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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.