I have never considered myself a rape victim though I was. It was the late 1960’s; I was seventeen and had gone into the city to break up with my first boyfriend. His friend, a carpenter, asked if I wanted to get stoned, and I went with him to the store he was renovating on Sheridan Square. I did willingly.
I was seventeen with the face of a thirteen year old, the body of a grown woman, and the maturity level of a ten year old. He was big. Tall and in condition; I was 5’6″ 128 pounds, and not exactly powerful. Before I knew what was happening, he ripped off my Indian print dress, unhooked my bra and tore my underpants. Yes it happened that fast. I screamed but he wouldn’t stop though I kept on telling him to. I wasn’t a virgin but this wasn’t sex it was pure violence and I knew that then.
It was the late 60’s; I was a mess afterwards and ran to Macy’s to buy some new clothes because mine were torn. I passed regular people and police and felt deep shame. But I knew that the police would look at my Indian print dress, leather sandals, frizzed out hair, and call me a “dirty hippie who deserved what I got.”
I felt better after I bought new clothes, and while I didn’t equate being raped with sex because it had been so violent was turned off sex for awhile, and only dated boys who were closeted Gay for several months. I was young and resilient but I did carry that shame for many years. No, not the shame of the rape; the shame of not being able to tell a policeman.
Soon after beginning college I met my on again off again college boyfriend. We ran into HIM, in a coffee shop in The East Village on Second Avenue near 6th Street. My boyfriend didn’t believe me because I acted too normal. I didn’t know how else to act.
When I was 23, I got a job as a salesgirl in a high end store in Boston. I heard tales about the crazy in a good way carpenter. One day he walked into the store. I began screaming and ran downstairs. My best friend then, Jasmin, worked there also and knew about my rape. She told our boss who was “connected,” and the carpenter never worked there again or other places.
I got my revenge in a strange way, and made a conscious decision not to let this rule my life. But we can’t control our subconscious, and I probably wouldn’t have ended up with Zachary who did psychologically abuse me if I had let myself feel as I had that day in the store or had worked it out in therapy
I didn’t want to write about this now but I was reading my buddy Ally’s blog, in England, and The Heretik’s, and knew that I had to say something. It’s a very different world yet it hasn’t changed at all.
Rape is rape; an act of violence not sex. No woman ever asks for it; no matter how provocatively she’s dressed, or if she’s drunk or stoned. Sex is the most natural thing in the world but if it’s not consentual, it’s not sex.
While I acted as if it didn’t change me much, it did. The hard earned confidence I had spent my last several years of high school pursuing fell a bit. Luckily I met nice boys in college where I did develop a reputation for turning them gay. Except for he who…, who still is one of the truly nicest people I know in a very warped way.
By beginning college several months later, I was given a second chance. Not every woman is. And I truly saw the rape as being pure violence though I had never heard the feminist theory on rape then. It wasn’t sex; not even close.
Shakespeare’s Sister has an amazing article where a 17 year old young woman reported a rape by three men; including her boyfriend. She was found guilty of filing a false report in part because she didn’t act traumatized enough.
How is a seventeen year old supposed to act? At that point I couldn’t, or thought I couldn’t tell my parents. I had to go to school; I had Regents to pass before graduating high school. It did begin or intensify a pattern where I would shut feelings off during arguments with certain people, usually male.
Incidentally Ducking for Apples, Ally’s blog is one of the best written on the blogosphere. It’s one of my comfort blogs where I go when I want to read very English stories about home renovation, Polish lodgers, and a zillion other things
If bloggers who were raped speak out we can show the world that we come in all age groups, and every other variable. Rape is an act of extreme agression. Rape victims should never feel ashamed; rapists should always be ashamed. Rapists attempt to have their power affirmed. By speaking out we take away the power, and show how weak they really are.