The phone call at 4:00am jarred me awake. It was a nurse calling to tell me my 12 year old adopted daughter, who had given birth to a baby girl the day before, had been raped in the hospital. How could this happen? Aren’t hospitals supposed to be safe places?
I raced to the hospital. The place was swarming with police. One of them explained what was known at this time, Kara was exhausted and sound asleep when an unknown person woke her up and threatened her with a knife; he then raped her and told her not to tell anyone or he’d come back and use the knife on her. She waited for about an hour, she thinks, and then called a nurse.
It was January 8, 1983. Kara had been in the United States since June 13, 1980. She was born in a small East Indian town close to Calcutta, India. I adopted her as a single woman. The only thing we knew at the time was that she had run away from home and landed in a Calcutta Jail because all the available orphanages were full.
A very empathetic police officer took Kara and me to the Primary Children’s Hospital clear across town because she was under age 13, even though she was probably closer to 15, we had no idea when she was born. A volunteer from the Rape Crisis Center came to assist us with obtaining a rape kit. Once the kit was done, the police officer drove us back to the original hospital.
About three days later, the same police officer called me and confirmed that she had indeed been raped. He came out and interviewed her and me. He had his suspicions that Kara had known her attacker and had consensual sex with him. After giving birth less than 12 hours before, give me a break!!!
After many days, it began to appear to us that this, once nice, police officer was investigating Kara and not the perpetrator. I called an attorney acquaintance and ask for help. He gave me the number of an attorney friend of his who would help us. The first thing Tom did was to call off the police investigation of Kara. The next thing he did was to begin our lawsuit against the hospital.
This incident in 1983 changed my life forever. Some of the changes were really bad and some of them extraordinarily wonderful. At the time, I was 41 years old, single and working as a secretary for a cabinet manufacturer. I had no idea what the future held and no clue how I would deal with the daily crises that were enveloping me. This is my story. I hope you will see that what was so tragic could lead to something so worthwhile and fulfilling.
To be continued: