The Perfect Rape Victim

24 Apr

Brute physical force – a “real rape victim” goes through it (courtesy of http://archives.deccanchronicle.com/)

A real rape victim deserves justice. Every other wannabe victim is just crying rape.

A real rape victim is female. She is pretty, pure, most likely heterosexual (maybe also middle class, white, and a born-again Christian) and she has never had any kind of sexual contact with anyone, ever, before she is raped.

A real rape victim’s rapist is a total stranger. The rapist is depraved, looks like Gollum, probably does drugs, probably is an ex-con, lives in the bushes and under bridges, and targets pretty girls who happen to be outside alone after dark. He never gets sex unless he forces women into it.

A real rape victim screams and fights back when she is attacked. She is not paralyzed with fear, or muted by a strong hand over her mouth, a knife to her neck, or alcohol/drugs in her system. Even if those conditions threaten her survival, a real rape victim perseveres and screams and fights as hard as she can, because she knows that this is how one determines the difference between consensual sex and rape.

A real rape victim is beaten viciously by her depraved stranger rapist. Her rape is traumatic because it’s physically painful.

A real rape victim knows to report her assault immediately after she survives being raped. She is not hesitant to tell her family and friends, because she knows she doesn’t have to fear judgment – she was a real rape victim, and she is entitled to support. She is not hesitant to tell the police any detail about her rape, because she knows she doesn’t have to be ashamed – she was a real rape victim, and her rapist is the only one responsible for her attack.

A real rape victim’s rapist goes to jail for his crime. He serves a long and hefty sentence, which is more proof that the rape was real, not just sex falsely reported as rape. A real rape victim is applauded for her bravery.

A real rape victim is supported all throughout her recovery. She is offered counseling and the best treatment for the nightmare she suffered. Her story is media-worthy. Her story may inspire books and movies based on a true story. All of society is on her side.

A real rape victim lives happily ever after … in a perfect world.

A “real rape victim” is insanely rare in the real world.

In the real world, rape victims are male, female, young, old, all skin colors, all ethnic backgrounds, all religious backgrounds, all economic backgrounds, married, single, divorced, LGBTQ … and so are their rapists. The rapes that these victims suffer are just as varied and nuanced. Maybe that’s why they’re overlooked, disqualified, and dismissed – they’re just too hard to classify.

Sigh. If only I had been a real rape victim.

 

 

My Rapist Added Me on Facebook

13 Apr
I haven’t been the most faithful blogger. I have a lot to catch up on here, and many loose ends to tie.
I thought I’d log in just to vent.
My idiot loser limp-d*** rapist had the nerve to send me a friendship request on Facebook an hour ago.
Every year he does something like this, maybe trying to be cute – who knows what goes through that animal’s mind. Last year he mentioned my birthday on Twitter. The year before, he sent me an e-mail notifying me about an apartment available in the area.
I will not friend you on a boat.
I will not friend you, f***ing goat.
I do not like your f***ing spam.
Go die in a fire.
Maybe do something novel, like move on with your life, forget my name, and marry the horse face that I hear you got engaged to since I exposed your rape confession, N. You could even end this legal battle we’re fighting and be gracious enough to settle so that I can move on with my life, instead of stalking me all over the web like you’re clearly doing. Tell everyone at your church to stop trying to contact me, too.
Who am I kidding? I know you won’t stop until I inevitably win the lawsuit and shut you and your rape sanctuary (I mean, church) down forever. Until that delicious day arrives:
Image

Dating after Rape (Part 1 of My Ongoing Diary)

30 Jan

Guys and girls can be just friends… (courtesy of EliteDaily.com)

The dilemma starts two nights ago, when I was formally, politely asked to be kissed by a man that I’ve known since university. Now let me backtrack, because it’s been so long since I’ve updated this blog that I’ll lose us both in the story if I’m not careful.

How far back into the past should I go? You may have read about the first and second time that I was raped already. I’ve also written about trying to move on from my experiences, but that was more than a year ago – talk about procrastination! I guess it’s best to tell you first about when I met this guy. There’s already a “J”, so I’ll call the new one ‘Jay’. Just keep in mind that, so far, he’s the good version. And really, he’s the first version – I met ‘Jay’ about a year or two before J.

The Story

Jay and I were introduced through a mutual female friend, and my one and only “hippie summer” followed after that. As I remember it, Jay along with three other friends of ours and myself ended up spending every single day together, going to outdoor concerts and festivals, hitting the clubs at night, and being wild, carefree and crazy in general. (I think most people have one of those epic summers during their high school years, but I told you I was a late bloomer!) It was strictly platonic between us all. Though I found Jay attractive, I knew he had a girlfriend spending her summer outside of the country, and I enjoyed Jay’s company so I rarely thought of him beyond that level. I taught him to dance; he taught me to play pool.

After the summer ended, it was back to business as usual. Jay and I said hi when we ran into each other outside of classes, but being in separate programs of study, that didn’t happen often. He kept up with me on Myspace first (remember Myspace?!) and then Facebook, he sent me an e-mail or text message now and again – and  he gradually fell into the background of my life. I lost my stepfather to cancer, got kicked out by my mother, got involved with J, ran away to a different city, got involved with N, and have been picking up the pieces of what N did since then. My college days weren’t exactly at the forefront of my memory.

Jay kept writing, however, and when I told him that I had moved back to my hometown (after reaching my limit with N and the church’s torment), he started to call. When he found out about the second rape (he had deactivated his Facebook account, but one of our mutual friends told him about everything I posted online), Jay was supportive and wanted me to pursue justice – like my good friend B. But sometimes I would get inexplicably irritated by Jay being optimistic when I just wanted to be left alone and miserable. I fought with him a few times over stupid things – I know they were stupid because I can’t remember what they were now – and then we had a big blowout where I called him everything but sincere and cut Jay out of my life. I ignored his text messages some times, and other times I would be civil but distant. I felt like no man could be trusted, and going forward I thought I didn’t want any “friends” at all – male or female – just the family members that I could trust. That was around the time of this post.

Okay, So … Explain the Kiss?

In September (2012), Jay called me out of the blue asking if I wanted to see a movie. I figured that was harmless enough and went. Jay paid for the movie, we had some upbeat conversation on the way home, and the fight never came up. I didn’t think about him again until a few months ago, when Jay called again to see how I was doing. Long story made short, we went out for coffee (well, lattes in my case – I don’t like coffee). We hung out a few more times, and slowly began to talk about how dumb we both felt we acted in the past – me for fighting his friendship, and Jay for assuming that I could heal myself in a day. Two nights ago, before Jay took a trip overseas that he’d been planning for a year, he invited me over to watch movies, he made us dinner, and that was when Jay asked if it would be okay with me if he kissed me. Normally, asking permission would be strange to me, but in context of what’s happened in the past, I thought it was the greatest courtesy he could give me. So I said yes. And it was … nice.

Now What?

In a way, though, I’m relieved that Jay’s going to be out of town until March.

  1. I realize that I had big, BIG issues with trust. Though I met Jay before life started going haywire, I’m having a hard time not wanting to dock him several points just because he’s male. I know Jay, but I don’t know know Jay – does that make any sense? I don’t know what’s truly in his heart, and how to know that he’ll be different from my experiences.
  2. I think that because Jay is single, has been single for about a year, and has been acting sort of ‘date-y’, that his intention is move us out of a platonic relationship into a dating one. I’m not sure how I feel about that, if that’s what’s going on. Jay is still attractive, we still get along terrifically, I used to think it could be nice to date him, but … yeah, I’m not sure that I’m excited to try it now. I’ve gotten very comfortable with being alone, although I know that nobody can hide from civilization forever. Somebody somewhere out there is going to try to get to know you, somehow.
  3. The kiss was nice, but I was excited and uncomfortable (by Jay’s closeness) at the same time. Maybe I’m not ready to be kissed even after all this time – or maybe it’s a normal reaction to physical intimacy after going through rape?
  4. Is Jay going to look forward to kissing every time we see each other now? I can’t figure out if that’s good or bad.
  5. What if sex comes up? I think I’d run and never look back. The idea of having sex again turns my stomach.
  6. I’m comfortable with Jay and hanging out at his place, but I don’t want to let him into my place for some reason. And I don’t want to be hanging out at his place all the time – just in case.
  7. I kind of miss Jay’s company, already.

I’m trying to get back into counseling, I know I’ll need the support – but for now I only have this blog. What has been your experience with dating after being assaulted? Does anyone have any advice to share?

I’ll post updates to my story as they come. Thanks for reading, and happy belated new year! I wish you all a recovered and revitalized life in 2013!

A Letter to My Rapist

20 Aug

Dear N,

I’ve been missing in action for so long that I know you thought I was gone for good. You never hesitate to tell the world when you think you’ve won. I’m sorry to disappoint you this time.

It took me quite a while – almost 2 years to be exact – but I’m back. And just like I promised, I’m armed with the truth and ready for war.

Remember when you were driving me home, after you held me in place and got your sexual jollies out of me on that cold cut of wooden table, and I screamed that you should have killed me? I meant it, but back then it was for a different reason. Because of what you did to me, I wanted to die. I used to pray every night that I would go to sleep and stay that way. I kept breathing, every day feeling angrier than the day before because my prayer went unanswered.

Today, I’m so glad I told you those words, because I’m alive with blood boiling in my veins, and you are finally, finally going to be made to regret the terrible things you did to me. You’re going to remember my name one more time. When everything is said and done and your life and reputation lie in ruins around you – just like you did to me – you will sorely wish that on the day you raped me, you used some of your perverted strength to put me in the ground. That instead of handing me my skirt and driving me home, you beat me to death or drove me off a cliff. Because you left me alive, God has avenged me.

I would do anything to be around on the day that you get the sheet of paper that tells you I’m back – but you can imagine me sitting at home with a bowl of popcorn and a smile instead.

Thank you for giving me the most satisfying moment of my life.

Until we meet again,

E.A.

Moving On from Rape is Easier Said than Done

6 Dec

Remember this girl from season 5 of American Idol? It was the one where Taylor Hicks, the one who bore a slight resemblance to Jay Leno, won. About a month ago, you couldn’t tell me her single below wasn’t my theme song:

and not because of the music, but the lyrics:

I’m over your hands,
and I’m over your mouth.
Trying to drag me down,
and fill me with self-doubt.
oh..


