Sunday, August 22, 2004

Important Post to Me

I just finished reading Seeker's post, well, the one before the Pink Ribbon post and he had some pretty good ideas about some things. I also noticed that he posted about this: 6) There are uncountable women I have met in my days that claim to have been raped, date-raped, molested. While I realize this shit does happen. I think a little of it is over dramatized and is possibly fake memories. The wrold wants you to be a victim therefore you become one to gain some sort of fucking sympathy. Bugger off. I believe in some ways that is absolutely true. In other ways, it couldn't be more than false. The media has a made a mockery of the severity of rape. We have watched Kobe Bryant's accuser be put on trial in the name of justice. Because of it, like another blogger said, we may never know if he was falsely accused or really is a rapist. I've seen a proliferation of books and articles pointing fingers at famous and not-so-famous folks due to molestation and rape. Once it hits the mainstream media it can and will be distorted until the truth lies in a pile of shambles and basically numbs our society. Just another story, just another rape. I can say for certain that 85-90% of my girlfriends have either been raped or molested in their lifetime, all by family members, acquaintances or dates, sometimes friends of friends. I know none of them who have been attacked by a stranger. You will not find any of us writing books or going on Oprah or Dr. Phil about how our lives were changed by those encounters. We dealt with it, we moved on, wiser and stronger. None of sued for millions in civil court. As a matter of fact, I was the only one who even settled mine through the court system, albeit criminal court. I have to say that I am leary of stories of "surpressed memories" and things like that. Why? Because its media oriented. I'll never know the true story, never be able to meet these people to get the full measure of who they are. Once again, the media, in the name of "knowledge" saturates us with these stories and numbs our society. This is my story as closely and honestly as I can relate it. It was 1992. I was a Criminal Justice major at a nearby college. I had an evening class called "Ethics in Criminal Justice." (That is soooo ironic now) In class I made friends with a guy, I'll call him Marty. He was married with a child and worked in with a security company during the day. This required him to travel so when he wasn't in class I would copy my notes for him and if I couldn't be there he would do the same. This is nothing I didn't do for countless other classmates. He was set to graduate that Spring and planned on entering the Corrections Academy to become a Corrections officer. In early 1993, I received a call at my job from Marty. He was in town from the Academy and wanted to catch up and find out how school was going for me. He went on and on about how great the Academy was etc. He said he just wanted to have a cup of coffee and talk. I thought nothing of it. I had coffee all the time with guys and gals I met at college. Plus, this is someone who had graduated in my degree program and everyone knows that its not who you are, but who you know. He picked me up at the college at about 1:00 in the afternoon. I had to be back in class at 3:00. He mentioned a place nearby that served home-cooking so I said, "sure." We chatted about the Academy and he asked about some teachers and things and how my classes were going. When we got to the place it was closed (??) so we picked up some coffee from the 7-11. He had ridden with a local sheriff's department when he interned and told me he would show me where they parked to catch speeders. He pulled off the road and onto an access road that I had driven by numerous times and never noticed. There we sat in broad daylight, 20 feet from the main highway, completely concealed. He shut the motor off. (I realize now, in hindsight, that I had been had. He set that up perfectly. The friendly call, the closed diner, the concealed area... I'd been set up.) He turned to me and pulled a gun out from beside the seat and slid it barrel first down the dash up against the windshield, well within his reach, but far from mine. That knawing feeling in the pit of my stomach since I saw the closed diner exploded in full blown gremlins chewing at my insides. All I could see was his fingers caressing the butt of that gun. "You know Inanna, I've always liked you." And you know, that's all I can remember. I don't remember how I responded. I know he said he wanted to kiss me. I remember telling him I didn't want to, I didn't want to do anything. I just kept talking and talking and talking. I remember telling him that he really didn't want to do