Thursday, August 22, 2013

Date Rape

It was about 1984 and I was invited by a guy I was dating - who I thought was a normie - to an roof top apartment party in Long Beach, California. Perhaps a more worldly, less na├»ve chic would have seen the clues. I did not. When I mentioned how fun it would be for both Sarahjoy and I, he informed me that it wasn't the kind of party for a child. Still didn't get it. Fer' stupid!

Dave arrived at my Diamond Bar, California three bedroom, two bathroom, cute house that I was still owning, thanks to my Mother, post divorce, to pick me up. I was vividly aware it was a cool neighborhood. Dave was with his 'married friends,' who were driving us to the party. I recall the car as a souped up brilliant black Pontiac GTO and besides the married couple, in the car was Dave, me, and someone who I had never met previously. The married guy's 18 year old kid, Mike was part of the group going to the Long Beach party. The married guy's former wife living in New York had sent their kid Mike to live with his Dad in Southern California - because he was 'out of control.' It seemed an understandable family situation.

The upstairs party was a bit overwhelming to me, I was never into pot. I did not like ever feeling out of control in my body. (My teenage days of drinking and diving were actually very short lived.)  The pungent smell of marijuana hung heavy overhead like a gloomy cloud on the otherwise lovely roof top apartment. It was an otherwise lovely Southern California beach-side community neighborhood and getting out as a young adult woman/mother felt good. I was pretty, intelligent and throwing out the word confident again, trying to mojo up again with life. The hip hosts were quite free with coke and pot and not being hip with all this, I walked downstairs to the apartment living space and was sitting on the sofa chatting garnering good feelings with a few people, including Mike in the background.

Someone asked me if I'd like a glass of wine and shortly thereafter the kid Mike brought my wine.

These are my memories thereafter.

I vaguely recall being escorted, pushed from behind through a group of people, feeling confused.

I vaguely recall waking up in a gutter, in the middle of the night. Disheveled, uncomfortable. And being scolded by the boyfriend Dave.

I very vividly, however, remember waking up the next morning. I'm lying in a bed alone. I don't know where I am. I can't move my left wrist, I think it might be broken. I am still wearing the clothes I'd worn to the party.

But. They were not on right. It was summer, I'd worn a white, cotton, pants jumpsuit, with a purple Bohemian style caftan over it, a necklace and flat sandals. I went to the party cute. It was stylin,' but no where near inappropriate.

Now, however, style was the least of my problems. I had no shoes, no necklace, no bra. My white jumpsuit was on backwards and my underwear was inside out. I don't normally dress myself like that.

My hair was dreadfully disheveled. It had dirt in it. Like dirt from the ground, dirt. I had abrasions on my face, elbows, knees and tops of my formerly well pedicured feet. I didn't understand why it was difficult for me to move my arms. Oh, my left wrist hurt like hell. And, yes I was bruised vaginally.

I made my way to my doctor's office. He had treated me for a few years and was a very kind professional. He confirmed that I'd probably been raped, he said my wrist wasn't broken, just sprained.

My doctor is the one and only hero in this story. He was compassionate. He did what he'd been trained to do, he tended to the injuries on my body and on my soul, he cared about what had happened to me.

Rape is a maltreatment that beats you up, leaves you in the gutter, but you're expected to climb out of it and just move on. Hey, you don't have a broken arm, you don't require a cast, how lucky you are, move on! Pick yourself up girl, dust yourself off. Whatever injuries you have, they're hidden, unseen.

This was still the early 80's and I was still ignorant, my doctor was ignorant, but to be fair, most certainly,so were the police.

Because the kid Mike admitted later to the incident, but said it was consensual, I felt empowered to go to the police. But I was told by officers the situation would be my word against his, i.e., there was no case.

Nowadays we know more about date rape drugs. I read all of the Bill Cosby stories of his supposed date rape drug episodes with a dedicated, self-interested interest. If it takes Bill Cosby's notoriety for the world to acknowledge this ugly, vicious offense, then so be it. Shame, shame.

Not on me. Shame on these perpetrators. Stop shaming me. Stop.

