Documentary film Escaping Fed offers survivor insights toward bridging the gap between skeptical first responders and victims of empowered offenders' sex crimes, as well as for more effective and timely response, reporting, victim safety and survivor dignity. The film also engages viewers to push for legislative change within individual states and as a country, for improved law enforcement transparency and accountability in responding to these sensitive crimes. Finally, we strive to inspire more females to enter fields of law enforcement across all entities and at all career levels for greater gender perspective, balance and empathy.
Why Escaping Fed Is an Important Film
The documentary film Escaping Fed is written, produced and directed by stalking, rape and attempted murder survivor C. Kimberly Toms. She is making this documentary film not to "expose" her individual crime, but to expose the climate of ignorance about these matters in the "Good Ol' Boys' Network" that makes up law enforcement in general. Without such a network in place, one single special agent or police officer would not be able to serially and criminally enact these crimes, unpunished.
At the same time, male agents would not be able to "retaliate" or "attempt to break down" the victim post-reporting. This is a situation enacted by "Agent J" in Kimberly's case, a supervisory agent who is also referenced in the documentary.
This eye-opening film is also produced to show the significance of the Brotherhood of Police, when it comes to reporting law enforcement officers for these types of crimes. In the narrative feature-length documentary, the disproportionate refusal of seven male officers to act on the words, "This officer raped and tried to kill me" comes to light. Their back-turning is disproportionate as all but one of six female law enforcement officers who came into contact with this story DID act.
Even Beyond the Brotherhood of Law Enforcement, More Problems Exist
The real-life shaming she experienced does not stop with law enforcement. Law enforcement individuals and entities are just one link in chains of failure. After the rape, every attorney Kimberly talked to told her to "get an attorney" to ensure justice was served. But, as the entire prequalified Wisconsin State Bar list she called indicated, not one lawyer was willing to take on a case involving a federal "secret agent man."
Still today, every attorney nationwide that she speaks with tells Kimberly to "go after him - get a lawyer and hold him accountable." The question is always the same, "Why haven't you gotten an attorney to go after him?" Such a simple question, so easily proving the sheer insanity of the entire situation.
One male attorney in downtown Milwaukee yelled on the phone at Kimberly in response to her call, asking her, "Who do you think you are?" So who does Kimberly think she is, to have been raped by a federal agent? To answer that here, she is the fourth of six reported victims of the same special agent. She is also an American exercising her Constitutional rights.
But special thanks are extended to the one attorney at the very bottom of the Bar list who was forthcoming. He said he was sorry she suffered these crimes but, "To be honest, no one will touch this case."
Who are the heroes in the documentary film?
The heroes of the documentary are real-life heroines from society and law enforcement at city and federal levels. In fact, the brave female victims, female law enforcement officers, and female assistant district attorneys are the ones carrying the ball forward for this long game of criminal prosecution. Why is this all falling onto the shoulders of females? Is this pattern in Kimberly's case an isolated anomaly? Is it coincidence?
Kimberly continues working hard toward justice. This is in addition to the victimization and reporting of this offender by other women, before her. SO WHY DID THE SAME CRIMES OCCUR AGAINST TWO MORE WOMEN after Kimberly? As Kimberly's tenacity keeps her pushing forward for help, the offender's tenacity keeps him offending even while knowing he is under investigation, just as the "Brotherhood" keeps a heavy cloak of ignorance around him.
What messages exist in Escaping Fed?
In a nutshell, America needs more female law enforcement officers, with resulting gender balance and empathy. The only true means of breaking down brotherhoods and good old boy networks is that of balancing antiquated attitudes with informed attitudes. When it comes to rape, time and time again women prove themselves as the more informed. This is by nature of the crime, natural empathy and victim percentages, not so much by nature of gender, alone.
Rather than taking a position of "police are bad," Kimberly and the film take the position of urgently needing more females in these law enforcement roles. If for a while females must almost exclusively make up special victims units or maintain majority in those roles, then by all means go with that. Use what works, not what does not work.
Does positive gender focus exist, for positive change?