Moving on, it’s my time,
you never were a friend of mine.
Hurt at first, a little bit,
but now I’m so over.
I’m so over it..

Don’t call,
don’t come by,
ain’t no use,
don’t ask me why,
you’ll never change,
there’ll be no more crying in the rain.

I took a break from my new blog back in September for an emergency trip I had to make, got lazy, and weeks after I returned I missed blogging. To be honest, though, I wasn’t in a hurry to come back. :-s

Hear (Read?) Me Out

I mentioned yesterday that I was struggling with time management, which is true. A lot has changed for me between September and now. I got involved with an attorney. I did some more “spring cleaning” down my list of friends and got rid of a few so-calleds who claimed to support me, but really were just loving the E.A. is Falling Apart Show. In October I found a new job that I actually like, where I get along with my co-workers and the pay is great. I’ve even started creatively writing again, something that I used to love and lost interest in after the incidents of last year. Thoughts of being raped didn’t take up so much of my day. Compare this all to, say, July 2011: nursing wounds from my church community, running with not much more than a suitcase and the contents in my wallet to my mother for support and getting none, dumped by the criminal justice system, nowhere to go, no hope for the future, lots of rage.

Finally, I’m through with this shit! I had myself convinced. I’d come back to the blog from time to time to approve comments, but I put off replying to a few. I thought, “well…I’m kind of in a different head space these days. Things are looking up for me. It wouldn’t be genuine of me to keep posting when I’m pretty sure I’m over being raped.” But I noticed while I was away that my number of blog hits really grew. People were typing terms like “i was raped” and “fran drescher rape” into search engines and reaching this tiny unfinished blog. They reminded me of when I used to wake up every morning already in tears. I felt guilty that I had nothing to say.

Rape: The Gift That Keeps on Giving

Then, yesterday happened. My half-sister C, one of the relatives who lives in the city where I met N, called to say hi. We had always been close, and C stuck by my side when she found out what happened. At one point in our conversation, C mentioned my uncle and his wife at my former church, living as though they never heard of me. I was okay until C told me that she was disgusted that, even after I posted pictures of proof on Facebook, no one in the church cared, everyone still supported N and his family, and N’s career was really taking off. I’d always suspected that was the case (after all, to this day only 1 member of that church reached out to apologize for the way she treated me), but hearing it confirmed from an eyewitness hurt me more than I thought it would. I actually spent the rest of the night crying.

I pulled up this blog, re-read the posts, re-read the comments, and realized that on the outside, my circumstances are improving, but internally not much has changed. Some things like this post (Chris’ e-mail) still make my blood boil, and questions like this (where’s God?) are still on my mind. I wanted to “get to the finish line” in the beginning, and tried to rush through the recovery process. But if outward success is an accurate way of measuring inner healing, then why are accomplished celebrities like Tyler Perry still finding it necessary to get on “Oprah” and pour out their bitterness? Because 1, 5, 10, 20 years down the line, the effects of rape still pack a pretty mean punch.

You Have to Pass “Go”, But You Don’t Need All Properties to Win

A reader’s comment I read yesterday really helped bring the truth back home to me. It can take days, and it can take years. There really isn’t any way to run from the healing process, speed it up, or take any short cuts, and thinking you’ll be the exception is one way of denying yourself some sorely needed and deserved TLC. Because of the heavy sense of shame that came with my experiences, I put pressure on myself to get free. But in one of my earlier posts I compared being a rape victim to going through the death of someone you loved, and there’s nothing shameful about losing someone you’re close to. When people find out you’re grieving a death in the family, most will instantly give you the benefit of time and sympathy to recover. Should it be any different for a rape victim: someone who suffered a debilitating violation of their body and spirit through no fault (or invitation) of their own? Even if no one else is sympathetic to your needs because of rape stigma, you should be sympathetic to yourself. It’s incredibly hard to heal, but when you make yourself identify the rape as the obstacle, and not the wounded self that you want to escape, your efforts will be concentrated in the right direction. This is a distinction I want to start making for myself.

The other thing about the healing process I’m learning is that there are no rules in terms of what you need and need not to do to help yourself recover. By that I mean, what works for one victim may not work for another, and vice versa. Based on experience and studying several cases, counselors and survivors may suggest things that have a known record of being helpful, but that doesn’t mean that you have to take those suggestions in order to heal, especially if you feel you’re not ready or that the suggestion would make you uncomfortable – such as praying if you’re not religious. I tried a few unconventional things that helped me, which I’ll definitely share in the near future. I’ll also share my experience with suggestions that I tried and found unhelpful, even though they’ve been great for other rape victims.

Back to WTS

The long and the short of it is that I still have a lot of (admittedly scary) work to do to get to the point where I see being a rape victim as just another part of my past. I’m just really glad that this blog is still here for me to do it in.

Back For The First Time

5 Dec

Props if you could tell (from the title) that I’ve been listening to a certain Southern rapper’s first LP recently!

I’ve really missed blogging, but I’ve also been terrible with time management lately. Has it really been almost 4 months since there was an update?!

I just wanted to thank you for continuing to read, comment and subscribe, and extend a big welcome to everyone who started reading since the hiatus! I’m working on a few posts tonight and hope to have something new up for tomorrow morning.

How have you all been? Send me a comment, an e-mail, or a link on Twitter and fill me in!

