i'm still here
Write this big long preamble to this. I changed my mind.
I’m Still Here
What concerns me about “polite” rape “discussion” is, in a conciliatory, polite abstraction of rape, what is really going on during a physical attack is not acknowledged. Rape is a physical attack. A rape victim has to be subdued. Forced, physically, to participate. Often at a secondary location. Somewhere where there are no witnesses or intermediaries who might interrupt or witness the attack. This is not “sex.” And it is not pretty. It is a physical battle between a larger, stronger attacker and a physically smaller and weaker attackee. It is violent. Full of threat. And often leaves a dead body behind.
I was abducted at the age of 14. I leapt out of a moving vehicle to escape. That would not have saved me. He was turning around. I could hear myself breathing, it was hard to get enough oxygen, I was pushing so hard, I could hear tires burning asphalt behind me, knew that car was spinning around, coming back for me, to run me down or catch me I was not sure, but I was sure I was odds are not going to make it, I could not outrun that car. There was a ditch up ahead, if I could make it to the ditch and jump it, maybe. He’d lose an axel in that ditch trying to slam the car over it. But, if he was smart, if he stopped the car, he could outrun me on foot and drag me back –
A motorist seeing a body launch out of a vehicle going full speed and come up running hell bent for leather stopped. That is what saved me. One lone car that should not even have been on that road was there, and stopped.
A friend, who attended high school with me, was not that lucky. There was no car on her road. Her vagina was cut out, with a knife, and stuffed into what was left of her mouth. Her eyelashes were burned off. Her fingers were cut off. I do not know how much force and effort it takes to cut a finger off with a knife. He took all ten. And when he got done, all that was left was bloody meat – and braces.
That is how they identified her. The braces.
Six women died that year. Six women they found. I do not know how many bodies are still out there. Still “missing.” They were found by roadsides, in abandoned lumber yards, under trees, in ditches. Burned. Stabbed. Butchered. Mutilated. Destroyed. Unrecognizable. Barely identifiable. Unless, like Sherry, they were wearing braces.
Pay attention to that name. That was a person. She had a name.
She died before she was old enough to vote.
I didn’t. I’m still here.
Do not be too polite about rape.
23 Responses to i’m still here
No, rape is not polite. Anything but. Girls need to know it is okay to fight. I remember in high school they had an “expert” come in and talk about rape, and what to do. They said don’t fight, you should never fight. I don’t think I agree with that. I think you should always fight.
I had a friend. She was in search of a dorm. She was walking down a dorm corridor, the long, big message board on her right, a red poster portraying a bleeding knife and a screaming female name. Black printed words. “WHEN YOU GET RAPED, CALL 95025…”. When? When? I believe this is exactly how most people regard rape. “When”. On the other hand, these “most people” are usually men. So, if “when” rape for them, why not “when I kick your balls and leave you family-less for the rest of your life”? It’s always fight. Always.
What often gets lost in the discussion of rape is that it is an act of violence, not an act of passion. I clicked on the link you posted and read that post as well as many of the comments. I always get so angry when people say things like “Well, she asked for it.”
One of the smartest things I saw there was a comment of yours, that the guy ought to go work at a prison. There were over 70 comments there, long ones and the topic had gotten blurry. Rape is a stronger person submitting a weaker. It could be a stronger man raping a weaker man. Forget the makeup and short skirts and temptation because it’s not about that, it’s about violence.
Sorry about your friend Sherry. I hope they caught the bastard. And I’m glad you are such a quick thinker and survived your attack.
You fight. You fight because once an attack begins, your life is on the line and that is what you are fighting for, your life. There is no way to gage your attacker’s full intent, all you know is he is willing to attack you, and that means he is quite probably willing and able to kill you. Fight.
Oh, you absolutely must fight. I am alive because I fought.
Nice avatar, Toni.
Thanks, Max. I finally got a photo done. Love taking them of others, hate being in them.
It is a great photo. I remember your post about that, that you finally had a photo you liked.
Yes, one has to fight. How could you not?
Conditioning, fear, physical pain, shock. There are a lot of reasons not to fight.
How horrible. Makes me feel guilty for posting a link to an article on women’s rape fantasies.
I couldn’t fight because I was drugged, and couldn’t move or speak. I was conscious, though, and could FEEL everything–all the pain, all the disregard and contempt. Fight if you can, kill if you have to.
I am glad you are still here too Lulu.
Thank you, Max. You are a hero–an icon of feminine beauty, strength and power. We, as women, as former victims, can turn what was our fear and terror into invincible determination and fortitude. When I read these entries I can feel our communal force and energy as sisters–united in our quest to be free to live without oppression.
