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29 April 2003 @ 08:21 am
National Sexual Assault Awareness Month  
One out of every three women will be sexually assaulted at some point in her life. - National Victim Center & Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center 1992

I was 18 years old, a freshman in college, and a virgin, living away from home for the first time in the big city of Chicago. Believe it or not, there was a time when I was extremely naive - perhaps not innocent, but naive, definitely.

I had recently started work at my college's radio station, and as this was what I had wanted to do since I was about 10 years old, I was constantly happy when I was there. This day, however, was even more exciting - the group Erasure was coming in to the station before their concert! I had been promised that I would get to meet them! And then my best friend and I were going to the concert! I could barely contain myself that day in February. Somehow I managed to not make an idiot of myself and I did get to say hi to Erasure and get my CD signed (still have it). Then it was time to head back to the north side to my dorm to get ready and then wait for A to pick me up.

When I was in undergrad in Chicago I didn't have a car. To get around, I took either the school provided buses, which ran a particular (and often not convenient) schedule from the downtown campus to the north side campus, or I took Chicago Public Transportation - either buses or the elevated trains, otherwise known as "the 'L'." I don't recall the reasons, but when I left the radio station around 5 pm that day, I took the L. I walked the couple of blocks to the station, walked down underground, and then waited in the crowds for a train.

One came and I got on. It was so crowded I had no choice but to stand, and barely managed to find a bar to grab on to. The next few stops north are also underground, and often the lights go out completely - you get used to it. But this time was different. Someone was touching me.

At first I thought someone was just trying to get past me. I moved forward the little I could - which wasn't much, as the train was just too packed - hoping the person could get by or whatever. The person followed me, continuing to push into me.

That was when I realized what was happening: a man was rubbing his erection against my butt and back. Masturbating against me.

Horrified. Scared. Shocked. Disgusted. Embarassed. Shamed. I didn't know what to do. It seems stupid now, to have been so afraid of a penis, but I was a different person then. If something like this were to happen to me now, I know exactly what I would do - turn around, scream my head off, punch him in the face and knee his balls up into his abdomen all in one motion. But that's now - back to then.

It seemed like an eternity. And then, the train finally came up into the light - the first stop outside the tunnel in the elevated section. A number of people got off at that stop, and I was able to move. That was my first priority - to get away. I eventually turned around, but there was no one standing in that spot anymore. He might well have gotten off at that stop. I would never know. All I knew is that I had another 10 stops or so until I was back at my dorm.

I finally got there. Got off the train, rode the escalator down, walked across the street and up the stairs to the entrance to the dorm. Showed my ID and rode the elevator up to the 6th floor. Unlocked the suite door, then unlocked my room's door. My roommate wasn't there. I took off my leather jacket. There was something on the back of it. I started to cry. I took off all my clothes, crying constantly, put on my robe and went across the hall to the bathroom. I took the hottest, longest shower I could stand, sobbing the entire time.

I eventually went back to my room, somewhat calmer, trying to look forward to the evening. I think I thought that seeing A would help. He would make me feel better. I was wrong. You see, A didn't believe me. As it turned out, neither did my father. To this day, I don't know if this was a male reaction, thinking along the lines of "I should have been able to protect her and I couldn't, so therefore, I will not acknowlege that it happened," or to do with the belief that fat girls are not sexual beings or sexually attractive, and therefore would not be the object of a sexual assault (and yes, a lot of people, including law enforcement officers, believe that).

I don't recall having enjoyed that concert very much. It has occasionally occured to me that it's amazing I can listen to Erasure at all.

I don't remember if it was the next day, but it was that week. I had been seeing a counselor through the university's psychology department, because I already knew I had a problem with depression. I didn't know this therapist too well, and it was a man, but somehow, I told him what happened, just as I've told you here, all the details. It was extremely difficult, and I cried the entire session. He was actually really great - he told me that it wasn't my fault and that I hadn't done anything wrong, and more importantly, he believed me. I don't recall ever having been too keen on dishonesty, but I think my emphasis on honesty may stem from this incident and how I was treated.

It was a long time before I rode the L again. The bus often took 5 times as long, but I took it all the same.

Fast forward about 10 years later. I've told the story since, and feel I'm completely over it. It's the past and I've had good, positive sexual relationships. I'm fine. One night, I'm watching Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, alone in my room in San Diego. The show starts, as usual, showing a bit before the credits. What happens: a man comes onto a subway train, pushes a woman up against one of the doors, and rapes her standing up from behind, in view of onlookers who do nothing. I start crying hysterically.

It's now been another 3 years. Am I okay now? I think so, but I've also accepted that while my assault was not nearly as bad as those others have suffered, it's still something I will never be able to forget.