Until tomorrow,

E.A. 😀

 

Short Hiatus

13 Sep

Hi everyone! I’ll be away from my blog for most of this week tending to some urgent matters, but I’ll be back to posting hopefully by Thursday or Friday! Until then, take care and stay safe 🙂

E.A.

The Reason (In My Opinion) Why Date Rape Gets No Sympathy From the General Public

7 Sep

Date rape - or, "sex gone wrong" (courtesy of Womenin3D.org)

Stranger rape - or, "f***ed up crime" (courtesy of UltimateDefenseTraining.blogspot.com)

Disclaimer: This post is not meant to make light of rape committed by a stranger at all. I’m not writing this to offend any rape victim, advocate, or anyone who feels for rape victims. I hope my post won’t come across as condescending or insulting or cruel, but if my opinion offends any reader in that way, please accept my apology.

Monday’s post (I delayed, so sorry!) featured a male reader who questioned the truth about my story after reading about the first time and the second time I was raped, and my response to him. I really hesitated to share the argument, but what he wrote serves as a great example, I think, of the (common) snide reaction most people have when they hear about acquaintance rape happening.

Who am I to make that judgment? No expert, really, but as I’ve written before (and have no intention of taking back or changing), I’ve been date raped twice. In my experience, nobody respects acquaintance rape as a true crime, and I know I’m not the only victim of this type of rape to say they’ve been through the same. I didn’t report my first attacker and I regret it, but I reported my second attacker to my church pastor, the local police, friends, family, the regional board of church representatives and council – basically whoever I thought would listen. I was called a liar, a drug addict, an undiagnosed bipolar on medication, and also laughed at, made fun of, insulted, hated, isolated, ignored, and dismissed. I tried to press criminal charges and had them recently dropped without warning, even though I can prove the second attack. (Thankfully, a lawyer has taken me up on filing a civil lawsuit.)

The Difference Between Acquaintance Rape and Rape by a Stranger

The simplest definition of acquaintance rape, given by Merriam-Webster.com, is: “rape committed by someone known to the victim.” That’s easy enough to understand. I keep switching between the terms date rape and acquaintance rape because a lot of sources define them the same way, but they’re not exactly the same thing. Date rape is a type of acquaintance rape, like ‘babysitter rape’ or ‘mentor rape’.

At TheFreeDictionary.com, stranger rape is defined as: “a rape in which the victim does not know the rapist.”

Now, just to be clear, I’ll give the definition for rape. Found at Wikipedia.org:

Rape is a type of sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse, which is initiated by one or more persons against another person without that person’s consent. The act may be carried out by physical force, coercion, abuse of authority or with a person who is incapable of valid consent.The term is most often defined in criminal law. A person who commits an act of rape is known as a rapist.

But why get so technical with the definitions?

Public Opinion

I think it’s helpful to give legal definitions because opinions may vary, but rape is ultimately a legal term. It describes a crime that’s not really up for public debate or approval.

Rape isn’t the only crime defined so strictly. Theft is one legal term that can’t be tweaked by members of society who “just don’t agree”. Another is murder. For example:

  • A woman was recently convicted and sentenced to 15 years in prison for feeding her 16-month-old son, who suffered from congenital syphillis, biscuits tainted with rat poison. The article at Examiner.com says that she did it out of mercy.
  • A teenager faces trial as an adult for the stabbing death of his 49-year-old female teacher. The article at CommercialAppeal.com says that he bragged about stabbing her at least 9 times around her neck, one first in her throat so that she wouldn’t be able to scream, and also that he had plans for the crime dating back over several months and had studied military tactics to be able to commit the crime effectively.

Would anyone argue that the crimes the woman and teenager (if found guilty) committed weren’t murder? Or, would anyone say about their crimes, maybe, “it wasn’t murder – the little boy needed to die” or “that teacher shouldn’t have been in that school at that time” ? Nobody (sane) would make such comments.

What was the end result of both crimes? An innocent baby boy and a teacher lost their lives. Poisoning or stabbing did not make either victim more or less dead than the other. One may have felt less physical pain than the other before dying (we can’t be sure), but that doesn’t change the final result of what both victims suffered. Punishment for the crimes might differ because of the level of severity only.

Now consider these examples:

  • The president of Uruguay has recently apologized to the president of Haiti for a gang rape committed by Uruguayan peacekeeping troops on a young Haitian man. The article at Reuters.com says that after earthquakes left many parts of Haiti in ruins, a video surfaced and circulated on the Internet that shows Uruguayan marines laughing as they hold a 28-year-old Haitian man down and assault him. The public outcry for justice was so loud that the president of Uruguay stepped in.
  • A man in New Hampshire was finally convicted and sentenced to 15-30 years in prison for forcibly raping a 15-year-old member of his church 14 years ago. The article (courtesy of The Associated Press) says that the girl wound up pregnant and was forced to stand in front of her Baptist church congregation and apologize for “behaving immorally”, even though the girl complained that she had been raped and never changed her story. (Sounds eerily familiar 😦 )

According to definition, both crimes were undeniably rape. The end result of both crimes? A 28-year-old man and a 14-year-old girl wound up assaulted. Being ravaged by foreign “peacekeeping” troops or being forced into sex by a trusted member of community did not make either victim more or less raped than the other. One may have felt less physical pain than the other throughout the ordeals they endured (again, we can’t be sure), but that doesn’t change the final result of what both victims suffered. And punishment for the crimes might differ according to the severity of injuries, just like the law dictates for murder and other crimes – but that wouldn’t mean that one guilty party could be charged for anything other than rape, like “unpleasant sex”.

