Rapists apologizing–or not

I just read this article by Deborah Copaken.  She’d been raped 30 years ago, but didn’t tell anyone at first.  She then told the intake psychologist at her University Health Services, but was advised not to report it to the police, because of the irreparable damage it would do to her: She wouldn’t be able to live in Paris as she planned, and her sex life would be dredged up and judged during the trial.  She didn’t tell her parents till years later–and did it through a memoir, not to their faces.  Due to the Kavanaugh hearings, she finally got the courage to write to her rapist and confront him.  His response:

And do you know what this man did, less than half an hour later? He called me on the phone and said, “Oh, Deb. Oh my god. I’m so sorry. I had no idea. I’m filled with shame.”

We spoke for a long time, maybe 20 minutes. He had no recollection of raping me, just of the party where we’d met. He’d blacked out that night from excessive drinking and soon thereafter entered Alcoholics Anonymous. But that, he said, was no excuse. The fact that he’d done this to me and that I’d been living with the resulting trauma for 30 years was horrifying to him. He was so sorry, he said. He just kept repeating those words, “I’m so sorry,” over and over.

Suddenly, 30 years of pain and grief fell out of me. I cried. And I cried. And I kept crying for the next several hours, as I prepared for Yom Kippur, the Jewish holiday of forgiveness. And then, suddenly, I was cleansed. Reborn. The trauma was gone. All because of a belated apology.

I also know someone who was accused of assault many decades after the fact.  He did not, could not remember ever doing such a thing.  But instead of denying it, he apologized anyway.

Contrast this to how Kavanaugh reacted to being accused, even though many witnesses have confirmed that he used to get blackout drunk when he was in high school/college.  Can’t he even consider that he might have done it and just doesn’t remember any of it?  Why can’t he apologize when others have done so for sexual crimes they don’t even remember?

I’ve also thought about–with all this going on, and #MeToo–finally confronting Phil and Shawn, all these years later.  But I wonder if it would do any good, because haven’t I already done this, with nothing good coming of it?

They were not drunk or on drugs when they did these things; they were fully conscious and remembered later.  But they did not apologize.

While Shawn did do a lot of pushing to get me to do things I was not initially comfortable with because of my upbringing, he didn’t go against my will.  That was not his transgression.  Rather, after all the pushing, I eventually began to want what he wanted to do, so I let him do it.

But then he blamed me for not saying no to him, for letting him do it, and I’d be subjected to HOURS of him scolding me (well into the wee hours of the morning, even 5am) for letting him do it.

I always let him take the lead, because of these scold sessions; I never, ever started things, out of respect for what he’d said the last time.  Yet he still blamed me for the things he did this time.

I never understood why he’d blame me.  I never could figure out how he could live with justifying himself like this by turning around on me what he himself had done.  It was definitely an abusive relationship, full of gaslighting and DARVO.  And like many abuse victims, I was too in love, and too involved in it to recognize it at first.  I finally went to the school counselor to help me break free of him.

But the words of Libby Anne and other bloggers are finally making it clear to me what was going on, how he could blame me for what he himself did:

While conservative evangelicals give lip service to boys and men, too, having an obligation to remain pure until marriage, the burden of saying “no” falls primarily on girls and women. Why was Dr. Ford at a party where there was underage drinking? Why did she go upstairs in a strange house, alone? She put herself in harm’s way—can a guy be blamed for asking what she was clearly offering? Or so the logic may go.

In evangelical circles, boys and men can be more easily forgiven for touching “loose” women than they can for touching godly virgins. In Proverbs, the “wayward woman” leads godly young men to the slaughter. In evangelical circles, girls can easily find themselves painted temptresses, and blamed for their own assaults. —White Evangelical Forgiveness Narratives, Brett Kavanaugh, and Dr. Christine Blasey Ford

Then there’s Phil.  Years later, I see his ex-fiancée posting on Facebook about how wonderful he is–so gentle, so sweet, wouldn’t hurt a fly–except there’s a “Bipolar Phil,” a guy with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, who takes over.  Yet I remember this episode, where I clearly said that what he did was rape, so he’s already been confronted:

But one night, what a horror!  In the middle of things he said, “Give me your backside.”

