My Rape Story
I read an excellent piece on 'Not Rape" today, by Latoya Peterson from Yes means Yes. It stirred me. So, here is a piece I wrote about my own life that was posted at The National Gadfly, not long after I began the journey to create this site.
I was 12 or 13 years old, back in '72 or '73. It was summer. I played outside with my friends and did whatever young boys do, with time on their hands and no supervision. My friend Bob and I were outside goofing around. We ran into Jimmy, a man that lived in the neighborhood. He was tall, thin, had a mustache and long hair, in his late 20's or early 30's. He often said hello to me as he walked by. Bob and I saw him and we got to talking. There was a forest preserve across the street from my house, where I often played. As we walked along talking, we entered the woods. I had no reason to be suspicious. I was always in those woods.
Somehow, Jimmy and I became separated from Bob. We were alone in the woods. He told me that he wanted to tell me a joke, but that we should go further up the hill, away from the path. Once we were away from the path by a good measure, he told me that he wanted me to "do him a favor". I had become nervous, but I was too frightened to move. I feared that I might upset him if I did. I began to think in my mind as to how I might control this situation. But, I was not the one in control.
By now, he had a hold of me and was pulling me to the ground. He said that he wanted to "lean on me" I didn't know what it meant, but I was terrified. He pulled me down and his grip was very strong. I remember thinking of what I might be able to say, to make him think that I was not going to run and at the same time, get free of his grip. I remember pleading with Jimmy, begging him to stop, to let me go. He was still trying to get me to lie down and was taking off his shirt or something. I remember him loosening his belt and pants. I remember him dropping his pants. It was all happening so fast and I didn't know what to do. I was crying and asking for him to stop, but he wouldn't stop.
Then, I think we heard Bob on the trail, looking for us. Jimmy still had me, but now he was asking me to promise to keep this a secret. Not to tell anyone. I was so frightened but I was so relieved that I might be able to get away from this place in the woods. I promised him that I would. Suddenly, I was aware that I was free from Jimmy's grip. I felt as if I had come back from the grave. I saw light returning to the forest. I could hear things...birds, cars, planes.
I found Bob, and Jimmy came up right behind me. I didn't tell Bob anything right there. He looked at my eyes and we just got out of there. We separated from Jimmy and he asked me what the hell happened. I told him and he said that he thought as much. We discussed what to do...go to the police, tell our parents...what? We didn't tell anyone. We were pretty sure that we were the ones that would get in big trouble. I was sure that I would. We told no one. I told no one - for years. I think that I told my parents about 15 years later, when we were all liquored up one night.
I was lucky that a friend came back to find me. If he had run into another pal and taken off to do something else for a while, I might not even be here.
I saw Jimmy around the neighborhood a few times more and then not again. Bob and I stuck together for months. I never went outside without knowing for a fact that Bob was around. I felt lucky that my parents and nobody else knew. I was a skinny kid and the common insult back then was 'fag'. I didn't want to be called fag for the rest of my school days. I didn't want to be in trouble with my parents or police or have Jimmy come looking for me, if he found out I had told on him.
I pretended that it never happened, but it did. It took me years - over a decade to admit that I was not the guilty one. When I could bring myself to think about it, I was clear that Jimmy was not gay. He was a child molester. They are not the same thing.
My rape story is one that has some lucky breaks - I lived. My story is a survivor's story. It has colored my world view. I think that it allows me to stand one step closer into someone else's shoes. Thousands of children go up into the woods every day and do not come home. Children are raped and killed in every country in the world. Children, barely able to think for themselves.
At the top of the human social ladder is .01% of the population running empires of weapons, oil, drugs, finance and bureaucracy that exists only to make them richer. While at the very bottom of the pile, being starved, raped, mutilated, burned and murdered - are hundreds of thousands of children whose lives are forever shattered every day.
I don't know how the world gets fixed, how the economy turns around, how jobs come back and how we fight terrorists. I don't know how anything gets solved. I do know however, that I don't know how to fix all this crap, all the lies and all the cruelty. I do believe that until the children are safe from the absolute worst of humanity, we have accomplished nothing.