So why was there public outcry for one rape, and public ridicule for the other?

There’s No Such Thing as The Boogeyman

In my article about Rihanna’s music video for “Man Down” and the outrage that followed, I said:

What would happen if young people actually DID follow Rihanna’s example, and suddenly anytime you heard of a rape in the news, the headline in the paper would read something like: “Teen Victim Fatally Shoots Attacker after Alleged Rape”? That would be a problem for a society that feels best about keeping rape and sexual abuse a “hush hush” topic, never to be talked about, and never to be acknowledged as something serious that damages lives almost the same way that murder does. Potential rapists wouldn’t get away with so many crimes, and be hidden by their communities, never facing criminal charges, or serving jail time that amounts to a slap on the wrist whenever they were actually charged and tried. They wouldn’t want to try raping anybody – a crazy young’un out there could just shoot them up for it. I’m not saying anyone should go out and pick up a gun. I’m saying that we need to be honest – rape is real violence, too, but a lot of us don’t care.

Now, I don’t think I was right in saying that people don’t care. Indifference isn’t really the best way to describe how I think society feels about the topic of rape. I think it would be better now to say that rape makes society uneasy.

We all know that rape is a heinous crime – really, we all do. It makes most people sick to their stomachs to imagine anyone they know ever experiencing rape. It’s a disgusting crime that I think is the only way of destroying someone without killing them – just leaving them physically alive to live with a core that starts rotting away from the minute of the incident until there’s an intervention of some kind. You really have to be a sick person to rape someone – right?

Well, if acquaintance rape is a legit crime according to the law – then maybe not.

By definition, acquaintance (and date) rape is committed by someone the victim is familiar with, and not a shadow in the bushes – the “boogeyman” that inspires rage when people think about rape in general. Consider these statements from The National Center for Victims of Crime:

  1. Seventy-seven (77)% of completed rapes are committed by non-strangers (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 1997).
  2. A woman is four times more likely to be raped by an acquaintance than by a stranger (Illinois Coaliltion Against Sexual Assault, 2002).

How many women (not even considering men, who can also be victims of rape) are estimated to experience a rape in America every year? About 1 in 6? The 2010 United States Census counted the American female population as about 156 million. That would mean that an estimated 26 million rapes of women alone would be perpetrated by psychotic strangers, if the statistics given above were based on a crime that’s not really rape. I tend to believe that stranger is very real and very damaging, but that it’s also very rare. (In searching for articles on rape to compare above, it took me more than 2 hours to find a report on a rape committed by strangers :-s) I also tend to believe that 26 million or so women in America aren’t crazy if they’re raped and recognize that they were raped – even if it was “just” a boyfriend or a mentor that did it.

Humans commit Rape – not Shadows

It’s horrible to think that rape, the kind of crime that everyone agrees is revolting beyond words, isn’t necessarily an act of the depraved. That not only is it common, but that it’s commonly committed by normal people. In other words, you don’t have to be a psycho to rape someone.

What does that mean for the general public? That Joe Blow has the means and equipment to rape his date if he (or she, if we’re talking Jenny Blow?) wants to. Joe Blow can be a doctor, a neighbor, college student, your best friend. Joe Blow can even be you.

The moral, good citizens in us want to think that we can contain rapists in a bin labeled “sick” and keep them away from normal society, but unfortunately it’s not possible. Otherwise we would have to anticipate cases like the woman who poisoned her child, the man who raped the 14-year-old in his church, and basically sequester all of society.

The problem comes, I think, when instead of being over-vigilant, we try to pretend that exceptions to the accepted rule don’t exist. And when they show us that they exist (in the form of incest committed by parents, rape committed by boyfriends and spouses, and sexual abuse committed by child mentors), turning a blind eye and ears because the exception makes us uneasy. It’s like we think that if we accept that there are cases of normal people doing bad things (committing rape), and that those cases are in the majority, that we’re blurring the line of distinction between “good people” and “bad people”.

Blaming the Victim for Your Feelings of Guilt

I want to stress that nobody is at fault for the existence of rapists in society. It disturbs us to our core and it’s human nature to want to assign blame for things going wrong, but please, put the blame where it belongs: on the guilty. You as a normal citizen of society aren’t responsible for the existence of the person next door who raped someone, even though maybe you feel like you could have – or should have – seen it coming and prevented it somehow.

On the other hand, the victim isn’t responsible for having been raped, and you might be surprised to find out that he or she may be feeling equally upset about falling into the “gray area” of rape. It’s embarrassing to realize that you’ve been victimized, but that it wasn’t by a psycho – which would be acceptable by the general public. It can make a victim feel “less than” if they think that their injuries and circumstances surrounding their ordeal means that the real unwanted sexual penetration they know they suffered – that the law recognizes they suffered – isn’t a cause for complaint. It can make a victim feel guilty when they thought they, too, would be protected.

“Do You Think What Happened to Me Was Rape?”

