Friday, October 26, 2012

I was raped and I gave a baby up for adoption. Guess which was worse.

Lorraine
Okay, I was raped by someone I knew. We had been dating for a few weeks, but nothing serious. I didn't want to see him anymore. He came to my apartment, which was a six-floor walk-up in a tenement; the lock on the door to the outside was broken and so he could get all the way up to my apartment. At one a.m. when he began banging on my door, waking up the neighbors on my floor. Doors were opening, people were looking. He was shouting: I know you are in there!

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.

14 comments :

  1. No prizes for guessing right, eh? Although I'm not sure how one would feel "regret" about having been raped, since it was not one's fault. I suppose it depends on you define "regret".

    I don't understand about the link. It doesn't seem to lead where I expected.

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  2. I was not even thinking about the rape when I wrote back I have regrets. You can't regret something like that any more than you can regret, say, being mugged. Stuff happens.

    The link takes you to a satirical piece about the rape malarkey that the GOP is pushing. It triggered something in me.

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  3. Men should have no say in anything that they have no ability to experience or have real empathy for.

    My husband once told me that if he had met the "foster father" that spent all those months and weeks using me, he might have done the one thing that he knew I did not want... he despised men that assumed it was okay just because you were old enough to menstruate and that didn't care if you wanted them or not.

    I find that, after so many times, there is a point when you have to see it for what it is - violence used to have control.

    I wish men really understood, but they can't and because of that, they need to stay the hell out of it.

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  4. Wow. Lorraine this post made me sob out loud. I too was raped and I too have surrendered a child. My rape came after my surrender to adoption and in my case, that surrender contributed to my lack of reporting.

    Thank you for sharing this. I share my experience here

    Suz

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  5. I'll take it one step farther and assert that no woman should have any say over any other woman's reproductive decisions (or parenting ones--adoption isn't really reproduction in any sense) because even if you're physically equipped to have the experience, you cannot possibly understand anyone's situation but your own.

    Oh sure, a woman will be *more likely* to understand where another woman is coming from or at least to have an emotional inkling, especially if she's had *similar* experiences. But I've seen women be just as clueless and heartless about a difficult situation as I've seen men being.

    How else could the adoption industry possibly exist? It's mostly the infertile *women* driving it.

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  6. These bullshit politicians make me crazy, thanks for posting this.

    --a rape victim and the rapist went free

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  7. Dana alludes to something I have also written about - female sexual abuse by other females - and that includes not only lusting after our bodies but the children we produce as well. You ladies have me all sorts of triggered today! (Thats okay, I am known to do the same).

    Dana - You might like this Female Sexual Abuse where I talk about being assaulted by female and being as ill equipped to handle it as I was adoption surrender a few years earlier.

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  8. Anybody heard from
    Lorraine???

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  9. Anon, Thanks for asking. Lorraine told me about noon Eastern Time that they still had power and that they live on a high street. We'll keep our fingers crosses everything stays okay.

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  10. Thanks, terrible situation for sure. Hope she stays safe was worried.

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  11. I wholeheartedly agree. I've been raped by three different men, one of whom I was married to. I've 'lost' two children. The rape trauma doesn't follow me around like the trauma of losing my children does. I'm fairly certain that the abuse I endured in my childhood contributed to my being an easy target for my rapist husband and the small village of people who conspired to get my baby away from me.

    Nancie

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  12. from Ginger Hayes...Lorraine, I read your book and have followed your blog for more than a year, yet this is the first time I am learning that you were raped. Wasn't the father of your child your (married) boyfriend? You never cut him off after you got pregnant, so where is this rape issue coming from?

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  13. Jesus, Ginger - what is wrong with you? People like you are the reason people don't report their rapes to the authorities.

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  14. Hi, I'm back from black out and no internet...
    and Ginger...the RAPE HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH THE FATHER OF MY CHILD. IT OCCURRED SEVERAL YEARS LATER.

    In the blog, I was just comparing the traumas--one rape; two giving up a child. But the second event was unrelated to the first. It does say in the blog that "I did not get pregnant."

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