this, about his wife, his child, how I didn't want to do it. I fought his hands as they came under my sweater and down my pants and I just kept talking. Then he kissed me and forced his tongue into my mouth and I turned my face and I pulled at his hand to get it out of my pants and kept pushing at him and just kept telling him how much he didn't want to do this and how much I didn't want him to. I still remember the sound of him dragging that damn gun across the dashboard. It makes my stomach turn and the hair on my arms and the back of my neck stand up. I can still see his fucking ugly pock-marked face looking at me, as though contemplating his next move. "I need to go back to school." "Sure." He slid over in the seat and stashed the gun between his legs. I still wasn't sure if he was going to take me back to school or if they would find my body somewhere before the bugs and critters scattered me to the four ends of the Earth. (I think back now and wonder why I didn't pull the door handle and get out of the truck and I know its because I was scared and was in shock... plus, I had no idea if anyone would have even rescued me before he got a hold of me.) So, you know that I'm alive and he took me back to school. I got out, shut the door and I never looked back. He stalked me at my job for a while. In the meantime, I lost 15 or 20 lbs. I stopped going to class. I quit going out. Before I turned him in, I was eating one bite of food a day. I weighed 105. None of my clothes fit. I wanted to die. (I want to say, that even though Marty didn't rape me, what he did was a crime that I wasn't even aware existed. I thought it had to be rape... yeah, and I was a criminal justice major.) I was sitting in the hallway waiting to see my advisor and started to talking to Stewart, a guy who worked and went to school when he could fit it in. He worked the same place as Marty did on weekends. I made a comment about how Marty had told me how things really were at the jail and then I blurted out about what Marty had done to me. Stewart talked me into coming down to the Sheriff's department to talk to his boss on the pretense of Marty's big fat mouth. I knew better. The story came out, first to the Sheriff's Department, who then turned it over to the State Police. They were tough but kind. I repeated my story over and over as it moved up the chain of command. I gave a video statement. Then, I called Marty at the Corrections Academy and set up another phone meeting. Sgt. S. wanted me to meet with him in person but his boss, said, NO WAY! The day came and I had to do some pretty fine acting as he lied, and lied and lied about what had happened... until I broke him. He admitted it and begged me not to go to the police. Little did he know they were not only listening in but tape-recording our conversation. It helped that after the story came out, other women on The Hill, The Hill being where the Sheriff's Department, State Police, jail and Courthouse all were at the time, came forward with testimony and evidence of how he had stalked and harrassed them. When they arrested him, he denied everything. Sgt. S. sat down with him and reminded him of the conversation he had with me not long before and informed him that it had been recorded in the very office where he sat. He broke down and cried and said he had been abused as a child etc. etc. Which may very well be the truth as its quite common. I really didn't give a shit. He received probation, sex offender classes and he has to register as a sex offender. I went to counseling, which I paid for myself, and I moved on with my life. My teachers were very understanding and allowed me to make up work as I could and grade me on what I had been able to accomplish. Notably my Sociology teacher who had me in class before and was the first to notice that something was wrong. I love that man!! Thanks Dr. Thompson!! Don't get me wrong. I believe that rape happens, molestation happens and it is common and frequent. The media however, instead of helping, has hindered forward progression of the understanding of a terrible crime. Instead of people wondering what we can do to help the victims, we're wondering how much they will make in their civil suits and book deals while the common women, men (yes men!) and children plunder on in silence. I don't want anyone to feel sorry for me, nor to give me book deals or make a movie. Its a part of my life that I have moved on from and quite frankly, I just don't want any money to remind me of something that I've put behind me. Can you imagine getting a fancy new car and peeps asking about it and you saying, "Yeah, I bought it with my rape pay-off money." I didn't think so.
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    Blogger Trashman said...