I can only hope that by reading this, some of you may be helped. The more awareness there is, the more people that believe what is supposedly unbelievable, the more chances we have that someday, none out of 3 will have a story.
 
 
I feel: empowered
 
 
 
kissaki on April 29th, 2003 06:35 am (UTC)
Christ, Morri. I think it's incredibly awesome that you would share something this personal to you in hopes of shedding light on an issue like this. Thank you so much for your candor and your honesty. *hugs*
Teesside Snog Monster: mobius-scarfjiggery_pokery on April 29th, 2003 06:40 am (UTC)
I can't put it any better than that.

*hugs*
Callipygianpicklepuss on April 29th, 2003 06:46 am (UTC)
Me neither.

*hugs*
Vicki: All is woehermorrine on April 30th, 2003 09:14 pm (UTC)
*hugs*
expetesso on April 29th, 2003 07:03 am (UTC)
Nor I.

I hope the number of potentially naive, under-empowered women who may read this take particular note of what you would do now, Morri -- turn-scream-punch and knee in one fluid motion. Most frequently, the times when we least want to draw attention to ourselves are the times when we should.

*hugs*
Vicki: MWAHhermorrine on April 30th, 2003 09:15 pm (UTC)
Most frequently, the times when we least want to draw attention to ourselves are the times when we should.

Truer words...

*hugs*
Pervy Hoodie Fancier: JoChen Rapturedancingrain on April 29th, 2003 03:30 pm (UTC)
yep. :)
Vicki: MWAHhermorrine on April 30th, 2003 09:16 pm (UTC)
*hugs*
Vicki: Bi As Me!hermorrine on April 30th, 2003 09:14 pm (UTC)
*hugs*
intellectual peppery: pensiveeleveninches on April 29th, 2003 06:54 am (UTC)

I remember this story. :((
Vicki: All is woehermorrine on April 30th, 2003 09:17 pm (UTC)
I want you to remember it so that nothing like this - or worse - ever happens to you. *hugs tightly*
Vicki: MWAHhermorrine on April 30th, 2003 09:13 pm (UTC)
*hugs* Thanks for being a good friend.
That's what she said.altricial on April 29th, 2003 10:31 am (UTC)

or to do with the belief that fat girls are not sexual beings or sexually attractive, and therefore would not be the object of a sexual assault (and yes, a lot of people, including law enforcement officers, believe that).

I'm guessing that. I remember when there was a molester running around assulting girls from my school and I was like "!!!" and more than one person looked and me and went, "What have you got to worry about?"

You rule for sharing this.
Vicki: Nas Alleyhermorrine on April 30th, 2003 09:18 pm (UTC)
That is one of the things that pisses me off the most. SEXUAL ASSAULT IS NOT ABOUT SEX. HELLOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO?!?!??! How can people in this day and age NOT get that?

*hugs you*
dejaspirit on April 29th, 2003 10:41 am (UTC)
I'm VERY proud of you. *hugs* Women are amazingly resilient creatures, aren't we?
Vicki: ME and the ME and the MEMEMEhermorrine on April 30th, 2003 09:19 pm (UTC)
We really are. I just wish we didn't have to be. *hugs*
Toby Malfoy: elijah eyetobymalfoy on April 29th, 2003 10:53 am (UTC)
Whaaa!!

*clings*
Vicki: MWAHhermorrine on April 30th, 2003 09:19 pm (UTC)
*hugs*
Eldrid: OTPlokechild on April 29th, 2003 12:22 pm (UTC)
*hugs* Your something else, loff. To be able to tell something to us all... that's just amazing.
*more hugs*
Vicki: Where my heart ishermorrine on April 30th, 2003 09:21 pm (UTC)
*hugs* Thanks, but really... the thought of it helping someone was enough to make it worth doing.
now with 50% more ironykatrionaa on April 29th, 2003 12:36 pm (UTC)
*hugs* What a dreadful thing to have happen, and it's even worse that you weren't believed. Thanks for sharing your story.
Vicki: All is woehermorrine on April 30th, 2003 09:21 pm (UTC)
*hugs*
Latter-day Jezebelnmalfoy on April 29th, 2003 02:33 pm (UTC)
I can't imagine how you must have felt. I was a volunteer for a time with the Rape Crisis Center, and every one of the victims that I saw while at the hospital blamed herself. I hope that they, like you, realized it isn't their fault. It's easy to say to another, "hey, it's not your fault" and to honestly believe that... until it happens to you, as witnessed by my most recent LJ post. Were it another person, I can say "it's not your fault" but since it's me... it is still far too painful.