I hope someday we can get away from having to ask or hear questions like this from confused and frightened victims of sexual assault. Maybe even that someday a victim can be confident in seeking help and justice just like the families and friends of murder victims, because of the nature of the crime and regardless of the flavor.

In the meantime, I’ll settle for a little bit of your compassion.

An Upset Reader Wonders if I’m The Blogger Who Cried Rape

5 Sep

I received an e-mail from a male reader named “Chris” over the weekend. He wrote:

E.A.

i stumbled upon your blog and after reading through a number of your posts, i just had to write to you. before i begin allow me to inform you that i am a 41 year old guy and have had 3 female friends that were sexually assaulted:

‘J’ was raped, beaten and left for dead by a stranger that had actually targeted a friend of hers and mistook her for the friend; he’s still in jail and my friends parents blamed her for the attack, because she dressed “sexy”.

‘K’ was raped by a guy she new for 6 months, she’s a black girl living in harlem, he was a black guy (he’s also in jail), the attack left her scarred enough that she won’t date a black guy anymore.

‘H’ was attacked on a subway car but 3 latinos, she put up a fight and in the process they broke her arm and gave her a black eye and while they didn’t rape her they did molest her before she was rescued. one of the attackers was jailed.

the reason i am mentioning the above is because i want to make it clear that i am not “pro-rape”, i am not unsympathetic to the plight of a rape victim nor do i believe that women are put on this planet for men’s personal amusement.

having said that, after reading your blog, i have trouble seeing how you define the second “attack” as a “rape”. here is what you said:

you had been “seeing” ‘N’ for about 2 years and based on your accounts the two of you had been sexually involved up until the day of the “attack”. the reality is that a rapist doesn’t wait 2 years to sexually assault you, if this guy had actually “targeted” you from the first time you met (as you seem to believe) he would have assaulted you the first time you guys went on a date.

you also make it clear that you went to that location willingly and with the intent of having sex; i can tell you as a man, when you have a girl that is with you willingly and for the expressed purpose of having sex with you, it’s very difficult to stop yourself mid act. a perfect example from my life back when i was in my 20’s:

i had a “sex buddy”, let’s call her ‘M’ [Note from E.A.: Chris gives an explicit description of a situation that I don’t think is appropriate for display here, so I cut it out. I read what he described as sex that was agreed upon that went wrong when M started to feel pain.]
the reality is that the entire incident of her complaining about the pain to my pulling out took about 30 seconds, would you consider that as my having raped her? when you’re in that mode and in the middle of the sex act it’s almost impossible to just stop yourself in a split second because at that moment you’re acting on pure biological instinct, it takes a few moments for your cognitive abilities to kick in and for reason to take over and allow you to stop.

it sounds to me like the second “attack” falls in this category and evidence for this is right in your blog:

1) the DA refused to press charges against “N”, despite a recorded “confession”.

2) you have been unable to find an attorney willing to pursue a civil case against him.

3) in your own blog you post an article that if you’ve been raped once you’re statistically likely to be raped again (a mathematically nonsensical claim; your chances of being raped are independent of your rape status, the odds are not cumulative); this shows me that you have a mindset where you expect to be victimized again.

allow me to make this perfectly clear, i sympathize with you 100 percent, no person deserves to be sexually assaulted and while i couldn’t find the details of your first assault on your blog, i will share with you that i have stepped more than a few times to prevent a women from being attacked and had i been present i would have done my best to ensure that you weren’t attacked either.

when i was in college, i “dated” (i honestly don’t know what to call what we had) a girl, let’s call her ‘D’; this girl was adopted and though i didn’t discover this until years later, she had been the victim of incest (hence her adoption). looking back on it, it certainly puts her behavior with me in a light that allows me to understand what transpired between her and i. ‘D’ had numerous intimacy issues, and it was very hard to know how to act around her; while on a date she would spontaneously take my hand and hold it, have me put my arm around her, give me a tight hug, tell me how much she liked me, tell me how if we were married she would be willing to do all sorts of experimenting sexually including light bondage and anal but the very next moment of i tried to caress her face or tell her how beautiful she looked she would pull away in anger and shout at me “don’t touch me!!!” or “no i’m not” (when i told her she was beautiful). this went on for years until i finally told her how i felt about her, i told her i loved her and she responded by telling me she never wanted to speak to me again, that of she had known how i felt about her all along she would have stopped speaking to me years ago and that if i didn’t leave her alone was was going to go to the cops.

quite frankly i was shocked at her reaction, considering we had talked about getting married and having kids and so on, i couldn’t understand what the hell happened. i later found out about the incest and it did put things in perspective, it helped me understand this girl (which 10 years later i still have never spoken to her again) and i was kind of able to make sense of why she “mourned” st. valentine’s day (if you wanted her to go ballistic and get all pissed of all i had to do was buy her flowers or a gift for st. valentine’s day).