    You have an incredible inner strength and you should be commended for it. I respect your ablity to get past something so horrible. I must say however Martys' excuse of being mmolested or abused or whatever is a cop-out. I would think if something so bad were to happen to you as a child you would make sure that you never did it to another child. Just my two pennys.

    8/22/2004 05:31:00 PM  
    Blogger Traci Dolan said...

    Thanks Trashman but I owe a lot to Sgt. S and his boss who encouraged me to get counseling and my counselor herself. And yeah, one excuse is as good as another, its about control and fear. It was hard to write that... I got sick to my stomach.

    8/22/2004 05:55:00 PM  
    Blogger jakethelad said...

    My first meeting with you is over this story! You are very brave I mean very brave. Thankyou for your honesty and I just know this will have brought us all closer to seeing how easy it can happen ..... I don't know what else to say just that maybe I hope to talk to you again. Cheers.

    8/22/2004 07:19:00 PM  
    Blogger Cattiva said...

    Treashman's correct. Many people (unfortunately) were abused as children and didn't end up as offenders. Total cop-out.

    Thanks for writing that one - I know it was tough - but it's a good reminder for all of us to be careful.

    8/22/2004 08:43:00 PM  
    Blogger AGB 1 said...

    I agree, he may not have raped you in the technical sense, but it was almost as bad. It IS abuse both emotional, and sexual. I'm sorry that happened to you but I am glad you are here to tell us about it. I am also glad that you got that guy busted.

    8/22/2004 11:51:00 PM  
    Blogger Vadergrrrl said...

    the honesty and intelligence of your posts are commendable. i agree with you on this post 100 percent. the guy that devirginized me basically date raped me. he was 22 i was 17, he got me really drunk and then did the deed. totally not cool. but then, in the 80's we didnt know a lot of these terms. i dont know if i would want to press charges or fuck up his life. maybe have some guy friends rough him up... lol

    anyway, great and amazing post... as always.

    8/22/2004 11:52:00 PM  
    Blogger Traci Dolan said...

    Jake – Hi there and thanks for stopping by. Thank you very much for your comment. Hope to swing by your blog more often.

    Catt – Too bad we have to have reminders to be safe. Yes, it was tough and brought up things I hadn’t though about in a long, long time. Of all of us that have been abused, none of us abuse others... but I know plenty who abuse themselves.

    Dastard – Thank you so much for your comment. I’ve been racking my brain trying to remember the term they used, which was, sexual abuse. That was what he was charged with. Anyway, when I busted him it really empowered me and was the first step to moving on. I found out from my talks with the policemen working with me that he was a bad seed on The Hill anyway and they were looking for an excuse to get rid of him. I accused them of using me for that purpose. Sgt. S and I went round and round about it until his boss came down and talked to me. I wasn’t going to cooperate because I felt I was being used all over again. Big Boss said, “Look, he’s going to do it again, this time in a correctional facility. We’re not trying to use you, you’ve just given us the opportunity to take out a rotten apple before he spoils the whole sack.” So, I did and I’m glad I did.

    Vadergrrrl – Actually, that’s how most of my friends handled their encounters... guy friend beat up and one girl dropped an unabridged dictionary on the guys privates while he slept on the couch. To each their own. Sorry that had to happen to you, especially your first time. Love ya chica.

    8/23/2004 12:11:00 AM  
    Blogger Queenie said...

    Always be proud of your courage.


    8/23/2004 09:48:00 AM  
    Blogger Zelda said...

    Inanna, you don't sound as if you need sympathy, but you do have my total admiration. I have been to rape support groups and I never met anyone who was willing to legally confront their attackers.

    That being said, there was a marked difference between some of the victims. I don't want to go into a long comment about it all, but there were some girls there who I do not believe were actually raped. Some unquestionably were. The friend who I was there to support also noticed a difference and was very uncomfortable with it. I don't know how to explain it, except that they felt as if their "rapists" had found them so beautiful and desirable that they just couldn't help themselves. The other girls were suffering from the extreme humiliation of their rapes - not believing that they were desirable, but that there was something so hideous about them that their attackers had no problem viewing them as objects without dignity.

    I could go on for hours about the differences, but I just wanted to say that I blame the media to a large extent which never shows the ugliness of rape, i.e. an ordinary girl or woman being brutalized by someone who is NOT overcome with lust, but with a need to humiliate, control, and dominate.

    8/23/2004 01:19:00 PM  
    Blogger Leese said...

