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At a police station in Maryland, a phone rings and a female officer answers.
911: Hello, 911. What is your emergency?
Ford: Hello, police? Someone just tried to rape me.
911: Tried to rape you?
Ford: Yes. Tried to rape me.
911: What’s your name?
911: What happened?
Ford: Well, the guy was really drunk.
911: OK. He was drunk.
Ford: The guy was really drunk and he tried to take my clothes off.
911: Then what happened?
Ford: I tried to scream but he put his hand over my mouth.
911: OK, then what happened?
Ford: He tried to rape me but he did not succeed.
911: So there was no actual rape?
Ford: No, but he tried, believe me. And that’s a crime.
911: Ma’am, at this police station we know the laws of the state of Maryland. We know that rape is a crime.
Ford: Good, so . . .
911: Who is this drunk who tried to take off your clothes intending to rape you?
Ford: Uh, I can’t really say.
911: You can’t say or you don’t know?
Ford: Uh, I guess I don’t know who he was. Kinda. Sorry.
911: Ever see him before?
Ford: Uh. Not that I know of.
911: Any witnesses to the attempted rape?
Ford: Yes, there were two drunks in the room.
911: So the attacker had an accomplice?
Ford: Yes. Wait, there might have been three others in the room.
911: Three others? So four in all?
Ford: Yes, there were four. I think I remember that. Or maybe just two.
911: Maybe just two. Any names of any of the others?
Ford: Uh, no. I don’t know any of the names. But I know they are all from an upscale prep school.
911: Do you recall the name of the school?
Ford: Uh. No I don’t. But as you know there are plenty of schools like that in this area.
911: Did the attack take place in a residence?
Ford: Yes, it was a party at a private residence.
911: Had you been to a party like that before?
Ford: Uh, yes I had.
911: What is the address where this party occurred? The homeowners may have more information?
Ford: Uh, I can’t say. I don’t know the address. I don’t know who owns the place or even where it is.
911: You don’t know the location of the place you were attacked?
Ford: No, I don’t. Sorry.
911: How did you get to the residence? Did a friend perhaps drive you?
Ford: Uh. I don’t recall just how I got there. Kinda.
911: Were you drinking at the time?
Ford: Look, I’m not going to talk about that. I mean, I have a right to privacy, okay?
911: OK. What time did the attack take place?
Ford: Uh, I don’t know.
911: How did you get home after the attack?
Ford: Uh, I’m not sure about that either.
911: But you are sure this drunk preppie tried to rape you?
Ford: Yes. I’m sure about that. He tried to take off my clothes and when I screamed he put his hand over my mouth.
911: Did you maybe grab an article of his clothing?
Ford: No I didn’t.
911: No scratches or wounds of any kind?
911: Did you tell anybody else? Friends? Parents? Teachers?
Ford: No, I didn’t.
911: OK. Do you want to come in and file a formal police report?
Ford: Uh, no. I don’t want to file a police report.
911: You realize, ma’am, that without a police report it’s pretty hard for us to respond in any meaningful way?
Ford: I don’t understand why. I told you the story.
911: Just so you know, if you do file a police report with false information you can be charged for that.
Ford: I can?
911: Yes, you can. It’s actually a serious matter because anyone accused of a crime is presumed to be innocent.
Ford: But he tried to . . .
911: You might keep that in mind, ma’am. The accuser has to prove the person guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. And without the address, time of the crime, name and description of the attacker, and with no witness or physical evidence, you won’t have much of a case.
Ford: But I told you the story.
911: In fact, you won’t have any case at all. You have given us essentially nothing. No evidence.
Ford: But I told you what happened.
911: You did, but here’s the thing: a story is not evidence of a crime. An accusation is not evidence. Just so you know.
Ford: So I can’t just tell you the story?
911: Not the way you did just now. We need things called “facts.”
Ford: So you aren’t going to do anything?
911: Based on what you said, ma’am, no police department in the United States would touch this case.
Ford: What about the FBI?
911: It’s not a federal jurisdiction. No, they wouldn’t. If you had specifics for us, maybe we could bring in an FBI profiler or crime scene specialist, but you don’t know where the crime scene is, who attempted the rape, or when it took place. The FBI would have nothing to investigate.
Ford: Don’t you care that someone tried to rape me?
911: Yes, I care, and this department has arrested and convicted rapists. But in those cases we had something to go on. You have given us nothing.
Ford: So can you help me at all?
911: Maybe. You might buy a can of black spray paint, find yourself a retaining wall, and write your story there.
Ford: Excuse me, what?
911: You just . . . sorry, I’ve got another call coming in. Good luck with your story, ma’am. Somebody will believe it.