I recall scandalous stories involving New York dance clubs and rape, through the blatant use of Rohypnol, aka, roofies. Nowadays because it's Bill Cosby, it is headline news. Some thirty years later, we're hearing same-old-similar horror stories - regarding Bill Cosby this time - with a particular drug of choice for the ladies. Don't shame the ladies.

I don't care what vehicle you choose, climb in one. Load it up with friends and please just drive down the damn road and get the word out. Yell loudly. Dammit! Shame, shame on you offenders!

My rape occurred in 1982 and back then DNA wasn't even well known, and, would not be for six more years until 1988, when DNA was first allowed to be admitted as evidence in courts.

Rohypnol, [roh-hip-nawl] also known as Narcozep, Rufies or Roofies is effective for date rape due to its amnesic effect, it messes with your memory. Research would reveal that users are unable to remember what happened under the drug's influence and they are often left feeling confused, sluggish and uncoordinated. Also, they can have some difficulty moving their limbs normally. Some ten years later, the U.S. Drug Administration banned the drug, due to continuing reports of its use as a date rape drug.

My fortress. 
So after going to see my kind doctor, I did what daughters do.

I was afraid, but I needed my Mommy. My Mommy is my heart, my Mommy, my Mother.

I called her.

But instead of offering comfort or understanding, my Mother became a now-insulted-by-this-incident Mother and she was unnerved. Sadly, I realized my Mother needed me to be the always capable, super-power daughter. I'd dented my halo.

My Mother questioned why I'd gone to the party.

I gave my Mother no response. Even in my scared hazy world, I knew it was an inappropriate comment. But it certainly shut me up. I learned to be quiet about it, act like it never happened. To be my Mother's daughter, I had a new requirement.

And, we never discussed it again. Ever.

I was learning that telling that I'd been raped made the rape worse.

I felt dirty, no longer legitimate. Like whomever I'd told that I was a good person, I'd lied to them. I was a fraud. I was ugly. Street level ugly. And you don't talk about it. Another taboo subject.

God I ached, longed for, cried for a strong man figure. Someone like an understanding father. And out of the blue, the loop is playing again, it's back. But now I'm angry, I've been raped and I'm well aware I have no male protector. 

I took a lot of showers.

And when I showered, I wept and moaned. I cried so hard I couldn't catch a breath, I heaved tears. The corner of the shower was my one and only safe fortress, my counselor, my only friend.

I sat in the shower and mourned that I'd thought I had value, and I never did.

How do you move forward. Like really. How the hell do you move forward, when you no longer have value.

I did what my Mother had taught me to do.

You get up and you Mother on.

But you are never the same. To this day, thirty-three years later, I question every movement a male makes, every action. EVEN if it is from someone who should be safe.

So, you wonderful men out there, if I'm skittish, there's a reason.

I got up and performed as the strong woman my Mother had raised me to be. I had a daughter to raise.

2 comments :

  1. Thank you for your brave story. I'm almost positive this almost happened to me. Thank god my boyfriend showed up at the bar to get me. He walked up as a man was ushering me into his truck. :-\ I didn't realize what had happened until the next day.

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  2. Krista McKinney - comment from my friend, Claire Shastany, a registered nurse, from my Facebook post. (BTW, please feel free to ALSO make this same comment there, directly on FB. More info is always more info on this substantial subject.)

    Claire Shastany said: This has an all too familiar ring to it. I am so sorry this happened to you, and you did not receive the proper care or support afterwards... I hear these stories all the time in the course of my work. Unfortunately, it is still happening to many women and men as well. While there have been many advances in terms of Forensics, it is still an uphill battle for someone who has suffered this type if victimization. I hope that some day, there will no longer be victims of sexual assault. Until then, I hope that survivors are able to receive the proper care, and have the first person they tell, say, "I believe you, you are safe, and I am going to take good care of you."

    Patricia Loya: Claire Shastany, my professional medical friend, thank you. Tears are falling. Still fall rampant. So, I agree with you, that until forevers: "Until then, I hope that survivors are able to receive the proper care, and have the first person they tell, say, "I believe you, you are safe, and I am going to take good care of you."

    Krista McKinney, I believe you, I'm so glad you are safe, I'm pleased someone is helping to take good care of you. HUGU

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