    Inanna. I don't feel sorry for you. I am proud of you and your courage.
    Most women I hear about who has gone through these things blame the experience for all their failures.
    "I'm on welfare because I was molested/raped/sexually assaulted."
    You didn't cave in and you're a strong person.
    I admire you.

    8/23/2004 02:06:00 PM  
    Blogger Traci Dolan said...

    Q – Proud of my courage... never thought of it as courage but I suppose you’re right.

    Zelda – Point well taken. A lot of abusers use that spiel... “If you weren’t so beautiful/sexy/desirable then this wouldn’t have happened.” I think too it depends on whether you know you’re attacker or not. A lot of factors go into it. I’ve heard some women so matter-of-factly state things that make my eyebrows disappear into my hairline. I don’t know if its differences in personality, that they’ve glossed it over to where it means nothing, they’re in denial, or if it just never really happened. I have no idea. Thanks as always for your comments. *Hugs to Houston*

    Leese – Women who use that excuse will use any excuse to stay exactly where they are. Yes, it is a horrible experience and one I do not wish on anyone but I guarantee no one tripped over themselves to get me into counseling, except the police officers and even they couldn’t make me. I had to get my head out of my rear-end and do it for myself. I’ve heard the “I can’t” excuses from many and my response is “Bullshit, you won’t.” There are more than enough agencies out there who operate on sliding fee scales and free services. I guess that is judgmental and I shouldn’t say it. Just because I did it doesn’t mean everyone can... but everyone should at least try.

    8/23/2004 03:11:00 PM  
    Blogger Sloth said...

    Inanna - thank you for this post, it was very informative and infuriating and sad and hopeful all at the same time. Again with the strong female stuff...

    This is not exactly directed at you, but I feel like I need to say it: I always hesitate to say that people need to suck it up and get help and move on. I agree that they SHOULD but everyone is different and sometimes people need more time. Sometimes people never recover and if they can't then they can be demonized for not being able to get it together. It's not the person's fault that this thing happened. And it's not their fault that they can't snap their fingers and make it ok again. I can't imagine being sexually assaulted, feeling immense trauma and then, if I haven't been able to return to work or eat well in a few months, to be blamed and basically told to buck up and get my shit together. Talk about feeling abandoned. Talk about feeling abused. I'm not really sure where I'm going with this, I just feel like there is some animosity toward women who are trying to survive something that is unimaginably horrific. And why? Why are we impatient if they need time to heal? Why are they on some kind of timetable? Why do we feel like we need to make people feel ok or feel bad for not feeling ok? I just don't get it. I don't understand it and I think it's wrong.

    And frankly, I'm surprised that Seeker's shitty comment doesn't generate more ire here. People need to face the reality that rape and date rape and molestation do happen. Who cares about the media? Ask your friends. Your female friends will tell you. And if you don't believe them then why are you friend's with people who you think are liars? I think people are truthful about this stuff. Sure, there are always people who are dishonest in the world, but I think most people are not, especially about incredibly painful and traumatic and personal stories. I would hate to think that I might tell someone something like this about myself and they would think, "Yeah, right." What the fuck kind of friend is that? Not one that I want, thank you anyway. I'll stop now, but all this judgemental stuff about women lying and faking and making up rape stories is beyond offensive and a load of bullshit. We all believe Inanna, yet we turn around and claim that we don't believe others? What is going on around here?

    8/23/2004 04:40:00 PM  
    Blogger Traci Dolan said...

    Sloth - I think you make a very, very valid point in whether people are able to "buck up" and move on. I do think that some people use it as an excuse to not even try to help themselves. Others, try for years, especially those whose abuse happened early on in their lives, and yet still drown in depression, anxiety and low self-esteem. I'll not speak for Seeker, he's more than capable at defending himself -- lets just say for the sake of argument we decided to drop the subject. He is entitled to his opinion and I have not encountered the same people that he has.

    You would probably be surprised that number of women who told me, "Why didn't you just have someone beat him up? Why did you press charges?" Its still the same ole, same ole and as I pointed out... the media does nothing to help.

    I respect your opinion a lot Sloth and I thank you for your contribution... your point is well taken.