I kept saying, “No, not that way!” but he kept pressuring.

Before we finished, while still on top of me, he withdrew and moved down to my anus, not actually in but trying to get in.

I pleaded with him to move.

I clearly said no, and I also struggled, trying to push him away.

But he didn’t listen and didn’t move, and he ejaculated like that.  It got all over, and I got mad at him for not respecting my wishes.

At one point, as he sat hunched over on the side of the bed in the darkness, I said that rape could be grounds for divorce.

He said in a trembling, petulant, upset voice, “So are you going to divorce me now?”

I said no, but our reconciliation was probably painful.  It felt like a rape.  I still think of it as one.  He did to me sexually what I didn’t want him to do, despite my pleas.  The trouble is, in a situation like this, how would you even prove it in court?

….

[O]ral sex…was another point of contention: It was gross, no matter who did it to whom.  I didn’t want him to kiss me afterwards, but he would whine that none of his other girlfriends said that.

I didn’t want to do it to him, didn’t want to put anything like that in my mouth, did not like the taste, would not do it long enough to get him to ejaculate, because it was absolutely disgusting.

But he kept trying to get me to do it.  (His “subconscious” tried to ease me into it.  More on that later.)  But I got no pleasure from it, was grossed out by the whole thing.

I may have been traumatized by this and the constant coercion: When the cafeteria served okra that fall, I couldn’t eat it, because it was slimy and reminded me of oral sex.

Ever since then, I have never engaged in this disgusting practice again, and have been blessed with a husband who also finds it gross and wants nothing to do with it.

Late summer, during sex, Phil sometimes tried to turn me over to do my backside–with a petulant, angry, stern look on his face, like he wanted to control me and I’d better do what he wanted or else.  I would refuse and resist his hands, and push myself back down.

…In September, he broke off the marriage and spent a couple of weeks psychologically abusing me.  Then he came back to me.  I thought he wanted to be married again, but he just wanted sex and a submissive puppet.

By now, my will was broken, and I was desperate to do whatever he wanted, just to keep him from leaving again.

If I didn’t want to do something he wanted to do, it meant I didn’t care like I said I did.

I felt like I was walking on eggshells, and the slightest thing might push him away.  I felt I had to align all my opinions with his, do things exactly as he wanted even though I couldn’t read his mind, or he’d divorce me.

He seemed like a different person.  After he broke up with me, I was a broken, submissive person who was desperate to do whatever he wanted, just to keep him from leaving again.  That meant even oral sex:

One day, when he got me alone, before I had a chance to even talk to him, and without a word, he pulled down his pants.

He got a strange, angry, stern look on his face, and pushed my head down–forced, really, since I couldn’t move my head whether I wanted to or not.

I didn’t want to–it was smelly, I didn’t know if he had washed it recently, and I never liked doing this–but I did anyway, because of the unspoken but well-understood threat that he would divorce me if I didn’t. —Described here

This was a man in full possession of his faculties who knew exactly what he was doing.  This was a man who–when I used the word “rape”–became petulant rather than apologetic.

Now I hear about the bipolar Phil, the FAS Phil, and that he’s fighting for his life due to chemical imbalances that have damaged his brain and made him suicidal.  Since I already confronted him years ago, I wonder if it’s even worth bringing it up again.  I feel like maybe I shouldn’t poke the bear and dredge it all up again.  I wonder if he even remembers, given his brain damage.  I wonder if it’s all due to the FAS and bipolar and a couple of other diagnoses–which his fiancée has alluded to, without naming them.  I wonder if bringing it up again would be the last straw that would lead to him killing himself.

So I stay silent.  I think it’s best.  But still, the memories keep getting triggered, thanks to our president and his praising of Kavanaugh, along with the many defenses of Kavanaugh that have been coming from conservatives lately.

But I guess we’re just snowflakes accusing an innocent man.