Heroes are just people who survived extraordinarily difficult events. I would settle for less heroics in my lifetime if it meant less extraordinarily difficult events. [wink]
my second read here..i still don’t have a response, but i will
*tightness in chest* riveting story, max. shows how we must all heed our inner knowings. whatever it takes to survive. sometimes what we do to achieve this may seem contrary. but, i’ve learned not to question what my guides tell me. don’t know why this incident came to mind during reading your story, (cuz there are more horrific ones that occurred) but this one presented its’ visceral image in my throat. got off the elevator @3am (late evening waitress job) turned to go down hallway, and immediatedly saw ex-boyfriend just sitting in front of my apt. door. elevator door closes. he looks up. sees me seeing him. i am momentarily paralyzed. nowhere to run. he is up next to me now, reeking of alcohol, holding me in a solid neck lock with one arm. i can only see what i think is the flash of something silver in his other hand. *a knife, a gun, handcuffs? what* so, spirit whispers to me “don’t panic, don’t act scared.don’t try to run or scream” seemed like a lamb to the slaughter response, but i had long ago learned to affirm these spiritual assists by acting on them. again the knowing voice whispered “smile and hug him.” *how’ve you been, honey? are you allright. you look so beat. i’ve been wondering how you are* big defusing response taking place now. i can feel the evil rage leave the hallway. *why don’t you come in and we’ll have a drink. you look like you could use a friend* bizarre thought now-i’ve shared sexual intimacies w/this man before. i can do this again w/out an attack from him. i can do this again and live thru the nite. #and then i’ll kill him later# #or i’ll put a hit out on him# but i’m gonna make it thru the nite.# *make yourself comfortable, honey. whatcha drinking?* he familiarly sat down on my bed w/his drink. leaned back and breathed a sigh of relief. i stroked his forehead so as to ease the blinding rage of his rejection from me. he fell asleep like a baby. next morning, he gathered his things, kissed me while saying “take care of yourself”. need i respond *i just did, darling*? *phew* Thank You Guides. never saw or heard from him again. moral of my story, even when my angelic voices urge me to do something ‘crazy’ i flow with it. in gratitude to you, max for allowing that story to surface from 35 years ago. it might not have been the appropriate response for someone else in a different situation, but we need to honor the inner knowings of all our female sisters. take care of yourselves however you can.
Max, I’m sitting here with tears coursing down my face. Again. It happens every time I read about another violent rape; about another senseless death.
No, rape is not sex. Rape is not even terrorism. Rape is no less than an act of savagery, and murdering the rape victim is the ultimate act of cowardice.
My best friend was also raped and murdered. She was sixteen and she truly would have set this world on fire. An amazing actress. A talented musician and artist. She had so much to give to the world.
Had. Past tense.
She was bludgeoned. She was beaten. And then the two rapists took turns on what they presumed to be the dead body of a child. When she stirred, they beat her again, then stabbed her repeatedly in a murderous frenzy, and left her to bleed to death, face down in a puddle of her own blood.
They’ve served the minimum portion of their sentence – 25 years each; but because they left no semen at the scene of the crime (which is not uncommon in rape cases), the rape charges were dropped. Forget that she was found with her pants down, and that the physical evidence – the damage they did to her body – left no doubt that she had been raped and sodomized.
And if that isn’t bad enough — because the rape charges were dropped, if they are ever released, they can never even be listed as sex offenders.
In my friend’s case, both murderers deny any wrong doing, each blaming it on the other. One of them, in his most recent parole hearing, was asked why he didn’t at least call the police when he saw the other defendant attacking a young girl. His answer?
“I guess I forgot what it felt like to be human.”
Max, my heart aches for you, because I know. I know that this type of heartbreak never goes away. I know the fear that buries itself deep in the heart, and springs up when you least expect it. When you find yourself alone in a dark parking lot; when your daughter is late for curfew; when you read about another girl being attacked — it all come rushing out again. It never goes away.
And it is so painful to write about – I know this too – but it is also necessary if we hope to effect a change in how people perceive this horrendous crime. I hope that your blog helps to that end. But even more than that, I hope that perhaps some young girl will realize that there reaally are people out there with the potential to forget what it’s like to be human.
And maybe she’ll realize that this could have been her. Maybe she’ll consider that it could have been her hopes, her heartbeats, her potential to change this world that was extinguished in a horribly violent moment of absolute mind-numbing terror.
And who knows – maybe, because of your blog, she’ll be a little less trusting where trust has not been earned. And maybe she’ll have the opportunity to change the world, after all.
So thank you for writing this, Max. It would be so much easier to try to forget — kudos for having the strength to remember.
I wish you much peace.
Thank you for sharing your story. And I am so sorry about your friend. So so sorry.
Thank you — and my apologies for having gone on a bit. This is an issue that is very, very near to my heart. In fact, I serve on the Advisory Council of an organization that was formed by NY State Legislator John Murphy (Rockland Co) specifically to keep these two murderers in jail. We hope one day to work toward parole reform, but that is a long, uphill battle.
On a positive note, in 2009, the petition to keep them behind bars literally swept around the world via the Internet, and in the course of about six weeks, we gathered nearly twelve thousand signatures. While it’s true that petitions do not bear any sort of official weight, that’s still an awful lot of paper on a parole board desk. Three binders worth, if I recall correctly.
The decision was unanimous – they were denied. For now. According to NY State law, they are eligible for parole every two years. We have not yet opened the petition for the 2011 campaign, but if you would like to sign it when we do, you’ll find our website at:
Thanks again for this blog post, and the courage that it took to write it. I am truly just so sorry about Sherry, but I respect you enormously for tackling the painful task of telling her story. May she rest in peace.
It matters to me as well. Going on a bit is warranted.
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