Sunday, August 04, 2013

I was raped at 55...

Angie Epifano, the woman who was raped last fall in an Amherst dorm room, reported that she could hear her friends having fun in the next room as she endured the ordeal.* I mentioned this to a friend of mine recently, and she wondered why Angie hadn’t banged on the wall or yelled for help. On the surface, my friend’s question may seem legitimate, until you consider that it is less often asked about women who have been beaten or kidnapped, and almost never about women who have been robbed or mugged. Most consider it a sign of coolheaded intelligence for the victim of a mugging, for example, to peaceably hand over whatever the thief asks for, while keeping one’s eyes averted like we’re told to do when confronted by an aggressive dog. Practically the first thing you’re taught in a course on how to respond to a rapist is that you should not fight or make a scene because you could end up dead.

I didn’t scream or fight, either, when I was raped in my own bed at the age of 55. The reasons were logical and illogical, historic, complex, and also smart. He held a knife, and I assumed he was the serial rapist who had been breaking into women’s houses in my Mexican town for eight months. I’d heard accounts of the four women he’d raped before me. The first two had fought and been beaten; the second two, having heard about the first two, didn’t fight and so were not left with black eyes and bruised ribs.

(...)

As a society, we subliminally hold ancient prejudices. The woman must be at least complicit in any rape and even the instigator, by dressing or acting provocatively, by not being sufficiently wary, by incautiously walking down a deserted street in the night or the day, by getting drunk, by leaving a party with a guy, by accepting an invitation, being too na├»ve, trusting, sexy. Merely by being women, we’re alluring, and worse: we’re temptresses. With this course of reasoning, the burka seems a reasonable solution.

In societies like ours that accept rape myths—acquaintance rape happens because of “mixed signals,” rapists can’t control sexual urges, women lie about being raped, women invite rape by their actions or their dress—men are more likely to commit rape because these beliefs make it seem almost acceptable.

At my trial, the serial rapist’s attorney read his deposition. In it he said he’d have a few beers then break into women’s houses and “cause a little mischief.” I’ve no doubt that is exactly how he thought of his crime. I’ve no doubt many rapists think the same of their crimes: “Na, na, na, na, na.” Stop whining; what’s the big deal? The rapist was asked if he had anything he wanted to add to his deposition, and he ran on for an hour. Among other woe-is-me statements, this is the most memorable: “These women are ruining the good name of my family.” Full story...

Related posts:
  1. Get raped in Dubai and you'll serve 16 months in prison...
  2. A rape a minute, a thousand corpses a year...
  3. Outrage in Malaysia as 40-year-old rapist marries 13-year-old victim...
  4. Sexual assault is a 'scourge' on U.S. military...
  5. 15-year-old rape victim in Maldives sentenced to 100 lashes for pre-marital sex. 
  6. A cry in the dark...
  7. Rapes are a worldwide problem...
  8. Swedish principal tells raped student: “Guys do this kind of thing, you have to get used to it.”

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