Trigger Warning: Profanity. This series may be triggering to some rape victims.
I was 19, and my then-boyfriend was living with me. He had a union meeting that night, and if it ran par for the course, I expected him to be dropped off, late evening, hammered.
I was very tired from work; a long, hard day on my feet for most of it. So after greeting our dog (a sweet-natured Keeshond we’d rescued from the pound, named Winnie the Pooh), feeding the cats, kicking off my shoes and taking off my pantyhose, I ate the KFC I’d picked up on the way home, unlocked the front door so my b-f could just let himself in without disturbing me, and climbed into bed, still dressed, to read and doze.
When I thought I heard someone fumbling at the front door, I partially woke up. Was my boyfriend home? Winnie growled softly. For a moment I felt afraid, but there was no further noise, and watching the dog carefully, she kind of shook herself, then laid back down. I thought, must have been someone looking for my next-door neighbor (my apartment was half of a duplex), somebody who figured out he was at the wrong door, and moved on. I dozed off again.
I awoke to Winnie’s barking, and a stranger standing by the side of my bed. He wore a nylon stocking over his face (which is not a flattering look for anyone, just sayin’), and held a big kitchen knife in his right hand.
On A Scale of 1 to 10, This Joke Rates a -20.
At first I thought it was a really, really bad prank. One of my co-workers possessed an exceptionally low sense of humor, and it would be just his style to think a stunt like this would be funny. I even called for Friend L to stop hiding and come out of the living room.
|via Wikimedia Commons|
This is not Winnie, but looks much as she did,
a medium-sized, very fluffy dog
I realized it was not a joke.
Then the phone rang. In those days, it was a landline. The intruder gestured with the knife for me to answer it.
It was a wrong number. I was terrified that the intruder would think I was pretending it was a wrong number, that I was trying to send some kind of signal to a friend or family member. In the space of a few seconds, I obsessed over how I could prove to the guy I wasn't trying to "pull something." After I hung up, he used the knife to slice through the phone cord.
As I type this, I only now realize that knife was impressively sharp.
He directed me to perform oral sex on him, with which I complied, then he inserted his half-flaccid penis in me. Yes, like many rapists, he never achieved a full erection. The tape running in my head, over and over during this time, was, “Remember every detail you can, so they can get this guy,” but somehow, almost nothing stuck. The only detail that burned into my brain was his boxer shorts: light blue, solid, with no pattern, with white trim around the edges.
I couldn’t remember anything much else, really; no tattoos, moles, birthmarks, or anything distinctive about his body. I think he was wearing jeans and a T-shirt, but I’m not even sure about the jeans, couldn’t remember the color of his T-shirt or what kind of shoes he wore. He was blond, fair-skinned, a little shorter than me, medium build - not fat, "built," nor skinny. I probably outweighed him.
Fight, Flight, or Freeze?
Briefly, I considered fighting the man, or going for his knife. With some rapists or batterers, their intent is first to cow you, then to kill you.
I didn’t get a “vibe” from this man that he intended to hurt me (besides the rape), and I was afraid that if I did fight him, I might get badly hurt by the big, sharp knife, during the struggle.
IMO, each rape or assault victim has to decide for her/himself what the right thing to do is. If you survive, you made the right decision. (And if you don’t survive, it still was not your fault.)
He seemed young (early twenties?) and rather unnerved by the dog growling, the phone incident, and I think I warned him my boyfriend would be getting home any minute.
How long he raped me, I don’t have a clue. He pulled out, grabbed a wide-mouthed wine bottle in which my b-f and I were saving spare change, and left. First I ran to lock the door behind him, then I started shaking and crying.
I couldn’t stand to wait home alone, till my boyfriend got home, so I jumped in my VW and drove to my sister’s house, about five miles away. She called the police, and went with me and the police to the hospital, while my brother-in-law went to my place to meet my boyfriend and the police there.
At the hospital, they collected a rape kit. Yep, just like in the movies, they put me into a room with intensely bright lights that glared painfully into my eyes. I had to comb my pubes over a piece of paper in hopes of catching one of his pubic hairs, and they swabbed me for evidence of his semen. I didn’t think he had ejaculated in me, but I wasn’t sure. They took my blouse, skirt, and underwear as evidence - eventually, I got the blouse and skirt back.
Did I have a rape victim advocate? I don't think so, I think it was before they were a routine part of the process, but if I had one, I was too dazed, shocked, and confused to remember.
Sometimes It’s Hard To Tell Who The Good Guys Are
The police who took me to the hospital were great; afterwards I was assigned two detectives, one male, one female. She was okay, he was a flaming asshole.
I felt shaky and nervous for weeks afterwards, exacerbated by the fact that my rapist attacked other women, and they caught him. I had to go to identify my rapist in a lineup, which I did, and then there were hearings I had to attend. Most of the details are very blurry, but one time I remember is waiting in a small room, with my sister, when the male detective came into the room.