As of 2013, women make up only 11.6 percent of all uniformed law enforcement officers nationwide. Is there wiggle room, to allow "positive gender focus" in law enforcement hiring practices? In an emergency situation and for the greater good, sure. But given present options, which is a "better" strategy: Using gender focus to target and prequalify more female first responders who will respond - or allowing existing stereotypes and male-enacted sexism to prove police forces unresponsive?
In actuality, this is a stance of an affirmative action. Of course, best case scenario is a non-gender focused approach to the whole mess of things. But when has this proven possible? As people bang their heads on walls and debate, "What the hell do we do," more and more women endure rape victimization and blame for their own rapes.
At the most basic, perhaps general law enforcement positions of today require greater prequalification. The current state of law enforcement also necessitates greater supervision for these matters.
This means the same even for the FBI, who knew of this offender's crimes before Victims 5 and 6. Kimberly personally begged for their help in person in a Virginia FBI office, 14 months prior to Victim 6's violent rape. The FBI agent had her recount her "concerns" and the rapes in the security booth, in front of two male security guards - while the agent repeatedly peered down at his wristwatch. Perhaps if he had taken her seriously, the violence enacted upon Victim 6 would not have occurred.
Law enforcement officers need more education and guidance in responding to "rape" victims, in general. Empathy is critical in these matters. Too many law enforcement-perpetrated sex crimes occur, for continued "ignorance."
Accountability must fall on officers refusing to act on other law enforcement-perpetrated crimes. This accountability must include crimes occurring after the failed reporting, just as the justice system punishes citizens for collaboration after-the-fact for many criminal acts.
Real Change Requires a Lengthy Effort
Everyone at Escaping Fed realizes these are long-term changes. These are problems requiring a 10- or 20-year focused approach of major law enforcement change and accountability. But ignoring the issues has not served well. It is almost unfathomable that we still see such problems in 2018. Our approach to policing and criminal accountability still acts upon 1950s standards.
There are two ways to approach these problems: negatively or positively. Negativity is easy, quick, fiery, newsworthy and entertaining. A negative approach is one of physically and verbally fighting back against the offending parties. It is loud and attention-getting.
But this problem necessitates a logical, positive approach for real change. It starts with little girls and boys of today and tomorrow. The solution starts with helping tomorrow's officers understand true honor. Honor originates through serving your municipality, state or country in logical, informed and ethical law enforcement. It involves aggressively recruiting more females into these roles. It also involves applying military-proven gender balance and equality - post-Tailhook - to law enforcement entities. Yes, the military has a long way to go, on its own. But they are leagues and years ahead of law enforcement.
We need immediate, baseline-bucking movement at the very least. Law enforcement entities must examine their "ideal candidate profile." They also must really question where this profile fails female victims.
How do the crimes and "pursuit of justice" affect Kimberly's private life today?
Because of the crimes, the wake of those crimes and the power of parties involved, Kimberly's life changed forever. No "going back" exists. Once apolitical, she is standing up against major U.S. government entities. These entities prove themselves time and again ready to tear her down. The same holds true of the eye-opening reality of what really "goes down" when you report an empowered individual:
- Verbal abuse by other officers when unsupervised (Agent J - this means you)
- Physical and mental abuse by allowing continued criminal acts against Kimberly after reporting the offender
- Financial abuse related to Kimberly's unemployability during the five years of criminal victimization and "investigations, reoffense and more investigations"
- Absence of true Victim's Advocacy or adherence to basic victim's rights (i.e., using the Victim's Advocate at the federal level - US Department of State - to manipulate victim behaviors or push internal agendas)
- Continued offense by the perpetrator against multiple other, new victims
- "Questionable" referral for multi-year IRS audits (after threats), primarily for post-crime annual earnings under $40,000
- Complete invasion of personal privacy, through email and personal records/data access
- Continued stress of "awaiting decisions" now 6 years after the original rape
But Kimberly still stands, as does everyone involved in the making of this film. We stand committed to stopping this one empowered and permitted predator. We also stand committed to affecting some real change using the voice we have: documentary film.
Official Film Trailer