‘J’ is an even bigger mess; this is a women (she’s no 44, the attack happened when she was 17 IIRC) who i knew for more than a decade, we had expressed feelings of love for one another, we had been intimate on more than one occasion, we used to wrestle like little kids and yet every once in a while a “trigger” would go off in her head and while we were wrestling and i got her pinned in a compromising position, she would get very hostile and angry and yell at me “get off of me” with a real serious look on her face, one time she had actually punched me in the face and another kicked me in the crotch and after i got off her, her demeanor changed and she was back to normal hugging me and telling me how much i meant.

this woman was very screwed up mentally by the assault, she got very into S&M, she loved tying men up, gagging them and whipping them, beating them, biting them, and off course raping them; basically using a strap on and violently penetrating them anally.

so why have i told you all this? because reading through your blog paints for a me a picture of a young women (you say you’re 25) that went through at least one horrendous incident and who has understandably been scarred. you are also fearful of being attacked again (an understandable reaction) and you are trying to make sense of it all and your blog is an attempt to try to “own” the attack, so as to not let it define you.

if i may allow me to give you a few suggestions, which perhaps you may have either already considered or actually pursued:

1) get yourself some therapy, not from a support group but from a license professional psychiatrist and i would recommend seeing 2 separate ones, a man and a woman, so that you can get the feedback from 2 different viewpoints.

2) i think you would benefit greatly from intense martial arts training and weight lifting; you need to feel strong and confident; i was bullied all the way through high school and was beaten up more times that i can remember. during the summer of my junior into senior year i decided i was tired of being the small, fat kid that always got picked on and started doing 500 pushups and 500 situps a night; by the time school started again i had shot up a couple of inches and suddenly i was in shape and few people would mess with me. after i got out of high school i started lifting weights and studying martial arts religiously and quite frankly it’s come in handy more than a couple of times. i think psychologically you would benefit from such training immensely.

3) lastly, you can’t let these experiences change you to the point where you feel the need to “dress down”; where you feel scared to dress in a manner that’s flattering to you or makes you look attractive and you also shouldn’t let it effect you in such a way that you can’t take a compliment from a guy.

lastly you ask if God cares; i honestly don’t know. part of me wants to point out that when you consider how many wars there have been, how much heartache in mankind’s collective history, all the natural disasters and all the victims of crimes through the ages, one has to wonder if a) there even is a God, in the biblical sense and b) if there is a God if perhaps He is incapable of caring about life forms such as us.

since you have a religious background (‘D’ was a Pentecostal Christian), surely you must know that the bible of full of acts of cruelty by God, a fact that explicitly contradicts John 3:14. i supposed one answer is that since God granted all mankind free will that He does not interfere in mankind’s free exercise of said free will, even when such exercise violates someone else’s free will (because fundamentally most crimes come down to a free will violation, if you really think about it), but this also flies in the face of biblical teachings were disobeying God leads to eternal damnation, thus meaning we have free will that we aren’t supposed to use.

then there is the evolutionary viewpoint of rape, where some anthropologists have postulated that rape is an evolutionary tool left over from our cavemen ancestors that ensured the survival of the species by being an instrument of maximizing dna distribution, thus increasing the likelihood of survival of the human race.

for what it’s worth you have my sympathies for what you’ve been through and i wish you the best, i hope that it wasn’t out of line to email you and i hope that in some small way some of what i wrote either helps you now or in the future.

-chris.

I didn’t want to post the e-mail when I first read it because of the personal friends’ stories he gave, even though he did protect their identities by changing names for initials. But I got a second e-mail from Chris a few hours later that changed my mind:

E.A.

sorry to bother but i just had to write, i just read your account of your first “rape” and you have a very liberal definition of the term and quite frankly i find it a tad offensive that you would actually start a blog claiming you were “raped”, especially when i think of what my poor friends actually went through.

by your own admission you and ‘J’ had been very sexually active and you were an enthusiastic participant in your sexual trysts; you also admit that you “silently consented”; i hate to break this to you but when you’re in a relationship with someone that you claim you were inseparable with and he climbs into bed with you and initiates sexual relations with you and you “silently consent” then you weren’t raped!!!

do you know what rape is? it’s someone trying to have sex with you, you say ‘”no” and they force you to have sex anyway. neither one of your accounts comes anywhere near to being rape.

you need serious help, not because you are a “rape” survivor but because you’re nuts, you have a personality disorder where you feel the need to portray yourself as a victim in order to gain sympathy.

i can’t believe i actually felt sorry for you, thinking you had been the victim of a sexual assault.

Now I’ll share the reply I sent him:

Hello, Chris,

Thanks for writing. I’m a little upset by the way you addressed me especially in your second e-mail titled “first ‘attack’ “, and especially considering the fact that you don’t know me as a person, but I don’t mind trying to explain myself to you once respectfully.

I appreciate that you’re a male, considerably older than me, and I believe all of your accounts of your friends having been raped in the past. I will agree that they suffered ordeals more violent than what I went through, but I think it’s rather judgmental of you to imply that because I wasn’t beaten like your unfortunate friend J or attacked by a stranger like your unfortunate friend H, that my experiences don’t qualify as rape. [Note from E.A.: I addressed the comment he made about his unfortunate friend K, but I cut it out here to preserve my own identity for now.]

I’ll invite you to do a bit of research on Google or the laws in your state/country where you live, and find out for yourself what the legal definition of rape is. Both of my experiences fall under the definition of acquaintance or date rape. According to www.clarku.edu:

“When a person knows his/her attacker (partner, family member, doctor, neighbor, co-worker, etc.) it is considered an “acquaintance rape”.  Because of the personal connection to the perpetrator, the survivor may not classify what has happened as rape.  Acquaintance rapes account for more than 75% of all reported rapes.”