 

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Repost from 2017: Realizing that past issues with men have been caused by #patriarchy ( #MeToo)

When I came across this post in the course of normal blog maintenance, it reminded me why it disturbed me so much to read on my ex’s fiancee’s Facebook that he is a “gentle giant,” sweet, wouldn’t hurt a fly, etc. etc.: Because the man I knew was very much a chauvinistic carryover from the olden days.  Only sweet when he wanted to entrap you, or make you change your mind when you’re so fed up that you want to leave.  So I’m reposting it:

Thanks to reading blogs (such as by Samantha Field and Libby Anne) and reflecting and writing over the years, I can finally pinpoint what caused the behavior of all sorts of boys/guys/men in my past (and present).  Makes me wish I could go back in time with newfound confidence and set them straight.

Part of it was often narcissism and abuse, yes.  But that’s not the big driver.  It’s quite simple: Patriarchy explains where they got the idea that it was their place to lecture me on how to act, what to wear, whether to put on makeup, how to do my hair.  That they got to decide what we would do, not me.  If I wanted to do something, I was a slut; if they wanted to do something and I didn’t, they kept pushing.  They could have all sorts of complaints about me, including ones with no basis in reality, but I wasn’t allowed to object, or to complain about them.

Part of the problem was when–friend or lover–they thought they got to call the shots in the relationship, and I did as well.

To see that this is a real issue, note, for example, the episode “Betty, Girl Engineer” from Father Knows Best.  I reviewed it here.  When Betty decides she should be an engineer, everybody begins to tell her that it’s ridiculous for a girl to be an engineer.  As I wrote,

She signs up for a work-study position surveying, but is shamed out of it by the supervisor. However, instead of telling everyone where they can stick it, and following her dreams, she succumbs to the brainwashing, puts on a dress, and the chauvinist pig supervisor becomes the latest in her long string of boyfriends. Father even encourages the chauvinist pig to lecture Betty out of her silly dreams (since apparently girls need to be taught by men what to think). She ditches her silly whim of being an engineer, and becomes a Proper Girl (TM).

This is a blatant demonstration of men having the idea that they can lecture women on what to think, that women can’t do it themselves, and society encouraging it.

(Now please, before I get hate e-mail, I am NOT a man-hater, nor do I see every man as an abuser/harasser/chauvinist.  But this is a very real problem women have been dealing with for millennia.  MOST of the men I’ve known have NOT behaved badly toward me.  And yes, many women are horrible people as well.  Many of my friends are men who are perfectly respectful.  But for the ones who have behaved badly, long-ingrained patriarchy–only now being torn down in society–is to blame.  One need only look at today’s politics and various realities inside churches to see that such patriarchy is still alive and well, despite years of fighting it.  “It’s just locker room talk” leads to presidency; wives told to submit to abusers.)

My #Metoo post helped drive the point home for me.  It was a repost of things I wrote years ago; as I reviewed it, and read responses to the #Metoo movement, I got a new insight into what was in the minds of my harassers and others.  For example:

–Sexual harassment from guys in elementary and high school who apparently thought they had the privilege to do whatever they liked, even in the middle of class.

–Guys making catcalls to me as I walked down the street, when I just wanted to get from here to there, not deal with their crap.  What made them think they could do this?  I never heard girls yelling out of their cars at guys.  Even girls sometimes harassed me on the street!

–Even a teacher religiously and sexually harassing me–in the middle of class, with witnesses.  What gave him the idea he could do this?

–Guys telling me to “smile” when I’m just walking down the street or sitting in church or whatever.  One time, I was sitting in the car waiting for my husband, quietly musing and listening to music, minding my own business, when some man came along and actually started berating me for not smiling!  What the f***?  What gives them the idea they can do this?

–In college, Shawn kept pushing me to various forms of petting and sexual activity, even when I kept saying I didn’t want to go that far, telling me it wasn’t sinful.  When I began to change my mind and give in, even want it, now I was the slut letting him sin.  Whatever I did, was wrong.

And to explain why he would do these things but refused me the dignity of being my boyfriend, he kept lecturing me on how I didn’t act the way he liked (I was an introvert), that I should put on makeup, that I should show more skin like my friend did (I wasn’t comfortable doing that), that I should wear jeans (I hate how rough they feel), that I should change my hair.