    8/23/2004 05:37:00 PM  
    Blogger Jamie said...

    Inanna and Sloth, I want to say, I just finished reading this, and I WAS pissed at Seekers comment. I think it is more common that if someone says they have been raped, or the rest, it is true. It is the exception that is lying. "bugger off"?????

    I don't know if I even want to go and read the rest of the post, but I suppose I should before I completely judge. I will give it some time, first. Need to cool off.

    Damn, that was a scary story, Inanna, and I hate that it happened. I also wonder about why we put an accuser such as kobe's on the stand and try her instead of the crime commited against her. They always want to know was she a slut? Was she a virgin? Well, it always turns out to be her fault in the press. I don't even watch that crap, it just pisses me off.

    Well, I am gonna bugger off and cool off.

    8/23/2004 07:07:00 PM  
    Blogger Sloth said...

    And um...this is totally off topic but I'm pretty sure that Troy is way too good looking for me. Holy CRAP, sister. What planet is he from? Adonis?

    8/23/2004 08:09:00 PM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I do not dispute the fact that rape, date rape, molestation happens in our society. The problem I have is that we are all too quick to jump to conclusions. Let me give you a specific scenario. An elderly woman was raped in the northeast side of town where I live. One of her wealthy neighbors felt so bad that he paid an entire month's rent for her. The police arrested him on suspicion of rape because of his act of kindness. The newspaper published a front page paper about how this guy supposedly raped this elderly woman in an upscale part of town. This poor guy lost his job and everything. When all evidence including DNA evidence revealed he was not the rapist, the newspaper published an apology in the back of the newspaper buried where no one would likely see it. This guy still gets death threats and is still unemployed.

    I feel nothing but sympathy for the elderly woman. It is quite obvious that women who are truly victims of such crimes deserve all the help and justice they can get. But, there is something else out there that we must also consider. What about those who are falsely accused? Why is it that when a man is ACCUSED of rape, society automatically assumes he is guilty without hearing his side of the story? Inanna, I don't know you personally. I just started surfing blog sites for fun when I landed on your page. As an unbiased observer, I must hear all sides of a story.

    If we subscribe to the idea that the accused is innocent until proven guilty, this must include accused rapists. I believe the idea that women wouldn't lie about being raped is false. People (including women) will lie about anything if it is worth it to them, whether it is for wealth or attention.

    Your attacker has been proven guilty. There is no punishment that would be too extreme for him, considering the grief he caused you. My point is that I don't want to see justice for people in legitimate rape situations diffused by those who have an ulterior motive.

    8/23/2004 08:59:00 PM  
    Blogger Traci Dolan said...

    Jamie -- It was a scary thing and thanks for your comment. I didn't mean to incite a riot or anything, it was just how I felt at the time and the story came out.

    Sloth -- You know, he would probably think the same thing about you. He has no idea how beautiful he is. He sits home alone, listening to classical music, and drinking wine or out running, weight-lifting and biking. He likes intelligent, beautiful women... (HINT, HINT, HINT!!!!) HINNNNNNNNNT!!!!!!!!! Are ya followin' me????

    8/23/2004 10:39:00 PM  
    Blogger Traci Dolan said...

    Anonymous - Sorry that you didn't feel compelled to leave your name... anyway, thank you for your thoughtful comment. I believe you and I see eye to eye on the fact that we want the true victims to get help and not be thwarted by the few who scream "rape" for ulterior motives. I agree with you completely about false accusations and the damage they can cause. We're the only ones who can change that though. Society though loves a good story, the nastier the better.

    8/23/2004 11:07:00 PM  
    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I'm sorry about not leaving my name. I'm not a blogger, just a reader so I don't have a handle and I wouldn't know what name to sign. Just know that I enjoy your blog very much and read it whenever time allows.

    8/24/2004 10:58:00 AM  
    Blogger Seeker said...

    Jamie ~ Please feel free to visit my blog and say what you feel. To me if you play the victim you are the victim.

    8/26/2004 08:30:00 AM  

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