KANSAS CITY, Mo.– The ‘Me Too’ movement helped to shine a light on sexual assault cases around the country, but survivors say there is still an uphill battle when many of these cases go to court.
“Maybe if I stand up for myself and tell my story, maybe somebody else can do the same thing. Something can be done about it, because it’s very traumatizing,” said Sunny Kingsley.
Kingsley contacted FOX4 and wanted to share her personal story and the change in they way these cases are investigated and prosecuted.
On September 25, 2020, Kingsley said she was sexually assaulted by a stranger she met.
“I remember saying please don’t kill me, please don’t kill me, you know? Please don’t kill me,” “He preceded to beat me in the back of a head and rape me several times. I had to get 9 staples in the back of my head.”
That night, she went to the ER, a rape kit administered, statements given to police.
While there eventually would be an arrest, she recently learned, the man would not be charged.
A spokesperson for the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office cites “lack of evidence” in the case.
“The detective was reassuring me we were going to get them. It takes a while it takes a while. So, I waited patiently. They call it the judicial system. They call it here to protect and serve but I don’t know what they are protecting and serving?” said Kingsley. “As a woman, I’m scared for my life to leave my house.”
The group, Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault (MOCSA) works with survivors as they maneuver the system, or simply just want support.
MOCSA said many rape cases end with no charges.
Stories like Kingsley’s aren’t rare.
“The systems themselves need to be shifted. There needs to be a change in how we view these cases as a society. A change in how we talk about them. There needs to be changes in the reporting that happens,” said Director of Education, MOCSA, Brandy Williams.
According to Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office 2021 Annual Report, out of roughly 2,500 sexual offenses reported since 2017, only 640 of those cases resulted in charges.
The overwhelming majority, never even make it to the prosecutor’s desk.
Lack of evidence or lack of cooperation by victims and witnesses are often the two biggest factors.
“Sexual assault and sexual violence are one of the only crimes that occur where the survivor or victim is led to explain a little bit more about what’s going on. Up to them to talk about where they were, who they were with, what they were wearing. Where the accountability is not put on the perpetrators. The accountability is not put on the perpetrators,” Williams said.
The spokesperson for Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office says they recognize the impacts these cases have on survivors and work hard to prosecute all cases.
“Maybe if I stand up for myself and tell my story, maybe somebody else can do the same thing. Something can be done about it, because it’s very traumatizing,” Kingsley said.
[4:45 PM] Sharifa Jackson Hi! Woman was MOCSA asked if we could be kind to add their hotline to my story sexual assault story from last night.
If you or someone you know needs support, please call MOCSA’s 24-hour crisis line at 816-531-0233 or 913-642-0233.
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