When my friends gave me a makeover, he said I looked like a different person–and made it sound like I should do that from now on.  Okay, so apparently I have to look like a different person and not myself to please you?  Some people actually think I’m fine as I am.  See there, this idea that he should tell me how to dress, how to act, how to look!

He also told me other people said bad things about me.  He told me all sorts of things about me that weren’t even true, according to all of my friends (even the blunt one), and yet these were his reasons not to date me.  He also never bothered to get to know the real me, just kept his concept of me.  And then, finally, he decided we shouldn’t be friends anymore because I “let” him do these things, and he was disgusted by me.

It’s from reading blogs by people such as Samantha Field and Libby Anne that I now see how Shawn’s behavior was driven by Christian patriarchy and the Purity Culture, how this has been screwing up the heads of women everywhere for years, making them feel like sluts no matter who did what, making them feel like they’re responsible for the behavior of someone else.

–Phil, who thought I should be an obedient wife, always doing whatever he said without complaint, no matter if my needs were ignored, no matter if what he wanted was degrading, disgusting, painful.  And when I wasn’t like this, used shame, anger, withholding normal sexual relations, even telling his friends I was abusive, to punish me.

–Then Phil’s friend, after the breakup, telling me I was going to be an “old maid,” that I was the only girl he felt the need to say this to, that every other girl knew instinctively what he was about to tell me.  Then he proceeded to lecture me on how I should dress, how I should act, my morality, and even what career path I should follow.  Because obviously I needed a man to tell me these things and couldn’t figure it out for myself.  Because obviously my own wants are not important, and all that matters is if I please men with what I do.

And what’s up with “old maid” anyway?  See there, this guy who pretended to be a forward-thinking man, yet kept to the old-fashioned idea that a girl who doesn’t marry should be called the pejorative “old maid,” while a man who doesn’t marry is a respectable “bachelor.”  The very concept of an “old maid” is that no man wanted you, so you’ve been tossed aside.  But a bachelor chooses to be a bachelor.

–Then there was the guy, a friend of my now-husband, cornering me one day and telling me I need to be more “lively,” whatever the heck that means.  Apparently, yet again, my natural temperament and behavior was not good enough.

–My “best friend” Richard lecturing me–yet again–on how my natural temperament and behavior not only were not good enough, but were actually supremely offensive to his wife.  (Here’s a case of a woman having a patriarchal attitude, because she, too, tried to tell me how I should act, what I should think, etc.)

He scolded me on what I believed, whenever it didn’t match up with what HE thought it should be.  He scolded me for my politics.  He scolded me for not acting the way HE thought I should in various cases.  Such as, he scolded and shamed me for saving letters and e-mails to and from friends.

He scolded me for having an equal marriage instead of one where the husband was in charge.  He scolded me for thinking ecumenism was a good idea.  (His wife even scolded me for believing in evolution.)  He scolded me for not liking gory movies.

He said he wanted to “strangle” me because I–despite all his past scolding–insisted on believing that I have NVLD.  Because obviously–despite my years of research into it–he knew better than me, being a man and all.  (A mutual friend, Todd, also says–by the way–that Richard bullied HIM with psychology as well.)

Basically, Richard was very narcissistic, yes, and also very much of the idea that he got to tell me what to do!

And then when one of his friends sexually harassed me in an online chat room, not only did his wife invite that friend to their house, but a year later, when they invited this guy to their house AGAIN, Richard actually scolded me and called me “ridiculous” for still being upset over what the guy did.  He said it wasn’t harassment because it was online and that isn’t “real.”

So–a man gets to tell me when I’m being sexually harassed now?  And if I disagree, and refuse to forgive someone who never repented of his actions, I’m being ridiculous?

And what gave his friend the idea in the first place that he could harass me, that he could decide whether women should shave intimate areas, that he could then say that he only dates women who do, as if I even cared at all what he thought, considering that I’m married and have zero interest in dating him?

(And no, I never told him whether I did or didn’t, because it was none of his freakin’ business.  This crap came out of nowhere with no encouragement or engagement from me.)

