Rape – No Means NO!
With all the recent attention brought to the subject by Todd Akin (Rep. of Missouri), I thought it was time to relate my own story of rape. First, I’d like to share the definition of rape. Rape is a type of sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse, which is initiated by one or more persons against another person without that person’s consent. The act may be carried out by physical force, coercion, abuse of authority or with a person who is incapable of valid consent, such as a person who is unconscious or incapacitated.* Second, rape is never about sex. It is always about power… power over someone who is smaller, weaker, more vulnerable. Third, there is no such thing as “legitimate rape.”** All instances of rape are crimes… period!
I had just gotten back to Pittsburgh from having my wisdom teeth removed in Alexandria. I got a call from a friend of Larry’s. I had met him at a party and he was inviting me to his house for pizza. He was very handsome, much bigger and quite a bit older than me. I seem to recall that he was a teacher. I was still on pain killers, but I went over anyway. When I got there, the pizza was waiting. We each had a few pieces and a beer. When we were finished, he invited me into the living room. I sat down on the sofa while he put on some music and turned the lights down. He pulled me down on the carpet, but that’s where the “seduction scene” ended. He proceeded to pin me to the floor and tried to kiss me. I said that I wasn’t feeling well and needed to go home, but he wouldn’t let me up. Instead, he flipped me over on my stomach and pulled my pants down. I told him that I didn’t want to do this, but he wouldn’t hear me. The next thing I knew I was being forcibly sodomized. All I could do was claw the carpet and wait for it to be over.
The flesh heals… eventually. The pain fades… pretty quickly. The spirit… that takes a whole lot longer. I once heard Roseanne Barr describe rape as “soul murder.” I even made a painting about it (see above). That’s exactly what it is, though. The spirit (or soul) is bruised and battered from the experience. The effects can last for months or even years. But when the victim is further victimized either by their rapist or by society (as in the case of Mr. Akin), then healing may be delayed indefinitely or there may even be a set-back in the recovery process.
I had the privilege of meeting a female rape victim years after my rape. We talked about both of our experiences and it made my healing process just a little bit easier. She was still trying to make it through hers, though (When she tried to fight back her rapist cut her face). I am thankful for having met her and hope that she found peace. I asked myself many questions afterwards. Should I have tried harder to fight back? No, he was easily 190 lbs. to my 135. Did I deserve what happened to me for being Gay? No. Nobody deserves to be raped. Should I have told someone at the time? I know now that it would have been a case of “he said, he said.”
I saw my rapist a few months after the crime. He was sitting with Larry and Bruce in a restaurant where a friend of mine worked. They invited me to sit down with them, but I declined. I couldn’t bring myself to sit down and chat with him as though nothing had happened! Maybe to him it was just rough sex. It was obviously something different to me. I never told Larry what his friend had done to me. I don’t know if that was wrong or not, but I just couldn’t do it. I am glad to be able to write about it now, though. It is “healing.” As for politicians who would speak about rape as if it were a “legitimate” part of our reality, I say they are ignorant and should be removed from office!
*From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia