I was embarrassed. I let him in, thinking we would talk about this sanely. But no. He had been drinking, he was furious I was the one who called it quits, he threatened me and forced himself sexually on me before he left. It was clear his whole reason for raping me was to show me that he was in charge, that HE, not me, go to decide when whatever relationship we had was going to be over. In the malarkey-filled brains of some Republicans (see chart), my rape would not qualify as "legitimate."
MOVIES MAKE ME REMEMBER
Afterwards, he left immediately. I showered, made myself a stiff drink, and went to sleep. I did not call the police. I did not call anyone. I was too embarrassed to tell even friends about this for years. I never saw the creep again and feel sure that he barely remembers. I did not get pregnant. I buried it, but The Accused, that Jodi Foster movie about being gang raped in a lowlife bar, brought it all up and I remembered the details of his assault as if it were yesterday. But in a real sense, I got over it. It's just a fact of my life now, and seemingly it did not leave lasting emotional scars, except that I am still quite fragile at movies that include rapes. I tense up. I remember. And I loved the ending of Lipstick, when Margeux Hemingway shoots the rapist in a parking lot by after the justice system fails.
Maybe because of this incident in my own life, I am extremely ferocious on the subject of what is and what is not a rape (see chart), on the subject of women owning their own reproductive rights, and not letting some idiot Republican decide what is--and what is not--rape. And I am just as ferocious and angry about the adoption-not-abortion response to a woman getting pregnant after a rape. People keep making a big thing over this--the guy rapes you and then you have to carry to term and...well, excuse me, giving up a baby for most women is going to have such lifelong emotional effects that the rape itself will for many will pale by comparison. And by the way, under this ridiculous "rape or incest" exclusion, a woman or girl will obviously have to "prove" she was raped. She will have to file a police report; she will have to report it immediately. But it's thought that only one in five rapes is actually reported.
So where does that leave the rest of the women who were raped and get pregnant? Out in the fucking cold, that's where. When last I checked, there were 12 candidates for the Senate who were hopping on the anti-abortion bandwagon, the anti-women's choice option. They are all Republicans. If the Romney/Ryan team is elected, along with a handful of these senatorial candidates, you can bet your life it will be harder for any woman to have the right to control her own body.
RELINQUISHMENT LASTS FOREVER
No matter how I feel about having been raped--for me the aftermath of it pales in comparison to what it was like to give up my daughter. That desperate act that seemed so inevitable in 1966 was a nightmare not only then, but it has haunted me the rest of my days. Sure, I survived; I'm still here pounding away at the keys hoping to do some good in the world and change the laws that keep so many adoptees from ever reuniting with their biological birth parents, and discovering their true identities.
Despite that my daughter was adopted by a stable, good family, adoption turned out not to be a good thing for her. She had many emotional scars that stemmed from the original abandonment that being relinquished is, no matter how we try to pretty up the language, no matter whether or not the deed was in fact forced by parents, or simply the overwhelming force of the culture of the times. As many of you know, my daughter killed herself in 2007. It's impossible to know how her life, and mine, would have turned out if I had kept her, but I know for damn sure that I am still dealing with its aftermath 46 years later. Someone I've known since college emailed me the other day and we were relating how our lives had turned out. She wrote that though she did not follow the path that seemed inevitable when we were in school, one that she had originally wanted and was eminently qualified for, she wrote that she had no regrets.
I wrote back: I have regrets.--lorraine
PS: What inspired this post was a link that Maryanne left at an earlier blog. It's a satire.
A Fan Letter to Certain Conservative Politicians
You can order a DVD of this amazing 1976 movie. I was on a business trip to Phoenix when I saw this was playing and went by myself. It is graphic but haunting. And extremely satisfying. I've seen it at twice since.
And there is this book for rape victims like me...I Never Called It Rape: The Ms. Report on Recognizing, Fighting, and Surviving Date and Acquaintance Rape
If you know someone who is going off to college or moving out on her own, recovering from a divorce or anything--or simply because you love her, this is book is highly recommended. It talks about date rape/acquaintance rape--a subject that isn't talked about very often--and you will find resources in this book to help a survivor recover --or even to prevent a rape from happening.