But just look at what you've become. You're Morri, man. You're the best. Not perfect, no, nor are any of us, but you're a shining example of many things.
Vicki: MWAHhermorrine on April 30th, 2003 09:23 pm (UTC)
*hugs* It took me a while to believe that it really wasn't my fault - the same will happen with you. One day you'll just realize that you didn't do anything wrong. That realization may not completely heal the wound, but it helps.
an enigma wrapped in a schizophrenic: TTTS Hermione magic by thehushkarabou on April 29th, 2003 02:49 pm (UTC)
Oh geez.. first of all *hugs*. Second of all, thanks for sharing this... it's such a deeply personal story. I'm glad you're okay now, and you saw someone about it to help... I know a lot of women won't.
Vicki: Where my heart ishermorrine on April 30th, 2003 09:25 pm (UTC)
*hugs*
TAKE A CHANCE YOU STUPID HOE.sincelastjuly on April 29th, 2003 02:55 pm (UTC)
You're such a strong woman, and I appreciate you sharing that with us.
*hugs*
Vicki: MWAHhermorrine on April 30th, 2003 09:26 pm (UTC)
*hugs* I hope the example of my strength will help younger women like you to avoid such situations.
Bitchpants McCrabbyeibbil_libbie on April 29th, 2003 03:51 pm (UTC)
*squeezy hugs*

I don't know what I would have done without the support of those around me -- that those near me believed me and stood by me. How horrid for you to have to endure that disbelief of those that should have wrapped you in their arms and comforted you.

I applaud your strength and courage for posting this. And I share your hope that someday, no one will have to share these stories because there aren't any to tell.
Vicki: All is woehermorrine on April 30th, 2003 09:29 pm (UTC)
*hugs back* It was certainly frustrating that I wasn't believed by important people in my life. Luckily, I haven't really had that problem since then.
Lissannelissannej on April 30th, 2003 04:46 am (UTC)
Just wanted to add my hugs and support to you. It's a big thing to share with people, and your courage is amazing. *hugs*
Vicki: Where my heart ishermorrine on April 30th, 2003 09:30 pm (UTC)
*hugs*
Deiter, of the German Popefuckers.: *meep*alkaloid on April 30th, 2003 11:13 am (UTC)
*cuddles* It's so rotten that happened to you! That guy was a jerk.
Vicki: MWAHhermorrine on April 30th, 2003 09:31 pm (UTC)
*hugs* "Jerk" seems a tad mild to me...I'm thinking more along the lines of "walking pond scum."
Deiter, of the German Popefuckers.: hee!alkaloid on May 1st, 2003 03:31 am (UTC)
LOL! I was too tired for creative swearing when I posted that...

He sucks pickled donkey dong. :-*
Greg: Wibblepetulans on April 30th, 2003 12:15 pm (UTC)
Last year I took a Psychology course whose primary lecturer was actually one of the university’s ‘officers for female students’ (or suchlike) and I remember that during and after some of the lectures she’d mention some of the difficulties women have along these lines and I was, well, shocked. I knew that this sort of thing went on, but not the frequency with which it did nor the ‘indifference’ to it that runs rampant amongst many people. You’re very brave and strong to have shared this to shed some light on the matter, and as a by-the-by in the event that something like that ever happened again, it might be better to turn round and jam your forearm into his throat, then knee him in the balls – it requires less time than punching and make it less likely that he’ll jump away, plus being punched in the face is less likely to draw both hands upwards (and is far easier to voluntary to override) than an attack on the throat, thus making it easier to hit the balls next – not to mention that you’ve got two debilitating attacks there, as opposed to one. That may not matter so much on a train or such, but in a quieter place where the most important thing is escape rather than retribution the important thing is to get the sod down as quickly and for as long as possible.
Vicki: Where my heart ishermorrine on April 30th, 2003 09:33 pm (UTC)
*nods* Thanks for the tip - I will definitely keep that in mind. You should also keep in mind that there is a certain amount of sexual violence against gay men - I would hope you are aware of this. The stats aren't as high as male against female, but male against male is next, followed by female against male and then female against female. It happens to everyone - just, sadly, it happens in the first category the most.
Greg: Straightpetulans on May 1st, 2003 10:06 am (UTC)
Unfortunately I do know that, all too well.
Vicki: All is woehermorrine on May 1st, 2003 10:53 am (UTC)
Oh dear. *sighs and hugs you tightly*
Gregpetulans on May 1st, 2003 10:57 am (UTC)
Oh, no - nothing too bad or requiring hugs (though they're always nice <3).
Vickihermorrine on May 1st, 2003 11:11 am (UTC)
Re:
Oh good then! *hugs more just cause*
unwashed and idealistictil_midnight on May 1st, 2003 02:46 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for having the courage to post this.

I'm friending you, if you don't mind.
Vicki: Nas Alleyhermorrine on May 1st, 2003 09:52 pm (UTC)
I don't mind at all. *friends back*