What gave another guy in the chat room the idea that he could tell me to post pictures, and then complain to Richard’s wife when I didn’t?  What got Richard’s wife to say “You know how [they] are” instead of telling him off for being a pig?  What got another woman in that chat room to join in on the harassment?

What got the original harasser to then ban me from the channel when I hadn’t done a thing wrong, and in fact had sat there quietly through most of this, afraid to say anything, appalled?

Years later, when I told an old college friend what happened, she kept saying, “What the hell?” and she, too, pegged Richard as a narcissist.  Seems that she, too, has had experience with narcs.

–And, of course, there are the situations, apparently common to women everywhere, of not feeling they can bring up complaints, because even wonderful, feminist husbands get offended.  Of husbands leaving their stuff lying around on the floor, so wives try to give them a chance to be a big boy and pick the stuff up, but days later, the wives finally pick it up themselves.  I always thought this was just a Mars-Venus, male-female difference, but this blog post blames it on ingrained patriarchal attitudes that are tough to shake.  This is one of the blog posts that shocked my thinking.

Now I want to go back in time, find Shawn, find all of them, and tell them, “Who are you to tell me what to think/feel/do?  I can decide those things for myself!  You don’t get to do it just because you’re male.”

Of course, at the time I may have been too timid, too intimidated, to say anything.  Like many have said recently, women often keep quiet so as not to rock the boat, bring more trouble on themselves.

I recently read a letter to an advice columnist (I think it was Dear Prudence) by someone who had been sexually assaulted, but felt the #Metoo trend was shaming her for not speaking out.

Not only is #Metoo NOT obligatory, but some of the comments I found underneath the column were disturbing.  I got the impression that some people thought #Metoo was exploitative.  So, first we are shamed into silence.  Finally, we get the courage to speak out and speak up about what happened–and, yet again, we’re shamed for doing so?

Just as I was shamed for speaking up years ago about abuse I’d experienced, my motives questioned, told to be quiet.

Not only should a victim NOT be shamed for NOT speaking up, but a victim should also NOT be shamed FOR speaking up.

When I was young, despite decades of feminism, we still kept hearing how we should do things to please men, rather than being more assertive.  It wasn’t just back in the 50s, with Kitty on Father Knows Best being told that she had to stop being a tomboy, and start wearing dresses and being manipulative, if she wanted to get a boyfriend.

No, still in the 80s and 90s, we heard things like, If you want to get a guy’s attention, do this or that to get him to notice you and ask you out.  If he doesn’t ask you out, he’s not that in to you anyway, so forget it.  Let him say “I love you” first lest you freak him out.  And polls still showed that guys wanted to do the pursuing.

Also, until recently, I didn’t realize just how widely this reaches until I saw this post which was widely shared on social media three years ago.  There were things I didn’t even realize were part of the system of power and control, because I had always just believed “that’s how it is.”

There are still many women in churches being taught that men have to dominate over them/the churches.

This is still a problem.  We’re not imagining it.  Time to stop being surprised that it happens, and start stopping it.

I could keep going, but dang, my word count is getting high.  I’ll post now….

(Please comment on the original post.)

 

 

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Allegations that Trump raped a child in 1994: #Metoo #TrumpSexPredator

The story in these legal documents is appalling, horrifying, disgusting–and accuses our “president” of raping a 13-year-old:

https://www.scribd.com/doc/316341058/Donald-Trump-Jeffrey-Epstein-Rape-Lawsuit-and-Affidavits

He and Jeffrey Epstein allegedly made her into a sex slave in 1994, forcing her into multiple sex acts, then physically abusing her and threatening to harm her and her family if she ever told.  She keeps trying to tell her story, then gets frightened again.

This and multiple other allegations against Trump prove that anything he says about sexual harassment or assault is hypocritical.

Considering that many of them were already known before the election, once again I wonder how he got elected.  And no, I don’t want to hear complaints about Hillary.  There were many, much better candidates in the GOP primaries who could have been nominated instead.  I also don’t want to hear about what Dems are doing as some kind of “response” or “answer” to the question.  That’s just deflection, same as what Trump does every time somebody calls him out on his many sins.  It’s Trump I’m talking about, not somebody else.

 

 

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