A Tribute to Womanhood

Welcome to "I Am Woman"...a tribute to all those women who had the courage and perseverance to stand up and fight for their rights. Thanks to those who came before us we enjoy a freedom unknown to women not too long ago. But, sadly, in many parts of the world, women continue to be repressed. In fact, even in this country there are women living today under the threat of violence...completely controlled by a violent spouse. Some may make it; others won't. Hopefully, one day ALL women will be free. May that day come soon.

9/01/2014

My Story Repost

Rape is forced and unwanted. It is about power, not sex, and it can happen to both men and women of any age. The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) defines rape as: "The penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim."

Forty-six years ago, I was like a giddy teenager dressing for the prom.  This was the 'one'.  I just knew he had to be it.  When you grow up in an alcoholic and verbally abusive household, every one is the 'one'.  You are so starved for love that you look beyond the obvious and see only what you want to see.  Hence, you fall into many bad situations.  Had I not been so blinded by any flattering attention that came my way, I would have seen the obvious.  John (not his real name) was a control freak and a drinker. We had plans to go dancing that night, and as I whirled about the living room in my new dress, I never imagined the nightmare that was to come.

In the 60's, New York's drinking age was 18, so we headed over the border to a little club in New York State where we danced the night away.  I had a fabulous time, and maybe a bit too much to drink. Perhaps that is why I hadn't noticed the sly glance between my date and his two friends who had asked for a ride home.  Had I been more alert, I would not have gotten into that car.  But really, when you think of it, isn't that a bit like placing the blame on myself and not where it belongs?  After all, he was my date, and I trusted him.  Our dates are not only supposed to show  us a good time, but aren't they supposed to protect us as well?

I remember him driving off onto an old dirt road.  I pulled him up on it, and he said it was a shortcut to his friend's house.  I remember it seemed to go on forever before he pulled to a stop.  My date and his buddies got out of the car.  He asked if I wanted to stretch my legs, but by now I was getting a wee bit nervous.  My intuition was telling me that something was up.  I remember telling him that I wanted to go home.  He laughed.  Then, I remember him reaching in and pulling me out of the car.  By now I was screaming.  I knew what was about to happen, and miraculously, I blacked out before the worst of it occurred.

The next thing I remember it was early morning, and as the sun began  to rise, I found myself on a country road--bloodied, bruised, broken.  A man came out of one of the houses to walk his dog and immediately called for his wife to call the police.  They were wonderful to me.  The wife took me upstairs to the bathroom and to freshen my face, and when I looked into the mirror, I didn't know who it was looking back at me.  My hair was in disarray with grass and dirt all tangled in it, eyes red and puffy, lines of mascara running down my cheeks. My lip was swollen and inside my mouth was a small cut.  I must have put up a fight.

My experience at the police station was awful.  The officers actually seemed more concerned about how much I had to drink than what happened to me.  They knew I had been raped, but, back in those days, being raped was a personal shame for the victim.  Had I given names and chosen to go to court, my reputation would have been shattered by the defense attorney.  In that era, the rape was always the 'victim's' fault.  They either dressed provocatively or, in my case, went to a bar to have a few drinks and got in the car with three men.  Never mind, that one of them was my date for the night.

Mom was no better. She really put the screws in as she drove me to the hospital.   It was all my fault. Nice girls don't go to bars.  Oh, how she hoped this stayed quiet.  People were already talking about dad, the alcoholic.  She didn't need them talking about the daughter, the slut, too. I'd best not tell a soul about this. The doctor's who superficially examined me at the hospital knew.  Their faces showed sympathy as they questioned me, and I continued to deny I had been raped.  I refused a gynecological exam, and they kept asking me if I was sure.  'They shouldn't get away with this', the kindly doctor said, but, when I glanced over at mom's stern face, I knew what I had to do. 

Needless to say, the men were never named, never brought to court and prosecuted.  They totally got away with violating my body. I've never forgot that I raped, but I have learned how to deal with the memory.  The anger and outrage is still there.  And yes, I do regret that I let them go so easily.  That is something I will never forgive myself for. The following are some of today's statistics:

Rape has been called 'the most under-reported violent crime in America'.

Only 61% of rapes are never reported to the police.

In reported rapes there is a 50.8% chance that an arrest will be made.

If an arrest is made, there is an 80% chance of prosecution.


Nearly 85% of victims knew their attacker

More than 40% of incidents involve more than one assailant


National Sexual Assault Hotline  (800) 656- HOPE(4673) 

2 comments:

  1. I never told about mine either Mary until many years later...no one would have believed me anyway. I've since come to terms with it, but it leaves a deep, deep scar.

    I'm so sorry you had to go through this Sister.
    Another bond we share...

    Here's to reporting rape without a thought and the strong women who do so! Of course I think about women now, and rape, and wonder what will happen should they report it and want to abort a pregancy if that occurs...seems like the Republicans are on all out warfare against women and it leaves me with such a rage inside.
    I know some states even have legislated that a woman must carry a rape pregnancy thru to full term too. It's all so sad.

    Thanks for putting this out here...I wonder how many rape kits still sit on government shelves somewhere that haven't even been looked into or checked for DNA?

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  2. __"Primitive Behavior Against Women", we should all work to eliminate.
    __When I was young(1940s), it was imprinted in my thought processes (domestic -education- one might say) that only men were capable of performing such foul/inhumane/ criminal acts. That imprinting was generated by both Mom and Dad, and deeper by our Protestant family. I thank them for all, and I am (hopefully) what they wanted me to be.
    __But in viewing present time activities, it seems women are becoming more equal in their lack of moral humanity,
    some would say, men had caused that lack; that is -not- meant to be an insult... more, it means we are all subjects to those sorts of primitive and inhumane failures.
    _m

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