He threw a pair of men’s boxers into my lap. “Are those the ones he was wearing when he raped you?”
WTF? In the first place, nice concern for the victim's sensibilities, not. In the second place, this pair was white, with a blue paisley print. Had the detective not been paying attention to the one detail I could remember? “No, the ones he wore were solid light blue, with white trim.” I was annoyed, and my sister was furious on my behalf; I think she left the room and lodged a complaint against the detective, but I’m not sure.
I think there was a hearing, to determine if there was enough evidence to go to trial. Judge only, no jury. Beforehand, we (my sister was with me) had to wait in a big hallway outside the courtroom, that included my rapist and his attorney. That was creepy.
I did take the oath and the stand. Answered a handful of very brief questions from the ?assistant DA? Then the defense attorney asked me questions. He seemed to be trying to trip me up, and I remember him pressing really hard on the question as to whether or not the rapist ejaculated in me.
"I don't think so, but I'm not sure."
"You don't know? A knowledgeable, sexually experienced woman like you can't tell if a man has ejaculated or not?"
This pissed me off. "I'm not knowledgeable or sexually experienced about perverts," I said. The court broke for lunch, and afterward they dismissed me, no more questions.
In the end, my rapist opted to plead guilty rather than go to trial. I think he got 1-3 years, but I am not sure. Maybe more, since they “had” him for at least 2 other cases. I can’t even remember what his name was; I’m sure it was on the subpoenas and other papers, but I didn’t keep them, and my mind has chosen not to remember.
I Know I Got Off Lucky
I was not beaten, cut, stabbed, bruised, or otherwise physically damaged. I did not contract a loathsome disease or become pregnant. They even caught my rapist, in a fairly short period of time, and he went to jail, so I did not have to wonder or worry if he was out there, might be coming back for me. I am fully aware that, as far as rape victims go, I got off lucky.
I was also lucky in that, this time, it was a “legitimate rape.” It even made it into the newspapers - just about every detail but my name, so that my neighbors, co-workers, and other people would’ve had to be dumber than paint not to know exactly who the articles were about.
I did directly speak to my (male) boss at the time, who gave me his deepest sympathy and all the time off (I think, with pay) that I needed to get over the initial trauma and the subsequent court dates. I was believed, I was supported by family and friends.
The Boyfriend Issue
I think it’s important to mention that my boyfriend, and many partners of a rape victim, have their own Issues and Challenges, after a rape. They “failed” to protect us. And now what? It goes against the grain to sit back and let the legal system take its course, rather than finding the rapist and at the very least, pounding the shit out of him. Still, that’s what they’re required by law to do, to wait, let the law do its thing. That helplessness is hard on everyone who loves a rape victim, but especially on male partners. Who do they turn to for support and information?
Figuring out how to support a raped partner is not something we talk about very much in our society. In my case, I wanted to be held, I wanted to make love again, ASAP, kind of like reformatting a computer hard drive and overwriting it with new data. Some rape victims don’t want to be touched at all, and others run hot-and-cold; sometimes wanting to be held and comforted, other times not wanting physical contact.
Although in the long run, we did not marry, my then-boyfriend was tremendously supportive of me when I needed it, and I will always be grateful to him for that. With his help, (and later, that of other men), I reclaimed my sexuality, eventually becoming just as joyful, happy, and even more uninhibited than I started out.
How The Mount Everest of Dog Diarrhea Helped Me Get Over My Rape
My next-door neighbor in our duplex was only a few years older than me, and we socialized together frequently. One day she was in my apartment, comfortably settled into to a chair or a cushion, and she asked me to run over into hers and get something.
She had a really big dog, and her really big dog had taken a really big dump right in the middle of the living room. We are talking the Mt. Everest’s of soft, wet, dog diarrhea. But I didn’t see it. Until I stepped in the middle of it, with my bare foot.
It was disgusting. It was still quite warm and contained corn chunks or some other solid nasty stuff along with the loose grainy nasty stuff and smelled about as vile and nauseating as anything can smell. I hopped outside on the other foot, rinsed off my foot with a hose, then went into my house and washed my foot about 3-4 times with scented soap, gagging. I still gag, when I pull up the visceral memory of that experience. All the thesauri in the world cannot come up with enough synonyms for how incredibly gross it was.
But, here’s what I didn’t do. I didn’t cut off my foot. I didn’t pretend that my soiled foot no longer existed and stopped walking on it. I continued to use it, and I’ve continued to enjoy it, whether it’s being massaged by a foot freak or a pedicurist, or just getting me from Point A to Point B.
And so, though my genitals have had encounters with the human equivalent of dog shit, I have washed them off, and I continue to enjoy them. Why not? I am not denying or suppressing the memories of being raped (not consciously, anyway), but I refuse to allow being raped by some limp-dicked loser be the entire story of my vagina or sex life. Because it is not. It is only a tiny fraction of all the wonderful pleasure sex and my vagina has brought me.
To read Part I, go here.
To be continued...