heard somewhere that makes you stronger. Please don't let this experience force you to live in fear. Please remember, the good people outnumber the bad, and the majority of people will step up when someone needs help.

    Stay safe. Stay strong.

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  13. Yes his Facebook says he arrived in chicago. He appears to be a stoner/drifter that is backpacking across the US. He will most likely go on the lam. I wish I could post this article to his page so his mom and well lwishers would know what he is really upto.

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  14. This was absolutely connected to the Crib. Every morning, people wait outside for their friends to come out when the shelter closes at 9 AM. To hear the Night Ministry tell it, they don't bring a criminal element to our neighborhood, and they don't need professional security monitoring the premises during intake and when they are let out in the morning. And this is what happens. This, or something like it, will absolutely happen again as long as the Crib is in operation under current management.

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  15. Yet another disturbing story of the demise of society. To the Victim I am truly sorry. I am sorry that the cook county states attorney has failed to do his/her job to approve the correct charges in this case. It would be nice to know a name. I assure you that a cook county judge will fail to do his/her job and actually give this case justice. I am sorry that you will be victimized more by this incident. If you try to seek counseling for this crime you will be turned away from RVA and any other public funded service. The state statues for sexual assault are very strong and clear, but it seems like the courts never follow them. You sound like a strong woman and I encourage you to talk about your story with your friends and family and start to heal as much as you can. It would be great to protest having the Crib in our neighborhood, maybe picket signs with booking photos and charges listed, amount of public funds going to the joint program. Maybe a lawsuit against Night Ministry, the LakeView Lutheran Church and the City of Chicago for not providing enough security and supervision of their guests. All you were trying to do was mind your own business and go to work so you could be a responsible member of society.

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  16. Similar to the moratorium on SRO conversions, we should have a moratorium on new social service organizations in Lakeview until they can show they are providing adequate security for tax paying residents.

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  17. I can't find Malaki Mercado on FB. Only Beverly Ricohermoso Mercado.
    How can I find his page and photo?

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    Replies
    1. Its been removed

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    2. Anyone have the photo?

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  18. Malaki Antonio Mercado kinda looks like Timothy McVeigh. Maliki 's Utah drivers license has him at 6' 150 pounds Blond hair brown eyes/ D.O.B 9-11-93.This guy looks like he's 16 or 17 though.He was stoped at a local grocery store recently for attempted theft of a liquor bottle not charged.

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  19. Just to note Maliki has a mole above his lip left side.If this creep ever comes back to a certain grocery store again.You will be seeing his mugshot for sure!

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  20. Update: Maliki Mercado was arrested today 10-8-14 at 7pm.He came back to the local grocery store on broadway and stole a bottle of liquor again.He was taken in to 19th police district .C.P.D said they will check into his back ground.

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