It also seems to be the type of rape that gets the least amount of respect, simply because a common assumption from people who have never experienced rape (such as yourself) is that a victim can’t be acquainted with a “real” attacker. It’s assumed that it’s not possible for a rapist to prime a victim for rape by getting to know them and getting in a position where the victim can be blindsided, in the same way that a robber might ‘case’ a house for weeks before deciding to break in. I left out a lot of details on my blog (my memory of the past 3 years isn’t perfect 100% of the time), but if I had mentioned that one of the first confessions ‘N’ made to me while we were still friends was that his biggest fear was “accidentally raping somebody someday”, would that give my story a little more credibility in your eyes? Because that is what he said, and I foolishly ignored the warning sign. I also ignored the way he laughed at the rape scene in the movie “300”. Why should he have had to assault me on the first day that we went on a date? He had known and gone to church with my relatives for years, and his family is a huge part of that church. It would have been very risky of him to try an assault like that so soon after meeting me, a new girl to his community. But when the assault did finally happen, everybody in the church knew that we had been dating already for a year, and that was a perfect set-up for watering the truth of my story down. This may also be how people who rape their spouses operate – I don’t know, I’m not a rapist, but it’s plausible and spousal rape is recognized as a crime, too, if you would like to look that up.

I did make it clear that I went to the location thinking of having sex, but I was also clear in saying that I didn’t stop N mid-act. I asked him to stop before he held my thighs open and inserted himself, pulled out and pretended he hadn’t done anything, and then inserted himself again and continued to have sex with me until he was finished and I asked him to pull out because of the pain. That’s not consent or changing my mind last minute by any legal definition. I don’t think the situation you described with M is rape, because I have a basic understanding of what rape actually is. I don’t even think the situation you described with M is similar.

You discredit me as a victim for 2 reasons that I never gave on my blog. I did say that the DA ended up dropping charges against N for ‘insufficient evidence’, but I also said that the police who were instructed to collect evidence never did. I had 2 witnesses who were able to attest that they heard N’s confession in full detail, and they were never questioned by the police. I also have text messages from N naming what he did to me as rape. Showing my phone to the DA is what convinced him to accept the case in the first place, so how is the negligence of the criminal justice system proof that I’m a liar? If you check the statistics given on RAINN.org, you’ll find that most reports of rape are ignored and/or never lead to charges. Does that mean that only convicted rapists are real rapists? I also did say that I was unable to find an attorney who would answer my calls – at the time the blog post was written. I’ve found representation since last week. Maybe I should announce that on my blog for anyone who believes I’m full of shit. And in my article about statistically being likely to be raped again, I quoted the statistic I found that I did not make up myself, I vented my upset with that discovery, and I gave my guesses for why that may be the case. I never once said that any rape victim should expect re-victimization.

After the rather harsh e-mail you sent me as a follow-up saying that I have a personality disorder and that I’m a liar, I don’t believe for a second that you’re sympathetic to any claim of rape that didn’t happen to a personal friend of yours, and I know you’re in the majority of insensitive, self-righteous, and clueless people out in the world, the same type of people who made me feel like shit at my church because they couldn’t see me as a human being the same way they saw their friends. I pray someday you’ll change your narrow views, but I won’t stop trying to speak up for others like me if you don’t. My blog is new and I plan to talk about my experience with one-on-one counseling therapy, but thank you for your other suggestion of taking self-defense classes. I should also thank you for giving me inspiration for another blog post.

I’ll treat your words with respect if you’ll do the same for me. There are plenty of writers in the blog universe that will entertain harassment from readers that are not even part of their target audience. I’m not one of them.

E.A.

The post Chris inspired will be up tomorrow, and after that I’ll get back to my series on Sammi Giancola of Jersey Shore. Enjoy your Labor Day, everyone 🙂

“God Does Care”: A Letter of Encouragement from a Rape Survivor

2 Sep

This morning I got an e-mail from a new reader named “Chloe”. With her permission, I’d like to share what she wrote:

Hi E.A,

I just wanted to say that I absolutely love your blog. I found [Willing To Survive] from a search on Fran Drescher.

I am a single mother in my 30s. My 7-year-old son is the product of a date rape. I never spoke about it. I thought about abortion all through my pregnancy and I tried to kill myself so many times. When my son was born I hated him.

I think about the past now and I’m so thankful because I’m not that scared angry girl anymore. Finding a therapy group at a Bible church in my neighborhood helped me in ways I cant even describe. The people in my group taught me how to fall in love with my son, they became my friends, they helped me find confidence and a new job, and they showed me who God is.

I just wanted to answer your question from before and say that God does care about us. If God could show me that he cares, then he can show anyone. You already wrote about my favorite preacher Joyce Meyer, so here’s an inspirational article she wrote. Maybe it can help someone else too. [posted below]

Please keep writing for [Willing To Survive], because people need to know that there is hope and life after rape.

God bless you

Chloe

The article Chloe mentioned can be found here: Abuse and the Miracle of Recovery.

Thank you, Chloe, for sharing your experience and thinking of reaching out to others. I remember how desperate I was for an answer when I wrote my first post about God; your letter of encouragement is so heart-warming. I hope you’ll consider writing here again in the future.